Beautiful places to live in Southeast England are a dime a dozen. While having a gorgeous place is nice, it is important to consider things like cost of living, amenities, transportation, and career opportunities when searching for a new place to live.
A metropolitan area that genuinely works for your demands is critical when choosing which town in Southeast London to call home. No matter what you’re looking for in an English village – the top spot for families, ex-pats, property sellers, or students – there’s a place for you.
In this article, we’ll look at the 30 best places to live in Southeast England.
Table of Contents
- 1. London
- 2. Surrey Hills, Surrey
- 3. Guildford, Surrey
- 4. Reigate, Surrey
- 5. Woking, Surrey
- 6. Cranleigh, Surrey
- 7. Bramley, Surrey
- 8. Haslemere, Surrey
- 9. Ewhurst, East Sussex
- 10. Witney, Oxfordshire
- 11. Thame, Oxfordshire
- 12. Chinnor, Oxfordshire
- 13. Jericho, Oxfordshire
- 14. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
- 15. Reading, Berkshire
- 16. Maidenhead, Berkshire
- 17. Bracknell, Berkshire
- 18. Slough, Berkshire
- 19. Rye, East Sussex
- 20. Lewes, East Sussex
- 21. Arundel, West Sussex
- 22. Midhurst, West Sussex
- 23. Worthing, West Sussex
- 24. Lindfield, West Sussex
- 25. Hastings, East Sussex
- 26. Chichester, West Sussex
- 27. Brighton & Hove, East Sussex
- 28. Oxford, Oxfordshire
- 29. Portsmouth, Hampshire
- 30. Stroud, Gloucestershire
London is a city with incredible diversity. Because of its wide range of languages and foreigners, it has earned itself the title of the world’s cultural capital.
The architectural displays in London depict more than 2,000 years of history, plus the cultural centers and art museums, are all completely free to visit.
Situated in this magnificent city are several leading educational institutions, including the London School of Economics. Nearly half of London is green space and more than half is open space.
There’s no end to the number of job opportunities here. More than 100 of Europe’s 500 largest corporations have their corporate offices in central London.
When you’re not working, London is a fantastic spot to socialize and is among the top 20 safest cities in the world and among the best for shopping in Europe.
If you’re a fan of football (soccer), then London is the place to be. It is home to the most professional football teams in Europe, with ten squads competing in the top two divisions for the sport.
2. Surrey Hills, Surrey
A bit far from London lies Surrey Hills, an area between Farnham & Dorking with forested hills, flower-filled pastures, and moorlands. If you want to experience a picture-perfect slice of English rural life, then Surrey Hills is the place.
With plenty of pubs and local spots to hang out in, you won’t have to worry that you’ve left your social life back in the big city.
Many famous movies feature sections of this town, from Four Weddings and a Funeral to Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and The Holiday. Surrey Hills is perfect if you need somewhere beautiful and peaceful to live.
3. Guildford, Surrey
Guildford, about 40 kilometers southwest of London, is an excellent place for both families and professionals. Everyone widely accepts it as the county seat. Because of its closeness to London, it offers the best of both worlds.
Due to Guildford’s lively retail and restaurant scene, many young professionals choose to live here for its decent work-life balance.
The region is also home to a slew of prestigious educational institutions, and the town’s center got the Purple Flag, indicating that various safe events are available to visitors.
The Guildford Castle and Cathedral, as well as a great golf course, are just a few of the attractions along the town’s picturesque high street.
4. Reigate, Surrey
Reigate, a famous village in eastern Surrey with over 20,000 people, takes pride in its friendly atmosphere.
Reigate is popular with commuters and first-time purchasers because of its proximity to London’s railway system, which offers trains every half an hour.
The Surrey Hills are just a short drive away and offer an excellent opportunity to get away from it all and enjoy some stunning scenery.
Priory Park in Reigate is a bustling city park with various features like a playground, skate park, tennis courts, and open fields for sports. Throughout the year, local festivals and events are held in the village, including food and drink celebrations.
5. Woking, Surrey
Woking, a large town in Surrey, is only a 25-minute train journey from central London.
Because of its closeness to the city’s major attractions and access to major train lines, it’s a viable alternative for those seeking the London experience on a tighter budget.
Aside from the numerous shops, stores, and entertainment options available in Woking’s downtown area, the town also boasts several golf courses and a large amount of green space.
Woking FC, their National League football club, is a crucial attraction, drawing in many young professionals.
6. Cranleigh, Surrey
Besides the fact that you might come across one of many celebrities in Cranleigh, it’s a great town for families to settle.
Every independent shop has its unique charm, and there’s a street-side market each week from which you can gather your local produce. You will appreciate Cranleigh’s allure while strolling along the edge of the River Wey, which runs through the town.
Cranleigh Prep is right across the street from The Cranleigh School, a fantastic day and boarding institution situated on 280 acres on the outskirts of the village.
