“High Wycombe was once the booming centre of the UK’s furniture industry, with Queen Victoria even coming to see the town’s famous chairs in the 1800s”
Moving to High Wycombe
Nestled in the Chiltern Hills, the town of High Wycombe sits directly between Oxford and London, and historically was a popular stopping point between the two cities. Also known as Wycombe, it’s the second largest urban centre in the affluent Buckinghamshire region, coming in just behind Milton Keynes with 125,000 residents. Often overlooked today in favour of Buckinghamshire’s more famous market towns of Henley and Marlow, High Wycombe was once the booming centre of the UK’s furniture industry, with Queen Victoria even coming to see the town’s famous chairs in the 1800s.
However, the decline in industry in the 1960s had a huge impact on High Wycombe, and led to levels of deprivation that contrast with the rest of this moneyed borough, with child poverty levels the highest in Buckinghamshire. Much effort is being made to regenerate and revitalise the town, including the recent redevelopment of the Eden Shopping Centre to give the town’s retail presence a much-needed boost. Always a popular commuter town due to the half-hour train ride to central London, High Wycombe is increasingly becoming a hotspot for those seeking an affordable place to setting near the capital with prices here among the lowest the country – although with an increase of 28% since 2014, it looks like they won’t be staying late for long.
While the good commute brings young professionals to the area, High Wycombe is also popular with families due to the vast expanses of greenery on all sides, as well as some of the UK’s top independent schools.
House prices in High Wycombe
With an average house price of £330,000 as of 2017, High Wycombe is one of the more affordable centres in Buckinghamshire, where the average price across the county has reached £400,000. Most residents tend to avoid the town centre and instead reside in one of the many picturesque suburbs and villages, with popular choices including Hazelmere, Stokenchurch and Bellow Ridge.
“Despite its modest size, High Wycombe offers shoppers a busy high street and two shopping centres – the Chilterns and the recently redeveloped Eden Centre – meaning locals are well provided for with high-street chains and international brands”
High Wycombe offers excellent transport connections, with easy access to the M40, M4 and M25 for commuters into other parks of Buckinghamshire as well as London. The town itself is served by buses from the central bus station, as well as buses to nearby locations including Maidenhead, Heathrow Airport and Reading. High Wycombe station offers direct trains to London and Birmingham, with the former taking just 30-40 minutes and a popular commuter route. Meanwhile for those looking to get a bit further afield, London Heathrow Airport is only 20 miles away, and as the busiest airport in Europe offers regular flights to destinations across the globe.
Despite its modest size, High Wycombe offers shoppers a busy high street and two shopping centres – the Chilterns and the recently redeveloped Eden Centre – meaning locals are well provided for with high-street chains and international brands. The latter covers a vast 805,000 square feet and is home to over 100 shops, including M&S, House of Fraser and New Look, as well as a bowling alley and a multi-screen cinema.
As for dining out, High Wycombe may not offer as many quaint pubs and sleek restaurants as Buckinghamshire’s more affluent towns, but there are still a good selection of high street favourites and independent restaurants to be found, with locals regularly flocking to eateries such as Grillers, Bluegrass BBQ Smokehouse and Bombay Palace as well as branches of Ask Italian, Bill’s and Nando’s.
Supermarkets are in good supply in High Wycombe, with multiple branches of major grocery chains such as Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and Morrisons present throughout the town. The city also boasts a bustling market on the High Street, with has been running since the Middle Ages.
Health & Sport
For residents looking to stay active, High Wycombe offers a generous selection of gyms, with branches of national chains such as Fitness First, Fit4Less and Anytime Fitness as well as council run services including Wycombe Sports Centre. Otherwise, if you’re looking for something a bit more unusual, why not grab your skates and give Rollermania a try?
Although London is only a short drive away, High Wycombe residents need not even leave the town to get their theatre fix – the respected Wycombe Swan Theatre has a packed programme of performances, meaning residents often get to catch big shows before or after they hit the West End. Other cultural highlights here include the Wycombe Museum for history fans, the Guildhall, the beautiful Hughenden Manor and the spooky Hellfire Caves. For cinephiles, there are also two cinemas in the town, the Cineworld and the Empire, so you’ve no excuse not to catch the latest blockbuster.
“..the respected Wycombe Swan Theatre has a packed programme of performances, meaning residents often get to catch big shows before or after they hit the West End”
Schools and Education
Buckinghamshire is one of the leading local authorities in the UK for school results, with pupils achieving higher than average results. 100% of pupils achieve expected levels in Maths and English at over 10 schools, with the most-sought after options in High Wycombe including Bedlow Ridge School, Hughenden Primary School and Stokenchurch Primary School. Secondary schools also fare well, with a number of excellent establishments in both the state and independent sector. Leading state schools include Highcrest Community School and St Bernard’s Catholic School, while Wycombe Abbey, the Royal Grammar School and Stowe School are among the best independent schools in the UK.
With an average crime level of around 50 crimes per 1000 residents as of 2016, High Wycombe is a statistically safe area with lower crime levels than the national average.
Surrounded by the greenery of the Chiltern Hills, you don’t have to travel far in High Wycombe to get back to nature. The district boasts an impressive 924 acres of parks and open spaces, with local favourites including Higginson Park and The Rye, while Colne Valley Regional Park is a short drive away along the M40.