Image of green trees and blue sky across an English town.

England is a pretty small place, yet the industrial revolution led to exciting busy cities full of work springing up all over the place. As a result, today English cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, and Leeds, to name just a few, are thriving working hubs. But not everyone likes to live and work in a bustling city environment. Many people prefer to live somewhere that’s a bit more rural and instead, commute into urban areas from commuter towns. Where you want to live can change when you become a parent and have young ones to raise and take care of.  

In addition, renting and buying homes in urban areas in England has become increasingly pricey over the past decade, and this trend has especially been felt by people living in London. In recent years, some people have therefore taken the decision to move out of cities and into commuter towns in England. 

Additional advantages of deciding to move to commuter towns besides more affordable housing also include less noise, more greenery, lower air pollution levels, lower crime rates, generally quieter locations, and more. All these factors contribute to making living in a commuter town an attractive option for young families in England who are seeking a feasible alternative to bringing up their kids in a city. 

The environment that your children grow up in is extremely important and something that will shape and mould them. Fortunately, there are vibrant commuter towns in England that offer an impressively high quality of life for young families. 

We at CIA Landlord Insurance have carried out research that draws on key statistics to try and gauge a solid data-based assessment of the best commuter towns in England for young families.

Image of mother on laptop with child at kitchen table at home.

The best commuter town in England for young families is… Maidstone!

Rankings Best commuter towns in England for young families 
1 Maidstone
2 Warrington
3 Telford
4 Basingstoke
5 Watford
6 Reading
7 Swindon
8 Luton
9 Solihull
10 Crawley
11 Blackburn
12 Chelmsford
13 High Wycombe
14 Huddersfield
15 Rotherham
16 Birkenhead
17 Northampton
18 Basildon
19 Slough
20 Gillingham

Firstly, uprooting and moving to a commuter town when you’ve previously lived in a city or even a village is a big life change for a young family to go through and a decision that mustn’t be taken lightly. 

Therefore, young families need to carry out a lot of research into the quality of life commuter towns could potentially offer them. Are the public transport links good for travelling into cities for work? Are there good local nurseries and schools locally? Parks and green spaces for the kids to let off some steam?

Our research into the top 20 commuter towns in England by population unveiled Maidstone, Kent as the best commuter town in England for young families. This picturesque commuter town with the River Medway running through its centre is handily just a 53-minute direct train journey away from London Bridge Station in central London. London Bridge Station is just a stone’s throw from ‘the city’ banking district, so this train link will be highly convenient if you happen to work on that side of London.

Maidstone is a top choice for active families

Are you an active family who loves spending quality time together doing fun physical escapades in the great outdoors? Perhaps you enjoy leading a sustainable lifestyle as a family and are concerned about the future of our planet? Well, in that case, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Maidstone came out with a near-perfect air quality index score of three, with zero being the least air-polluted a location can be.

As well as the acres of fields available for your little ones to run about in and explore in and around Maidstone, our research showed that there is also no shortage of parks, recreational fields, playgrounds, and nature reserves. The town has a total of eight legally protected green spaces – protected by Fields in Trust ‘deeds of protection’

So, if you want to live outside London and raise your young kids somewhere a bit different with considerably less pollution, crowding, expense, and more outdoor green spaces, all while having easy access to London, then Maidstone is a fabulous choice!

Image of river Medway in Maidstone, Kent.

Other great commuter towns in England

In close second place for the best commuter town in England for young families is Warrington! This North-West English town is well located for commuters, sandwiched conveniently between the bustling business hubs of the cities of Manchester and Liverpool, which are both just 20 and 27-minute train rides respectively. With low crime rates, an abundance of green spaces, and good schools, our research revealed that Warrington is a great town to raise young children. 

Telford, Shropshire, a new town built in the late 1960s in an effort to ease the overpopulation concerns of nearby Wolverhampton and Birmingham, nowadays, it’s a commuter town with over 150,00 inhabitants. Telford came in third place in our research into the best commuter towns in England for young families. Living in Telford, you’ll be able to raise your little ones in a town with low pollution levels and plenty of green spaces for them to make the most of. 

