Current plans for Heathrow’s expansion are still very much under review. The government has backed plans for a third runway to be built, but the new Chief Executive is considering alternative ideas for improving existing capacity.
In whatever form it takes, it’s clear that expansion will go ahead, which will mean new jobs and a need for greater housing and infrastructure in the local areas for commuters. If you’re considering a move to be close to Heathrow (for existing or future work or because you do a lot of international travel), you might be wondering what it’s like to live near Heathrow if you have a family. Here are some things to bear in mind.
Avoiding flight noise near Heathrow
There’s no getting away from the fact that living near an airport (especially Heathrow, which is the largest airport in the UK) can be noisy. This will be a major consideration if you plan to live near Heathrow and have a family.
There are around 1300 take-offs and landings each day at Heathrow, and this will increase if and when a third runway is built or other improvements are made to increase capacity.
How to avoid flight noise near Heathrow
Double and triple glazing will minimise the effects of noise heard indoors, but flight noise might impact your enjoyment of your garden. If you have young children and want to play with them outside, this might have a considerable bearing on your decision of where to live.
On the plus side, the noise isn’t as bad as you might imagine, just because the pilots who fly in and out of Heathrow are all experienced professionals who abide by noise-limiting rules.
It’s worth spending some time in the local areas you’re considering moving to, to assess the noise levels for yourself.
To get an idea of where the flight paths lie and which areas are likely to be subjected to more or less noise from takeoffs, you could have a look at where the ‘Noise Preferential Routes’ (NPRs) lie. These are the areas closest to the departure routes. You can find that information here
. Landing aircraft have very low revs, so the departure (take-offs) of aircraft will be most relevant when considering where to live near Heathrow to avoid excessive noise.
Initially, the arrangement was for one aircraft to take off to the left, one to the centre and one to the right of each runway, meaning that there were three potential directions that will be directly beneath the flight paths - so, one in three flights would typically take off directly over a particular area. Now, more flights take off down the central direction, meaning that the areas beneath that flightpath may experience the greatest amount of noise from take-offs.
Bear in mind, though, that the flight paths for the proposed third runway have yet to be determined.
Areas near Heathrow that are good for families
You’ll see from the flight path information that some areas are better than others when it comes to noise exposure near Heathrow. If that is a major consideration for you and your family, then you can start to explore the villages and areas that are away from the main flight paths as a priority.
Again, bear in mind that your chosen area might end up affected by take-offs from the proposed third runway.
The further away from Heathrow you get, the higher the planes will be, and the lower the noise levels, even if you are living directly beneath an NPR.
There are some great villages and areas that are far away enough from Heathrow to make noise levels bearable yet are close enough for a reasonable commute.
Feltham and Ashford, Surrey
Looking at the flightpath information, Ashford and much of Feltham is currently looped (and avoided) by the NPRs. There will still be noise, but it won’t be as loud as if you were living beneath the NPRs nearby.
Ashford properties average around £325,000, making them more affordable than some of the areas further afield mentioned below. Feltham is a little more expensive, with an average of £434,000. There’s a wide range of housing stock available in either location, from Georgian and Victorian homes to new-builds, so you should find something that suits your taste.
There’s a golf club, and course at Ashford Manor, and nearby Bedfont Lakes Country Park Is a lovely place to spend time outdoors with your family, whilst Queen Mary’s Reservoir offers a range of fun activities to enjoy together on and around the water.
Ashford is about 20 minutes’ drive from Heathrow, though the journey is longer via public transport at around 45 minutes. Feltham is closer still, within 15 minutes’ drive or 35 minutes by public transport.
Commuting from Ealing to Heathrow has become much quicker since the creation of the Elizabeth Line - you can get from Ealing Broadway to Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 in under 20 minutes. If you’re driving against traffic, the journey time via the M4 might be around 30 minutes.
Affectionately known as the “Queen of Suburbs”, Ealing has plenty of great places to live with your family - there are lots of green spaces and good schools to choose from. The town centre and Ealing Broadway shopping centre have been revamped, with new shops, restaurants and amenities like a new 8-screen cinema.
Ealing’s location and amenities make it an expensive place to live (upwards of £875,000 for a 3-bedroomed house), but new properties have been built and include affordable housing and shared-ownership housing stock.
This is another good area for families, and although it’s further away than Ealing, it’s still within an hour’s commute from Heathrow. House prices are lower here than in Ealing, with an average house price in Uxbridge of £468,000.
The old RAF base has been transformed into a residential area with schools and a museum, whilst the town itself is vibrant and boasts a good sense of community. There are plenty of green spaces, such as Fassnidge Park, which has something for everyone - ornamental gardens and shrubberies, spaces for picnics, a skateboard park, playground and tennis courts. The Ruislip Lido is also popular with families (in the summer, anyway!), and the towpath running along the Grand Union Canal is a great place for a walk or bike ride.
Guildford is regularly named as one of the best places in the London area to raise a family. There’s a plethora of good schools (3 out of Surrey’s 10 best schools are in Guildford), green space aplenty and it’s only about an hour’s commute (less via road) from Heathrow. If you’re looking for a village setting to raise your family, there are several lovely villages around Guildford, including Albury, Blackheath, Chilworth and Compton.
Average house prices in Guildford are around £626,000, though this varies considerably in the various surrounding villages.
Moving to live near Heathrow
If you’ve decided to move to live near Heathrow, it’s a good idea to go and spend time in the areas you’re considering, to get the ‘feel’ of the areas, and judge for yourself the level of any noise from overhead flights.
We have several self storage facilities near Heathrow
for long- or short-term self storage. Our stores at Cranford, Feltham, Hanworth and Staines
are all easily accessible from the areas around Heathrow.
If you want to ‘try before you buy’ in any area around Heathrow, you could store your household contents with us for a few weeks while you rent or stay in B&Bs and find your feet. When you find just the right property for you and your family, you can take your belongings out of self storage on completion day or leave them there until you’ve finished cleaning, decorating and renovating your new home.
If you’d like to ask about the best location for self storage near Heathrow, or to enquire about what size of self storage unit would be best for you, feel free to give us a call or chat to us online and one of our friendly team will give you well-informed, no-obligation information to help you make your choice.