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Didcot Parkway - any plus points apart from its strategic position?

(56 Posts)
allaflutter Wed 29-May-13 00:31:20

Apart from the good quick rail links to London and other cities, is it really as dull as people say on MN?

I have another thread about relatively inexpensive areas that may be on the up, but still compiling a list (Bedford, etc) as not a lot on the market in those.

What is Didcot like for:
green spaces
shops and places to eat/cafes
crime levels
connections to the Midlands, rather than just the west

One issue is, it seems to be all modern houses - are there period areas, and how far from the station? Is any nice area within walking distance or easy bus/taxi to station?


allaflutter Thu 30-May-13 10:59:23

thanks, MrsAlways, a more of a balanced view wink, but I think the rest of the posters have put me off now, ha. Unless these expansion plans are impressive? Still, I may go and visit - thanks for mentioning areas for older houses.
Well, Pag, I was surprised to see on rightmove that Ab isn't really expensive, nothing like Oxford - I'm sure it's due to lack of rail. How long is it by buses to the station? Is Wallingford better, and nearaer to rail? heard it mentioned favourable a few times. Is it tiny? Thing is, I don't need a daily commute, but say twice a week to london and I travel around to other places (Midlands, Bath etc).

allaflutter Thu 30-May-13 11:00:35


Abra1d Thu 30-May-13 12:11:03

Abingdon is not a particularly interesting place to live itself. The town planners have failed to make best use of its lovely location and the old abbey. Some bits are lovely--round Albert Park, for instance, but there are plenty of rather dull housing estates. It does have brilliant sports facilities, though, and some good shops and the schools are good. Just a bit dull.

allaflutter Fri 31-May-13 00:07:38

do you know Bedford, Abra? that's in my list already. Wonder how Abingdon or other places mentioned compare.

MiniPenguinMaker Fri 31-May-13 00:21:06

Didcot is so much better connected for London than Abingdon or Wallingford. I lived in one of the lovely villages and just adored it. Beautiful countryside - the Ridgeway - and, by car or train, convenient for the West Country or London. 45 minutes in to London, very easy. I'm not sure about connections to the Midlands as I never really went.

Abingdon has a regular bus service into Oxford, stopping in town and at the station, but it does take quite a while. It has quite a bit going on, though, and is quite aesthetically pleasing in its way and well connected to Oxford.

Wallingford is just really far away from anywhere and doesn't have great bus services. I worked there for a while and while it is quite a pretty market town I would hate to live there. Cholsey is just near Wallingford and IMHO is peaceful but quite dull. Its main advantage is that it's got a train station to get in to London - but the trains that stop there are slow, so you have to change at Reading anyway, making Didcot much more convenient for a fast commute.

I really wouldn't be surprised if Didcot 'went up in the world' in future. Many of the local state schools are considered to be very good. It's such a fabulous location and it's surrounded by such gorgeous countryside as well as being well-connected. If the actual town itself picked up, it would be miles nicer than most other options nearby.

MiniPenguinMaker Fri 31-May-13 00:24:22

Oh and yes there are areas of Didcot with more period property - the 'old' bit is more to the North of the town and is quite walkable to the station. I wouldn't say it was a huge amount nicer than the newer bits, TBH, though.

JazzAnnNonMouse Fri 31-May-13 02:24:14

I think didcot has the ability to go either way, it'll either rise as it is well connected or it'll flounder due to lack of employment from shutting the power plant.

Haddenham train goes from London Victoria to Birmingham via haddeham and Thame which sounds ideal for you. Obviously there are other stops on that line too - I'm not sure whether Bicester is

MiniPenguinMaker Fri 31-May-13 05:43:54

Yes, Bicester has a direction connection both to London Marylebone (c. 45 minutes to an hour) and to Birmingham. House prices are cheap compared to Oxford and it's pretty nice. Might be a good option!

prissyenglisharriviste Fri 31-May-13 05:52:09


allaflutter Fri 31-May-13 10:23:47

thanks Mini - a very useful post! I assume from this that it takes more than 20min by bus from Ab to Oxford? Didcot - as Jazz says, it may even get worse after the plant closure - do they have any plans regarding use of the plant site? Logically it should be a very popular town, is it the housing stock that's awful? I mean all these villages around would benefit from good shopping etc in Didcot - where do they go shopping/eating out, if D is awful? I'd kick myself if it does go up in price hugely - but this will happen if it gets funded for high streets and gets done up by someone who cares.
I thought Bicester was one new housing development/estate (even though probably all clean).
How is Thame ideal, Jazz, can you describe it please? and how long to London?
Banbury - is it also very modern re housing? is it on rail?

MiniPenguinMaker Fri 31-May-13 11:59:54

I'm glad it was helpful!

Abingdon: yes, I generally find it takes 30 minutes on the bus in to Oxford. Buses start quite early (5.30 I think?) and run until around midnight. If you then add 1 hour to get to either London or Birmingham, it does seem quite far from the beaten track - to me anyway.

Bicester: there are some gorgeous period houses here! Don't rule it out - go and have a visit. And, to my mind, the period properties there are a steal. The centre of town is the older bit. There's a regular bus service in to Oxford and that takes c. 30-45 minutes depending on traffic. Trains to London run from Bicester North and take 45 minutes - 1 hour 15 min. Trains to Oxford run from Bicester town and take just over 20 minutes but this line is likely to close for a couple of years while they upgrade it.

I think Bicester might actually be quite interesting to you. It is kind of like Didcot in terms of convenience for London, but it's also got great rail links to Birmingham, so good for Midlands too. Bicester Village for designer shopping. Some nice restaurants and lovely village pubs nearby. Worth a look?