So, do not underestimate or overlook Telford as a nice English commuter town to reside in with your young family, since you could be missing a trick!

Basildon, Slough, and Gillingham finished at the lowest end of our study into English commuter towns. Yet these towns have decent local economies and are well situated, with all three being right next to the capital.

Swindon is the safest commuter town in England

Rankings Commuter towns with the lowest-highest crime rates in 2021 Crime rate per 1,000 inhabitants
1 Swindon 68
2 Solihull 72
3 Watford 72
4 Basingstoke 77
5 Warrington 77
6 High Wycombe 80
7 Reading 84
8 Luton 85
9 Telford 87
10 Crawley 93
11 Maidstone 96
12 Blackburn 98
13 Chelmsford 98
14 Rotherham 104
15 Northampton 105
16 Huddersfield 105
17 Slough 107
18 Gillingham 111
19 Basildon 127
20 Birkenhead 135

Any parents raising a young family will have security at the forefront of their minds. We thereby decided to gather data on crime rates in the English commuter towns we were looking at. 

Our findings show Swindon to be the safest commuter town in England. So, bringing your children up in this Wiltshire town, that’s also just 39 minutes from the lovely city of Bristol and 46 minutes from London by train, is pretty safe. The data we found shows the 2021 crime rate in Swindon was 68 per 1,000 (68 index offences per 1,000 inhabitants).

The town of Solihull is right on the doorstep of the UK’s second-largest city, Birmingham, and it came in joint second place with Watford on safety, with a crime rate of 72 per 1,000 people. These two commuter towns neighbour England’s two largest cities, boast plenty of employment opportunities, and are safe places for young families to lay down their roots.

Image of paper chain of men joining arms and two hands.

Reading has the best schools and colleges 

Rankings Commuter towns Number of schools and colleges with ‘outstanding’ OFSTED reports (4-18-year-olds)
1 Reading 18
2 Northampton 16
3 Chelmsford 16
4 Watford 15
5 Warrington 14
6 Slough 14
7 Rotherham 14
8 Luton 12
9 Maidstone 12
10 Solihull 11
11 Huddersfield 10
12 Blackburn 8
13 Basingstoke 7
14 Swindon 7
15 Telford 7
16 Birkenhead 6
17 Basildon 5
18 Crawley 5
19 High Wycombe 5
20 Gillingham 1

Families with young ones living in a commuter town will want to be blessed with the opportunity to be able to send their children to a good school. 

With this consideration in mind, we compiled data from the OFSTED reports of primary, and secondary schools, and colleges located in each of the 20 commuter towns on our list. We specifically recorded the number of schools and colleges in the area that had been awarded outstanding OFSTED inspection reports, the highest rating the educational regulatory body gives to schools. 

The data we obtained revealed Reading to be the English commuter town with the best schools and colleges for 4-18-year-olds. An impressive staggering 18 schools and colleges in this Berkshire town were deemed to be outstanding by the latest OFSTED inspections, which are well-known for their rigorous and probing nature. 

Another benefit of  Reading is that it’s a commuter town that finds itself neatly situated on London’s doorstep, at just a mere 26-minute journey to Paddington Railway Station in the capital by train.

Northampton and Chelmsford finished closely behind in joint second, and both are home to 16 schools and colleges with outstanding OFSTED inspections respectively. 

Crawley and Wycombe

Crawley and High Wycombe are home to five outstanding OFSTED rated schools and colleges, and Gillingham has one. This means they are the three lowest for this educational performance metric. However, these findings don’t necessarily mean those three towns aren’t also good commuter towns to live in. 

There is an abundance of work opportunities available on your doorstep in Crawley, for instance owing to the proximity of Gatwick Airport. And Gillingham is an up-and-coming commuter town with great fish, just a 48-minute train away from London.

Image of children colouring in at table with felt tip pens.

