But living outside the city is about far more than just avoiding the costs of things like renting in Central London. In this list of the five best places to live to commute to London, we’ll give you a quick guide to some truly exciting commuter towns. We’ll also provide some tips on transport, whether you’ll be riding the rails or driving in and parking in London.
Commuting to London Made Easy: The Top 5 London Commuter Towns
1) Canterbury, Kent
Travel time by car: 1 hour 30 minutes
Travel time by train: 55 minutes
Easily accessible by both road and rail and with a modern high-speed train service straight into the centre, Canterbury is one of the very best places to live to commute to London.
The town is steeped in history, with one of the country’s finest cathedrals right in its centre. It’s also densely packed with pubs and bars, many of which have live music on the weekends, and has lovely green spaces including the Dane John Gardens, which play host to a series of festivals over the summer.
On top of all this, the seaside towns of Herne Bay and Whitstable are just a stone’s throw away – the perfect places to enjoy a barbecue and a fire pit on a warm summer’s night.
2) Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Travel time by car: 1 hour 20 minutes
Travel time by train: 35 minutes
Unlike older towns like Canterbury, Milton Keynes was consciously planned out. It was built as a ‘new town’ in the 1960s when cars were already commonplace, and this makes it one of the best places in the country for car owners.
● An outdoor music venue
● A theatre
● A shopping mall with over 400 shops
● An indoor ski and snowboard centre
3) Ipswich, Suffolk
Travel time by car: 1 hour 42 minutes
Travel time by train: 1 hour
If Canterbury is old and Milton Keynes is new, Ipswich is a perfect blend of the two.
Located a little outside of the traditional commuter belt in Suffolk, Ipswich mixes an ancient town centre with a swanky new development area. This waterfront district includes a glitzy marina as well as lots of options for food and drink, live music and more.
4) Woking, Surrey
Travel time by car: 1 hour
Travel time by train: 24 minutes
Easily the closest town to the city on this list, Woking’s prime location and super-quick travel links make it one of the best places to live to commute to London. You can make the drive in an hour, while the trip into Waterloo Station takes less than half that time.
Of course, that’s not to suggest that there’s nothing else to recommend in Woking itself. A huge redevelopment project that started in 2019 pumped £540 million into the town centre, and is due to be completed this year.
In the meantime, the town already has a leisure centre, as well as some really great hidden gems in the form of independent shops.
5) Deal, Kent
Travel time by car: 2 hours
Travel time by train: 1 hour 23 minutes
From the closest town on the list to the farthest out, we move from Woking to Deal. Deal is a beautiful little slice of Kentish seaside heaven, with affordable house prices that make it enticing to first-time buyers.
There are a lot of things to do here, too, but what’s perhaps most notable about Deal is its great water sports facilities.
Aquatic activities available in the area include:
On top of this, the beaches are also a great place to come and relax. We especially recommend the beachfront pubs at nearby Kingsdown.
Hopefully this list of the best places to live to commute to London has shown you that commuter towns aren’t just temporary places to live for those who want to save money or get on the property ladder. With heaps of new developments and local charm, these stops on the commuter belt are well worth exploring.