Amanda has worked in estate agency in the Southeast of England for a number of years in both residential and commercial property sales.
Buying property in Cambridgeshire in 2020
Cambridgeshire is at the forefront of a technological revolution which has seen rapid growth in the high-tech business sector. The area has been dubbed 'Silicon Fen', and it has become a magnet for talented and innovative individuals. As a consequence property prices in and around Cambridge in particular, have steamed ahead. Interestingly, however, other parts of the county are lagging behind, and there are still plenty of bargains to be had for those who are prepared to travel a little further to the top jobs.
Whilst Cambridge, Buckden, Godmanchester and Kimbolton are all relatively expensive property-wise, March, Wisbech and Peterborough are far more affordable, and there are plenty of other locations in the county where family houses can still be bought for £180,000 or less.
Buying property in other counties
This article is one of a series written specifically to assist potential property-buyers in finding the cheapest locations. Click on the author link in the top right hand corner to discover more topics covered by this writer, including Cheapest Places in Cornwall, Devon, Hampshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Essex, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire.
Cheapest places in Cambridgeshire 2020
|Up to £180,000||£180,001 to £225,000||£225,001 upwards|
Buckden is situated on the old Great North Road, and is the location of Buckden Towers, a former residence of the Bishop of Lincoln. The original house was built around the mid-12th century, but was destroyed by fire in 1291. The Bishop's Palace was then rebuilt, and subsequently modified and extended over a long period. Eventually the property was partially demolished and restructured in the 19th century. It remains, however, a dominant feature of the modern-day village.
Buckden is an attractive location approximately 4 miles north of St Neots. The nearest railway station is 3.5 miles away at Huntingdon. Lower end properties are few and far between in this popular village. Expect to pay a minimum of £280,000 for a basic 3 bedroom house (March 2020). However, as simple, terraced family homes are rare in Buckden, you may have to pay considerably more than this.
Burwell is a large village about 10 miles north-east of Cambridge. It was once the site of a great tragedy. On 8 September 1727, a puppet show was held in a barn on what is now Cuckolds Row, near the centre of the village. Word about the entertainment quickly spread, and the barn was soon filled to capacity with an audience from Burwell and other nearby villages. The organizers were struggling to keep more people from entering, so the doors were quickly nailed shut to put an end to any further arguments.
One of those who could not get into the barn knelt outside with his candle lantern and peered through a gap to try to see the show. Disaster struck when the lantern toppled over, setting fire to straw on the ground. The flames quickly travelled into the barn, igniting the hay within. With no way to escape, 78 people, of whom 51 were children, died in the inferno. A gravestone engraved with a blazing heart with angels' wings acts as a memorial to the dead who are buried in the churchyard of St Mary's parish church.
Modern day Burwell has schools through to age 11. Senior school pupils must travel to Soham or Bottisham. There is no longer a railway station in the village, but it does lie on the main bus route between Cambridge and Newmarket. Houses in Burwell are expensive in comparison to other locations in Cambridgeshire. There are a few tiny terrace houses that occasionally creep onto the market at around £280,000 or less. however, anticipate paying upwards of £300,000 for a mortgagable three bedroom house in Burwell.
Best known for its renowned universities, the city of Cambridge lies on the River Cam, about 50 miles north of London. Cambridge is an historic and fascinating location with a wealth of interesting things to see and do, including world-class museums and galleries, excellent theatres and sports and leisure venues, exceptional shopping opportunities, and a full range of schools and healthcare facilities.
Trains from Cambridge to London Kings Cross and London Liverpool Street run frequently during peak hours, and with a typical journey time of around 45 minutes, Cambridge lies firmly within the London commuter belt. Employment prospects in Cambridge, particularly in the high-tech and bio-tech industries, are very good. Taking into account all that Cambridge has to offer, it's good to know that 3 bedroom houses start at around £310,000. This is high for Cambridgeshire as a whole, but when compared to other towns and cities within easy reach of the capital, Cambridge has a great deal to recommend it.
Chatteris lies in the middle of the Fens, the lowest-lying area in the UK. It is within easy reach of Huntingdon, St Ives, Peterborough, March and Ely, and acts as something of a dormitory town for the larger, more industrialised settlements round and about. The dark, peaty soil of the countryside surrounding Chatteris, is ideal for farming, and numerous drainage ditches and dykes keep the fields free of excess ground water. The economy of Chatteris is largely based on agriculture. Local employers include producers and packers of root vegetables intended for onward sale through supermarket chains.
Chatteris has schools through to sixth form, a compact shopping centre with shops catering for most day-to-day requirements, and there are regular buses running to other nearby towns including Cambridge. The nearest railway station is a few miles away in March. Ordinary, 3 bedroom family homes can be bought here from around £160,000 (March 2020).
