Top 20 most affordable places to commute into London – The London Economic
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Top 20 most affordable places to commute into London

By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor

Unless you want to live in a converted garage or stowaway in a different wheelie bin every night, London is increasingly outside the price range of most of us.

TLE has scoured the areas outside of London where you could afford to buy and still get to work in Londinium. Of course, you need to add on the extortionate rail fares, to work out if your move out of the capital is feasible.

No more strolls home from drinks on the Thames, quick trips up to Hampstead heath on a lazy Sunday and no falling asleep on the Northern Line and waking up in Morden again. It’s time to move out of town, London has priced you out, and here is where you could go.

We have used the commuting time to get to Bank to rank the towns, because if you don’t work there already, you will need a job in the city, to afford the railway season ticket.

1.Shenfield

Shenfield

Shenfield is a village and an outer suburb of Brentwood in the borough of the same name in Essex, England, ideally located for London and the East Anglian coast. Shenfield’s significance in the London Commuter Belt will increase as the CrossRail project proceeds since it is intended to be the eastern terminus.

Interesting fact

The old village, by the church and Green Dragon pub, lay along the original Roman road, which has once carried legions of marching soldiers.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£18.70 Liverpool Street, 28 mins with tube 30 mins

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a two bedroom mid terrace property (in need of some modernisation) for  £229,995. 

Shenfield property.

2.Woking

Woking

Woking is a large town and civil parish that shares its name with the surrounding local government district, located in the west of Surrey, England. It is at the southwestern edge of the Greater London Urban Area

Interesting fact

Woking has a Wellsian Martian Tripod, designed by Michael Condron, which was unveiled in April 1998. The tripod celebrates H.G. Wells’ book, The War of the Worlds, which was written in Woking.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£20 Waterloo 28 mins, with tube 32 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a well presented third floor apartment in a popular development moments from town centre and station for £289.950.

Woking Property

3.Stevenage

Stevenage

Stevenage is a new town and borough in Hertfordshire, England. It is situated to the east of junctions 7 and 8 of the A1(M), it is roughly 30 miles (50 km) north of central London.

Interesting fact

Spy Game was partly filmed in Stevenage but set in Washington DC. The BBC sitcom Saxondale was set and filmed almost entirely in Stevenage.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£20.30 25 mins kings Cross, with tube 33 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a very spacious two bedroom house with conservatory and garage offered chain free for £195,000. 

Stevenage property

4.Hemel Hempstead

Hemel Hempstead

Hemel Hempstead is a town in Hertfordshire in the East of England, 24 miles (38.6 km) to the north west of London. The population at the 2001 Census was 81,143.

Interesting fact

Not that exciting, but Hemel claims to have the first purpose built multi-storey car park in Britain. Built in 1960 into the side of a hill in the Marlowes shopping district.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£19.80 Euston 30 mins, with tube 40 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a modern second floor two bedroom apartment with easy access to the town centre for £194,995.

Hemel Hempstead property.

5.Chelmsford

Chelmsford

Chelmsford is the principal settlement of the City of Chelmsford and the county town of Essex, in the East of England. It is located in the London commuter belt, approximately 32 miles (51 km) northeast of Charing Cross, London.

Interesting fact

The Britvic soft drink company can be traced back to a chemist’s shop in Tindal Street where flavoured waters were on sale as early as the mid-19th century.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£26.60 38 mins to Liverpool street, with tube 40 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a two double-bedroom house that had undergone a program of sympathetic refurbishment for £250,000.

Chelmsford Property.

6.Luton

Luton

Luton is a large town, borough and unitary authority of Bedfordshire, England, 30 miles (50 km) north of London. Luton and its near neighbours, Dunstable and Houghton Regis, form the Luton/Dunstable Urban Area with a population of about 255,000.

Interesting fact

Luton International Carnival is the largest one-day carnival in Europe. It usually takes place on the late May Bank Holiday. Crowds can reach 150,000 on each occasion.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£26.70 32 mins King Cross, with tube 40 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a mid terrace home which is situated in the ever popular Bushmead area of North Luton for £155,000. 

