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Image of a happy lady commuting. - Best commuter towns to London

What are the best commuter towns to London?

As a buying agent, I’m asked this question almost every day. So what are the best commuter towns to London?

I write this blog from personal experience.  For nearly two years, I drove daily from a small hamlet outside of Bath, Somerset, to Parsons Green, London and back for work. It was a long way, but for a short time, it was doable. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I needed the car at both ends.

Taking the train would have been more expensive but much more comfortable and quicker, and it was only 1 hour and 20 minutes from Westbury. However, laterally and for many years, I commuted from Cobham to Barnes, Wandsworth and Fulham.

Despite having deep knowledge of Scotland in the north, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Dorset and Devon in the west and Essex, Suffolk, and Hertfordshire in the east, I live in Surrey, and my working area predominantly covers Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire and South West London.

So for this blog, I will focus on the best commuter towns to London in Surrey, choosing to cover Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire in separate blogs.

Image showing burred traffic representing commuting in a blog about best towns to commute to London
Piccadilly Circus lights with busy commuters. Best towns to Commute to London

Why do people choose to commute from rural towns and villages?

Commuting is often a trade-off between convenience, affordability, and quality of life. People decide where to live and work based on their priorities and circumstances.

Many Londoners and those in other larger cities were born and educated in more rural areas. They migrated to the bright lights for work and to experience city life, and to be with their friends.

Something is exciting about the big city, with shopping, restaurants, theatres, pubs, and nightlife all on the doorstep, especially when you’re young.

But a time comes when many of you need more space, more room, a more extensive garden, and fresher air. Of course, you still want all the best bits of the big city but also your little piece of the country.

People may prefer to live in quieter, more rural areas and commute to work in busier cities. This can allow them to enjoy a better quality of life outside of work while still having access to the job opportunities and amenities of the city.

image of sunset over fields - showing more room and fresh air - Best Commuter Towns To London
Large country house - Best Commuter Towns To London

And let’s face it; some commuter towns have a quieter but similarly timed commute to work than those already living in the city. For example, commuting from Putney Bridge in Fulham to Bank is only around 10 minutes quicker than a commuter from leafy Esher.

And then there’s the housing cost. It’s fair to say that some parts of Surrey are more expensive than some of London, but what you will generally get for the same or less money is a bigger house, probably detached, with more garden, a driveway, bigger rooms and room to grow.

So what are my clients’ priorities when they ask me to find their next home in considering the best commuter towns to London for them?

The answer to this is different for almost everyone. Just sign up to receive my free Useful Considerations Guide to see how extensive the options are. You might be surprised at the level of thought that goes into finding the perfect home for our clients!

However, there are some guaranteed similarities based on a family profile. For example, if the family has school aged children, then the proximity to the best schools is sacrosanct.

The family vibe in the town or village, local sports clubs, good shopping, some lovely pubs and restaurants, access to beautiful walks and the surrounding pollution levels are all high priorities.

Let’s now look at my favourite towns and villages to answer the question; what are the best commuter towns to London.

Life priorities - Best Commuter Towns To London
Guildford's transport network - Best commuter towns to London

Guildford

Guildford is the capital of Surrey, but you might be surprised about its status. Although it is often considered a city due to its size and imposing cathedral, it remains a stunning town in the most spectacular location in the heart of Surrey.

With excellent transport links, great schools and further education, popular activities, vibrant culture, beautiful villages and architecture, Guildford and its surrounding villages are a popular tourist destination and a great place to live, work, and study.

Guildford has excellent transport links, with direct trains to London Waterloo taking just over 30 minutes. There are also excellent road connections to major road networks, including the M25, M3 and A3, which can make commuting by car a viable option.

Although Guildford is still a relatively expensive place to live compared to London, the cost of living will likely be lower.

Some of the UK’s best-considered schools are in or within easy reach of Guildford, for example, the Royal Grammar School (RGS), Tormead, Cranleigh, St. Catharine’s and Charterhouse.

Guildford has an impressive range of individual shops mixed with the usual high street chains. Bright indoor shopping centres house more prestige shopping, and there are also archetypal out-of-town retail parks.