The great cathedral of Ely lies at the very heart of the Fens, and dominates the skyline. It is a triumph of 14th century architecture, and visitors come from far and wide to admire it. The city of Ely itself, is quaint and welcoming with a warren of old and historic streets and alleys to explore.
Ely is on a mainline train route. Trains to Cambridge take around 20 minutes, and to London Kings Cross, an hour and a quarter. The town has a range of educational establishments, including both state funded and independant schools. Three bedroom homes can be bought in this handsome location from around £250,000
Godmanchester is on the site of the Roman town of Durovigutum. Sited at the crossroads of two Roman roads; Ermine Street and the Via Devana, the settlement was at a busy junction on two important early thoroughfares. Archaeological digs in the area have unearthed numerous Roman artifacts.
The site has been continuously occupied throughout the centuries, and there are some ancient and remarkable older buildings still in use in and around Godmanchester. The modern town stands on the southern bank of the River Great Ouse opposite the town of Huntingdon on the northern bank. Two bridges link the two towns; an ancient medieval arched stone bridge and a more contemporary high level bridge carrying the A14 dual carriageway which runs between Cambridge and Peterborough.
Godmanchester has a limited range of everyday shops on its pretty High Street. Larger retail outlets, and all the facilities afforded by a larger town, are a short drive away in Huntingdon.
£250,000 should be sufficient to buy a basic 3 bedroom home in this historic location, but realistically low end houses are rarely available, and you may have to pay considerably more.
The market town of Huntingdon is known as the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell. Hinchinbrooke House, the ancestral home of the Cromwells, lies on the outskirts of the town, and is occasionally open to the public. The former Conservative prime minister John Major was the MP for Huntingdon from 1979 to 2001.
Huntingdon has a range of educational facilities through to degree level. The historic town centre boasts a good mix of chain stores alongside independant traders. The town is attractively located alongside the river Great Ouse, and enjoys many waterside establishments. Huntingdon is on a direct train route into London King's Cross, and a commute into the capital takes just over an hour. Three bedroom houses in this interesting and attractive location begin at around £170,000, which for a town on the edge of the London commuter belt, is very reasonable indeed.
The village of Kimbolton lies approximately 9 miles west of Huntingdon and 14 miles north of Bedford. It is probably best known for Kimbolton Castle, a fine Tudor Manor House which today forms a major part of Kimbolton School, and independant day and boarding school, set at the heart of the village. King Henry Vlll's first wife, Katharine of Aragon, died in Kimbolton Castle in 1536, and was later interred in Peterborough Cathedral.
Kimbolton has a quaint and interesting High Street with a limited range of everyday shops including a supermarket. There is no railway station. Lower priced three bedroom properties rarely come onto the market in this popular location, and those that do are generally at least £265,000.
Like many Fenland towns, March was once on an island surrounded by marshes. As the people of the fens began to understand how to drain and manage their boggy landscape, so the Fenland towns and villages found room to grow and expand. March is today a well-established town situated on the banks of the River Nene. Many small boats can be seen plying up and down the river here, and water-bourne activities are very popular locally.
March railway station has regular trains to London and Cambridge. The journey time into Cambridge is under 40 minutes, and to London King's Cross is approximately one and a half hours. Three-bedroom houses in this picturesque location start around £150,000.
The 1850 opening of the Great Northern Railway's main line from London to York helped transform Peterborough from a rural market town into an important centre for industry. Brick-making has long been a commonplace activity in Peterborough as a result of rich deposits of clay in the area, and with the railway available to transport products in bulk, the brick-makers were able to find new markets, and invest in developing their products to the highest standard.
Perkins Engines was to become another major employer in the town. Established in 1932 by Frank Perkins, creator of the Perkins diesel engine, it employed more than a tenth of Peterborough's population during the 1960s.
After the end of the second World War, Peterborough was one of a number of towns and villages identified as being suitable to become 'New Towns'. Five years of war had ravaged London and other major cities, and the New Town Initiative pumped large sums of money into developing communities away from the big cities in more rural areas where there was room to spread out and deliver a better lifestyle. Peterborough quickly grew and prospered.
Modern day Peterborough is a thriving, vibrant cathedral city, with all the facilities you might expect in a community of this size. Trains from Peterborough to London King's Cross have a journey time of approximately an hour, with a similar journey time into Cambridge. Astonishingly 3 bedroom houses in Peterborough start at a very affordable £125,000 (March 2020).
The small town of Ramsey lies approximately 9 miles north of Huntingdon.The town grew up around Ramsey Abbey, and even after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, it continued to benefit from the abbey, as the vast edifice was plundered for building materials. Today some of the remains of the monastery have been incorporated into the local secondary school, Abbey College, and other buildings in the town have also been constructed using the recycled masonry.
Ramsey has a good selection of basic shops including a Co-operative supermarket. There are regular buses connecting the town with other Fenland locations. There is no railway connection. Budget a minimum of £180,000 when shopping for a three bedroom house in Ramsey.