Luton property

7.Guildford

Guildford

Guildford is a county town of Surrey, England. The town is 27 miles (43 km) southwest of central London on the A3 trunk road mid-way between the capital and Portsmouth.

Interesting fact

The Stranglers, who were based in the town in the early 1970s and were briefly known as “The Guildford Stranglers”. Drummer Jet Black ran an off-licence in the town

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£23.50 Waterloo, 38 mins with tube 42 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a property situated in the heart of the town and within a short walk of the High Street for £295,000.

Guildford Property.

8.Crawley

Crawley

Crawley is a town and local government district with borough status in West Sussex, England. It is 28 miles (45 km) south of Charing Cross (London), 18 miles (29 km) north of Brighton and Hove.

Interesting fact

The Cure were formed in Crawley in 1976 by Robert Smith, Michael Dempsey and Lol Tolhurst, all of whom attended St Wilfrid’s RC School.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£33.30 40 mins London Bridge, with tube 42 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found an attractive modern house situated in a popular development of similar houses for £190,000.

Crawley property.

9.Ashford

Ashford

Ashford is a town in the borough of Ashford in Kent, England. In 2005 it was voted the fourth-best place to live in the United Kingdom. It lies on the River Great Stour, the M20 motorway, and the South Eastern Main Line and High Speed 1 railways

Interesting fact

Ashford is in Kent and a place Philosopher Simone Weil declared the town “a beautiful place to die”, but if you don’t fancy passing over to the next life, why not jump on the train to Paris or Lille at Ashford International train station.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£63,30 Ashford international into St Pancras 37 mins, with tube 45 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a victorian property, chain free with off road parking for £145,000.

Ashford property

10.Basildon

Basildon

The town is in Essex It lies 25 miles (40 km) east of Central London and 11 miles (18 km) south of the city of Chelmsford. Nearby smaller towns include Billericay to the north, Wickford northeast and South Benfleet to the east. It was created as a new town after World War II in 1948 to accommodate the London population overspill.

Interesting fact

Basildon or “Bazvegas” as it is sometimes known is not somewhere you associate with the US, but, since March 2010 Basildon has a miniature famous white Hollywood sign, reading “Basildon.”

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£13.40 Basildon to Fenchurch Street, 36 mins, with walk 46 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a property, in need some refurbishment but located in a very popular area for £109, 995. 

Basildon property

11.Basingstoke

Basingstoke

Basingstoke is a large town in northeast Hampshire, in south central England. It lies across a valley at the source of the River Loddon. It is located 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Southampton, 16 miles (26 km) southeast of Reading, 48 miles (77 km) southwest of London.

Interesting fact

In the mid-1990s, numerous reports described sightings of the Beast of Basingstoke, a big cat believed to be a lion or a puma, possibly two. Local legend suggests the animal was shot and killed, so that’s a relief.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£38.40 to Waterloo 45mins, with tube 49 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a two double-bedroom split level 2nd floor flat situated in the Town Centre for £140,000.

Basingstoke property.

12.Slough

Slough

Slough is a town in Berkshire, England, about 20 miles (32 kilometres) west of central London. It is bisected by the A4 and the Great Western Main Line. In 2011, the population of Slough was 140,200 and the most ethnically diverse outside London in the United Kingdom.

Interesting fact

The song “Costa del Slough” by the rock band Marillion posits the town as a post-global warming coastal resort. You never know you could be buying in the holiday destination of the future.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£15.40 31 mins Paddington, with tube 51 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a two bedrooms both with fitted wardrobes and a large reception room for £150,000. 

Slough property.

13.Reading

Reading

Reading is a large town in the county of Berkshire, England. It is located in the Thames Valley. Reading is located 36 miles (58 km) east from Swindon, 24 miles (39 km) south from Oxford, 36 miles (58 km) west of central London.