Guildford also enjoys various weekly and monthly food markets with fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, and home-cooked produce. There are many supermarkets, restaurants, and pubs of all qualities, including an Ivy Brasserie and an Ivy Asia.

Guildford has a diverse range of housing, from predominantly Victorian to more modern and from apartments to detached housing, with stunning views over the surrounding countryside. The town centre enjoys many new builds or newly refurbished homes dotted amongst older characterful housing.

Further afield, much of the housing is particularly picturesque, especially in villages such as Shere. As in much of Surrey, many private roads with more extensive detached housing stock will often sell without reaching the open market.

Guildford is situated just on the edge of the Surrey Hills which offer limitless walking and trails with seemingly endless views.

With all this and more, Guildford absolutely fits the bill as one of the best commuter towns to London.

Snowy day in Godalming overlooking the River Wey

Godalming

Godalming is situated about 30 miles southwest of London, on the banks of the River Wey. Due to its stunning streets, it has been featured in many Hollywood and UK-based blockbusters, including The Holiday.

The town has a rich history that dates back to Saxon times, with evidence of human habitation in the area as far back as the Bronze Age.

Godalming is also famous for its connections to the arts and literature. The town was home to the renowned author and playwright Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote many of his Sherlock Holmes stories while living in the area.

Today, Godalming is a thriving market town with a vibrant community with an excellent range of shops, cafes, restaurants, parks, and green spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy.

The town is also well-connected off the A3, with easy access to London and other parts of the country via road and rail with trains taking as little as 39 minutes to London Waterloo.

Being only 4 miles from Guildford, it shares many notable schools; however, those in Godalming are Charterhouse and sought-after Godalming 6th form college.

Godalming’s access to the Surrey Hills is superb with access to some of the countries most extensive and beautiful walks such as the Devil’s Punchbowl and the National Trust, Winkworth Arboretum, close by.

Recently voted by Muddy Stilettos and Strutt & Parker as one of the happiest places to live in Surrey, Godalming makes the grade as one of the best commuter towns to London

Cobham Buying Agent - The River Mole in Cobham - Best Commuter Towns To London

Cobham

Cobham is a staggeringly convenient place to live. With access to the M25 from two exits, both Heathrow and Gatwick within 30 minutes, a wealth of superb schools and family activities all around, Cobham certainly fills the criteria of being one of the best commuter towns to London.

Falling within the highly sought-after borough of Elmbridge, this area of Surrey is home to some well-known celebrities, media and sports people, artists, and successful people in business.

Often grouped with Stoke D’Abernon, the villages of Cobham and Oxshott have several private estates, from the famous Crown Estate in Oxshott to the Fairmile, Eaton Park and Oxshott Way Estates in Cobham.

Run by resident’s associations, their security, peace, quiet and excellent gardens often secure the highest prices in Surrey, making these some of the most desirable addresses outside of central London, only 35 -50 minutes away.

Family activities are everywhere here too. Leafy walks are amongst the country’s best, with long, open and unhindered trails through woods and nearby hills with outstanding views. There are stunning parkland walks at RHS Wisley, Paneshill Park and Claremont Landscape Gardens.

The exciting Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures are both nearby as are Top Golf and the internationally renowned Sandown Race Course in nearby Esher along with Epsom Racing in the Epsom Hills.

Oxshott also enjoys its member village sports club, OSVC (Oxshott Village Sports Club), with tennis, squash, and cricket all at its heart. Cobham Rugby Club has outstanding facilities with games from 5-year-olds right through to the successful men’s team, whilst the Oxshott Royals football cub continues to thrive.

And for those of you who enjoy golf, the rumour is that more acres are given over to outstanding nearby golf courses than to housing!

Due to its beauty and proximity to London, Oxshott was chosen to be part of the London 2012 Olympic cycle route leading to the stunning Box Hill area just beyond the village and down towards the historic and very attractive nearby town of Dorking.

There are two high streets, with Cobham’s being the larger one served by both Waitrose and Sainsburys. There is a plethora of gastro and social public houses and restaurants, including The Ivy restaurant and The Coppa Club and an abundance of wonderful independent shops and boutiques, with nearby London, Guildford and Kingston providing for any further shopping requirements.

