Best Places To Live In Berkshire, Warwickshire & Oxfordshire 2020
Here at County Homesearch, we get to see the very best that Britain has to offer. From central hubs of bustling cities, to the lush rolling green of its quiet countryside, the United Kingdom offers some of the best places to move to in the world. Thanks to excellent transport links, the high quality of local education, and the quality of life they offer, each year, a select group of places in Britain are named in The Sunday Times ‘Best Places To Live In Britain’ Guide. We take you through some of the places named as most sought-after destinations across the UK, with a few more contributions provided by our property finders!
From Berkshire to Warwickshire to Oxfordshire, here are the best places to live that the Midlands and the South-East have to offer.
Berkshire – Caversham, Newbury, Hungerford
One of the most popular home counties, Berkshire has long been a favourite place to visit or move to amongst the UK’s population. Bordering neighbouring home counties like Hampshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, Berkshire’s appeal comes from its incredible greenery whilst within commuting distance of exciting London. In fact, a large part of the region of West Berkshire is encompassed by the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, also home to the Ridgeway National Trail. This exceptional beauty is a huge part of the region’s popularity, as is its proximity to the capital. If you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our property finders, who can find you the perfect property in Berkshire!
Once a Middle-Age village, this historic village has made it onto the Sunday Times Guide as a gem of 2020 living. It isn’t hard to see why – bordering the Thames, this quiet hub enjoys the hum of nearby Reading without the noise or pollution of inner-city living. The three main local schools are graded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, meaning residents enjoy a superb quality of education for their children without having to head further inward!
The area’s shopping precinct houses all the necessary local shops you might need, including Caversham’s choice of local pubs and delicious takeaways! The Griffin and the Fox and Hounds are two jewels in Caversham’s crown – the latter famous for very early performances by Lennon and McCartney! The nearby Thames Lido boasts an open-air swimming pool and spa – with attached tapas restaurant for a full day out. The local Albert Road Recreation Ground boasts tennis, bowling and croquet venues – a perfect place to pick up new hobbies. Between around an hour by car and only 40 minutes by bus, London’s proximity to Caversham is ideal for commuters.
Newbury is another gem of the North Wessex Downs, sitting along the River Kennet. This beautiful little town has local venues and buildings dating back centuries, like Shaw House and Donnington Castle, but has modernised over the years to be a hub for local independent boutique shops and restaurants. The West Berkshire Museum showcases the local history, whilst other attractions, like golf courses, the racecourse and endless cycle paths keep the town lively today.
Linked to London by the M3 and M4, Newbury is also well-served by local public transport options, which means commuters are able to visit adjoining towns and cities (as well as the capital) with ease.
Sitting in the midst of this area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is Hungerford, another market town with a clear historic legacy which has revitalised its offerings to be selected by our property finder as a top spot for 2020. Local boutique stores meet familiar high-street names on Hungerford’s streets, whilst the town enjoys the greenery of somewhere much more rural. Small restaurants, vintage shops and local pubs offer a variety of days out, whilst the painted narrowboats of Hungerford’s rivers and canals add to its charming, rural atmosphere.
Linked by rail to London’s centre, Hungerford’s links to the M4 are convenient, quick and easy for those commuting or travelling further afield.
Oxfordshire – Wallingford , Abingdon
A keen contender, Oxfordshire’s famously beautiful towns and villages appear each year on the Sunday Times ‘Best Places to Live’ Guide, and 2020 is no exception. Oxfordshire’s charm lies in its legacy and history, as well as its strikingly well-kept towns and suburbs. Home to the ‘city of dreaming spires’, Oxfordshire’s place in history is augmented with each passing year, as scores of happy residents and hardworking students enjoy the city’s reputation for style and charm in equal measure. Our regional property finder and the Sunday Times agree on this year’s pick for the top spot – beautiful Wallingford, in southern Oxfordshire.
Wallingford’s entry into the top ten is no surprise – its charm outmatched only by the enormous roster of local activities and events each year! Situated in the southern part of Oxfordshire, Wallingford is home to local music festivals, including BunkFest, in early September, and Rugfest, a music festival organised by Wallingford’s local rugby club which has hosted bands like The Feeling and Scouting for Girls! The hum and bustle of the town only increases year-round, with ‘blues and beer’ festivals, a rowing regatta and pancake races to keep residents entertained.
This isn’t to say that life outside the packed social calendar isn’t spectacular, too – the abundance of ‘Outstanding’ local schools and combination of familiar and boutique shops means that Wallingford ensures its residents are well-catered for in every other sense. Riverside Park, heated outdoor pools and medieval castle ruins attract those looking for independent days out, whilst much of the local town is a conservation area, to protect its rich historic beauty and heritage.
Connection to transport links is excellent from this Oxfordshire gem, too – the local railway station links directly to Oxford, Reading and London Paddington, whilst the M4 is just half an hour’s drive.
Warwickshire – Stratford-Upon-Avon
The final entrant in today’s round-up is from increasingly-popular Warwickshire. Pairing rural perfectly with smaller towns and bigger cities, Warwickshire is known for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare, and the county enjoys its literary roots, hosting a popular Literary Festival each year. Warwick Castle draws in the cultural crowds, whilst the region’s outstanding beauty and good transport links attract new residents.
A true link to the county’s Shakespearean roots, Stratford-Upon-Avon is a truly cultural hub of this beautiful Midland region. This breathtakingly beautiful town embodies charm and rural peace, whilst just moments away from Warwick itself, and excellent links to Birmingham and London.
Historical attractions like Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s New Place and Mary Arden’s Farm link the town to its most famous resident, whilst the Royal Shakespeare Company brings his great works to life at the local theatres.
Fear not, however – there’s still plenty to do and see if you’re a theatre-phobe! Canal and River Tours, the Motor Museum and the Compton Verney Art Gallery are all excellent places to take guests, and the cobblestone streets of the town alone invite you to wander happily around local venues. Stratford’s diverse collection of shops, restaurants and historic pubs make it a wonderful place to live day-to-day, whilst the quality of local schools make it perfect for families. Eight local schools achieved an ‘Outstanding’ ranking from Ofsted, whilst the vast majority were termed ‘Good’ – helping local academic rankings to really shine.
Just forty minutes’ drive from Birmingham and only two hours to central London, Stratford-Upon-Avon offers flexibility for commuters to larger cities, with excellent rail links to nearby towns and cities.
If you’d like to speak to our local property finder to find out more about properties in these areas, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. With decades of local knowledge, early access to properties on the market (and negotiating skills if they aren’t yet available!), our property finders are the perfect people to help find your new address- with minimal stress!