Thame: closer to London, but further from Midlands and less well connected to Oxford. Quite pretty, period property etc.

rubyflipper Fri 31-May-13 12:24:02

Stick to the south side of Banbury for period housing and leafier streets. Otherwise it's mostly new-builds (which aren't my cup of tea)

Relaxedandhappyperson Fri 31-May-13 12:29:19

Didcot is OK. Not a shit-hole at all, though not very exciting either.

Lots of new housing, ok shops and easy to get out of.

Don't bother living nearby and thinking of driving to the station to commute: the roads in the area are hideously busy.

Not sure the power station actually employed that many at the end, and Milton Park/Harwell are part of a big Gov't science/regeneration area getting plenty of investment so there should be plenty of jobs around.

Abra1d Fri 31-May-13 16:04:13

Allaflutter, don't know Bedford, sorry.

Bicester is OK but there are plans for very large housing estates to the south of the town (the M40/Bicester Village side). It can already be very busy traffic-wise, in the town.

alienbanana Fri 31-May-13 16:40:49

I don't think closing the power station will have a huge effect tbh. Its only the coal one that's going, not the whole thing and there are huge business parks, AEA technology, and lots more huge companies very close by that employ thousands of people. Of course it will have a bit of an impact now, but not in the long term.

Even if people do struggle to find work in didcot itself the transport links are so good its easy enough to commute.

I can't see house prices shooting up - they're building thousands of new houses so there isn't going to be the same demand as in previous years.

My Mum said yesterday she's worried it'll get like Swindon - now there's a worrying thought! wink

turkeyboots Fri 31-May-13 17:07:19

Swindon is 15mins away on the train and is nicer than its reputation - which keeps house prices low! Has cafes and green spaces and loads of community festivals. Didcot is all estate agents and charity shops IME.

Alos there is train to Cheltenham which picks up the West Coast line, so can go north withouth having to go through London.

JazzAnnNonMouse Fri 31-May-13 20:47:39

Thame is very pretty but with all the shops you'd need if you didn't have a car- has a bus to Oxford/Aylesbury every 30 mins.

It's the haddenham and Thame railway links that will interest you most though as it has regular trains to London Victoria and Birmingham.

rubyflipper Fri 31-May-13 21:23:53

Trains from Haddenham and Thames terminate at Marylebone, not Victoria, by the way.

allaflutter Fri 31-May-13 22:37:51

thanks, Jazz and ruby - yes, I thought Victoria would be strange, Marylebone is fine for me. How long is the journey from Thame? Is the station not in thame though but in Haddenham - how far from residential Thame? is thame a proper town or more of a village?

I'm nore interested in Derby in Mids, not B'ham (never really go there) , but useful to know about cheltenham link from Swindon, turkey. I am already vaguely considering Swindon, but it's after Bedfor on list as it's still over an hour commute (train plus getting to Old town which is not a walking distance) and I still haven't actually been there.

Mini, thanks fr giving me more food for thought. Bicester sounds good but too far, I think - 1.15 plus time from station (unless period houses are very close to it), and indeed quick link to Oxford would be a major bonus - but if it's about to close, not great. You sound quite lukewarm about Thame. more expensive, tiny?

Relaxedandhappyperson Sat 01-Jun-13 06:06:56

Thame is much nicer than Didcot but the station is a drive away 2 or 3 miles); can't walk there unless you live in Haddenham which is just a dormitory village.

JazzAnnNonMouse Sat 01-Jun-13 07:40:32

Oops not Victoria - sorry! I used to get that train once a week when I was a teen brain!

Thame is more expensive, it's a town rather than a village but it doesn't have as many shops as Bicester.
Thame does still have a nice family atmosphere/community and good schools though if you want those.

Yes the train station isn't actually in Thame... It's a short drive/bus away but not ideal for daily commute IMO - fine for a few days though.

Bicester is great for shops and good priced housing for the area, the trains are ok and the buses to Oxford are regular. It does feel a little soulless though. I always think Bicester village looks like a toy town! If you have teens this is where they're likely to get a job.

vess Sat 01-Jun-13 08:33:48

Lots of people live in Thame and commute to London. It takes about 45 min on the train, but you need to get to the station which is about 2 miles away from the town. There is a regular bus service which most people prefer, because it costs £6 to park at the station for a day.
Thame is about 15 - 20 min away by car from Oxford (not in rush hour) and probably a bit longer by bus, like 30 min maybe.
I think Bicester is the next stop after Haddenham on the Chiltern line.

Abra1d Sat 01-Jun-13 16:42:49

Thame is a lovely town--bustling, nice shops.

sarahrellyboo Fri 26-Jul-13 12:49:07

I think it's a great town.
I have lived here all my life. There is no issue with crime...with crime rates being drastically lower than national averages.
The parks are well kept and plentiful. There is a swimming pool, cinema and lots of countryside within walking distance.
This town was not created because of the power those who say that clearly don't know the history of it.
The train station is good and generally runs well, it quick links to everywhere and there are good bus links too.
The family centres around this town are good...there are 3...there is always something on during the week for kids to do and events organised around the town on weekend quite frequently.

allaflutter Fri 26-Jul-13 22:51:24

thanks sarah! I ve written it off and still never went to look, but maybe I should, What aer the shops like? can yo ulist supermarkets, and is there ANY nice-ish street of small shops (i.e. bakers, deli, coffee) - if so, which one so I can look on Google street view.

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