For hundreds of years Market Hill in St Ives has played host to one of the largest public markets in England. Every Monday and Friday the market place is thronged with traders coming to sell their wares around a statue of Oliver Cromwell, who was once a resident of the town. Bank Holiday Mondays draw a particularly large crowd with traders and shoppers travelling many miles to join in the fun.
St Ives lies about 5 miles east of Huntingdon and 12 miles north-west of Cambridge, and it is a popular and lively town. There are regular bus services running between St Ives and other nearby towns including Canbridge. Huntingdon, 7 miles away, has the nearest railway station. Three bedroom family homes in the town start at approximately £225,000.
St Neots, one of Cambridgeshire's fastest growing towns, has an attractive riverside location, 18 miles west of Cambridge. Built on the banks of the River Great Ouse, the town is the amalgamation of two villages, Eaton Ford and Eaton Socon,which once faced each other across the watery divide. Nowadays the modern town, has retained much of the character of the two founding villages, but has expanded rapidly to include large new housing estates which have swallowed up several nearby villages and hamlets. The infrastructure of the town has also increased, and St Neots boasts a great range of facilities for local residents to enjoy.
A direct line train journey from St Neots to London King's Cross takes around an hour, placing St Neots firmly in the London commuter belt. A basic three bedroom house may be bought in the town from approximately £215,000, making St Neots one of the cheapest towns in the London commuter belt.
Soham is a small, quiet town, briefly notorious as the site of an infamous murder inquiry. It lies just off the A142 between Ely and Newmarket. The town has schools through to age 18, an interesting mix of banks, pubs, restaurants and independent shops on its busy High Street, and a useful medical centre There are no passenger trains running through Soham, but the railway provider has plans to reopen the old station for passengers. Work on the new station is expected to commence in September 2020.
Expect to pay a minimum of £200,000 for a 3 bedroom house in Soham.
You need a minimum of £160,000 in your budget if you're hoping to acquire a three bedroom house in Whittlesey. This ancient Fenland market town lies around 6 miles east of Peterborough, and 11 miles west of March. It has its own unique character with some quirky features and traditions including the straw bear festival held each year in mid-January. Whittlesey lies on a mainline rail route, and a train into Cambridge takes around an hour.
Whittlesey has schools through to sixth form, and a range of shops catering for most everyday needs.
Wisbech is a large market town, built on the banks of the River Nene. Situated in the north-eastern corner of the county, Wisbech is a less expensive location property-wise than the towns further south. Three bedroom houses start at around £120,000, which is far more reasonable than the prices in Cambridge and Kimbolton.
Wisbech is a bustling town and inland port. It has a selection of state and independant schools, as well as a Further Education College. The town is noted for its unspoilt Georgian architecture, and the fine old crescents and streets often feature in period costume dramas.
The popular village of Witchford is situated just two miles west of Ely. Witchford is well known for its annual Grunty Fen Half Marathon road race, which begins and ends at Witchford Village College and involves two laps into the nearby Grunty Fen. Witchford Village College is a secondary school which serves a wide rural community, with pupils drawn from the smaller villages and hamlets round and about.
Witchford has seen quite a lot of development in recent years, and has a good selection of attractive modern houses as well as older-style properties at the heart of the village. Property prices here are typically a little higher than in many locations in the county. Expect to pay somewhere between £250,000 and £270,000 for the cheapest three bedroom houses, but keep your eye open for the occasional bargain which sometimes slips through at a slightly lower price.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Which place is cheaper and safe to rent a house in the Cambridge area?
Answer: Unfortunately I am not an expert on Cambridge. I recommend you look at the crime statistics website which is easy to access, and spend some time talking to shop-keepers, cafe owners, taxi drivers etc in the Cambridge area, because you simply can't beat local knowledge when it comes to choosing somewhere to live.
Amanda Severn (author) from UK on May 13, 2018:
The rules for UK holiday homes vary from site to site, and you would need to enquire when you are shopping for a home here. That said, there are numerous mobile home parks which are permanently tenanted, and you would be able to spend as much or as little time as you wished on-site.
Miriam Wallwin on May 09, 2018:
Not so much a comment as a question. How do the UK holiday homes work. You can live there for only so many months of the year? I would like to retire to the UK and don't have a lot of money. I would like to base myself somewhere in UK and travel part of the year to other European countries. So I'm thinking that this might work for me.
Amanda Severn (author) from UK on October 16, 2016:
Hi Blossom, although Burwell is quite a small place, I've now added it in. I hadn't heard of it before, but it sounds lovely, and certainly has an interesting history. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Cambridgeshire is a beautiful and interesting county, and certainly one I enjoy visiting.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on October 16, 2016:
I loved reading about these places as I've visited most of them. My late mother-in-law came from Burwell and we have stayed there several times, but it isn't on the map you show.