7. Bramley, Surrey
You will find the town of Bramley in the central Surrey rural areas in a region of breathtaking views not far from Guilford.
This little village is about 10 square miles of beautiful countryside in the UK’s southeast corner. Even though it has the same name as one of Britain’s most well-known apples, it is unrelated to the fruit.
In addition to the village’s numerous pubs and dining facilities, residents also have access to many stores, garages, and an art exhibition that line its slender high street.
Bramley is ideal for those who prefer a more relaxed pace of life and want to take advantage of England’s natural features without dealing with the daily grind of city life.
The railway station is now completely deserted, but buses from Guildford run frequently and can typically get you where you want to go.
8. Haslemere, Surrey
Haslemere is the southernmost town in Surrey, bordering both Hampshire and West Sussex.
As you drive through town, you’ll see beautiful Georgian and Victorian architecture framed by mature trees, as well as a charming market filled with independent businesses and services.
Many large airlines and ferries have nonstop routes to this city, and access to the south coast is easy via the main London Waterloo to Portsmouth railway track and excellent road connections.
Public and private educational institutions in the area have high standards, attracting families to move or build a family in this town.
9. Ewhurst, East Sussex
Ewhurst is about 35 miles southwest of London and is a charming village that hosts several cultural activities each year to keep its residents entertained.
Particularly when compared to major cities like London, property prices are affordable in this area. Cranleigh is nearby, so there’s always an event underway. A big plus to Ewhurst is that you won’t have to deal with the rush hour traffic of London’s downtown.
10. Witney, Oxfordshire
Witney, a small market town, is quite lovely.
You will find it nestled in the heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswold Mountains, right alongside the Windrush River.
The middle-age wool trade was primarily responsible for Witney’s fame and fortune, and a local mill in Witney was still producing the fabled “Witney blankets” as recently as 2002.
The bustling town center, despite its size, has a small-town feel, and when combined with its desirable location, Witney is difficult to beat.
11. Thame, Oxfordshire
In the English market town of Thame (pronounced Tame), you’ll discover a diverse selection of small retailers, butcher shops, pubs, and eateries.
In addition, it has caught the eye of commuters looking for good value in the vicinity of London, with a commute time of only 43 minutes into Marylebone station in the capital.
Thame and its environs have seen steady growth thanks to a mix of high-quality government and non-governmental education, as well as a diverse mix of classic and modern housing.
The daily schedule in Thame is jam-packed with events for the residents’ enjoyment. Music in the Park (Elms Park) is a family-friendly event that features live music and dance performances for persons of different ages in late April/early May.
12. Chinnor, Oxfordshire
Near the Chiltern Hills bluff and south of Oxford, you will find a large village called Chinnor.
Chinnor is a relatively affluent area, and as such, has a higher percentage of homeowners than the national average.
Thame, High Wycombe, Aylesbury, and London are close enough to Chinnor that most residents commute daily by car or train to and from these larger cities.
The real estate market in Chinnor is a bit constrained in terms of what is available for sale, and this drives up property prices; however, property in Chinnor is still around £240,000 cheaper than in London.
As for Chinnor, it has a lot to offer, from the restored Chinnor Windmill to a historical railway network and three vibrant pubs in the village. There are many organizations here that are always looking for new members, from the Chess Club to Tae Kwon Do.
13. Jericho, Oxfordshire
Jericho is without a doubt Oxfordshire’s best town! Buyers are seeking a glamorous substitute to Oxford in this up-and-coming area.
Jericho is a fantastic spot because of its Victorian terraced houses surrounded by nice bars, eateries, and coffee shops.
Throughout the hectic university school hours, Jericho comes alive, as it is a popular hangout spot for both students and young professionals.
Jericho’s unique mix of urban and rural living appeals to a wide range of people. Oxfordshire’s breathtaking countryside is never too far away for locals, who also have access to the conveniences of a larger town.
Despite its small size, Jericho has a lot to offer its residents in terms of shopping. Many options are highly specialized and keep up with the area’s current hipster aesthetic.
If the hipster aesthetic isn’t your thing, don’t worry – it only takes about 15 minutes to drive to the Westgate Shopping Center where you’ll find more of the standard retail stores.
14. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Henley on the Thames, also known as Henley, is a well-known Oxfordshire town and a highly sought-after place to live.
Located on the Thames, it is famous for the Royal Regatta, a cultural exhibition, and a literature event.
It’s no surprise that Henley is a popular tourist destination given its reputation as one of the most excellent places in the English countryside its frequent awards.
However, owing to the increased average housing price (presently £840,272), you’ll need plenty of cash to settle down here.
From here you can get to London by train in about 60 minutes and to Oxford and Basingstoke by car in less than that. Henley has evolved into a vibrant community with plenty for residents to see and do.
