London’s best commuter hotspots for 2019

London is expensive. The property, the lifestyle, the Zone 1–6 travel costs — all have draining powers on your bank balance. But the Big Smoke’s work opportunities are second to none. When you want the best of both worlds, search in London’s commuter belt. But which towns offer affordable living, a good lifestyle, and won’t mean you’re stuck on a train for hours?

Buckle in, because we’ve done the legwork and can reveal 2019’s best London commuter hotspots. These towns keep you close enough to maintain your 9–5, or nip to the city for social and cultural events, but are far enough away to offer quieter living, countryside scenery, the perfect place to raise a family, and property prices that don’t make you wince.

We’ve ranked 116 commuter towns based on average house prices, length of a train journey into the Capital, cost of a season ticket, and the commuter town’s ONS lifestyle rating. So, if a move out of London is on the cards, but giving up the job isn’t, use these findings to uncover which commuter town you should call home.

The best commuter town 2019

If you’re looking to move this year, then cast your eyes towards Cheshunt in Hertfordshire — our number one commuter town for 2019. Apparently, it used to be home to Sir Cliff Richard. But don’t let that put you off. It’s 26-minute commute time into Liverpool Street should be enough to warrant a spot on your “explore more” list.

Already work around that area? You’re laughing. Moving to Cheshunt and training-in will probably still be a shorter commute than for most Londoners.

A National Rail season ticket price of £2,288 might sound like a lot, but it’s the fifth cheapest of all 116 towns reviewed. And when you consider the average property price in Cheshunt is £384,248 compared to London’s £478,853, suddenly spending the extra two thousand doesn’t seem so bad.

Lifestyle wise, Cheshunt fares well. Residents give it 7.92 out of 10. Family friendly attractions like Fun Junction, Lee Valley White Water Centre and Capel Manor Gardens are all within five miles. And reports suggest the area has good to outstanding schools.

Top 25 Commuter Towns

Rank#
Town County Commute Time (mins) Av. House Price Season Ticket Price Life Satisfaction
1 Cheshunt Hertfordshire 26 £384,248 £2,288 7.92
2 Waltham Cross Hertfordshire 28 £390,612 £2,028 7.92
3 High Wycombe Buckinghamshire 30 £331,092 £3,668 7.95
4 Hatfield Hertfordshire 25 £344,459 £2,808 7.83
5 Gravesend Kent 23 £284,497 £3,616 7.76
6 Broxbourne Hertfordshire 32 £408,915 £2,848 7.92
7 Watford Hertfordshire 19 £416,680 £3,204 7.76
8 Basingstoke Hampshire 44 £320,082 £4,604 8.09
9 Overton Hampshire 55 £215,395 £4,740 8.09
10 Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire 26 £361,817 £3,832 7.79
11 Harlow Essex 34 £297,226 £2,288 7.7
12 Didcot Oxfordshire 43 £311,060 £5,528 8.06
13 Purfleet Essex 33 £214,907 £2,448 7.59
14 Rayleigh Essex 44 £378,427 £4,028 8
15 Potters Bar Hertfordshire 18 £510,539 £2,220 7.65
16 Ebbsfleet Kent 18 £339,462 £4,816 7.7
17 Walton-on-Thames Surrey 29 £574,314 £3,036 7.9
18 Staines Middlesex 35 £296,258 £3,024 7.71
19 Maidenhead Berkshire 21 £517,804 £3,188 7.75
20 Hitchin Hertfordshire 30 £407,644 £4,068 7.82
21 Slough Berkshire 21 £354,900 £2,712 7.55
22 Epsom Surrey 36 £519,224 £2,340 7.85
23 Princes Risborough Buckinghamshire 39 £461,332 £3,788 7.95
24 Leighton Buzzard Bedfordshire 32 £300,289 £4,600 7.77
25 Baldock Hertfordshire 39 £312,815 £4,448 7.82

The commuter town to avoid

For the second year running, Virginia Water in Surrey takes the bottom spot. Although the area is undeniably beautiful, the average property price is over £1.1 million. Couple that with the 45-minute commute to Waterloo, and it’s questionable whether you’re really getting anything different compared with living in London.

Keeping Virginia Water company at the lower end of the rankings are Ascot and Harpenden. Both have similar commute times into London (56 and 44 minutes respectively) and National Rail season tickets are close to and well-over the £4,000 mark.

