Locating to UK (London) on the horizon. Where to live from a cyclist's perspective?

If you like climbing then I think you might be disappointed by the South East of England- the hills are pretty small (& London itself is pretty flat).

The Lake District is my favourite place to cycle in the UK- its gorgeous and has some of the best climbs in the country. If you’re looking for inspiration for hilly rides then I’d really recommend this book: https://www.waterstones.com/book/ride-britain/simon-warren/9781472144546 It’ll take you to some of the hilliest and most beautiful bits of Britain- you’ll probably need a car to get there from London though.

2 Likes

I live in a town called Farnborough, a bout 59 miles SW of central London, but we have a fast train line into London Waterloo (between 35 and 45 mins, depending on train and time of day).

The benefits of living outside of London itself are many; more realistic property prices, easy access to both the city itself and the countryside, and where I live, easy access to the two main hub airports (for when we’re all flying again :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:).

I also have access to great cycling in pretty much every direction; to the south and east, hills, to the west and north relatively flat. For example, it’s easy to create a 100mile out and back route south to the coast, with 2,000m of vertical. It’s also easy to create a 100mile route to the west with only 600m vertical.

I know many will advocate riding around London parks like Richmond Park etc., but for me, it just wouldn’t cut it.

I’d suggest thinking about where the office is, look at where the main stations are, then look along those lines. If doing this though, it’s always worth checking train times, some places can be quite close in, but there trains are very slow, and vice versa.

3 Likes

East London all the way!

I’m a Brit.

So much of it depends on the necessary proximity to London. Unsurprisingly cost of living is very much determined by that. If you need to be in the office everyday then you might find 1+ hour commutes wearing, if it’s once a week then longer might be tolerable?

If proximity to London is a key factor consider also ability to commute in, from further afield using the national rail network (not the tube) National Rail Enquiries - National Rail Maps . For example I lived until recently in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, half an hour on the train into central London: ten minute walk to kings cross…

In terms of riding in the UK, make sure you ride in the Lake District, Peak District , Yorkshire, Scotland then get on the tunnel and head to the alps!

1 Like

You sound like ideal candidates for camper van ownership! Maybe not at first (especially as even secondhand prices are massively COVID-inflated at the moment). It’s a different game here than in America because everything is so much closer together. You don’t need to dive fifteen hours a day in a vehicle the size of a bus to see the main sights and visit all the cycling destinations. The same drive time/miles as SF-LA will get you from London all the way up here to Glasgow, and I think things are even more compact once you get a ferry onto the continent.

2 Likes

Also do note that train tickets in this country are very very expensive as well. Just putting that out there too.

2 Likes

I’ve seen a few folks mention taking the train to Waterloo. I haven’t lived there for a long time, but just throwing in that when I did, it took a while to get from Kings X to Waterloo. At least 20 minutes.

3 Likes

It sounds like for the first year, it’ll be mainly your girlfriend living there full-time, and you’ll join her for a couple of months, and as if you both don’t need a ton of space and are quite likely to move again. Because of that, I’d try to find somewhere close to her work - obviously, beware of the London rents, but close enough that she can get there in 15-20 minutes on the tube/train or by bike (don’t try and drive, parking is likely more expensive than public transport). Daily commutes suck! Then, when you both are there, go explore the surrounding areas, contact a few bike clubs and see where their club rides go, and see if you find somewhere you like. That way you can get a bit of London lifestyle, and settle in, before deciding on a place. You won’t need a car, public transport is good (even though it can be very crowded, and you might need to book to take a bike). Deffo also hop on the train to ride somewhere else (the Lakes, Peakdistrict, Wales, Yorkshire) - a fast train can get you nearly everywhere in a few hours.

If you do move somewhere more rural, check what the internet service is like - I think you won’t have any issues around London, but some rural places have surprisingly slow connections.

Lifestyle wise, vegan food is easy to come by nowadays, most places that serve food will have vegan options, and most larger shops sell decent fresh veg etc. Organic food is getting more common, the supermarkets will have some basics, but I’m sure London has plenty of specialist shops too.

4 Likes

St Albans in Hertfordshire is 30 mins to St Pancras by train. St Pancras and Kings Cross are next to each other. That means no tube or change of train needed for her commute.

Hertfordshire isn’t hilly nor flat. About 15 ft per mile climb ratio in most directions. The Chilterns are just west and there are plenty of quiet lanes (small roads) to ride.

You’d be properly outside London rather than in a northern suburb.

St Albans, is a city but compact with cathedral and Roman artefacts etc. Lots of pubs and places to eat out. Has a few cycling clubs for slower or faster riders etc.

4 Likes

North Wales :rofl::rofl::rofl:

Now on a serious side. What @PhilW just above said.

I’m actually trying to move to that area more specifically Tring/Berkhamsted.

45min to Central London. Lovely place to live and in the middle of the countryside. It’s amazing for hikes too and pubs are amazing.

I have a contrary opinion about the Richmond recommendation. It’s not for me.

The pub in the UK are amazing but you need to quickly do a Google Search to see the ratings.

Closer to Euston I can recommend Dalston/Hackney area. A good mix of culture. You are 20min cycling From Euston Station and you are 30min from Epping forest (Essex “access gate”). It’s a good compromise

Good luck & enjoy

Was just about to suggest places like St Albans and Stevenage :+1:. Makes much more sense for a commute into Kings Cross than living down in Surrey or near Richmond Park (and I say this having spent most of my adult life living near Richmond Park!). Good fast direct train service into Kings Cross or St Pancras makes for a much more efficient and relaxing commute than having to get on the tube. I’m not all that familiar with the riding around Hertfordshire but have friends up there who seem to find plenty of good routes.

1 Like

Hertford is another nice place to live, though trains not so fast into London

Just to add to my comment above.

Because if the “compact” life style in London FIND A NICE PLACE TO STAY.

A place to training, an place to wash your bike and a garden!

This might be more important than the exact location actually!

Check out Sevenoaks

Madtuna, I’ve lived in both Tring, probably 15 years ago and until very recently Berkhamsted. Berko’s a particularly nice place, great cycling club too

1 Like

Minimal traffic within 30 mins of London…:smiley::smiley::smiley:, good luck finding that place.

3 Likes

I work in St Albans and it’s very nice, though for cycling I’d recommend a little further north and west in Herts (might push the commute a bit, but Tring has a fast train to London).

Small world! We’ve just bought in Tring (now if only the buyers of our current place would actually pull their fingers out…)

1 Like

@Jez and @RecoveryRide

Good to have feedback!

Me and my girlfriend been talking about it for long time (to move out) but COVID happened, then little man Lucas joined us.

We are committed to move this coming summer though​:crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:

1 Like

Obviously I don’t mean traffic INTO london. just around town if need be. Not that a car is needed to get around town.

Wow, didn’t know there was a difference between US and UK (and Europe I assume) re brake positioning.