There’s no question that London is a great place to live – but it can also be an expensive – and sometimes dangerous – one too. 

In 2024, more and more people are choosing to raise their families outside of the capital and, in this article, we’re looking at our top picks for the best places to live outside of London for families: 

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Cracking commuter towns

In many cases, people want to find somewhere quieter and cheaper to live which will still allow them to travel into London for work and, in this section, we’re looking at some of the South East’s best commuter towns: 

St. Albans

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With its village atmosphere, great restaurants and plenty of open spaces, the historic city of St. Albans is a fantastic choice. The area has lots of great schools and house prices tend to be considerably lower than in London. 

Better still, commuters can reach Central London with an hour and eleven minutes drive or just half an hour by train.

Leighton Buzzard

In the county of Bedfordshire, Leighton Buzzard is an extremely family oriented town with good schools and reasonable house prices. 

Depending on your budget, you can choose between a modern home in the town centre or a charming cottage in a more rural part of the town. 

The train into Charing Cross takes just 46 minutes.

Kingston on Thames

Surrey is an incredibly popular place to live for families and Kingston is a picture perfect town on the River Thames. 

While a little more expensive than other commuter towns, Kingston has tons to offer including riverside restaurants and bars, prestigious schools and lots of independent stores and boutiques. 

You can be in Central London in 41 minutes by train. 

The Midlands

The Midlands occasionally (and unfairly) get a bit of a bad reputation but there are some fantastic (and fantastically cheap) places to make a family home, including: 


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Famous for being the birthplace of Saint George, the British car industry and, of course, its impressive cathedral, Coventry is a city with the feel of a small town. 

The area has plenty to offer including good schools, amenities and proximity to the countryside and house prices are considerably lower than its city neighbour, Birmingham. 


Voted the best place to live in the UK in a Sunday Times poll, this suburb of Birmingham is home to just 10,000 people but has gained a reputation for its modern, buzzy bars and restaurants. 

Stirchley also enjoys easy access into Birmingham city centre and beyond. 

The North East


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Home to the famous cathedral, Durham is just over 18 miles from Newcastle, offering the best of both worlds. 

Pretty and reasonably priced, Durham not only has some great schools but also one of the UK’s leading universities. 

House prices are a far cry from the eye-watering costs in London and you can bag a three bedroom family home for around £190,374.


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For those who long to be beside the sea, Tynemouth is a picturesque town with a village atmosphere and offers easy access to Newcastle, Durham and Hartlepool – meaning lots of great employment opportunities. 

House prices in this much sought after area are a little higher than other parts of the north east but are justified by everything that Tynemouth has to offer including some great family run restaurants and a fantastic beach. 

The North West

The Wirral

Just a stone’s throw from Liverpool, home of legendary band, The Beatles, The Wirral is a great place to raise a family. 

With plenty of well ranked schools and reasonably priced accommodation, there are also plenty of jobs to be had in the area. 


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Home of the famous Lake District, Cumbria is made up of a number of villages, towns and cities, including: 

  • Carlisle
  • Barrow-in-Furness
  • Ulverston
  • Cockermouth
  • Ambleside

This means that people relocating to Cumbria can take their pick of some vibrant but safe cities or rural coastal cottages. 

While property in the Lake District can be expensive, homes can be found in places like Barrow-in-Furness for less than £150,000. 

Scotland and The Borders

Scotland and The Borders offer some of the most stunning countryside that the UK has to offer, including: 


Perched on The Borders, Hawick (pronounced Hoyk) is a small but perfectly formed town which has everything that a family needs including schools, shops, restaurants and plenty of rural countryside. 

Even better, this underrated town is just an hour and a half’s drive from Edinburgh. 


This Scottish city once had a bit of a rundown reputation – but not any more. 

Regeneration means that this bustling city is now thriving and can offer families a great lifestyle, including plentiful employment and some impressive schools. 

A three bedroom family home will set you back around £200,000. 


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Just a hop, skip and a jump from Edinburgh’s town centre, Leith is a small coastal town with a stunning harbour. 

When it comes to accommodation, you can choose between a sleek modern flat or a 200 year old cottage and the town’s close proximity to Edinburgh means that you have everything you need on your doorstep. 

Northern Ireland

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Another underrated part of the UK for families, Northern Ireland is just over 14,000 square kilometres long but manages to pack in some uber-cool cities as well as spectacular countryside and iconic landmarks such as the Giant’s Causeway. 

There are some fantastic places to live in Northern Ireland including: 


Northern Ireland’s capital city is a dynamic hub which can rival other UK cities such as London, Manchester and Liverpool. 

While, as you would expect, homes within the city centre are a little more expensive, move a little further out and you can find a decent family home for as little as £207,000.

Options to suit every personality – and every budget

When it comes to living in the UK, there are tons of fantastic options – many of which are cheaper and offer a better standard of living than England’s capital. 

When choosing somewhere new to live, always be sure to visit first – preferably for a couple of days – to get a proper feel for the place and to make sure that it has all the amenities that you and your family will need. 

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