Proximity to a good school tops the priority list for families looking for a new house in the country. ‘For many of our clients who are moving out of London, highest on the list of requirements is often finding a house within 25 minutes of their chosen prep school,’ says William Marsden-Smedley of Prime Purchase.
Locations that are within 20 minutes of a school and also close to a good station ‘are the real hotspots’, according to Tom Hudson of Middleton Advisors. George Wade of Property Vision adds that parents are so keen to find a house near a good school that they are ‘even willing to compromise on their requirements, such as style, road noise or amount of land, just to secure a property before the start of the new school year in September’
18 seconds from Twyford
Elms House, Twyford, Strutt & Parker (01962 869999)
Elms House is perfectly positioned to access the many great schools of the Winchester area. This Grade II-listed Georgian property, which has been sympathetically modernised in recent years, is ‘18 seconds’ away from Twyford School (according to Google’s driving directions), about four miles from St Swithun’s School and Winchester College, and 37 minutes from Bedales. It also happens to be a beautiful home, with the fine proportions of the Georgian era, plenty of living space (6,792sq ft in the house itself, plus 673sq ft in the Little Elms cottage) and lush gardens with year-round interest. The land included in the sale totals 4.7 acres, including about 120m (394ft) of single-bank fishing on the River Itchen.
Four minutes from Highfield
Strutt & Parker (01428 661077)
This unusually named house was built in the early 18th century for the daughter of a local publican, who married a Mr Osborne, but was later divided into two. This Grade II-listed home is in the heart of the village, just three minutes’ drive from Churcher’s College’s junior school, four minutes from Highfield and about 20 minutes from Bedales. The Royal Grammar School, Guildford, can also be reached in about half an hour. It has four bedrooms and about 0.25 acres of land.
13 minutes from Beadales
Jackson-Stops & Staff (01730 812357)
Perched high above Rogate, Ridgeway enjoys long views over the Rogate Common and the Downs. However, the panorama isn’t the only thing that makes this 1930s house attractive. Steep and its excellent schools (Bedales and its junior incarnations, Dunhurst and Dunannie) are only 13 minutes away, making it an excellent choice for families with children of all ages. The house is a good size for a family (3,369sq ft) and is laid out as a twobedroom main residence and a two-bedroom selfcontained annexe, with an indoor pool and sauna in the main portion. The wooded grounds total about an acre
6 minutes from Royal Grammar School Guildford
Savills (01483 796820)
Few houses can rival Old Westwick for school access. This Edwardian house is only a six-minute drive from the Royal Grammar School-one of the highest performing boys’ schools in the country-and within easy reach of Guildford High School, Tormead, Cranleigh and Charterhouse, as well as being only 45 minutes away from Bedales. Old Westwick has plenty of room for a family, with eight bedrooms (some of which enjoy panoramic views over Chantry Woods) and 5,541sq ft of living space. The gardens have a large lawn, a paved barbecue and dining area, a vegetable garden and a range of mature trees making a total of 0.9 acres.
15 minutes from Cheam
Packers Close, Donnington
Jackson-Stops & Staff (01635 45501)
Architect Sir Reginald Blomfield designed both Packers Close and its gardens in 1913, and his son Austin devised an extension in 1938. Sympathetic treatment by subsequent owners ensures the house remains a shining example of early-Edwardian architecture. Parents of school-age children, however, will appreciate the location as much as the building style-if not more. The house, which is two miles from Newbury, is 15-30 minutes away from many excellent boarding schools, including Cheam, Horris Hill, Elstree, Marlborough, Radley and Winchester
Four minutes from St Pauls
Belgrave Road, Barnes
Chesterton Humberts (020-8748 8833)
Staying in London, buyers could do worse than look at Barnes. Not only does it have a pond, a green and a village atmosphere, but it is also home to some of capital’s top schools.
This semi-detached house is close to St Paul’s School and its prep, Colet Court-both rated among the UK’s best academic schools-The Harrodian and the Swedish School (both four-18), and Putney Park, a pre-prep that feeds Colet Court and King’s College, Wimbledon, among others. This house has six bedrooms, a good garden and a separate annexe.
20 minutes from Radley
Wells Farmhouse, Little Milton
Savills (01865 339702)
From a school viewpoint, Wells Farmhouse has good longevity, especially if you have boys. It’s about 20 minutes away from a wide range of top prep and senior schools, such as The Dragon, Summer Fields, Abingdon, Oxford High, Headington, Cothill and Radley. But the five-bedroom house, which affords far reaching views across open countryside, has other attractions. Dating from the 17th century and listed Grade II, it has kept its period charm intact, with plenty of details, such as exposed beams, fireplaces, sash windows with shutters and window seats. Wells Farmhouse comes with a separate two-bedroom cottage, a range of outbuildings (including a media room and a games room), a swimming pool, and 5.7 acres of landscaped gardens and grounds.