Average house price: £233,897
Journey time into London: 54 mins
Annual season ticket: £4,136
This Kentish town, 15 minutes from the coast and within easy reach of the lovely seaside resort of Whitstable, is currently undergoing a £110 million facelift to transform it from Tunbridge Wells' poorer relation into another attractive Swale destination. The redevelopment includes a new public square, hotel and cultural facilities, a new health centre, shops and homes.
Average house price: £229,504
Journey time into London: 35 mins
Annual season ticket: £2,708
This popular Essex town 11 miles south of the capital is famed for its role in the government’s New Towns movement post-war and boasts a plethora of high rise flats and estates as well as older, period houses. The area is being modernised and is the location for a new scheme of detached four-bedroom Arts and Crafts-style houses from developer Redrow's Heritage Collection.
Average house price: £223,164
Journey time into London: 56 mins
Annual season ticket: £5,312
With swifter train links to the capital than many parts of Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, this East Midlands county, 65 miles from London, offers property bargains. The historic town of Northampton is also just 50 miles south of Birmingham so employment and commuter opportunities are plentiful in either direction.
Average house price: £220,838
Journey time into London: 23 mins
Annual season ticket: £3,960
Luton is great for families with plenty of well-regarded schools and large 1940s houses for under £350,000. It might regularly win places on lists of Britain’s ugliest towns but the area is being given a facelift with the regeneration of the High Town area and The Mall shopping centre. For more rural villages a few miles north look at Offley and Lilley.
Average house price: £218,504
Journey time into London: 52 mins
Annual season ticket: £5,640
The Warwickshire market town home to Rugby public school has a population of around 100,000 and is prettily chock-full of historic buildings and green spaces perfect for a kick about. Fast trains will get you the 85 miles into London in under an hour.
Average house price: £217,905
Journey time into London: 57 mins
Annual season ticket: £8,280
It is possible to take a fast train from this south-western town all the way into London Paddington in less than an hour, despite it being equidistant to Cardiff (78 miles to either capital). Another region defined by the New Towns legislations and home to the Honda manufacturing plant, it is throwing off its industrial reputation with a £750 million regeneration programme. It is soon to get a new town centre, leisure facilities and a brand spanking new business district.
Average house price: £207,221
Journey time into London: 48 mins
Annual season ticket: £4,888
Kent’s historic Medway towns are undergoing a Renaissance with 8 miles of riverfront linking several towns being transformed into a "linear city". The pretty town of Chatham is at the centre of this regeneration with high-apartments and family houses being built alongside a protected Georgian area, a new 300-berth marina and leisure and retail attractions.
Average house price: £194,046
Journey time into London: 59 mins
Annual season ticket: £6,644
Kettering’s largely Victorian housing stock is a legacy of its past as an affluent centre of Northamptonshire’s shoe-making industry - but it is affordable. The town centre is more scenic than neighbouring Wellingborough, with a large market square, mostly pedestrianised shopping streets and newly opened Yards Exchange, a complex of small independent shops.
Average house price: £189,319
Journey time into London: 51 mins
Annual season ticket: £7,452
This cathedral city is a village subsumed by post-war architecture (for which read ugly high-rises) but there are some brilliant areas if you know where to look. It has superfast rail links to London, affordable family homes and a host of new housing developments springing up.
Average house price: £183,345
Journey time into London: 52 mins
Annual season ticket: £5,972
Wellingborough is more of a working town than a cutesy tourist trap and its Seventies town centre is decent, although not particularly exciting. Wellingborough is still small enough to be a friendly place to live, and it more than passes the green space test, with Irchester Country Park and Sywell Country Park offering, between them, more than 200 acres to explore.