Yearning to leave London but don’t know where to start? Or do you live in Swindon and love visiting London – but wouldn’t dream of living there?
A brand new survey by The Daily Telegraph names 100 commutable towns outside Greater London, less than a 90-minute train journey from the capital. Working with Savills, the estate agent, they’ve assessed each location against 10 criteria, including property prices, train season ticket prices and green spaces. Slough, Chatham, Basildon, Chelmsford and St Albans are the top five, Swindon comes in at 47th.
Here's how the Telegraph sums up Swindon.
"In the 19th century Swindon became the home to Swindon Railway Works, which at its height employed over 12,000 people and could produce three trains a week. Nowadays the town is still a hub for business with Nationwide, insurer Zurich and technology company Intel all choosing the Wiltshire town for their national headquarters.
Location may play a part as the town is helpfully situated between London and Bristol with strong transport links to both cities.
Despite this, house prices are still affordable compared to other locations within an hour of the capital, with the average property selling for £230,678. And as can be expected from one of the larger towns on our list, Swindon offers a good number of high achieving schools close to the town centre."
Here's how Swindon scored on the different criteria, strong for good, weak for bad.
House prices affordability - Above average
Primary schools - Slighty better than average
Secondary schools - Average
Season ticket price - Weak
Daily ticket price - Very weak
Travel time - Slightly better than average
Train overcrowding - Average
Green space - Average
Restaurants and pubs - Weak
Close to the beach - Average
Most of this won't come as a surprise to people who live in Swindon. Train prices to London are ridiculously high. House prices are affordable compared to near neighbours like Bath and Oxford (though if you look at it in the round, salaries are also lower). There are lots of pubs that serve food, but not a massive amount of standalone restaurants (e.g. not one French restaurant, only one Spanish tapas bar).
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the average score for green spaces when we are blessed with great parks like Lydiard Park, Coate Water, Town Gardens and Barbury Castle.
And we would have done well on a criteria based on easy access to attractive locations; Bath, Oxford, Bristol, the Cotswolds, etc. Not to mention that figures for crime in Swindon are always below the national average, so it's a nice and safe place to bring up kids.
To find out more about what Swindon has to offer go to visitswindon.org.uk.