You will come upon several small antique and curiosity shops that will pique your interest in Henley. As a result, it’s no surprise that the River & Rowing Museum has garnered a great deal of attention.
15. Reading, Berkshire
If you’ve ever played Monopoly, you’ve probably bought the town of Reading at some point. It would be remiss of us to omit Reading from this list. After all, it’s a major city in the United Kingdom with excellent transportation to London.
Two rivers, including the Thames, meander through the town, making it an ideal getaway from the city’s buzz.
Reading’s median home value is £418,300, as per information obtained from local realtors. The majority of surrounding primary schools (upwards of 80%) and the majority of neighboring secondary schools (over 70%) have The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) valuation of “good.”
Reading School and Kendrick School are the two primary grammar schools in the area. The crime rate is graded 102 out of 1,000, which is considered low.
16. Maidenhead, Berkshire
Maidenhead is located right next to the Thames, and the newly redesigned waterways make it a great place to go for a walk.
Notwithstanding the high cost of living in Maidenhead (a typical home costs £560,532), the area maintains popularity because of its excellent public schools.
The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) rates 89% of primary and 72% of secondary schools as good or higher.
Even though Maidenhead only has one grammar school, the average salary in the town is significantly higher than in Reading.
17. Bracknell, Berkshire
Looking for a safe place to live with your family? You’ve arrived! Bracknell is comparable with Reading in terms of overall quality of life.
There are no grammar schools in the borough, but the town has a low crime rate of 50 crimes per 1,000 residents.
The town center has undergone significant renovation and is now a thriving destination for retail shopping and fine dining.
Lily Hill Park and South Hill Park are two of the city’s lovely green spaces, and you’ll be happy to hear that the average house price in the area was £385,860, the lowest of any of the top locations in the area.
The local schools may not be the same caliber as those in Reading and Maidenhead, however, they are still quite respectable. OFSTED gave a ‘good’ rating to 60% of primary schools or higher, and 57% of schools in the secondary level followed suit.
18. Slough, Berkshire
Slough is beautiful and has many amenities, but it is also expensive. It is, however, still more affordable than Reading and the education system has a good rating.
It has numerous grammar schools, way more in fact than other towns in the county. For primary schools, the rating was 81% “good” or higher, and for secondary schools, the rating was 66% for “good.”
There are 103 crimes per 1,000 people, just a smidge higher than in Reading, meaning it is also a relatively safe place to live.
19. Rye, East Sussex
If you want a city with natural and architectural splendor, Rye is it. In addition to that, the general standard of living here is fantastic and a residence in Rye will only set you back an average of £480,000.
The town’s beautiful beach walks and architecture and design splendor boosted it to end up on our list, as well as its ancient, cobbled roads full of mixed material (including timber) dwellings, friendly coffee shops, and historic lodgings.
Traveling along the famous Mermaid Street is a walk through history, as Rye also has a slew of medieval monuments to show off.
The brick in Red Lamb House has a rich literary history dating back to Henry James’ time as the owner of ‘The Turn of the Screw.’
The golden sands are a bus ride away and they are also readily accessible from this quiet, country area.
20. Lewes, East Sussex
The typical house costs around £700,000 in this charming medieval market town, which features Georgian and Victorian design and many stunning natural areas.
Lewes has excellent aesthetics, but residents choose here because it’s quiet and safe while still offering a wide range of educational options and recreational activities.
It’s not cheap, though; property values here are on par with those in Brighton (which means they are expensive. Lewes, the county town of Sussex, is a charming market town with many small, locally-owned businesses and a nearly 1,000-year-old castle.
Due to its proximity to the chalk cliffs and its historical significance as the site of Anne of Cleves’ townhouse, Lewes offers a diverse selection of amenities.
Also, in Sussex, you’ll find Harvey’s Brewery, which makes its beers readily available on the town’s high street.
Drusillas Park, the best mini zoo on the continent, is right outside Lewes, and the South Downs National Park, with its fantastic scenery and countryside strolls, is only a short drive away.
21. Arundel, West Sussex
The typical house costs between £350k and £650k in the picturesque town of Arundel, Sussex, distinguished by a majestic castle perched atop a hill.
The town has romantic skylines and gothic twiddles. The town’s cathedral still houses the Tudor bones of St. Phillip Howard, the town’s patron saint.
There are beautiful buildings from each era in the historic district, many of which are Georgian, and locals say that residing there is like being transported back in time.
22. Midhurst, West Sussex
Midhurst, a quaint market town in the heart of the South Downs National Park, is a popular destination for many.
Midhurst has strong political power and plays a significant historical role too. It sits on the Rother River, and the ruins of Cowdray House and Cowdry Ruins, one of England’s great Tudor houses, can be found outside Midhurst’s town center.