Interesting fact

Ricky Gervais, who is from Reading, made the film Cemetery Junction, which is set in 1970s Reading and is named after a busy junction in East Reading.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£42.50 Paddington 32 mins, with tube 53 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a well presented two bedroom first floor maisonette for £185,000.

Reading property.

14.Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes is a large town in Buckinghamshire, England and was formally designated as a new town on 23 January 1967.  It is located about 45 mi (72 km) north-west of London.

Interesting fact

It was deliberately located equidistant from London, Birmingham, Leicester, Oxford and Cambridge with the intention that it would be self-sustaining and eventually become a major regional centre in its own right.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£38.00 Euston 44 mins, with tube 54 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found an end of terrace property for £190,000. 

Milton Keynes property

15.Gillingham

Gillingham

Gillingham is a town in the unitary authority of Medway in South East England. It is part of the county of Kent. The town includes the settlements of Brompton, Hempstead, Wigmore, Parkwood, Rainham, Rainham Mark and Twydall.

Interesting fact

It is twined with Ito and Yokosuka (Japan), the latter being the burial place of Will Adams, Gillingham’s most famous son.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£32.50 Cannon Street 52 mins, with walk 55 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a semi-detached bungalow on cul-de-sac for £190,000.

Gillingham property.

16.East Grinstead

East Grinstead

East Grinstead is a town and civil parish in the northeastern corner of Mid Sussex, West Sussex in England near the East Sussex, Surrey, and Kent borders. It lies 27 miles (43 km) south of London, 21 miles (34 km).

Interesting fact

Local attractions include Ashdown Forest (where the Winnie-the-Pooh stories are set)

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£23.40 London Bridge 54 mins, with tube 56 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a large ground floor apartment for £184,950.

East Grinstead property.

17.Colchester

Colchester

Colchester is a historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England, it has been named as one of Britain’s fastest growing towns.

Interesting fact

Colchester is said to be the oldest recorded town in Britain on the grounds that it was mentioned by Pliny the Elder, who died in AD 79.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£49.20 62 mins Liverpool street, with tube 64 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a semi-detached house for £150,000.

Colchester property.

18.Southend

Southend

Southend-on-Sea is a seaside resort in Essex, England, on the north side of the Thames estuary 40 miles (64 km) east of central London. It also has “London Southend” airport, which is stretching the truth a bit about being in the capital.

Interesting fact

It is home to the longest leisure pier in the world, Southend Pier.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£28.20 64 mins Liverpool Street, with tube 66 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a first floor purpose-built apartment for £130,000. 

Southend property.

19.Bracknell

Bracknell

Bracknell is a town and civil parish in the Borough of Bracknell Forest in Berkshire, England. It lies 11 miles (18 km) to the southeast of Reading, 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Windsor and 30 miles (48 km) west of central London. The town has a population of 52,696.

Interesting fact

One of the oldest buildings in the town is the ‘Old Manor’ public house, a 17th-century brick manor house featuring a number of priest holes. Next door once stood the ‘Hind’s Head’ coaching inn, where it is said Dick Turpin used to drink.

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£24.80 to waterloo 64 mins, with tube 68 mins.

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a two bed house with south facing garden for £249,950.

Bracknell property.

20.Maidstone

Maidstone

Maidstone is the county town of Kent, England, 32 miles (51 km) south-east of London. The River Medway runs through the centre of the town, linking it with Rochester and the Thames Estuary.

Interesting fact

Maidstone is mentioned several times in Ian Fleming’s 1955 James Bond novel, Moonraker. Villain Hugo Drax passes through King Street and Gabriels Hill and later stops at the Thomas Wyatt Hotel

Time to Bank, and cost of return into capital (excluding tube costs)

£35.60 Victoria 63 mins, with tube 80 mins

What decent two bed could I buy today on Zoopla?

We found a terraced house for £189,995.

Maidstone property.

1 Response

  1. Pissed off Grinstead local

    And because of things like this our home areas are now unaffordable for us who live here. Piss off back to London we don’t want you here

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