Commuting to Euston: the best villages for good-value homes, rolling countryside and easy access to major train hubs
Close to 45 million journeys are made to and from Euston station per year, and the north London hub’s fast links to major Midlands and northern cities offer great options for commuters along the way.
Virgin Trains runs highly rated long-distance services out of Euston to the North, Scotland and Wales.
They stop at Milton Keynes, Northampton and Rugby, opening the door to dreamy shires villages and comparatively affordable country homes.
The latest National Rail Passenger Survey by pressure group Transport Focus, the biggest consumer study into UK railway services quality, finds at least nine in 10 passengers rate Virgin’s services terminating at Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Scotland and North Wales satisfactory.
Ninety per cent of passengers on Virgin’s Liverpool run said their trains were punctual; the national average is 71 per cent.
Moving to Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Journey time: from 30 minutes
Season ticket: £5,372
The town that introduced the concept of concrete cows to the world is also very well stocked with shops, restaurants and leisure facilities.
James Boult, sales manager of Connells estate agents, says buyers after a more rural location often gravitate towards Olney, an affluent village by the River Great Ouse, with lovely nearby countryside and no history of flooding. “It has got a lot of character properties, a traditional high street with independent shops and good pubs,” says Boult.
The village is a 20- to 30-minute drive from the station and has streets of Victorian and Georgian terraces. A four-bedroom house would cost from about £500,000.
Another popular option is Cranfield, across the border into Bedfordshire, where prices are a little lower. A five-bedroom detached house in Cranfield, nine miles east of Milton Keynes, would cost about £500,000.
Right side: Chapel Brampton is just north-west of Northampton, and on the right side for journeys to the station (Alamy Stock Photo)
Moving to Northampton, East Midlands
Journey time: from 47 minutes
Season ticket: £5,780
New York has The Hamptons. And Northampton’s smartest country getaways are the Bramptons — the twin villages of Church Brampton and Chapel Brampton, just north-west of the town and on the right side for journeys to the station. “If you go on you get into very attractive, rolling countryside,” says Ian Denton, a partner at Jackson-Stops estate agents.
Buyers rate these villages for their convenience and amenities. There is a very good golf course at Chapel Brampton, plus a pub and a primary school. And being four miles from the Althorp Estate adds a certain kudos.
Both villages are tiny. A three-bedroom “classic cottage” would cost £450,000 to £500,000, while a five-bedroom contemporary trophy home goes from £1 million to £1.35 million.
Better value is to be found north of the Bramptons. Denton recommends Spratton, seven miles from the town centre, and Creaton, eight miles out of Northampton, with prices 15 to 20 per cent below the Bramptons.
Take the Rugby train: road racers in picturesque Dunchurch village, Warwickshire (David Davies/PA Wire)
Moving to Rugby, Warwickshire
Journey time: from 48 minutes
Season ticket: £5,760
As well as its good London train service, the town of Rugby has good schools, including selective grammars and, of course, the famous public school that dominates the town centre.
Beyond Rugby are some delightful Warwickshire villages, notably Dunchurch, which is just beyond the southern fringes of the town and has the dubious honour of being the home of Guy Fawkes.
“It is pretty, with good restaurants, shops and some nice period property,” says James Way, a partner at Knight Frank. Draycote Reservoir, for sailing and fishing, is less than a mile away, and there are local golf clubs and riding schools.
A three-bedroom thatched Tudor cottage is £500,000 in this premier league village, while five-bedroom family homes with big gardens are £800,000 to £1 million. In Braunston or Grandborough villages a couple of miles from the centre, a three-bedroom cottage is about £450,000 and a large family house is £700,000.