There is an exceptional mix of state and independent schools, with Reeds School, Notre Dame, ACS International School, St John’s School Leatherhead, Epsom College, Claremont Fan, Danes Hill, Parkside, Feltonfleet, Cobham Free School all coming to mind.

Within 10 minutes of J9 and J10 of the M25 and the A3, Cobham and Oxshott are well-served by the road network. Trains leave from Cobham & Stoke D’Abernon train station and from Oxshott to Waterloo and Guildford. London Waterloo is approximately 40 minutes.

Recently voted by Muddy Stilettos and Strutt & Parker as one of the happiest places to live in Surrey, Cobham also makes the grade as one of the best commuter towns to London.

Image of Dorking - Best Commuter Towns To London

Dorking

Dorking is a charming town in the heart of Surrey, surrounded by rolling hills, woodlands, and vineyards. It is an ideal location for those who enjoy spending time outdoors yet within easy reach of London c. 21 miles away.

Dorking has a rich history dating back to Roman times, and its name is derived from the Old English word ‘Dorcingas,’ meaning the people of Dorch or Deorc, a Saxon chieftain who is believed to have settled in the area.

Today, Dorking is a bustling market town that offers a range of amenities and attractions for residents and visitors alike. The town has a charming, traditional feel with its historic architecture, cobbled streets, and independent shops and cafes. At the same time, it also has a modern side, with a cinema, theatre, and several supermarkets.

One of the main attractions of Dorking is its location.  The Surrey Hills is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that is known for its stunning landscapes, woodlands, and wildlife.

The hills offer numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, such as walking, cycling, and horse riding. Additionally, Dorking is home to several parks and green spaces, including the South Street Caves, which are thought to be around 800 years old and the Denbies Wine Estate, which is the largest vineyard in England.

The town has a rich cultural heritage, with several historic buildings and landmarks, such as the Dorking Halls, a performing arts venue. In addition, several museums and galleries in and around the town, including the Dorking Museum and Heritage Centre, showcase the town’s rich history.

In terms of amenities, Dorking has a range of shops, cafes, restaurants, and a cinema and theatre. The town also has a strong sense of community, with regular events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Dorking Halls Antique Fair and the Dorking Food and Drink Festival.

Dorking is more affordable than in other parts of Surrey. The town is situated in the Mole Valley, which is further away from London than other parts of the county but just as accessible as many but has many advantages.

Additionally, Dorking offers a range of housing options to suit different budgets and lifestyles. The town has a mix of historic properties, such as Victorian and Edwardian houses, and newer developments, like apartments and townhouses.

As with Cobham and Godalming , Dorking was recently voted by Muddy Stilettos and Strutt & Parker as one of the happiest places to live in Surrey and therefore makes the grade as one of the best commuter towns to London.

Image of Reigate Hill - Best Commuter Towns To London

Reigate

You might well choose to commute from Reigate, a charming town in the heart of Surrey, known for its beautiful countryside and picturesque villages.

The town is surrounded by green spaces, parks, and woodlands, making it an ideal location for those who enjoy spending time outdoors but want to be close to London or the road networks.

Located approximately 20 miles south of London, Reigate is an easy commute for those working there. There are excellent transport links, with regular trains from Reigate Station to London Victoria and London Bridge, which take around 45 minutes.

In addition to its convenient location, Reigate also offers a great range of amenities and attractions. A vibrant one-way, high street with a sizable mix of independent shops, cafes, restaurants, and several supermarkets is a big draw.

Additionally, several parks and green spaces exist in and around the town, including Priory Park, which has a lake, woodland, and sports facilities.

Reigate is also home to several historic landmarks, including the Reigate Caves, which are thought to date back to the 17th century, and the Grade II listed Reigate Castle, built in the 11th century.

Several cultural events and activities throughout the year, including the Reigate Summer Festival and the Reigate Christmas Fayre.

Overall, commuting from Reigate offers a high quality of life for those who enjoy a mix of urban and rural living.

Linking to Dorking, a short distance away on the A25, Reigate is close to two of my favourite villages, leafy Betchworth and beautiful Brockham, both worth a visit in their own right.  If this blog was about small villages, they certainly would make it onto the list of the best commuter towns to London.

