London commuting: The best places to live

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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While London might be home to some of the most exciting employment opportunities in the UK, one thing that it certainly isn't popular for is house prices. Because of this, an increasing number of professionals are looking for added value options when it comes to their homes, such as living out of central London itself and commuting in on a daily basis.

If you have considered London commuting before but never gotten around to researching it seriously, read on, as we have done all the hard work for you. We've selected six of the most popular commuter counties in a bid to show you the pros and cons of them all. Who knows, you might be able to buy a much bigger home if you are willing to travel a little longer to work. You just need to ask yourself what your priorities are!

Surrey

Refurbishment of late Victorian Property: classic Houses by Corebuild
Corebuild

Refurbishment of late Victorian Property

Corebuild

One of the most popular areas to live in for London commuting, Surrey offers access to excellent schools, pretty houses and fast, direct travel to the capital. The downside to this is that more and more people have flocked to the area, thus pushing prices up and making school places harder to come by.

The Land Registry cites the average house price as now being £403,412, which is alienating middle earners, while footballers, film stars and musicians have been flocking to the county. It's proximity does make it a superb option for London commuting regardless of rising property prices as they are still lower than those in the capital itself.

Kent

Bossington House, Adisham Kent: country Houses by Lee Evans Partnership
Lee Evans Partnership

Bossington House, Adisham Kent

Lee Evans Partnership

Kent is an amazing contrast to the hustle and bustle of London as it is known as the Garden of England and as such, features lush greenery and more countryside for your pound. Hence the Lee Evans Partnership was hired to work on this stunning home! Of course, there are also less desirable areas that feature decommissioned industrial buildings but there are fewer than those found in London.

House prices can vary hugely in Kent as it has previously played second fiddle to more upmarket counties nearby but it is now becoming massively popular, especially with people who want easy access to London or even Paris as direct trains run regularly every day.

Hertfordshire

Chiltern Road, Hitchin :   by Pentangle Design
Pentangle Design

Chiltern Road, Hitchin

Pentangle Design

Taking up to just one hour to get into central London via train, Hertfordshire has certainly secured itself a place within savvy London career hunters' hearts. Found north of London, this county offers a more peaceful way of life and is frequently punctuated with beautiful green pastures and rolling hills.

Far from being a simply rural retreat, Hertfordshire has its fair share of more built up areas, such as St Albans, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City, but has not yet succumbed to the elevated prices of the capital. This means that it has remained a popular home location for many people that want to relax in their perfect living room after a hard day at work, not a bedsit while they work away for a week at a time.

Essex

Don't let The Only Way Is Essex put you off Essex as an ideal homestead location for successful London commuting as this is a county that has proved itself to be unpretentious, entrepreneurial and staunchly supportive of London workers, thanks to multiple direct train links throughout the day.

As well as offering access to charming chocolate box villages, complete with picturesque cottages, Essex also has a fantastic range of more affordable districts, such as Basildon, that allow London commuters to keep more of their hard earned wages and their journey times down to anything from 30 to 90 minutes.

Buckinghamshire

Long Crendon: scandinavian Houses by MailenDesign
MailenDesign

Long Crendon

MailenDesign

Let's not beat around the bush here; when it comes to London commuting, you can find a lot of places that are far cheaper than Buckinghamshire. The house prices are very high but in contrast to those of London itself, they still seem like great value.

There are three direct rail lines into the capital throughout the day, making commuting fast and efficient and in a former overview of rich UK towns, three Buckinghamshire towns featured prominently, while getting excellent reviews because of the fantastic grammar schools.

Oxfordshire

Regent Street, Oxford:   by Space Program Ltd
Space Program Ltd

Regent Street, Oxford

Space Program Ltd

Oxfordshire has become undeniably popular with those that are looking to undertake London commuting, especially as travelling times can be as little as one hour, with trains pulling directly into Paddington station.

Another county that boasts of fantastic schools, as well as a host of great restaurants and night life opportunities, house prices have been rising consistently as more and more people fight to live in the catchment areas of coveted schools. The Land Registry figures show that in 2013 the average house price was £403,256, with detached houses coming in at a whopping £887,279. While that might look exorbitant you have to remember that per square metre, this is considerably less than current house prices in London.

You might need to work in London but you certainly don't have to live there in order to take advantage of a good wage. We think these six counties offer a fantastic alternative to central London but the question is, are you happy to travel?

To see what people are building in London, take a look at this Ideabook: A Minimalist Dream in London. Maybe an hour on the train would be worth it for a couple of extra bedrooms after all?

Would you consider commuting in order to own a bigger house? What would be your limit for travel time? Let us know, below...
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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