Several historical figures have called this house home, including Queen Elizabeth I, King Henry VIII, and Guy Fawkes. In the middle of town, you’ll see all the usual shops and eateries, as well as places for wine and beer tastings.
The Midhurst Celebration, which draws together performers, artists, and crafters each August, and the town’s annual Christmas street party are two favorite annual town celebrations.
Polo at Cowdray Park in July, however, which entices global participants and celebrities as bystanders, is the social centerpiece of the year.
23. Worthing, West Sussex
Worthing is a great option if you don’t want to be surrounded by people all the time.
Compared to other major cities in the region, it’s a little quieter here. However, as the county’s largest settlement, Worthing still has a lot to offer in terms of activities and amenities.
Worthing is less expensive than Brighton and Hove but offers easy access to the English Channel and South Downs. The city is also rapidly expanding, thanks to the influx of young professionals and families looking for a place to call home.
It also has a beautiful Edwardian movie theater, a flourishing craft beer vibe, and a pier that was recently elected Pier of the Year.
24. Lindfield, West Sussex
Lindfield, Sussex, is one of the UK’s best towns. With a commute time to London of only 50 minutes, it’s an excellent location for working in or living near the city.
In addition to being dubbed Sussex’s most beautiful village street, this small community has repeatedly earned the award for the best village.
Towards the north of town are a charming high street, a historic church, and a beautiful lake.
As well as hosting international cricket matches, Lindfield is frequently the site of neighborhood gatherings. The Village Day activity is a big hit, but residents especially like to gather at night for the Bonfire Night event.
25. Hastings, East Sussex
Hastings ranks high when it comes to quality of life, hence why so many families have been flocking to the community. Its natural beauty captivates you.
The rustic architectural designs add to the town’s appeal. Note that it isn’t cheap to live there – the median home price is between £350,000 and £650,000.
Hastings is a well-connected coastal town in the southeast with close proximity to London.
It’s easy to find a great school in Hastings because of the abundance of options. The town is home to 18 primaries, four secondaries, a coeducational, and an independent school.
The Hastings Museum and Art Gallery is your one-stop shop for world-class historical, cultural, and artistic collections, as well as free educational and community events.
The Pier, one of the city’s most popular attractions for live music, vintage fairs, and other fun events for the whole family, has also earned the “Pier of the Year” award.
26. Chichester, West Sussex
Chichester is another picturesque town in West Sussex and, again, not cheap but worth the peace and quality of life that comes with living there.
The architectural beauty of the homes and buildings, in general, is a sight to behold, with housing prices averaging between £350,000 and £650,000.
Although the district has a larger population, the actual town has a lower population density. Schools, shops, and parks abound in this charming old city.
The South Downs and Chichester Harbour are within easy driving distance, making it a desirable location for tourists.
27. Brighton & Hove, East Sussex
Brighton & Hove in Sussex is one of the liveliest and perhaps most atmospheric cities in the county, with many stores, places to eat, and activities to keep you entertained.
There are nearly one thousand pubs in the city, so you’ll never be thirsty if you decide to call it home.
One reason that Brighton frequently gets referenced as one of the friendliest cities in the UK is its unique blend of culture, individuals, and vibe.
London and the South Downs National Park are easily accessible, and the area’s fantastic beach and pier draw countless tourists each year.
In addition to being slightly less pricey than other towns on this list, it’s also better maintained and has a train station with service to and from London that takes under an hour.
After a stressful move, this city is the perfect place to kick back and relax. The best thing to do is head to the beach, grab some ice cream, and put your feet up.
28. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Oxford, where average salaries are some of the highest in the UK, and a top-notch global university has over £6 billion in total funds and endowments, certainly falls into the “affluent” category.
There are friendly communities near the John Radcliffe Hospital, while over in North Oxford, you’ll see wealthier areas like Summertown and Wolvercote.
Despite its high cost of living, you will not fall short of events and places to visit when you choose to reside in Oxford.
29. Portsmouth, Hampshire
Technology is an area in which Portsmouth excels. Although the cost of living in Portsmouth is high, the people there have good salaries and access to cutting-edge digital technology.
Being a resident of Portsmouth means you’ll never be bored! Locals and tourists alike enjoy the city’s many attractions.
It’s easy to take advantage of all the fine seaside places of interest in this coastal city. If you’re from Portsmouth and enjoy spending time on the water, head to Southsea.
30. Stroud, Gloucestershire
The Sunday Times named Stroud as the best place to live. The “independent spirit” of this Gloucestershire town is highly lauded, as are the town’s schools and green spaces.
It costs about £265,500 on average for a residence in Stroud, making it remarkably cheaper than some other towns on this list. While it is also a great place to visit if you take walks, Stroud, is much more than just a great place to go to breathe in some fresh air.
Besides having excellent commuter access, the town is also home to some beautiful properties, including charming antique miller’s dwellings and repurposed mills with picturesque waterside viewpoints.