Telford has the highest number of legally protected green spaces

Rankings Commuter towns in England Number of legally protected green spaces within the local authority area
1 Telford 14
2 Warrington 9
3 High Wycombe 8
4 Maidstone 8
5 Crawley 7
6 Luton 6
7 Blackburn 5
8 Gillingham 5
9 Reading 3
10 Basingstoke 2
11 Birkenhead 2
12 Huddersfield 2
13 Rotherham 2
14 Solihull 2
15 Watford 2
16 Basildon 1
17 Chelmsford 1
18 Slough 1
19 Swindon 1
20 Northampton 0

Kids love running around and having fun exploring or playing sports in parks, playgrounds, fields, and nature reserves. Young children seem to have endless amounts of energy. 

A key pulling factor that attracts young families to move out of urban areas to commuter belt towns is the opportunity to live in a community with much more green spaces. In order to conserve green public spaces such as parks for future generations, someone has to fight their corner and protective legislation must be in place. Putting deeds of protection on parks, fields, playgrounds, and nature reserves in Great Britain is exactly what Fields in Trust fights for. 

So, we collected data on the number of legally protected green spaces by the Fields in Trust for each of the 20 commuter towns in our research. It transpires that Telford, Shropshire is the commuter town with the most legally protected green spaces, being home to a total of 14. Therefore, if it’s plenty of green space for your kids to enjoy that you’re after, Telford is a commuter town in England for you to seriously consider looking at.

Other green commuter towns

There are indeed other commuter towns in England offering an excellent array of green spaces and parks for young families to make the most of. Warrington finished in second place with nine legally protected green spaces in its local authority area, and High Wycombe and Maidstone came in joint third with eight.

Image of green park and trees.

Maidstone has the best air quality!

Ranking Commuter town AQI air pollution rating (0-500)
1 Maidstone 3
2 Swindon 8
3 Telford 9
4 Birkenhead 12
5 Basingstoke 14
6 Huddersfield 14
7 Basildon 18
8 Crawley 19
9 Chelmsford 20
10 Blackburn 21
11 Solihull 24
12 Watford 25
13 Rotherham 29
14 Luton 32.3
15 Warrington 33
16 Slough 33
17 High Wycombe 35
18 Reading 37.25
19 Northampton 45
20 Gillingham  47

Many English cities have highly concentrated populations, and some undeniably have ongoing problems related to excessive levels of air pollution. Therefore, it’s perfectly understandable that some parents may decide to raise their families in a location with better air quality, which tends to be the case with commuter towns compared to city areas. 

We collected data on each of the 20 commuter towns’ AQI ratings (Air Quality Index). AQI is a measurement with a 0 to 500 scale, and the higher the AQI, the greater the level of air pollution, which comes with enhanced health risks. An AQI value of 50 or below represents good air quality, and a value beyond 300 represents hazardous air quality. 

The stats we unearthed found Maidstone, Kent to have the best air quality out of the 20 commuter towns we looked at, with an almost perfect value of three (as recorded on 16th January 2023). So, looking for a sensible alternative to the big smoke with better air quality for your young family? If so, Maidstone could be a great option for you.

Swindon and Telford

Also, the data we found for this metric showed that Swindon and Telford have low air pollution levels and good air quality ratings, and the towns scored eight and nine respectively, finishing in second and third place. The data we looked at across the board supports the idea that there are low air pollution levels in commuter towns in England.


We picked the 20 most populated commuter towns in England and then used relevant data to help us determine the best commuter towns in England for young families. The goal of our research was to help young families make informed choices about the best places to live outside urban areas.

Our research drew on data across four key areas. These key areas included local crime rates, school OFSTED assessment reports of primary, and secondary schools, and colleges, the number of legally protected green spaces protected by the Field in Trust organisation, and air quality (AQI) levels. We looked at data on these specific areas because they are all factors that play a significant role in making up the minds’ of young families when they are considering which commuter town in England they want to move to. 


Here are the sources which provided us with the data we used to carry out our research into the best commuter towns in England for young families.


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