Commuting to King's Cross: the top homes hotspots within a 60-minute commute

Londoners searching for bigger homes still within an hour's commute of the capital can take the train from King's Cross to find top towns and villages with period properties and great schools.

There’s a wealth of destinations in the home counties north of the capital that offer great-value homes with plenty of selling points — and they’re all reachable from King’s Cross station.

For “outstanding” Ofsted-rated schools and average property prices of £153,819, you need only travel about 50 minutes to reach Peterborough — voted one of the best commuter destinations among Londoners. But the surrounding areas also have plenty to offer.

HERTFORDSHIRE
Hatfield

Research by Savills shows that one of the strongest price performers in  the county is Brookmans Park, a  Hertfordshire village about four miles from Hatfield, which is surrounded by green belt countryside with a nature reserve nearby. 

Another huge draw for the area are the schools — Brookmans Park Primary School and Chancellor’s School (seniors) are both rated “good” by Ofsted.Matthew Craker, a partner at Fine & Country, says the majority of his buyers are families leaving north London. 

Brookmans Park is not cheap, but in comparison to the capital’s N postcodes, houses here are a steal and a good investment. 

Property prices have increased by  17 per cent in the past year to an average of £450,217, according to Savills.

Locals tend to be young families, empty nesters keen to stay in the area and veteran footballers — Gary  Mabbutt, former Tottenham Hotspur captain, and Brian Talbot, ex-Arsenal player, both live in the area. Most homes are substantial, detached and built in the Thirties or Fifties. A four-bedroom detached house with a good-size garden would cost about £800,000. 

Homes in Brookmans Avenue, which are within minutes of the station, start at about £1.2 million. Trains to London take half an hour and an annual season ticket costs £2,068. 


TAKE A TOUR: THE TOP HOMES HOTSPOTS WITHIN A 60-MINUTE COMMUTE OF KING'S CROSS



CAMBRIDGESHIRE
Huntingdon

The market town of Huntingdon is a 48-minute train ride from London, with an annual season ticket costing £4,964. Homes here are excellent value, with average property prices at £194,138, an increase of just more than four per cent in the past year.

This is an ancient town on the banks of the River Great Ouse that features some lovely buildings, although it is more a working town than a picture-postcard one. 
Portholme Meadow offers plenty of green space, with more than 250 acres of open land alongside the river. 

About 45 minutes’ drive north is Rutland Water, a hotspot for watersport lovers, while horse racing fans  will enjoy the racecourse located in Brampton, about seven minutes’  drive away. 

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£220,000: a three-bedroom Victorian semi in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

There is a good selection of primary schools well rated by Ofsted, but the local seniors — Hinchingbrooke School and St Peter’s School — both “require improvement”. 

Roger Stoneham, a director at Peter Lane & Partners, says the town and surrounding villages are now so busy with London commuters that last year the local council finished work on a new road access to the station to prevent long rush-hour tailbacks.

In town, modern developments at Hinchingbrooke are popular with  commuters since they are only  seconds from the station and are also close to Hinchingbrooke Country Park. Prices range from about £200,000 for a two-bedroom, semi-detached property to about £500,000 for a detached, five-bedroom executive home. 

Godmanchester
If your idea of a commuting destination is a little more traditional, then Godmanchester, a lovely period village south of Huntingdon town centre, might be for you. 

It is just 20 minutes’ walk away from its neighbouring town, and is located by the river, which sets off its 17th-century houses a treat. It has some good pubs, including the pretty, timbered White Hart.

Prices start at about £250,000 to £275,000 for a two-bedroom cottage, rising to about £600,000 to £750,000 for a wonderful five- bedroom manor house. 

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£850,000: a Grade II-listed, five-bedroom house with a pool in Glinton, Peterborough

Peterborough
More good value is to be found in this cathedral city, with homes priced at  an average of £153,819, up more than five per cent in the past year. But these low prices need to be set against its 50-minute commute to King’s Cross and the expensive cost of an annual season ticket at £7,276.

On the plus side, Peterborough was recently named one of the best destinations outside London for commuters in a study by property consultants Carter Jonas, based on analysis of factors such as house prices, train services and  education. 

It has some great schools, such as Fulbridge Academy (primary), The Deepings School and The King’s School (both senior), which are all rated “outstanding” by Ofsted. 

Annabel Morbey, an associate at Smiths Gore, says buyers interested in being close to the station head for Thorpe Road, where a four- to five-bedroom detached house costs about £540,000, while a two-bedroom  converted flat is priced at about £180,000.

But Peterborough’s real charm lies in its outlying villages — even though  they are being rapidly absorbed by  new buildings expanding out from the city centre.

Longthorpe village is lovely, surrounded by woodland, and with some pretty homes priced at about £700,000 for a period property with four to five bedrooms and a good-size garden.

The Hamptons and Ortons, two  communities of a series of villages, both to the south-west of the city, are also well worth exploring for homes with a country feel.

Morbey says her London exiles tend to want this type of property. “They are usually young families who find Oxfordshire or Gloucestershire too expensive,” she adds. “So they come here, where the commute is actually quicker.”


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