The UK’s best commuter towns

21st February 2023 posted in Sellers Buyers

Every large British city is surrounded by several commuter towns. Commuter towns tend to offer more affordable living, which makes them very appealing to younger working professionals and first-time buyers looking to buy their dream property.

Commuter towns also tend to have excellent transport links, making it easy for people to get to work whilst minimising travel time. However, commuter towns don’t only attract working professionals. Many people also choose to raise a family in these places so they can take advantage of the transport links for other reasons, like shopping, weekend breaks, or visiting friends and family.

We identified the UK’s best commuter towns by looking at several key factors, which include;

· They had to be one of the five biggest towns within a 10 mile radius of the city’s train station

· The average income of the town

· The distance to the main train station in the city centre

· The average house price

These factors were all given scores, and the average of these scores determined where each town ranked in the list.

Have a read of our findings below to find out more about the best commuter towns for first-time buyers and for those who want to live away from the city centre.

Best commuter towns in the UK

The Best Commuter Towns for Birmingham

Birmingham is widely considered to be the UK’s second city due to its size, population and cultural importance.

However, the hustle and bustle of the city centre isn’t for everyone, and there are several reasons why you might want to sell your home and move out of central Birmingham.

Walsall, Wolverhampton, and Dudley are great places to live if you work in central Birmingham because they all provide an easy commute. Additionally, you get more for your money when buying property, and you also get an escape from the big city life. Property valuations in our top three commuter towns near Birmingham average under £300,000 and these locations are within 10 miles of Birmingham New Street train station.

1. Walsall

Walsall is a market town in the West Midlands that’s located north west of Birmingham.

Transport into Birmingham is excellent from Walsall. Walsall train station has four trains an hour that take an average of 25 minutes to reach the city centre. There are also two bus stations; Bradford Place and St Paul’s. These provide services to all the surrounding areas, including into central Birmingham.

Walsall is a great place to live for families as there are plenty of primary and secondary schools, including private options and grammar schools.

The town has lots of bars and pubs, as well as theatres that provide entertaining productions throughout the year. There’s an art gallery and a museum, as well as great shopping facilities in the local shopping centres and retail park. Walsall Arboretum covers 80 acres of land and has Hatherton Lake where you can enjoy a boat ride. It’s a beautiful place to visit to get away from it all and enjoy some fresh air.

· Average Distance from Walsall to Birmingham New Street: 8 miles

· Average Property Price: £244K

· Average Income: £36K

2. Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton is considered to be one of the most affordable places to buy a house in the West Midlands.

Commuters can reach central Birmingham by train in just 20 minutes (and some services take just 16 minutes), making it really easy to work in the city centre when living in Wolverhampton. There’s also the West Midlands Metro, which provides a handy tram link and there are excellent bus services throughout the local area too. For those that drive, the M6 and M54 motorways are just a few miles away.

Families enjoy the range of schools available in Wolverhampton and there’s also the University of Wolverhampton providing higher education here too.

There’s plenty to enjoy locally with the restored, Victorian West Park providing a boating lake and tea rooms. There’s also the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre with touring shows, and Wolverhampton Art Gallery with stunning art and activities for families. Wolverhampton has two main shopping centres providing great local shopping facilities and there’s plenty of places to eat out or grab a drink with friends or family.

· Average Distance from Wolverhampton to Birmingham New Street: 9 miles

· Average Property Price: £188K

· Average Income: £32K

3. Dudley

Dudley is a large and historic market town that has plenty of diverse attractions for people of all ages.

The local train station gives easy access to Birmingham city centre with many services running throughout the day that have an average journey time of just 18 minutes. There are also excellent bus services from the town’s station, and if you drive, you can reach central Birmingham in around 20 minutes.

There’s lots to enjoy on your weekends off here. You can find out about the history of Dudley at the Black Country Living Museum, visit Dudley Zoo and Castle and there’s also The Red House Glass Cone, which reaches 100ft into the sky. The local canals provide many beautiful walks as well as narrowboat tours through the limestone caverns.

