Since the pandemic hit, the Cotswolds have never seen such huge demand for the honey-coloured properties synonymous with the Gloucestershire villages. A greater swing towards working from home and less need to be in offices in London on a daily basis has made people re-think their way of life, and particularly where they want to base themselves, allowing that dream of living in the country to become a reality for many. However, the option to be able to get into London on occasion is still a key deciding factor and there are a number of stations in the Cotswolds that offer that perfect work-life balance.
Moreton in Marsh
Ideal for the occasional commuter, Moreton in Marsh is the main station for the central Cotswolds. Direct trains take just under 90 minutes into London Paddington. This route incorporates the villages of Kingham, Charlbury and Long Hanborough which, if you are lucky to buy or rent a property in one of these villages, cuts the commute time by up to 25 mins. Moreton in Marsh itself is one of the prettiest Cotswold towns with a thriving high street, weekly farmers market, friendly local community, attractive properties and a good selection of schools nearby. The amenities in the area have really improved over the last few years, with Soho Farmhouse and Daylesford Farm shop & Café nearby, it’s proving one of the property hotspots since the pandemic with a huge percentage of Londoners moving into the area. If you are looking for the perfect dream home in the country, you could pay anything between £1 -£2 million for a 5/6 bedroom detached period property here.
Located in Oxfordshire on the North-eastern tip of the Cotswolds, the historic town of Banbury offers one of the fastest commute times of just under 60 minutes into London Marylebone. It has a busy town centre with a great mix of high street and independent shops and a good choice of schools to choose from in the area, putting it high on the list when looking for the best place to live. The city of Oxford is just a short drive away, ideal for a weekend shopping trip, visits to the theatre, or even a punt on the River from Magdalen Bridge Boathouse. Property prices in Banbury are also significantly lower than the central Cotswolds with a current average value of £332,000 compared to an average of £499,000 in Moreton in Marsh.
Cheltenham sits on the edge of the Cotswolds and effortlessly combines Georgian charm with a cool cosmopolitan vibe, stylish shopping and a thriving ‘café culture’. It has a distinctly relaxed feel and is well known for the annual Gold Cup racing festival held at Prestbury Park racecourse which brings a huge buzz and excitement to the town every year. The commute times from Cheltenham are a lengthy 2 hours into London Paddington, not ideal for a regular commute but fine for the occasional business trip. The station is slightly out of the town centre, however extensive work to the car park has increased the parking capacity making it much easier to park at peak times. Cheltenham has an abundance of period and regency homes, predominantly in the areas of Montpellier, Tivoli and Pittville, along with a great choice of excellent schools, many rated outstanding by Ofsted, making it a very popular place for families to live. Prices in Cheltenham have seen an upward trend in the last 12 months with a 4 bedroom family house costing in the region of £550,000 to £600,000 and a 5 bed detached tipping the £1m mark
Kemble station predominantly serves the towns Cirencester and Malmesbury, along with the surrounding Gloucestershire/ Wiltshire villages. Despite its village location, the direct service to London Paddington takes approximately 70 minutes which makes this area hugely popular with both the occasional and regular commuters. Cirencester is a busy market town, with a weekly Saturday morning farmers market held in the historic centre with sellers offering an array of locally brewed beers, artisan cheeses, Cotswolds traditional butchers, local honey, pies, cakes and brownies. Cirencester also has a great selection of independent and high street shops, cafés and restaurants with a very friendly community. A 3 bedroom terraced property in the town centre would cost in the region of £400,000 with larger country detached residences costing upwards of £1m.
Currently journey times from Bath Spa into London Paddington take around 1hr 20mins which makes it doable but only for the dedicated commuter. However, with GWR (Great Western Railway) working on its high-speed service from Bristol Temple Meads to London journey times from Bath Spa could be cut to as little as 68minutes, making it much more feasible for a more regular commute. If you are looking to buy in Bath, the areas of Widcombe and Bear Flat allow a short walk to the station. Properties in these areas do command a premium for the convenience but would prove worth it if travelling frequently as parking at Bath Station is tricky. Most famously known for its Roman Baths and sweeping honey-coloured Georgian terraces and crescents, the city offers high end shopping, museums, art galleries, theatre and music events as well as a great choice of bars and restaurants. Expect to pay a premium for properties in Bath with prices having risen by 3.69% since the start of the pandemic.
Naomi Gleeson – Managing Director – Executive Relocation Plus