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Independent names Charlbury as top place to live

An article in the Independent's property section highlights Charlbury as the first of four "affordable idylls for the London commuter". The article writes:

Travel time: 66 minutes into Paddington
Annual season ticket: £4,520
Distance from London: 68 miles

The small market town of Charlbury sits snugly in the Evenlode Valley between Cornbury Park Estate and Wychwood Forest.

It's well away from major roads, yet it has a mainline station that'll get you to Oxford in 15 minutes and London in just over an hour. Distinctive Cotswold stone is everywhere, even on the new developments, and there's a small central green, Playing Close, that has a cluster of attractive cottages overlooking a drinking fountain.

A two-bedroom former toll house in the town, with a good-sized garden and room for expansion, is on at £299,950 (King & Woolley, 01608 642 111). A striking contemporary house just outside the town, with five receptions, four bedrooms and a vaulted living space all set in 2.2 acres of landscaped grounds, is also on the market. Made of timber, stone and bamboo, it's a one-off that'll set you apart from the other locals, but will leave you just under £1.6m lighter (Kemp & Kemp, 01865 510 000).

Three miles away, Chadlington also offers the genuine Cotswolds experience without the over-inflated Oxford price tag. For £625,000, you get a four-bedroom period house in the village with a farmhouse kitchen and beautiful garden that includes a stone garage (Jackson-Stops, 01993 822 661).

Charlbury is an honest town that escapes the tourist traps from which nearby villages such as Burford and Woodstock suffer. It has a post office, a doctor's and dentist's surgery, a number of pubs and an excellent primary school. There's a beer festival every July and Cornbury Park has an eclectic annual music carnival that's very English and perfect for the whole family.

Richard Fairhurst · Thu 14 Dec 2006, 10:22 · Link

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