London – the bustling metropolis of an otherwise green and calming country. With over 8.3 million people choosing to reside in the capital, competition for hot properties is getting fierce. One 2-bedroom, ground floor flat in Balham, South London, went on the market recently at £400,000. It ended up going for a staggering £549,000.
For some, the idea of living in London can be compared with that of inhabiting a giant ant colony, with constant streams of people being urged to keep left at all times, and never ever make eye contact or divert from the socially agreed route. While this may seem like the cosmopolitan way of things, and entirely appealing to many, there is another option.
Earn the London wage and get shed loads (literally) more for your money – commute.
Here’s our top 5 commuter hotspots to best escape The City…
1) Bishop’s Stortford
Just a 37 minute commute out of London’s Liverpool St station, this wealthy market town boasts a good shopping district with branches of Waitrose and Marks and Spencer close by. Average house prices stand at £260,000 for a 3-bedroom semi.
32 minutes from London’s iconic Kings Cross station, and at £3000 for a season ticket, this small market town is full of character and medieval charm. With surrounding villages such as Codicote and Gosmore offering property from around £350,000 for a 3-bedroom period house, this area offers more of a quaint atmosphere if you’re willing to part with the pennies.
3) St Albans
Full of Georgian and Edwardian town houses and cottages, this picturesque town is steeped with history and character. A mere 19 minutes from St Pancras station, this Hertfordshire town is a favourite for commuters. House prices are substantially higher than the previously mentioned towns at around £400,000 for 3 bedrooms, but still not a patch on their London counterparts.
It is worth noting that St Albans School produced 2 reputable old boys – lyricist and musical theatre favourite, Tim Rice, as well as world famous physicist Stephen Hawking – so it may be well worth spending that bit extra!
At a very reasonable £1740 for a rail season ticket, this 39 minute commute is an attractive option. With all local amenities within walking distance of each other, and not many tourists to trip you up, this town makes for a quiet, if not completely aesthetically pleasing retreat.
Just over 30 minutes out of Charing Cross station lands you in this Kent town. The high concentration of private schools in and around Sevenoaks suggests that this is a commuter town with wealth. Surrounded by vast countryside and rivers and lakes, it is a stereotypically ideal dwelling to escape London life. With house prices here setting you back around £300,000 for 3 bedrooms, it is a real contender in the top 5.
With these five fantastic towns in mind, it really begs the question – why would anyone choose to put up with the capital when a life of luxury is waiting through the smog?