OXFORDSHIRE has come out top of a list of the best 50 places to live for London commuters.
A town and seven villages in the south of the county feature in the Country Life magazine pick of places that can be reached within an hour.
Surrey, Kent or Essex came in with six each, despite being closer to the capital.
Oxfordshire’s Sutton Courtenay, Dorchester, Henley, Sonning, Stratton Audley, Great Milton, Hethe and Blewbury all feature.
The magazine said it chose “the most attractive and convivial villages, towns and small cities that boast a fast and regular train service to the capital, or amenities that simply can’t be beaten”.
It included places that were not just commuter dormitories but which “boast enough of a community spirit to support the village shop”.
Sutton Courtenay is three minutes from Didcot Parkway railway station by car, which is 40 minutes from London Paddington on a direct train.
Dorchester and Blewbury are both less than 10 minutes from Didcot, while Hethe to Bicester is five minutes.
A direct train from Oxford to Paddington takes one hour.
Sutton Courtenay resident Jason Warwick commutes into the capital most days to work as an IT consultant.
He said his village’s proximity to the capital was among its attractions when he moved there from Oxford. Mr Warwick, 46, said: “We live in an old barn overlooking a meadow running down to a stream. We have a great community and four village pubs.
“New people coming into the village is part of what keeps the community vibrant.”
But he warned the village was at risk because of new housing.
The village has 500 homes and planning permission exists for 300 more, with 200 more earmarked by Vale of White Horse District Council.
Gervase Duffield, who represents the village on the council, said: “Sutton Courtenay is a magnificent village if you go to the old part.”
COUNTRY LIFE’S HIGHLIGHTS
- Sutton Courtenay’s desirable commuting station.
- Dorchester’s high street and annual music event.
- Henley’s residential roads lined with large houses boasting wrought-iron gates topped with eagles.
- Sonning’s festival, including a regatta.
- Stratton Audley is the perfect spot for commuting, especially when the Varsity Line to Oxford is re-opened.
- Great Milton – an unspoilt, rural idyll with plenty going on.
- Hethe’s pub, The Muddy Duck.
- Blewbury’s lively social scene, welcoming pub, church choir and equestrian centre.