Country Life has identified the best towns and villages in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire for commuters looking for an easy journey into London.
Commute: Leighton Buzzard (London Euston, 30 minutes). Drive to station: about 14 minutes. Frequency of trains: 5 per hour (peak). First train in: 4.42am; last train home: 12.34am.
Annual season ticket: £4,228. Annual car-park ticket: £863.
The Country Life verdict: The Duke of Bedford ensures that Woburn retains its charm, but you can’t avoid the fact that it’s a busy area. ‘It’s a glorious time warp, but, property-wise, it’s a different animal,’ says Frank Speir of Prime Purchase. ‘It attracts more traders and financial guys’.
Best address: After Woburn Abbey itself, Ian Denton of Jackson-Stops & Staff in Woburn says Bedford House is a ‘Georgian gem enjoying a prominent position on the edge of the village with amazing views across the deer park and lakes to Woburn Abbey in the distance’.
Alternatives: Wingrave, Aspley Guise, Stewkley.
Commute: (London Marylebone, 31 minutes). Frequency of trains: 4 per hour (peak). First train in: 5.43am; last train home: 11.57pm. Annual season ticket: £3,368 (includes zones 1-6).
Tip: There’s no car park at the station.
The Country Life verdict: Amersham is a town of two halves, one of which is considerably more attractive than the other. You are firmly in commuter-belt territory, but there are good schools and excellent access to some of the prettiest countryside in southern England. We also like The Grocer at 91, part-deli, part-kitchen and a good haunt for locals.
Best address: Copperkin Farm is an excellent barn conversion, says William Furniss of Knight Frank Beaconsfield. It stands in 7½ acres and is only two miles from the centre of town.
Alternatives: Great Missenden (beware of HS2), Chalfont St Giles and Latimer (sweet rural hamlet), Chenies.
Commute: Haddenham & Thame Parkway (London Marylebone, 39 minutes). Drive to station: 8 minutes. Frequency of trains: 3 per hour (peak). First train in: 5.44am; last train home: 12.05am. Annual season ticket: £3,880. Annual car-park ticket: £960.
The Country Life verdict: A diamond set in the rough of post-Second World War urban expansion, Long Crendon is the sort of village that everyone dreams of buying a house in. It has a charming high street running off the market square and a village green. Locals say the community is thriving-barely a day passes without some-thing going on.
Best address: Greg Thomson from Strutt & Parker Oxford votes for Long Crendon Manor.
Alternatives: Chearsley, Cuddington
Commute Haddenham & Thame Parkway (London Marylebone, 39 minutes). Drive to station: 3 minutes. Frequency of trains: 3 per hour (peak). First train in: 5.44am; last train home: 12.05am. Annual season ticket: £3,880. Annual car-park ticket: £960.
The Country Life verdict: A large village, now split into two-the older, southern end has lanes with walls made of witchert (the Saxon word for white earth).
Best address: Church End is the best location in the village and Hall House is one of the nicest properties,’ says Gary Hammond of Hamptons International in Great Missenden.
Alternative Thame (Oxfordshire).