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).
Where are the best villages, towns and small cities which are a pleasure to live in, but still offer a