Home Forums South East Oxfordshire Random Questions and Chatter WHAT IS BANBURY LIKE TO LIVE/COMMUTE TO LONDON

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    We are thinking of moving to Banbury and wondered if anyone has any advice/interesting info/ etc on Banbury as a whole.
    I know every town has its good/bad areas but are there any suggestions on places to avoid/desirable areas?
    Does Banbury have a community feel to it, would you meet new friends easily (we are in our young 40’s).
    I’ve seen a couple of posts and it looks like the commute isn’t too bad to Marylebone. Can anyone confirm how busy it is on the 0658 train. Do people who travel to London from Banbury generally get a seat there and back? In the winter do the trains have significant issues (generally) from your experience?
    Many thanks



    Hi Amanda,

    I just commented on your other post too, but can also comment on your questions here if you like !

    I would suggest that most people choose to live in the surrounding villages rather than in the town. Do you have kids ? If so, school stuff will be important, but in case you don’t I’ll leave that for now, and answer honestly.

    We moved to a village on the other side of the motorway from Banbury 20 months ago – and I can honestly say I’ve never made friends so quickly in my life ! Most are ‘blow-ins’ and have moved from somewhere else, and so they all remember what it felt like to move to a new place and fall over themselves to be welcoming – everyone likes a new friend ! What you then do with that is up to you of course but to us, we’ve struck our prefect medium of friendliness without any pressure to be BFFs with anyone in particular – for example, 2 weeks ago I had my 40th and 48 villagers came !

    If you go for a larger village with 2000+ people, I’d say you are more likely to meet like-minded people in amongst the mix, especially as they can support clubs, events and activities from which you can pick and choose – most villages now have websites where you can see the level of action going on – I think the amount of action is the best indicator, rather than how much participation you think you will want. Plus each village is easy to reach, and you can always go to activities elsewhere if you like !

    The other thing about a slightly larger village will be that there are more likely to a blend of commuters and those that work locally, or even from home – that all adds to the community atmosphere.

    Re seats on train, definite yes both ways, only v occasionally has my husband had a problem on the return on school holidays with ‘families’ (how dare they?!) clogging up his train ! Only once in 20 months has his journey been impossible, but that was when most of the country was also stuck – the whole area has been significantly worked on since 2003 re flooding and whilst the flood plain can look v wet, it rarely causes transport issues any more (apparently it used to)

    Other relevant thoughts as they drift by : big shopping expansion due in the not too distant future. Nice individual shops in the town if you look them out, plus all the basics.

    Hope you come this way, and do look us up !



    Hi Rachel
    Thanks so much for your reply. It all sounds wonderful. We visited Banbury when the weather was absolutely pouring and we still loved the feel of it so we are confident it will be a great place to live.
    Love the expression “blow ins”.
    No kids so don’t have that to worry about.

    Thanks again for the useful insight.



    Great ! See you soon ! Rx



    Just had this through via work, might give you an interesting perspective on who is moving here, from where and in what price bracket ! http://www.savills.co.uk/estate-agents/savills-banbury/banbury-market-insight/sales.aspx



    Definitely head to the villages. We moved from London very many years ago and never looked back. If your interested in feeling part of a community, head to a large village where there are lots of things happening. Ours is tiny which suits us perfectly but may not have that big community involvement. Have a look at Cropredy that has a lot going on. Good luck. I’m told commuting is terrific and your in to the lovely station at a marylebone in a flash. That station has a brilliant cheese shop by the way! Good luck. Clare



    Hi Amanda,

    I thoroughly agree with Rachel and Clare. I first moved to Banbury about 12 years ago. I originally lived in the town centre, but moved out to Drayton (on the Stratford road) about 9 years ago. The villages are definitely better than living in town, they’re extremely friendly and the sense of community is just fab! The villages also contain some of the best pubs ever, and if you like your food, there are some of the best gastro pubs in Oxfordshire. You can enjoy everything from Marco Pierre White’s Wheelers at the Black Boy Inn, to the Horse and Groom Milcombe to the Peacock at Oxhill all within a 30 minute drive. The eateries in town tend to be Indian, but the Thai Orchid has regularly won best Thai restaurant outside of Thailand numerous times. The lovely bistro Veritas is also well worth a visit!

    The only disadvantages about the villages are all concerning public transport, or the lack of it! We have 2 buses a day and that’s it. So if you don’t have a car, things can be difficult and a taxi would cost approx £7 – £8 one way for a 2 mile trip!

    In terms of clothes shopping, you have most of the major brands and there are several independents on Parsons street. But the delights of Fosse Park (Leicester) Oxford and Birmingham are all within an hours drive (less on the train) so if you can’t find what you want in Banbury there’s lots of other opportunities near by.

    I love Banbury because it’s so central (my clients are all over the UK) getting to the M40 is so easy and you’re in the middle of the best motorway network. Manchester is less than 2.5 hours, ditto Leeds, Southampton less than 2 hours and the same for Bristol. I travel a lot on Chiltern railways into Marylebone, if you get the fast train it’s about 50 minutes. Getting a seat is not a problem either, I have never had to stand in 12 years. The car park at the station is quite generous too (there are two) one is right next to the station and the other a 5 minute walk. You will also get to know all of the regular commuters who do the trip every day. Not sure about the cheese shop Clare, I think you might have the wrong station, but they are in the middle of an upgrade and they’re doing quite a lot of work to it!

    Banbury is a bit of a “country cousin” compared to the likes of Oxford and Henley, but it has a certain charm and the villages are just beautiful and I would certainly recommended them!

    Good luck!



    Have a look at Cropredy. Canal, marina,Folk Festival, shop, Church and Chapel, Primary School, cafe and 2 pubs. Take a breath. Van sales. Silversmith, antiquey shop. Canoe club, cricket club ,tennis club and many more societies to join or not.


    Belinda Aspinall

    Tim TD from twitter has replied “Banbury town centre has some great communities too! Not just about the villages. 5 mins walk into town, lovely park etc.. – get them to check out our community http://biglunchqueensroad.wordpress.com/ (or on twitter they are @BigLunchQnsRd) – street parties, quizzes, socials, dinner parties !Also if you’re on twitter do#visitbanbury to see local shops, bars, things to do too”



    Thanks all for your posts. Banbury sounds great.
    We do need to be in the town and the good news is we have found a wonderful house in the Cherwell Heights area of Banbury and we are really excited about our ‘life after London’!. We probably won’t be moving until July/August but sooooo pleased to be joining you all.
    Thanks Tim for your post – I will definitely look into that, sounds fun.
    This website is great and has really helped us. Thank you.



    Thinking of downsizing to near Banbury wondered what the area was like for walking dogs ? Are there good footpaths and which areas would be best to look at? I realise living in the country can sometimes mean less places to walk sometimes !!

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