The best places to live in and around North Wessex Downs

By Staff Reporter - 28 April 2021

Home and Garden

Just 60 miles from London, it's not hard to understand why the North Wessex Downs region is getting more popular with property buyers. Rural villages, market towns, and once somewhat forgotten cities are becoming interesting and attractive places to invest in property. Surrounded by beautiful countryside and with plenty of interesting things to see and do, a region is a great place for young professionals or families to reside.

Villages and towns

North Wessex Downs is home to several charming towns and villages. These areas are becoming more popular due to good transport links and lower house prices. As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are plenty of great sights and interesting things to do. Popular towns include Marlborough and Hungerford.

Around Marlborough, you can go for a day trip to Savernake Forest which is great for camping or you can take a trek to the West Kennet Long Barrow, a fascinating neolithic tomb structure. You can also head out to the Marlborough White Horse, a figure carved into a chalk hill that dates from 1804. The area is home to one of the country’s best private schools, Marlborough College as well as excellent state educational institutions. The average house price in the area is around GBP 352,315 for a terraced property, rising to over GBP 653,000 for a detached home.

The historic market town of Hungerford is home to the Avon Canal, flanked by a picturesque wharf. In the town, you can browse quaint antique shops, take a walk at Combe Gibbet, visit the Alder Ridge Vineyard, or explore some of the local churches. It’s believed that the town was the inspiration for Kennetbridge in ‘Jude the Obscure’ by Thomas Hardy but others say it could be Newbury instead. Here, the average property costs in the region of GBP 377,033 for a two-bedroom house.


If you prefer city life, it may be worth looking at some of the cities that border the North Wessex Downs area. The city of Swindon is an up-and-coming place for house-hunters, having spent many years under the radar. It’s home to the Great Western Railway museum which includes several historical locomotives such as Queen Victoria’s Royal Saloon dating from 1897. It also has some galleries, boutique restaurants, and hosts two beer festivals, one in May and one in October. The city boasts many public and private schools as well as further education institutions.

Property prices have increased recently due to better transport links with London. At the time of writing, the average property price in Swindon was GBP 272,000, less than some of the surrounding rural areas. Equally, you can typically expect a property sale time to complete within 15 weeks. However, this time may decrease if this area becomes more popular.

A step up from Swindon in terms of size and proximity to London is the city of Reading. Still, on the borders of the North Wessex Downs area, it combines rural living (just a few miles out) with city living and a metropolitan vibe. For those interested in history, there is plenty to see including the Reading Abbey Ruins, some stately homes, the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, and the Cole Museum of Zoology. Reading is also home to one of the country’s best universities 

Reading as well as a handful of high-performing private and public schools.

Prices are higher in Reading, due mainly to the fact it is a commuter city for those working in London. Last year, the average property price was over GBP 376,000 and prices are rising steadily. 

With the housing market showing no signs of slowing down, people will continue to look for the next best area to live in.

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