The town’s convenient location, transport links, and amenities make it an attractive option for commuters working in London or other nearby cities. In contrast, its charming town centre, green spaces, and historic landmarks offer a relaxed and enjoyable lifestyle.

With so much to offer, Reigate makes it high on Muddy Stiletto’s list and therefore more than justifies itself as one of the best commuter towns to London

Epsom Race course

Epsom

Epsom is just 15 miles southwest of central London. Commuting to London is easy, with regular train services to London Waterloo and Victoria taking approximately 35-45 minutes.

Not only is the train highly convenient, but Epsom also enjoys easy access to major road networks such as the M25 and A3, making commuting by car convenient to London and other parts of the country.

Epsom is also desirable due to its attractive residential areas, good schools, and green spaces including the famous Epsom Downs.

The thriving town centre has a mix of high street and independent shops, cafes, restaurants, and a range of amenities, including a cinema, leisure centre, and library.

Epsom is also home to the famous Epsom Downs racecourse, which hosts the annual Epsom Derby, one of the most prestigious horse races in the world.

In addition to the town centre, Epsom has several parks and nature reserves, including Epsom Common, Horton Country Park, and Nonsuch Park. These provide ample opportunities for outdoor leisure activities such as walking, cycling, and horse riding.

Several golf courses, tennis clubs, and other sports facilities are nearby.

For families, Epsom has a range of good schools, both state-funded and independent, with high levels of academic achievement. This includes Epsom College and Glyn and Epsom & Ewell High.

Also voted by Muddy Stilettos and Strutt & Parker as one of the happiest places to live in Surrey, Epsom also makes the grade as one of the best commuter towns to London.

Images of fields looking up to Haslemere

Haslemere

Haslemere is the most southerly town in Surrey, bordering both Sussex and Hampshire. It is well-connected by train and road, making it a convenient location for commuters who work in the capital. But can it justify itself in a list of the best commuter towns to London?

Located in the stunning Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Haslemere is surrounded by breathtaking scenery, miles of countryside walks, and excellent opportunities for outdoor activities.

The town is known for its charming character and historic buildings, with various local amenities, including independent shops, cafes, and restaurants with no shortage of excellent eateries and pubs.

Living in Haslemere allows residents to escape the noise and chaos of the city, offering a calmer, more relaxed pace of life. For those who value a healthy work-life balance, living in Haslemere can provide the perfect environment to unwind after a long day at work.

Haslemere has a great range of highly-rated schools, both state and independent and in Haslemere and slightly farther away. For example, The Royal Grammar School, Guildford High School, and Godalming College are within easy reach by car or train. The Royal School is just up the road near Grayshot, and Frensham Heights is just a little further.

The quality of education in the area has been praised by Ofsted, with many schools receiving outstanding ratings. Haslemere offers an excellent location for families prioritising education to settle down and raise children.

Haslemere has a strong sense of community, with various events and activities throughout the year. In addition, the town hosts multiple cultural events, including an annual music festival, a literary festival, and a food festival.

The Haslemere Museum is a hub for local history and art, while the Haslemere Hall hosts regular theatre performances and film screenings. There are also many local sports clubs, such as the Haslemere Hockey Club and the Haslemere Tennis Club.

The town also boasts several active community groups, including the Haslemere Society and the Haslemere Town Council, which promote the welfare and well-being of the town’s residents.

Living in Haslemere allows individuals to become part of a vibrant community and build long-lasting relationships with their neighbours.

Being in such a stunning location with such excellent facilities, yet only around an hour from London Waterloo, Haslemere absolutely deserves to be one of the best commuter towns to London.

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Finding the perfect home

As with all the best commuter towns to London, it can be hard to find the perfect house in a sought-after market.

Rowallan Buying Agents know the above locations, the agents and the properties like the back of our hand.

If there is an opportunity to find a hidden off-market property or even getting to the front of the queue of a publicly available home, the chances are that we will be amongst the first to know.

Contact us now to find out more about how we can get you that ideal home in one of the best commuter towns to London for less stress, less money and ahead of your competition.