A commuter's lot is rarely a happy one and now that train ride to work is going to become cripplingly expensive, too.
The latest research shows one in 10 trains arriving in London is late and even the train companies accept that one in five rush-hour trains is horribly overcrowded. And from January fares will rise by twice the rate of inflation, an average of 6.2 per cent extra.
In these austere times every extra cost is a real burden so anyone considering living outside London while remaining in work in the capital has to pick their commuting route with care.
Most people want to find a low-cost route with a high-class destination. Fortunately, there are idyllic village locations to suit all budgets within easy reach of reasonably affordable commuting stations. We've done the legwork for you.
Alight at Woking
24 minutes to Waterloo (season ticket £2,780; 2013 price* £2,952; weekly price increase £3.31)
Not Surrey's prettiest town, Woking is, however, surrounded by some very pretty villages. Chobham, on the River Bourne, has ancient woodland, open fields, and a 1,400-acre common.
The high street has a good range of independent shops, and The Four Horseshoes pub, where drinkers can watch horses being shod by the local farrier, is a treat. Tim Harriss a partner at Knight Frank, is a big fan of this "proper old-fashioned period village".
A top-end period house with three bedrooms would cost from about £750,000. Alternatively, Sean Wickes, a director of Waterfords estate agents, says about £480,000 would secure a Victorian semi with three bedrooms. A manor house and land would go for around £1.6 million.
For schools, Valley End CofE Infants' School is rated "outstanding" by Ofsted, though St Lawrence CofE primary school is only rated "satisfactory". For older children the glittering prize is Gordon's School in nearby West End (catchment area allowing).
Another great and more affordable village is Horsell, two miles from Woking station. You could buy a three-bedroom 20th-century terrace from £275,000, or a four-bedroom detached house for £600,000.