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Commuter hotspots with outstanding primary schools

September is traditionally a month when parents start to think about schools for the next academic year. Families looking to move out the capital will often be in search of the perfect solution: a quick commute back to London and access to great primary schools. Here, we highlight the best options.


Grantham, Lincolnshire

Why? The attractive Lincolnshire market town of Grantham is widely regarded as a hotspot for schools in the East Midlands and with a journey of just 65 minutes to King’s Cross, it proves a popular commuter town, too. On top of that, the grammar school system has continued in Lincolnshire meaning that there are excellent secondary options for both boys and girls.

Outstanding primary schools:
Barrowby Church of England Primary School and Denton Church of England School.

Basingstoke, Hampshire

Why? Services to London Waterloo (journeys take 47 minutes) are so frequent from Basingstoke that it’s almost like living on the Tube network. It’s well positioned for commutes to other cities too with easy access to the M3 serving Southampton and the M4 to Swindon and Bristol. There is a total of 75 state schools in the town, making it an ideal area for families.

Outstanding primary schools:
St Anne’s Catholic Primary School and The Priory Primary School.

Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire

Why? This lively and attractive market town boasts a fine array of shops and restaurants, surrounded by glorious countryside and all within an easy commute into London. Added to which, parents benefit from the opportunity to send their children on to one of the grammar schools once they’ve completed primary school.

Outstanding primary schools:
St Mary and All Saints C of E Primary School; St Paul’s Church of England Combined School, Woburn and Chalfont St Peter C of E Academy.

Brighton & Hove, Sussex

Why? A cosmopolitan city by the sea which is renowned for having an expansive range of shops, bars and restaurants, alongside historic monuments such as the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Pier and the newly renovated Brighton Marina. For country walks and a more rural feel, the South Downs National Park is just a few miles away. Regular trains serve London Victoria in an hour and Gatwick Airport is about 30 mins away.

Outstanding primary schools:
Downs Junior School; St Luke’s Primary School and Eastbrook Primary Academy.

Canterbury, Kent

Why? A cultural centre with easy access to Kent’s trendy coastal villages including Whitstable, Walmer, Deal and others. The high-speed trains from Canterbury (which known for their reliability) take just under an hour to reach St Pancras International.

Outstanding primary schools:
St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School, Canterbury; Blean Primary School and Sturry Church of England Primary School.

Farnham, Surrey

Why? This attractive Georgian market town, with a castle at its centre, has been dubbed the nicest town in Surrey. It’s surrounded by pretty villages and open countryside and trains take an hour to reach London Waterloo. Extremely popular with families, there are a high number of excellent primary schools both in the town and in the surrounding villages.

Outstanding primary schools:
Highfield South Farnham School; St Polycarp’s Catholic Primary School, Farnham South Farnham School; St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School; Crondall Primary School; Bentley Church of England Primary School; Church Crookham Junior School and Heatherside Junior School.

Lewes, East Sussex

Why? Set in the middle of the South Downs National Park, Lewes is the county town of Sussex and has a very pretty historic centre with plenty of independent shops and antique markets. There’s a vast amount of culture to enjoy from the nearby opera at Glyndebourne to the Bloomsbury Group’s house at Charleston and many festivals throughout the year. The commute to London takes 1h15mins.

Outstanding primary schools:
Iford and Kingston Church of England Primary School and Barcombe Church of England Primary School.

Reading, Berkshire

Why? Perfectly positioned for commuting to London, Swindon or Oxford, Reading is an important commercial hub and the base for a number of multinational companies. Trains to London Paddington take just 25 minutes and operate every five minutes. The River Thames offers opportunities for countryside walks and the Chilterns AONB is within an easy distance. Ideal for growing families, the town has a vast number of excellent primary schools.

Outstanding primary schools:
The Heights Primary School; St John’s Church of England Primary School; All Saints Junior School; Caversham Primary School; Emmer Green Primary School; Aldryngton Primary School; Churchend Primary Academy; South Lake Primary School; Birch Copse Primary School and Kidmore End Church of England Primary School.

Sunningdale, Berkshire

Why? A smart semi-urban village on the fringes of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, it’s split into two parts with the oldest part around the church and the busier shopping area near the station. This is a popular area for young professionals and families who are working in the City as the journey to London Waterloo takes about 50 minutes.

Outstanding primary schools:
Cheapside CofE Primary School; St Francis Catholic Primary School, South Ascot; St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School, Engelfield Green and Thorpe CofE Aided Primary School.

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Why? Tunbridge Wells is, according to some, what Bath is to Somerset boasting beautiful architecture including terraces and crescents designed by Decimus Burton to anchor it as a fashionable spa town in the 18th century. Alongside this, the town has a lively arts centre, theatres, a cinema and lots of opportunities to take part in sports. Again, it’s popular with families thanks to a large number of excellent primary schools. Trains to London Bridge take about 45 minutes.

Outstanding primary schools:
Claremont Primary School; St Peter’s Church of England Primary School; Speldhurst Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School; Langton Green Primary School; Groombridge St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School and Mark Cross Church of England Aided Primary School.

Weybridge, Surrey

Why? One of Surrey’s sought after “golden triangle” of commuter towns, travel times to Waterloo are quick: it’s just 34 minutes on the train. Located on the River Way, it’s perfect for families looking for open spaces and boasts an attractive town centre.

Outstanding primary schools:
St Charles Borromeo Catholic Primary School Weybridge; Cleves School; Ashley CofE Aided Primary School; New Haw Community Junior School; Pyrcroft Grange Primary School; Esher Church School; St Michael’s Catholic Primary School and Thorpe CofE Aided Primary School.

Winchester, Hampshire

Why? With charming narrow alleyways in its historic centre, and footpaths and that lead out into the countryside, Winchester is a fashionable city in miniature that is a popular option for London families make the first move out of the capital. There are plenty of excellent schools, lots of interesting shops and restaurants and trains to Waterloo take just over an hour.

Outstanding primary schools:
St Bede Church of England Primary School; St Faith’s Church of England Primary School; St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Winchester; Sparsholt Church of England Primary School and Otterbourne Church of England Primary School.

Family-friendly houses for commuters

Basingstoke commute
This late Victorian house has three bedrooms and a good-sized garden. It offers easy access to central Basingstoke and its mainline train station. £575,000.


Beaconsfield commute
Set in six acres of gardens and grounds, this Grade II-listed farmhouse just outside the popular village of Naphill has five bedrooms and five reception rooms, many of which boast far-reaching rural views. £2.5m


Hove commute
Set in the popular New Church Road area, this large, 5-bedroom house is a short distance from Brighton mainline station. It has a sleek, minimalist-style kitchen and plenty of characterful period features throughout. £1.7m


Reading commute
This family house is within the catchment zone for the Outstanding Emmer Green Primary School. It has four double bedrooms, a secluded garden and the potential to create a self-contained annexe


Looking to buy, sell, rent or let? Get in touch.

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