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Buzzy places to live within hour commute London

(113 Posts)
800msprint Sun 25-Oct-20 20:53:03

Ideally with some culture, different independent restaurants and cafes, plus nice countryside on doorstep or something to do nature wise like a river, coast, big park or woodland nearby....
And also somewhere that isn’t overly tory/brexit. 😬 I don’t mind which way people lean but I would also like to be living somewhere where there are other people who have similar values to me too. I’m unsure at the moment what size place I’m after. I love cities but I also see the appeal of smaller places for ease. But I do like animosity and obviously you get more choice of stuff to do in bigger places. Kid-friendly. Schools are important but we can go private if state options not great/full. Basically somewhere with access to nature for when kids young but then also enough for them to do when teens too. Thanks!

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GreekOddess Sun 25-Oct-20 20:54:45

Berkhamsted. Forest literally on your doorstep. 30 minutes into London. Buzzy high street plus good state schools

AllTheCakes Sun 25-Oct-20 20:55:25

Brighton might fit the bill. South Downs on the doorstep, the beach for seaside walks, the only Green seat in the UK and lots of great independent restaurants, pubs and shops.

Hobbes8 Sun 25-Oct-20 20:57:18

It depends what you mean by an hour’s commute though. Brighton is only an hour’s commute if you live next to the station and work next to Victoria station. If you’re 20 minutes each end it’s nearer 2 hours.

It does fit the bill though.

Lightsabre Sun 25-Oct-20 20:58:26

Brighton, Hove, Forest Row.

800msprint Sun 25-Oct-20 21:04:28

I think Brighton would be ok. Basically we only need to be in London 1x week so can manage a longer commute. Don’t really want to go much further out though as I love London too and have friends there so still want to be able to visit often at weekends etc. Thanks for ideas so far. Not heard of Berkhamsted.

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JoJoSM2 Sun 25-Oct-20 21:45:06

Guildford and Winchester are small cities with plenty going on, v good state schools and the South Downs on the doorstep.

You could also just stay in London but go further out. Of the areas that are v good for schools, you could look at North Kingston (river and Richmond Park), Cheam Village and South Sutton (parks, countryside with woodland, fields with footpaths), somewhere in the borough of Bromley (fair bit of countryside within the borough).

timehealsmost Sun 25-Oct-20 22:05:46

second Berkhamstead (berko)

SirCloudesley Sun 25-Oct-20 23:01:47

I third Berko!

mumwon Sun 25-Oct-20 23:31:45

Cambridge its a lovely city good commute & transport links Museums lively theatres Botanic Gardens the Universities & the Backs good shops excellent schools multicultural lots of restaurants pubs beautiful countryside...

Mumbum2011 Sun 25-Oct-20 23:34:30


mumwon Sun 25-Oct-20 23:34:48

& varies between Liberal & Labour ... the river good private schools & Hills Road 6th Form College

Itscoldouthere Sun 25-Oct-20 23:35:35

It also depends why you are moving, if you are hoping to trade up on your property you won't get much more house for your money in Berkhamsted or Cambridge (or St Albans which is often mentioned).

Catycity Sun 25-Oct-20 23:38:51

Oxford or Didcot Parkway

Guymere Sun 25-Oct-20 23:51:08

I love Oxford and know Berko well. Both pretty expensive. But Oxford is different politically from Berko! Oxford, being a lot bigger has more going on and more choice of housing but the buzzy bits are pricier!

elp30 Mon 26-Oct-20 00:06:56


Oxford or Didcot Parkway

Catycity, are the power stations still there?
It's been years since I've been there...

KoalaRabbit Mon 26-Oct-20 01:10:46

Cambridge is lovely if you have a high budget and can live in a nice house in the centre / nicer parts, maybe £800k plus. Saffron Walden is really nice, very friendly, lots of independent shops, cafes, lots of local events, beautiful old cottages in the centre, near Audley End NT and gardens in town and surrounded by countryside. Cheaper than Cambridge, roughly £400k plus for a nice house in the centre there but they often aren't huge. Sometimes a bigger, old house comes up for more like £600k. Hertford is also nice - between Saffron Walden and Cambridge on pricing and quicker into London, has a castle and independent shops and a river and countryside around.

Might be too far out but know someone who moved to Lewes and loves it. Tunbridge Wells always looked nice to me though don't know it well. I've had Berkhamstead recommended to me but never been as its wrong area for DH.

KoalaRabbit Mon 26-Oct-20 01:15:33

Closer in Kew and Richmond have lots of green space though would imagine very pricey.

SheridansSmyth Mon 26-Oct-20 06:28:24

Folkestone. Fifty minutes to St Pancras and such a fantastic please to live. Always so much to do and heaps of beautiful locations to visit...

Nitw1t Mon 26-Oct-20 06:46:16


MrsJamin Mon 26-Oct-20 07:14:58

Reading fits the bill, two rivers and countryside all around too. It has a lot more buzz than other smaller Berkshire towns and is on the crossrail line now. Loads of arts going on, history, thriving independent shops alongside a large chain based shopping centre. Hoardes of londoners moving here! The reading east MP is labour and west reading is predominantly labour (I think) its just the people west of Reading that swing the seat to the tory mp, unfortunately.

800msprint Mon 26-Oct-20 12:33:50

Thanks everyone. Will investigate. @SheridansSmyth is Folkestone typically ukip being where it is? We have around £1.2 ish maybe a bit more. In an ideal world I’d probably want to stay in villagey London somewhere like Richmond (though the planes!) but I also want a normal sized home with a decent garden!

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PETRONELLAS Mon 26-Oct-20 12:49:23

St Albans is a great place to live. This house is attractive.
Not 100% sure about secondary schools - good single sex. Beaumont is seen as best.

ClaudiaWankleman Mon 26-Oct-20 12:53:14

Leigh on Sea, Ingatestone, Wanstead, Epping, St Albans

horrayforharoldlloyd Mon 26-Oct-20 12:56:53

Saffron Walden, Lewes, Canterbury, Whitstable, Tunbridge Wells, Beaconsfield

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