The Best Places in London for Outdoors Lovers

Hotspots for horse riding, swimming and tennis

Schools and Ofsted ratings included!

By Charmine Rajah,

Horse riding in central londonLiving in the countryside has been proven to be good for the body and soul.   Reduced pollution, less stress, garden-fresh foods and opportunities for outdoor exercise are all benefits of life outside of the city.

We’ve worked out where you can live around an hour commute to Central London near sporty hotspots for the outdoorsy lover in you.

Horse Riding: Chippenham, Wiltshire

On the edge of the Cotswolds, this rolling landscape was made for exploring on horseback.  You are also an easy drive from Badminton House and Gatcombe Park, for international-level three-day eventing.  There are plenty of stables for your use around Chippenham, whether you are very skilled or an absolute beginner.

Trains from Chippenham to Paddington take from an hour and 14 minutes — though when the Great Western Main Line completes this will be cut to about an hour.

Most London buyers coming to Chippenham intend to work from home at least part of the time, and while some opt for a home in the town others seek out Bath stone cottages in villages such as Kington St Michael, which has a primary school with an “outstanding” Ofsted rating and is only three miles north of Chippenham’s shops and station.

You can find a two-bedroom property for rent under £700 per month or expand to a four-bedroom for around £1,000.

Swimming: Tilford, Surrey

Head to the Surrey Hills for a dip where the two branches of the River Wey meet at a medieval bridge in the village of Tilford.  You can also canoe along the River Wey, play tennis in Wrecclesham village nearby, or cycle in the Surrey Hills.

Tilford is three miles outside Farnham, where commuter trains will get you to Waterloo in just under an hour. 

The village schools are strong - Waverley Abbey Juniors gets a “good” Ofsted rating, while All Saints CofE Aided Infant School scores an “outstanding” report.

You can find a two-bedroom property for rent under £1,300 per month or expand to a four-bedroom for around £2,700.

Tennis: Bearsted, Kent

Bearsted & Thurnham Lawn Tennis Club is one of the larger village clubs in Kent with more than 400 members. There is a friendly attitude to newcomers, and the opportunity to play for fun or join a league.  Just outside Maidstone, Bearsted is also close to SE Tennis, a local centre offering coaching and courses for adults and kids. There are more golf and tennis clubs nearby, and the village’s location at the foot of the North Downs is perfect for walkers and runners.

Bearsted has its own station and trains to Victoria take just over an hour.  Three top-performing schools are Madginford Primary, Roseacre Juniors and Thurnham Church of England Infants.

You can find a two-bedroom property for rent under £1,000 per month or expand to a four-bedroom for around £1,500.

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