Charming, picturesque and brimming with history: the UK's market towns have become property hotspots over the past few years. The latest stats from Lloyds Bank show that British buyers pay a premium of 12% to live in one. That equates to an extra £30,788 for the average property – and in some areas, it’s even higher. Houses in Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire cost an eye-watering 161% more than the county average. But what is it that makes living in these towns so appealing?
Heaps of history
Many of these pretty towns have been built up over hundreds of years, accumulating a wealth of period homes with attractive features that can’t be found anywhere else. Whether you’re after an old cottage, a converted inn or quaint cobbled streets, there’s a good chance you’ll find the perfect quintessentially English home in a market town. You might even discover a decent antiques fair or shop nearby to help furnish your purchase too. Wetherby, for example, hosts an enormous fair six times every year at the local racecourse.
A variety of amenities
It’s not just old architecture that makes the UK’s market towns so appealing. The promise of a practical lifestyle draws in those who are moving away from busy cities too. Rather than just an escape to the country, market towns allow city slickers access to rural charm without sacrificing on gyms, specialist grocery stores or quaint boutiques. Just take a look at Malmesbury, Helston and Lewes.
It’s no coincidence that market towns like Altrincham are increasingly being considered foodie meccas. Markets have always been go-to places for the best local produce, making them ideal for fans of foraging and farm-to-table cooking. It also puts them in prime position to attract some of the best chefs in the country, like Heston Blumenthal and his suburban delight: The Fat Duck.
Handy transport links
Market towns are historic transport hubs; places where producers from across the country meet to share their wares. As a result, the road and rail links in most market towns tend to be particularly good. Beaconsfield, Hertford and Henley-on-Thames are all popular with London commuters, boasting 40-minute train journeys to the capital. And with nearby motorways offering access further afield, the sky’s the limit when you move to a market town.