· Average Distance from Dudley to Birmingham New Street: 8 miles

· Average Property Price: £237K

· Average Income: £36K

The Best Commuter towns for Leeds

The northern powerhouse of Leeds is bordered by some of Yorkshire’s best towns and they all offer excellent commuter links into the city centre. Property prices for our top three best commuter towns for first-time buyers are also relatively affordable; they average under £300,000 and are all within 10 miles of Leeds train station.

1. Wakefield

Wakefield is just nine miles south of Leeds and sits on the River Calder.

There are almost 200 trains a day from Wakefield to Leeds, and the journey takes about 15 minutes, making this an excellent place to commute from. For those that prefer to drive, it’s only a 25 minute drive into Leeds centre. Huddersfield and Bradford are also nearby, opening up even more opportunities for jobs and places to visit.

Wakefield’s magnificent cathedral is open all year round, and parts of this beautiful building date back all the way to 1150. Wakefield is well-known for its rhubarb as it’s part of the rhubarb triangle, which is famous worldwide. Yorkshire was the first place in the world that grew rhubarb in forcing sheds, and this practice dates back to 1877. Wakefield is also famous for the incredible sculptors Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, who were both born here.

· Average Distance from Wakefield to Leeds train station: 8 miles

· Average Property Price: £297K

· Average Income: £38K

2. Bradford

Bradford’s located to the west of Leeds and it has an amazing heritage and it’s surrounded by beautiful countryside.

There are two train stations here; Bradford Interchange and Bradford Forster Square. It takes just 20 minutes to reach Leeds train station, and there are also services to Manchester and London. If you’re commuting to central Leeds by car, it’ll take you about half an hour.

There’s plenty to do in this exciting city, including shopping at various retail outlets and stores, visiting The Leisure Exchange (with bowling and a cinema) or seeing a show at The Alhambra Theatre. Bradford is well-known as being the first UNESCO City of Film, and it’s home to Europe’s first IMAX cinema as well as the National Science and Media Museum.

· Average Distance from Bradford to Leeds train station: 9 miles

· Average Property Price: £194K

· Average Income: £34K

3. Huddersfield

Huddersfield is a traditional market town in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.

There are many trains between Huddersfield and Leeds and the fastest services take only 19 minutes. Other train services can take up to 35 minutes. You can also drive to Leeds in about 35 minutes by using the M62 and M621.

Huddersfield sits at the bottom of the Pennines and it’s surrounded by beautiful villages and countryside. Locally, Greenhead Park is a beautiful spot to visit and it dates back to 1884. There’s a lake, café, skate park and a play area to enjoy there. Castle Hill is an ancient monument that overlooks Huddersfield; the grade II listed Victorian tower sits on the summit of the hill and it stands out as a clear landmark in the town.

· Average Distance from Huddersfield to Leeds train station: 6 miles

· Average Property Price: £221K

· Average Income: £35K

The Best Commuter Towns for Liverpool

Liverpool’s one of the most vibrant cities in the UK, and it’s home to one of the best areas for average property value increases over the last couple of years. We’ve provided three of the best commuter towns near Liverpool for those who want to move a little way out of the city centre whilst still having easy access to it.

1. Wirral

Wirral Peninsula (known locally as The Wirral) is an area that’s bounded by the River Dee, the River Mersey and the Irish Sea.

There are lots of bus services from the Wirral area to central Liverpool and they take just 30 minutes, so this is a great area to commute from. Services run every 20-30 minutes. Several parts of the area are connected to Liverpool by train, using the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network, like West Kirby, for example. Trains from here take 35 minutes to reach central Liverpool.

The Wirral has urban areas, industrial areas as well as gorgeous villages, countryside and beaches. Wirral’s model industrial village of Port Sunlight offers a quaint lifestyle just a short drive away from the heart of Liverpool's city centre. This village has 900 Grade II listed buildings and was declared a conservation area in 1978. The Lever Brothers built these homes for their soap factory workers, starting in 1888.

