In Depth

Most expensive English towns outside London

Surrey dominates the rich list with an average property value of £617,368

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London remains comfortably the most expensive city in Britain for house buying, but a number of towns and villages outside the capital also boast - or suffer from - extravagant property prices.

Virginia Water in Surrey became the UK’s first “million pound town” a few years ago. Since then, average property prices have exceeded the million-pound mark in a handful of other places.

The average price for property in Virginia Water stands at £1,511,906, according to the Zoopla rich list. The property portal says this is a fall of 0.25% in the last three months (since October 2020) and rise of 7.59% since 12 months ago. In terms of property types, flats in Virginia Water sold for an average of £507,572 and terraced houses for £975,878.

Surrey, a popular commuting area for London, dominates Zoopla’s rich list of the most expensive towns and villages outside the English capital. The average value of property in the county is £617,368 and the highest value street is Montrose Gardens in Leatherhead with properties averaging £6,958,905.

As of January 2021, here are the most expensive towns and villages outside London:

Virginia Water, Surrey: £1,511,906

With its beautiful red-brick buildings and lavish green spaces, Virginia Water is in the top spot. This charming commuter town, which has a population of less than 6,000 people, packs a mighty historical punch.

Its leafy Wentworth Estate and adjacent golf course hosted the first ever Ryder Cup tournament and remains a prime piece of Crown Estate in south east England.

Cobham, Surrey: £1,175,800

The nearby town of Cobham, just a short hop down the M25, has also joined the ranks of million-pound towns. Perched on the banks of the River Mole, 10 miles outside of Guildford, this quaint town is arranged around its red-brick water mill, constructed in the late 18th century, and the 12th-century St Andrew’s Church.

Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire: £1,095,802

This picturesque town sits on the edge of the Chiltern Hills area of outstanding natural beauty. Aside from its appealing blend of Georgian and Tudor architecture, Beaconsfield has enviable transport links, with direct train services to Birmingham Snow Hill and London Marylebone (journey time: 25 minutes).

Esher, Surrey: £1,088,178

At the south-east edge of London’s leafy suburbs, Esher is delightfully peaceful considering its proximity to the capital. With the National Trust’s Claremont Landscape Garden (formerly the residence of King Leopold I of Belgium) at one end of town and the rugged Esher Commons woodland at the other, Esher is perfect for anyone seeking a mix of urban comfort and rural tranquillity.

Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire: £1,044,885

Chalfont St Giles might seem familiar even to first-time visitors. For more than 40 years, it has played the role of numerous fictional towns of the small screen, appearing in Dad’s Army, The Canterbury Tales and Peep Show. Transport links are somewhat lacking, but Chalfont St Giles’s relative remoteness is part of the appeal. It has also inspired great works of art: Milton’s Cottage – where John Milton completed his epic poem Paradise Lost – still stands and is open to the public.

Radlett, Hertfordshire: £998,794

Staying within the M25, we head north to the historian’s paradise of Radlett in Hertfordshire, the last of the million-pound towns. This ancient village – dating back to well before 5,000 BC – became a beacon of affluence in the Roman era, where it was a manufacturing centre for pottery. Many Roman clay pits are still intact at the southern end of the village. Today Radlett boasts excellent transport links into the centre of London. The village is also famous for being the home of numerous celebrities past and present, including Simon Cowell and the late George Michael.

Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire: £979,430

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Set in the Chiltern Hills, Gerrards Cross is one of the most sought-after postcodes in Britain. The town has a beautiful rural setting and efficient transport links. Those wishing to keep fit can take advantage of facilities for hockey, golf, squash, tennis, football, rugby and cricket.

Hartfield, East Sussex: £958,159

The parish of Hartfield, situated in the Weald of Sussex, has been designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty. And it shows: the parish sits alongside the beautiful, dense Ashdown Forest, a former royal hunting park centuries ago. As a result, the forest remains full of wonderful and easy-to-spot creatures, including boars and foxes. Hartfield is home to Cotchford Farm, a country retreat bought by author AA Milne in 1924. It is here that the stories of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin came to life, with places such as Hundred Acre Wood, Poohsticks Bridge and Pooh Corner based on local sites, says House Beautiful magazine.

Weybridge, Surrey: £954,305

With more than 15,000 people, Weybridge is a bustling town with an extensive high street that cuts through leafy suburbs of manors and mansions. The location of the town gives its residents prime access to the wild Weybridge Heath, where numerous rare insects and birds have been recorded, and to some of the best private schools in the country, including St George’s College.

East Molesey, Surrey: £953,916

A mere 11 miles from the centre of London, East Molesey is the ideal commuter town for those looking for a quick way into the capital. A small community, it has its own high street and a cycle/pedestrian-only ferry service to Hampton Court Palace on the opposite bank of the Thames.

Brockenhurst, Hampshire: £905,844

Located within the New Forest National Park in Hampshire, Brockenhurst has a population of fewer than 4,000 and often tops the list of the most beautiful villages in England. Ponies and donkeys roam its old-world setting, yet it is just 15 miles from Southampton and boasts excellent road and rail links to London, making it a prime destination for commuters willing to travel that little bit further for the quiet life.

Harpenden, Hertfordshire: £872,996

Harpenden, Hertfordshire

Despite its role as a commuter town, Harpenden has retained a charmingly bucolic feel, with small village greens and thatched-roof pubs stocked with local cask ale. The area boasts a broad range of property types, with well-maintained Victorian, Edwardian and inter-war family homes sitting alongside contemporary new-builds.

Ascot, Windsor & Maidenhead, Berkshire: £869,096

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Boasting history ranging from prestigious horse races to the world’s oldest continuously inhabited castle, Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead form a tri-settlement belt of high quality homes in the countryside west of London. Whether you prefer the Queen Anne Enclosure at Royal Ascot or the rich history of Windsor Castle, the towns have plenty to keep you busy - while still remaining peaceful during off season.

Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire: £861,604

The Henley Regatta has made Henley-on-Thames a household name across the country. It is also a deceptively busy little town with plenty of museums, markets and one of the oldest theatres in the country, all within a short walk of the riverfront.

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