The 55 minute train commute from London to Banbury has really put the area on the map, particularly for London commuters. Where in the past the journey from London was over 75 minutes and trains were less frequent, commuters can now enjoy a short and pleasant journey on the Chiltern Line spending their time browsing on the free Wi-Fi, perhaps getting a bit of work done before reaching London Marylebone. Easy access can then be gained to either The City or the West End. Early commuters also praise the parking availability at Banbury station where in many other regions this is typically a struggle in the morning.
Due to the improved train services the market and demographic of buyers has changed somewhat whereby young families in particular are now drawn to the region. Typically the husband is a London commuter but there are many who will also commute to Birmingham or the Midlands with Banbury also being on Junction 11 of the M40 motorway. For those wanting to travel overseas Birmingham International Airport and London Heathrow are within a 45-60 minute drive. There is also a decent choice of schools in and around Banbury, another big incentive for families. Popular private schools include The Carrdus, St. John’s Priory School, Winchester House, Beachborough School, Bloxham, Tudor Hall, Sibford, Stowe and Rugby.
Banbury is probably most famous for a nursery rhyme dedicated to it ‘Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross’ with its historic centre but since the creation of the M40 it has developed into a large town which now includes a Kraft factory, which unfortunately does not help the overall aesthetic and can also produce a rather unpleasant smell. It is a practical town with everyday essentials which include a large Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons supermarkets and the Castle Quay shopping precinct which also has a Marks and Spencer. It is not necessarily somewhere you would go for a nice shopping trip but Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon are easily reached for these.
Banbury’s main draw is the beautiful countryside to the west and south, which forms part of north Oxfordshire and south Warwickshire at the top of the Cotswolds. It emanates a more rustic feel than the more manicured Cotswolds villages around the Daylesford Triangle (Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Norton and Burford). Houses here also tend to be built from Hornton stone which is deep red/orange ironstone rather than the yellow limestone of the Cotswolds. Favoured villages in this area tend to be within a 10-15 minute driving radius of Banbury train station and include the unspoilt villages of Alkerton, Wigginton, Swerford, Great and Little Tew. The newly opened Soho Farmhouse is also making the area more popular for second home buyers and given locals an alternative to Daylesford Organic Farmshop. For those looking for more of a community then Hook Norton is a popular destination with its shop, doctor’s surgery, veterinary practise, active community sports club and well known brewery. There is also some very attractive countryside to the north east of the M40 going towards Daventry although you need to be aware of the new High Speed rail line (HS2) which runs through part of this countryside. Popular villages here include Culworth, Sulgrave and Priors Marston.
Other areas that are becoming increasingly popular are the south Warwickshire villages of Cherington, Sutton-under-Brailes, Whichford and Ascott which offer real tranquillity and are within a 20 minute drive of Banbury train station.
North Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds are dominated by large estates but for those with equestrian interests who require 20 plus acres, there is a more ready supply of properties with 10-30 acres in south Warwickshire/Northamptonshire. An old rectory or manor house for example, with 5-25 acres in the more sought-after Cotswolds will be approximately £3.5m-£7.5m whereas the same property in and around Banbury is likely to be approximately £2m-£5m.