Commuting to London:fast trains from Hampshire’s main towns bring its glorious village homes within reach of the capital

Sweet period cottages, country pubs, fêtes and gorgeous green spaces are a doable commute from the capital.

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Hampshire can sound just a bit too remote to be a realistic daily commuter destination. Home to the New Forest, this county offers proper countryside, almost as close to the south coast as it is to London.

But fast trains from some of Hampshire’s main towns bring its glorious villages within reach.

UPTON GREY AND WESTON PATRICK

Where are they? Upton Grey village and neighbouring hamlet Weston Patrick are six miles south-east of Basingstoke.

The commute: trains from Basingstoke to Waterloo take from 48 minutes. An annual season ticket costs £5,084.

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Quintessential English village: Upton Grey is six miles from Basingstoke where Waterloo trains take from 48 minutes (Colin Smith/Geograph)

Plus points: from the village green duck pond to the 16th-century timber-framed thatched cottages, Upton Grey is the perfect English village, and, says Mark Potter of Knight Frank, it’s one of the most sought after in Hampshire. Amenities include The Hoddington Arms pub, a shop and a post office, while homes in Upton Grey range from sweet cottages to Georgian manor houses. It sits in attractive, undulating countryside and the village hall’s a thriving community hub for everything from talent competitions to yoga classes.

And the downsides? There are no local buses, except for the schools service to nearby Odiham — another great Hampshire village — and Long Sutton. And homes aren’t cheap.

Property prices: a pretty two-bedroom period cottage would cost £650,000-£700,000, while a four-bedroom detached house would be £1.1 million-£1.5 million. Grand country houses with land sell for £3 million-£4 million.

PRESTON CANDOVER

Where is it? Eight miles south of Basingstoke.

The commute: via Basingstoke station (as before) or the M3, a few minutes’ drive away.

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£795,000: a four-bedroom semi-detached house in Preston Candover 

Plus points: in the lovely Candover Valley, with spectacular long country walks, the village itself is pretty and its property stock is particularly fine. Adrian Geary, associate director of Jackson-Stops & Staff, says you’ll find everything from Georgian estates to brick and flint and thatched cottages. “As the countryside is owned by major land owners, their love for the area has meant that it has remained tranquil and untouched,” he adds.

Community spirit is strong with the Grange Park Opera festival in nearby Bishop’s Sutton being the highlight of the social season. Locals put on black tie and cycle over so they can safely enjoy a glass or two of champagne and avoid the queues of cars going back to London. Recent audiences have included Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry, and Jeremy Paxman.

The Purefoy Arms is the village gastropub, and plans for a new community shop are being drawn up. Preston Candover CofE Primary School is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted. The nearest town is Alresford, a very pretty market town with good shops and cafés.

And the downsides? Traffic. Drivers from the other Candover Valley villages come through Preston Candover on their way to Basingstoke, so it is not as tranquil as it could be.

Property prices: expect to pay £400,000-£450,000 for a good-looking period cottage. A four-bedroom semi would cost £650,000 to £750,000, but a four-bedroom detached house with a big garden could be up to £1 million.

BENTLEY

Where is it? Right on the Surrey/Hampshire borders, and just north of the South Downs National Park.

The commute: Bentley has its own station, with Waterloo trains taking from an hour and two minutes. An annual season ticket costs from £3,976.

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£699,950: a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Bentley village centre 

Plus points: Chris Nicklin, Bentley resident and a partner at Strutt & Parker, says swift links make it a “commuters paradise”. He adds that Bentley is “wonderfully vibrant, with country walks on your doorstop that make you feel a million miles away from city life”. There are two pubs, a shop and post office, kids’ clubs and sports pitches. Annual celebrations include the village fête and bonfire. Ofsted rates Bentley CofE Primary School “outstanding”.

And the downsides? The nearest towns, Alton and Farnham, are useful rather than delightful. Depending on where you live in the village, you might have to drive to the station. New builds to the west of the village are red-brick boxes.

Property prices: a compact period cottage in the village centre is £300,000-£350,000, with an average three-bedroom semi at £475,000-£525,000; £750,000-£850,000 buys a four-bedroom detached house with good gardens.


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