The best London commuter towns (that aren't in Surrey)

Thinking of commuting into London, but want more options than Surrey/Hertfordshire? We have some intriguing suggestions

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Do house prices in London make your eyes water? Or perhaps you're just looking for a change, while still wanting to keep the London job? Commuting is hell to some, but perfectly tolerable to many; besides, given how long some of us spend commuting within London itself, you may well end up simply swapping one type of train for another (in some cases, less crowded and faster than the London Underground). 

Ready to make the leap? We have some interesting suggestions – and they don't revolve around Surrey, since you've probably already heard all about its idyllic (and expensive) villages. These are the cities and towns to consider if you're yearning for a change, but aren't necessarily ready for village life. 

Brighton

Long known informally as 'London-on-Sea', Brighton is a bustling city well within commuting distance of London, with the train journey averaging an hour and 20 minutes. And it's gorgeous, with its grand Regency promenade and pier. 

And while not exactly cheap, it's still way cheaper than London: a flat will set you back an average of £250,000, while a semi-detached house will cost in the region of £440,000.

Birmingham

Not the obvious commuter choice, Birmingham is much closer than you might think. A train journey to Birmingham can actually take as little as an hour and 20, the same as Brighton. 

And Birmingham has some really wonderful suburbs to consider settling into, such as the beautiful red-brick model village of Bournville (the original site of the Cadbury chocolate factory), where a terraced property costs in the region of £250,000. 

Winchester

Winchester is as elegant an English town as they come, with a gorgeous high street dotted with trendy shops and cafes, an ancient cathedral and plenty of breathtaking Hampshire countryside just outside town. 

It's not a cheap place to buy a house – the average price for a terraced property is £470,000 – but the quality of accommodation is high, and you'll definitely have something larger than in London. And, it's just over an hour by train from London Paddington. 

Southend-on-Sea

Longing for a quieter life near the beach? It's only an hour away by train! And not only does Southend-on-Sea boast beautiful sandy beaches, but it also has excellent schools and affordable housing, with the average price of £270,000 for a terraced house. The nearby Westcliff-on-Sea is more expensive, with an average property price of £290,000, but the houses are really gorgeous.   

These are just some of the many excellent cities and towns for commuters into London. And while there's nothing wrong with Surrey, what our pick of the bunch proves is that there's definitely much more choice out there if you fancy something a bit different. Where will you move to? Use our guide to buying a house and renting to get started.