10 Least Commuter-Friendly Towns

Rank#
Town County Commute Time (mins) Av. House Price Season Ticket Price Life Satisfaction
107 Ashford Kent 36 £270,463 £6,656 7.42
108 Rugby Warwickshire 50 £256,009 £8,380 7.71
109 Oxford Oxfordshire 57 £510,561 £5,256 7.75
110 Peterborough Cambridgeshire 51 £194,885 £8,000 7.58
111 Cambridge Cambridgeshire 52 £514,028 £5,768 7.68
112 Swindon Wiltshire 55 £238,756 £9,016 7.71
113 Brighton Sussex 59 £405,380 £4,884 7.51
114 Harpenden Hertfordshire 44 £808,357 £3,940 7.57
115 Ascot Berkshire 56 £814,808 £4,604 7.75
116 Virginia Water Surrey 45 £1,113,574 £3,060 7.57

The Most Affordable Commuter Town

When you want to balance house price with London accessibility, move to Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. Despite ranking 111/116, average house prices are just £194,885 — the lowest of all the commuter towns reviewed. It’s a figure that’s difficult to ignore and could even justify the 51-minute commute to Kings Cross St Pancras, and £8,000 season ticket.

Admittedly, that information takes a bit of the shine off. But you would be living in a picturesque town, surrounded by attractions like Burghley House and Nene Park. Plus, it borders Rutland, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, so the number of activities and areas ripe for exploration opens up greatly.

Counties at a glance

County
Av. House Price
Bedfordshire  £287,356
Berkshire £489,346
Buckinghamshire £558,278
Cambridgeshire £382,645
Essex £344,141
Greater London £294,772
Hampshire £396,349
Hertfordshire £459,236
Kent £347,776
Middlesex £296,258
Northamptonshire £220,879
Oxfordshire £441,273
Surrey £604,767
Sussex £352,862
Warwickshire £256,009
Wiltshire £238,756

Towns with the shortest commute time

Commuting can be tiring, so if your desire is to keep your train time to a minimum, pitch up in Ebbsfleet, Kent or Potters Bar. From either location, arriving into King’s Cross St Pancras takes just 18 minutes.

Although commute time is the same, that’s where the similarities end. Season tickets from Ebbsfleet cost a hefty £4,816, while Potter’s Bar boasts the fourth most affordable season ticket at £2,220.

Sounds like a bargain…until you factor in average property prices in Potter’s Bar. These weigh in at over half a million, while property in Ebbsfleet averages just £340,000.

Towns with the most affordable season ticket

When you want to avoid spending heaps of your income on train fare, consider Banstead in Surrey. Your season ticket will only cost £1,976. Your commute will take you into London Bridge, putting you right in the thick of it as soon as you arrive. The station is connected to the tube’s Jubilee and Northern lines. Onward bus links to work are right outside the station. And Bank is a short walk over the bridge.

The second and third cheapest season tickets can be found in Waltham Cross (£2,028) and Erith (£2,080).

The most expensive season tickets can be found in…

Swindon, Rugby and Peterborough. Tickets here cost an eye-watering £9,016, £8,380 and £8,000 respectively. And that’s not even first class! To be fair, these do all have commute times into London of 50-minutes and over, so in that respect you’re getting more train time for your money (although that’s not necessarily a silver lining when commuting at the end of a long, hard week).

Top Performing Counties

Towns in Hertfordshire dominate the top of the table. Six of the best 10 commuter hotspots are found just north of London: Cheshunt, Waltham Cross, Hatfield, Broxbourne, Watford Junction and Hemel Hampstead. All boast journey times under 35 minutes, which could contribute to the high lifestyle satisfaction rating.

Cheshunt, Waltham Cross and Broxbourne all rank a very attractive 7.92, while Hatfield isn’t far behind with 7.83.

Keen for a better work-life balance?

Before moving, make sure you understand your financial position. A healthy credit rating can secure the mortgage you need. It could be the difference between buying in Cheshunt and enjoying a 26-minute commute, or going further afield to Peterborough or Wellingborough where it’s cheaper, but travel adds (at least) an extra hour and a half to your working day.

Start organising your finances by getting your Free Credit Report — a quick, easy-to-see overview of all your credit accounts, in one place. The best bit? It’s completely free and doesn’t affect your credit rating.

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Credit rating already in good shape? Jump ahead and try out our (award winning) mortgage comparison service. This will help you find the best deal, pay less interest, and account for your monthly budget.

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Methodology

House Prices as of 23/01/19 – rightmove.co.uk
Season Ticket Prices as of 23/01/19 – ojp.nationalrail.co.uk
Journey Times from City/Town to London on 12/01/19 – www.nationalrail.co.uk/
Life Satisfaction – Taken for area. If the area was not available, the most local regional setting was picked – www.ons.gov.uk

On the overall map, for each location we assigned a score out of 40 based on the 4 available metrics. Each metric is scored between 1 to 10 using a linear equation.

Each location is then ranked from 1st to 116th based on its weighted score. When using individual filters, the data is re-ranked based on either a score out of 10 (due to 1 metric) or 20 (due to 2 metrics).