Mark Parkinson, Ed Foster and Mark Crampton of Middleton Advisors describe three of the most popular London commuter havens.
Henley on Thames
Mark Parkinson: “Henley on Thames has always been a haven but not that commutable for those that want the most efficient commute. Direct trains are not bad for the west end (Henley trains run into Paddington) but the problem has always been for city and Canary Wharf workers that the 65 minute ‘fast train’ which involves one change (usually) had sucked the life out of you by the time you reach Paddington and it takes true grit to then get on the tube and suck up another 30 minutes getting to your office.
That is until the advent of Crossrail in 2018….. Henley commuters will have the choice of a 10 minute train from the town centre or 10 minute drive to Twyford station where they will be able to hop on the Crossrail service arriving in the city in 55 minutes or Canary Wharf in 62 minutes.
This will transform Henley into one of the most popular commuter havens for the Canary Wharf commuter in our view. Henley is surrounded by special villages, good schools at all levels and both state and private. In addition as a Henley resident what I value most is the feeling of a market town and community feel, yet you can be in west London by car in under an hour, our children benefit from this immensely, all the cultural and educational facilities that one the world’s great cities has to offer with the benefits of life in the country.”
Ed Foster “Windsor has a huge variety of shops, bars, restaurants and amenities; very popular with young couples moving both from local areas and from London. Windsor Castle draws in a vast number of tourists every year, not many people know, that as a Windsor resident you get free access to the castle and grounds. Surrounded by the 5,000 acre Great Park, Windsor has a rural feeling of green space. For many centuries, the park was the private hunting ground of Windsor Castle but is now largely open to the public and links Windsor to The Savill Garden and Virginia Water through many miles of pathways, walks and bridle paths. Legoland Windsor Resort is an extremely popular theme park which people from all over the country visit all year round- there is also now a hotel on site.
Commuter links are good with the M4 and M25 motorways giving easy access to both London and Heathrow airport, and a direct fast train line into London Paddington.
Windsor prices are up 10-15% year on year and activity levels are still strong. Octagon Homes released a new development of town houses overlooking the Long Walk and Castle recently and four of the nine townhouses are already either sold or reserved. The only thing that may dampen the rise in house prices is the potential expansion of Heathrow airport. With a fairly substantial amount of aircraft already flying in the nearby airspace, a third runway might mean that the volume of traffic in the skies overhead could prove too much for some people who will then look further afield to secure a property less disturbed by noise.”
Guildford and Godalming
Mark Crampton: “When looking at London commuter havens, Guildford and Godalming in Surrey offer exceptionally good access into London by train and via the A3 by car. A direct train from Guildford to London Waterloo takes just under 40 minutes. The fantastic schooling and other amenities locally provide everything someone moving out of London could wish for. The country house market here is very well established so from an investment perspective it is also a “known quantity” rather than somewhere “up and coming”.
The most sought after villages are Wonersh, Bramley, Shamley Green, Munstead, Dunsfold and Chiddingfold. Just further south, Haslemere is another very popular market town. The Surrey Hills offer fantastic walking, riding (both horseback and bicycle) and country pursuits like shooting. Being almost equidistant between Heathrow and Gatwick airports is also incredibly convenient for international travel.”