· Average Distance from Wirral to Liverpool Central: 5 miles

· Average Property Price: £205K

· Average Income: £41K

2. Sefton

Sefton sits north of Liverpool and the area extends along the Irish Sea coast.

For those travelling by car, Sefton is just a 17 minute drive to central Liverpool. This makes it really easy and quick for commuters to travel into the city for work. Alternatively, you could go to a nearby train station (such as Bootle New Strand) and get a train from there to avoid any rush hour traffic.

Sefton’s not only a popular place to live, but it’s coastline attracts tourists too, which helps the local economy. The Grand National steeplechase is run nearby at Aintree racecourse. The dunes are used for golfing at places like Royal Birkdale Golf Club. Sefton Park is a greatly loved Grade I listed park that has 200 acres of land that includes a boating lake and a café. It’s a beautiful place that hosts Liverpool’s annual food and drink festival and Liverpool International Music Festival.

· Average Distance from Sefton to Liverpool Central: 6 miles

· Average Property Price: £360K

· Average Income: £36K

3. St Helens

Home to the famous St Helens rugby league team, the area is within easy commuting distance of Liverpool and a major draw is that the property prices average £205K.

St Helens Central has regular train services to Liverpool Lime Street, with faster services taking just 19 minutes and longer services taking 33 minutes. This is great for commuters, as it’s a quick journey in and out of the city centre. Driving into Liverpool takes about 35 minutes from here.

The World of Glass is a local museum that’s dedicated to the history of glass and it’s named as England’s Best Small Visitor Attraction. Totally Wicked Stadium is a local rugby league stadium and the home ground of St Helen’s RFC. Taylor Park is a lovely, local wooded park that has a boating lake, a café and two playgrounds.

· Average Distance from St Helens to Liverpool Central: 9 miles

· Average Property Price: £205K

· Average Income: £40K

The Best Commuter Towns for Manchester

The north west is home to some of the best commuter links in the country and Manchester is surrounded by several great towns.

Our top three Manchester commuter towns are all within 10 miles of Manchester Piccadilly train station. The best commuter town near Manchester is Salford, and it’s also the closest to Manchester Piccadilly station, being just five miles away.

1. Salford

Salford Quays provide a stunning and unique waterfront to the area, and there’s plenty to discover in Salford with shopping, art, history and some amazing architecture. It’s the most affordable of our three best commuter towns in Manchester, with the average house price being £270k. There are some good opportunities here for first time buyers who need to commute into Manchester.

Manchester city centre can be reached in just 15 minutes using the tram from the Quays. Trains from Salford reach Manchester Victoria in just 6 minutes, making it incredibly easy for commuters. If you’re driving you can reach central Manchester in just 13 minutes, as it’s only a few miles away.

There’s great education available in Salford, with a wide range of good schools, some further education colleges and for higher education, there’s the University of Salford.

The Lowry is a stunning building that has galleries, workshops, theatres, cafes and shops within it. The Quays also has Salford Watersports Centre, which is a unique venue where you can learn all kinds of sports such as bell boating, kayaking, raft building, sailing and much more.

· Average Distance from Salford to Manchester Piccadilly: 5 miles

· Average Property Price: £270K

· Average Income: £37K

2. Stockport

The town of Stockport sits south east of Manchester and it has fantastic transport links to the Manchester city centre.

Trains from Stockport get into Manchester Piccadilly in an impressive 8 minutes, meaning that it’s really easy and quick for commuters. The drive takes a little longer, but it’s still only about half an hour and it takes a similar amount of time on the local buses.

Stockport’s home to the UK’s only hatting museum, Hat Works. The area became famous in the 19th century because it was where the hatting industry took off, and the museum celebrates this local history. The town has some impressive architecture that’s enriched with history too. There are hundreds of listed buildings here as well as six ancient monuments. The Plaza is a Grade II listed cinema and variety theatre. It first opened in 1932 and was then restored and reopened in 2009, and today it still shows classic films and live performances.

