Looking to move out of the capital? We’ve compiled the top 5 best places to live outside of London
It’s been well documented by now that since the pandemic, homebuyers are increasingly looking to move out of London and into the surrounding suburbs or even the countryside.
In fact, research by Hamptons’ showed that an estimated 73,950 homebuyers left London in 2020, with Kent and Surrey showing the largest increase in homebuyer interest. London hasn’t seen an exodus like this since the Brexit vote in 2016.
With more people working from home, certain things that were important before – like commuting distance and transport links – have fallen down the list of priorities.
The need for more space, especially for a home office, and the desire for outside space, is attracting homebuyers to towns where they can get more space for their money.
Now that things are opening up, however, some workplaces have decided to return to the office, or have a hybrid working arrangement where workers are going in a couple of days a week as necessary. So while you might want to live out in the country, you might still want to stay relatively close to London for the days when you do have to trek to the office.
A cursory search on Google shows numerous articles each with their own list of the ‘best’ places to live outside of the capital. But since everyone has their own criteria for what makes a place ‘good’ to live in, every list includes different towns and cities, with very little overlap!
To save you the search, we’ve compiled the 5 places that show up multiple times on different ‘best of’ lists, and which are all within an hour’s train ride of London.
5 best places to live
26 minute train ride from London
Situated in leafy Thames Valley, Reading is a historic market town and a popular choice for families. The town has lots to offer for shopping and leisure, with great outdoor activities, and has been included in best of lists for its safety. With the opening of the Elizabeth Line, Reading will also be a part of the Tube network taking you straight into central London.
The average house price in the last half of 2020 was £297,827.*
35 minute train ride from London
Surrounded by the beautiful Chiltern Hills, Amersham is just a 35 minute train ride into Marylebone, and is also situated on the Metropolitan line, taking you straight into central London. With independent shops and restaurants, the High Street in Old Amersham features half-timbered Medieval houses as well as a still in use 17th century Market Hall. Enjoy all the advantages of country living while being very accessible to London.
The average house price in the last half of 2020 was £671,808
1 hour train ride from london
This cathedral city is noted for its excellent quality of life, Winchester boasts excellent schools as well as amenities and access to greenery. There are also lots of historic attractions here including Jane Austen’s house and the Great Hall in Winchester Castle, home to King Arthur’s round table.
The average house price in the last half of 2020 was £626,693
1 hour train ride from London
This Surrey town was listed as one of the best places to live based on connection, education, air quality, as well as properties available. Farnham also has lots of beauty spots as well as family attractions, including historic Farnham Castle and Farnham Maltings, one of the busiest art centres in Surrey. There are also a number of Ofsted outstanding schools in the area.
The average house price in the last half of 2020 was £542,903
Brighton & Hove
1 hour train ride from london
Brighton & Hove was the most mentioned in all of the best of lists we surveyed and is hardly a secret, being popular with holiday makers and tourists alike and dubbed ‘London by the sea’. With the seaside and lively town centre. Brighton boasts some of the highest numbers of independent shops in the UK, as well attractions like the John Nash built Royal Pavilion and the famous Brighton Pier.
Hove is close enough to Brighton town centre to take advantage of all it has to offer, while being quieter and more family friendly with a strong sense of community.
The average house price in the last half of 2020 was £479,944
Custom build outside of London
The county of Essex also came up a lot in our search of top places to live near London, with Colchester, Saffron Walden, Manningtree, Purfleet, and Basildon making the list for top commuter towns.
If you’re looking to make the move to the country, we are currently selling plots at Pound Lane in Basildon, a development of 12 custom build family homes designed by award-winning architects. These homes feature large plots of land (you wouldn’t find these in London!) as well as access to a communal garden and protected woodland, with space enough on the inside for you to design in your own perfect home office.
Find out more about Pound Lane below.
*House price data produced by Land Registry and compiled by Rightmove