Where to go in reach of London – inspiration required

Home Forums General Moving Chat – sponsored by Knight Frank Where to go? Where to go in reach of London – inspiration required

This topic contains 18 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  Rachel 8 years, 4 months ago.

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    Hello there!

    I’ve been in London for ten years and it’s time to get out. Ideally I’d like to go west towards Bristol but it looks like my line of work will require me to be within (train) commuting distance of London on a daily basis so on this basis, I’ve had to rule that out.

    I’d like somewhere quite rural but within reach of civilisation (I’m single so mindful of not becoming a social recluse). Nice local pubs, lovely views, some nice restaurants, a good train link and somewhere that feels a million miles away from London – is that too much to ask?? What I’m not fussed about are amenities like schools etc as I’m not in ‘that’ place in my life nor am I looking to get there any time soon.

    I imagine the home counties is a good place to start but its such a big area I don’t know where to start so I’d be very grateful for any insight!

    Thanks in advance!



    Winchester is a fantastic place to live. The town is small, very friendly, lots of restaurants & life. But gorgeous countryside and villages all around. The train to Waterloo is 57 minutes and the service is pretty reliable. Good luck with your search.



    Just a suggestion: Deal in Kent,

    Feels like a million miles from London, terrific coastal views, great town and lots of rural countryside surrounding it. Super train link to London with HS1 now stopping there.



    What about Cambridge? Lovely university city with loads of eating places, theatre, shopping, art, pubs, etc. Take your friends for a punt trip when they visit you and admire the architecture of the historic colleges en route. Plenty of pretty countryside which is good for cycling nearby and good trains into Kings Cross so onward travel to Europe via Eurostar is an absolute breeze. Further afield but within easy reach are Ely with its glorious cathedral, Newmarket, famous for its horse racing and Norwich, the gateway to the Norfolk Broads. The East of England is a great place to live with a good climate – not too wet!



    Depends on your budget. I do PR for property in the home counties so know it pretty well. Particularly Surrey. But in Surrey the areas to avoid (in my opinion) are the centre of Redhill, Chessington and Croydon – but there are lovely streets in those towns too. Just re read your question – ok consider Reigate, Weybridge, Guildford, maybe Godalming. These places all have life and some good shops. Out of Surrey I am not so sure – I have written about Beaconsfield and that sounds really nice – and Gerrards Cross – they both sounded good.
    Best of luck anyhow.



    Hi Anna. I’d recommend that you look at the area around Newbury. There is a good commute into Paddington (around 1 hour) and it takes about that to drive in too. There are some lovely villages around and some beautiful countryside but yet there is plenty to do in Newbury as well with good shops (brand new Parkway development with John Lewis!), cinema, theatres, restaurants etc. There are some great pubs in the villages where you can enjoy sitting outside in the countryside. When I moved out of London on my own, I moved to Hungerford which is a sweet little town with everything you need but very pretty with antiques shops, cafes etc, but you can also commute from here and there are plenty of charming houses within easy walking distance of the town. Equally, Great Bedwyn, at the end of the commuting line that runs through Newbury, has a fantastic community with two good pubs and you might find this works for you socially. If you think you need more help than you can find on this fantastic forum, feel free to contact me via our website – http://www.moveoutoflondon.com. Good luck with your search. I moved out of London 13 years ago and love my life in the country.



    Hi Anna

    Have you thought about South Oxfordshire – particularly Watlington or one of the small villages nearby – very good links to London by road & rail – lovely unspoiled countryside but within in easy reach of pretty villages abound + Market Towns & of course Oxford – with all the Culture, Cafes and Bars one could wish for to suit all tastes. Chiltern Hills, beech woods, quiet valleys and all within easy reach of London on the days you have to go there.
    I do know of a really nice property which has just come on the market – in a hamlet but only 3 miles from Watlington and 1 mile for Lewknor – which has a pub! Let me know if you would like more information. My email is: Jo@move-forward.co.uk



    Almost all the small cities and large towns within a 50-60 mile arc of the London termini are now very pleasant places to live in and eminently commutable. The more historic ones are the most expensive as their housing stock is in greatest demand. The crucial issue is the door-to-door time it will take you to get to work throughout the seasons. No point in even considering somewhere with 24-hour public transport links like Oxford City if your work place is an ADDITIONAL hour away from Paddington or the coach drop offs. 1 hour on the train/coach very easily becomes 3 hours with delays and missed connections. Be sensible……or be exhausted…….it’s as simple as that. If you become more and more knackered by the daily commute you will start wanting to sleep in at weekends and then you’ll find yourself missing out on much of the quality of life you’ve moved out of London for! Oh and if you’re single keep to 3 miles of your nearest city/town centre



    I think Guildford is a good shout. I worked there for a couple of years in my 20’s and it has a good vibrant community. If you like Bristol, then you may like the similar university town vibe. It has plenty of idyllic villages surrounding the town, with some fantastic pubs. House prices aren’t cheap but if you’re not concerned about school catchments, then you will have more choice.


    The villages and hamlets around Hartley Wintney including Eversley, Finchampstead, Winchfield and Rotherwick have the best of both worlds, access to a mainline station to Waterloo in less than an hour (fastest 40 minutes) great country pubs, schools and accredited for 2 years in a row as the No.1 place to live in the UK by the Halifax quality of life survey.



    Hi Anna, you mention Bristol which is not called the Goldilocks City for nothing – not too big, not too small, just right! We are Bristol Property Finders, if you look on our website http://www.bristolpropertyfinders.com you will find information about Bristol and also about how we can help you find a property. We are looking for case studies for our website so if you fancy being a case study for us, we can be very flexible with our fees. Please do have a look and if there is anything you would like to discuss, please feel free to give us a call. Good luck. Zoa, Bristol Property Finders



    Hi Anna,
    There is some good advice already posted on this topic, but to add my thoughts…
    Definitely think about your commute and how long you are prepared to travel to work and which London mainline works best for you with onward travel. That in itself will help focus the area!
    If Waterloo works for you then definitely look towards Winchester, a great town with lots to do and easy access to the coast as well. Or as mentioned above the area around Hartley Wintney is a good quality of life but smaller communities and possibly a bit more family focussed. Guildford and Godalming will work too, both great places to be, Godalming that bit smaller again though. Also worth looking at Farnham – another lovely market town with good pubs and restaurants and shopping!
    If Paddington works better then the Newbury area or South Oxfordshire are well worth considering. if you want any more info please get in touch – website is http://www.goosechasepropertysearch.com



    Thanks so much for all your thoughts. I’ve made a list and will be working through them systematically.




    I have very fond memories of living in Kent and would recommend the area around Whitstable; some beautiful countryside and coastline plus Whitstable is a really lively town with a great fish market and some lovely oyster bars and a really easy commute to Victoria.



    Re an Anna come to Monmouthshire breathtakingly beautiful and rural yet not isolated come and visit.

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