These are the best 100 commutable towns outside Greater London, less than a 90-minute train journey from the capital.
Working with Savills, the estate agent, we’ve assessed each location against 10 criteria. Use the interactive elements on the page to find your ultimate commuter town.
Aldershot Garricks has long been known as the home of the British Army, but this hasn’t stopped it from gaining a reputation as an attractive London commuter spot. With a 48-minute train into Waterloo the Hampshire town offers a range of high performing schools as well as a wide selection of pubs and restaurants in the area. While the train is likely to be packed at peak times, a year-long season ticket will only set you back £5,616, cheaper than tickets for comparable journeys. Situated next door to the Surrey Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty, and just over an hour’s drive from the south coast, there are plenty of opportunities to escape to the country for a break from urban life.
Ask any resident of Amersham about reaching London and they will tell you that despite being in Buckinghamshire, it is connected to London via the Tube as it is one of the final stops of the Metropolitan line. Both the overground and the Tube bring you to the main station in the new town, but a short walk downhill from the centre takes you into the picturesque old town sat on the River Misbourne. Surrounding the old and new town are rolling hills that make it easy to forget you’re so close to the city. The average house price here is £790,887 and there are a number of good or outstanding schools in the area.
Living here is about practical choices: London lies in one direction (it might be standing room only on the train, mind), and France is in the other. Be warned, the journey is expensive: an annual season ticket costs over £8,000. There are some lovely surrounding villages, including Wye, Appledore and Biddenden, and Folkestone is nearby which has more character and a larger choice of independent shops and restaurants. The town of Ashford was largely developed in the 1960s, and it has a large cinema complex, shops, cafes and a market and is fully pedestrianised. It boasts the most listed buildings and conservation areas in Kent, and a low crime rate.
Properties here are good value: with an average house price of just over £266,931. Its location makes it convenient for those commuting not just to the capital; it will take just over an hour to London Marylebone, but both Birmingham and Oxford are closer (45 mins and 20 mins respectively). It is a market town, with the usual high street names, plus it has the Gateway, a large shopping centre.
Laughed at a decade ago for building a Hollywood-style welcome sign as part of a campaign to upgrade its image, this Essex town has long been a favourite with those commuting into the City (in 35 minutes, via three stations) while taking advantage of considerably cheaper house prices than its more rural neighbours. The delayed opening of East Square 10-screen cinema, part of a £24m complex, is expected this year. In the meantime, the Festival Leisure Park, dubbed “Bas Vegas” by locals (it was once slated as a location for a casino) is a centre of social gatherings and there’s lots of green space including Northlands Park.
The frequency of trains departing to London make this a very easy commute but the fact that there are 17 schools rated outstanding or good in the area is another major draw for families. The town has earned the moniker “Boringstoke”, however. Fans say this isn’t fair: Festival Place is a lively shopping centre and there are multiple green spaces including Eastrop Park in the town centre and larger Stratton Park and Crabtree Plantation a little further out. To the west lie the North Wessex Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The town also hosts an annual festival.
Well connected to London St Pancras and also offering easy access to Luton Airport and the M1 motorway, Bedford is extremely accessible. If the Varsity Line (also known as East West Rail) connecting Oxford to Cambridge is ever built, it will go through the town. It hosts the Bedford River Festival every other July, which takes advantage of its position on the River Ouse and offers live entertainment, activities and dragon boat races. Bedford was once known as Little Italy after thousands of immigrants from the south of the country arrived in the 1950s in search of work at the local brick companies.
Located between Pitsea and Leigh-on-Sea, Benfleet has been described as the most undervalued commuter town in Essex. Trains to Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street take approximately 45 mins and run frequently during rush hour. The town has the usual selection of shops and services, but most will head to the larger shopping centres in nearby Southend and Basildon, as well as retail parks on the outskirts of town. Nature lovers will head to the RSPB-owned Bowers March, an ancient landscape between Benfleet and Pitsea which offers six kilometres of trails to explore.
Famed for its starring role in sitcom Gavin & Stacey, Billericay in Essex is close enough to London to its West and the coast to the south that it gets the best of both. On the train it takes just 34 minutes to get into London Liverpool Street. The area surrounding the town offers plenty of scenic green space with Hanningfield Reservoir and Thorndon Country Park both under half an hour’s drive away from the town. As a historic market town with a conservation area at its centre, Billericay has a unique identity with several listed buildings and numerous pretty period houses.
Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire has existed in one form or another since Roman times. Situated just off the M11 and reachable via train from Liverpool Street Station in around 40 minutes, the town attracts visitors and would-be residents alike with its historic town centre and surrounding countryside. And throughout the year events such as a monthly farmers and craft market and a Christmas fayre bring together the local community. However, you don’t have to travel far to find green space. There are plenty of nature spots within two kilometres of the station, including the site of the old castle and the surrounding park.
Situated right next to Ascot Racecourse, Bracknell is home to the glamorous annual races, but the town offers a lot more than the gee-gees. Bracknell Forest provides plenty of outdoor activities with hiking trails, cycle paths and even horse riding as a way to explore the forest and take in the wildlife. In the town itself Princess Square Shopping Centre is home to major retailers and there are plenty of dining options. For kids the Lookout Discovery Centre is a hands-on science centre or for something less educational Coral Reef Waterworld, one of the largest interactive water worlds in England, is likely to be a hit. Just over an hour away from London Waterloo, the average house price in Bracknell is £385,608 and an annual season ticket to the capital will cost you £6,336.
Home of the reality TV series The Only Way is Essex, the town has grown in popularity in recent years. Access to both the M25 motorway and the A12 connecting London to Chelmsford is easy. But residents will most likely choose to commute to the capital via the Elizabeth Line, which travels into Liverpool Street from nearby Shenfield. There’s plenty to do outdoors with children including the Gruffalo Trail in Thorndon Park and the Stick Man Play Trail in Weald Park. Meanwhile, the town’s ski and snowboard centre overlooks more than 54 acres of woodland.
Its seaside location, excellent school choices, regular train service to London Victoria (when it’s operating correctly), diverse and open-minded community, lively shops, cafés and restaurants and the fact that it’s at the foot of the South Downs mean that the lifestyle in Brighton is hard to beat. With average house prices standing at just shy of £473,803, it’s in the upper end of house prices. Preston Park is the city’s largest with 63 acres and has a charming local neighbourhood. The UK’s first national open water swimming centre of excellence, a new beachfront 50m lido, opened in spring 2023.
With an average house price of £504,170 Broxbourne may not be the cheapest option if you are looking to escape the London property market. However, the Hertfordshire town has much to offer those looking for a different pace of life away from the capital. Green space makes up a quarter of the area within 2km of the station and it is only an hour’s drive from the town to its nearest beach, Leigh Bell Wharf. Within the town there are plenty of options for an evening or lunch out with almost 70 pubs and restaurants on offer. And in the wider area there are plenty of activities to keep kids occupied with go karting at Rye House and Paradise Wildlife Park both on the edge of the town.
Worlds End neighbourhood in Burgess Hill is so called because it is where the “up” railway line going from Brighton to London met its down counterpart. On the border between East and West Sussex the town has a long history dating back to the Saxons but grew in size in the 19th century when the railway was built. Today the town offers a charming retreat from the capital while being close enough to the coast with Hove beach just 14 kilometres away. On the same line as Brighton the town can be reached from London Victoria, London Bridge and Blackfriars in under an hour. An annual travel card costs £6,112, while the average house price in the area is £407,886.
Just off the M4 the village of Burnham is situated on the Thames in Buckinghamshire, and once held significance as a stop on the Great West Road linking London to Bath. Thanks to its location a Royal Charter was written granting permission for it to hold a market and an annual fair. These days the village still holds a summer fete and there is an annual fireworks display at Burnham Park Hall. But it is not only community events on offer. The village has ten good or outstanding schools within two kilometres of the station and has Burnham Beeches Nature Reserve on its doorstep.
Once a somewhat sleepy university city in miniature form, the digital, science and pharmaceutical parks that surround Cambridge (together dubbed Silicon Fen) mean that it’s developed into a high-tech hub. Cambridge is also something of a cycling capital, with 128 kilometres of designated lanes and paths. Trains to London take 53 mins, it’s packed with shops, pubs and restaurants and there are world-famous views to enjoy along The Backs, the Grade I-listed park which takes in King’s College chapel and the Bridge of Sighs.