· Average Distance from Stockport to Manchester Piccadilly: 7 miles

· Average Property Price: £360K

· Average Income: £43K

3. Bury

Bury is a market town that sits on the River Irwell, and it’s known for its world famous open air market as well as its traditional local dish of Bury Black Pudding.

The Metrolink has services every 6 minutes during the week and you can reach Manchester in 33 minutes. Driving takes a similar amount of time, and there are bus services throughout the area too.

Bury has been named the first Greater Manchester Town of Culture 2021 so there’s plenty to get involved with here for people of all ages. The town has amazing visitor attractions, open air spaces and great food and drink. The Met is a fantastic arts venue with music, theatre and comedy shows. Bury Art Museum has treasured collections and contemporary exhibitions, and the people there put on lots of workshops and courses throughout the year.

· Average Distance from Bury to Manchester Piccadilly: 6 miles

· Average Property Price: £261K

· Average Income: £39K

The Best Commuter Towns for Coventry

Coventry’s in the West Midlands and it’s the most central city in the whole of England.

Living in Coventry offers people an exceptional lifestyle whilst having excellent links to the rest of the country. One of the great things about living in Coventry, whether you’re renting or buying a home, is that property prices are relatively affordable. However, if you don't necessarily want to live in Coventry, there are some fantastic alternatives nearby that still allow you to have proximity to the city centre.

1. Nuneaton

Nuneaton is a traditional market town and its major local landmark, Mount Judd, can be seen for miles.

The town has excellent transport links. Commuters can reach Coventry in just over 20 minutes by train, and it takes a similar amount of time to drive in. There are also brilliant bus services to take commuters to the nearby towns and cities.

The bustling street market here dates back all the way to the 13th century and it still attracts people from all over the midlands. The town is well-known as being the birthplace of the Victorian novelist, George Eliot, who lived here from 1819 to 1841. Nuneaton is also home to the 2016 Roundabout of the Year due to its impressive Roanne Fountain, which is also known as the Dandelion Fountain. The Coventry Canal runs through the town providing a lovely quiet place to get away from it all, and the town’s surrounded by several places of outstanding natural beauty.

· Average Distance from Nuneaton to Coventry: 7 miles

· Average Property Price: £306K

· Average Income: £38K

2. Warwick

Warwick is a town that sits on the River Avon and it’s home to the well-known mediaeval Warwick Castle, which was founded by William the Conqueror.

Warwick train station provides services to Coventry that take just over 20 minutes, and driving into the centre takes only 10 minutes from here. For those who need to visit the capital for work or pleasure, it takes only an hour and a half to get to London from here. This opens up great opportunities for commuting, or for attending meetings on a regular basis.

The traditional town centre boasts a busy weekly market and some fantastic places to eat and drink. There are some lovely parks dotted around the town and St Nicholas Park is a lovely place to visit as it has the river flowing through it. Warwick also has the Saltisford Canal Arm, and nearby The Hatton flight of 21 locks is known as the Stairway to Heaven.

· Average Distance from Warwick to Coventry: 8 miles

· Average Property Price: £497K

· Average Income: £39K

3. Rugby

Rugby is a market town that has some beautiful tree-lined streets and a clock tower that was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.

Trains from Rugby get commuters into central Coventry in just 10 minutes. This is a major draw for people who want to work in the city centre, but live somewhere quieter and with some greenspace.

Rugby has popular markets that run every Friday and Saturday, and there’s a lovely pedestrianised shopping area. The beautiful local park, Caldecott Park, sits in the town centre and it has a play area for children to enjoy. There’s plenty to do in Rugby as it has Rugby Theatre and The Ben Hall, which is a great venue that opened in 1961 and still hosts many famous faces performing comedy, music, theatre and dance.

· Average Distance from Rugby to Coventry: 6 miles

· Average Property Price: £306K

· Average Income: £39K

If you’re a first time buyer or a working professional looking to move to a commuter town, have a look at our mortgage calculator to see how much you could afford. It’s a really quick and easy way to see how much you could spend on a property so you can start looking at what’s on the market.