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Counties > Bedfordshire > Flitwick


FLITWICK Little remains of old Flitwick, which was just a cluster of timber-framed houses and brick cottages. New development has entirely changed its character. Much of the new building has been for the benefit of commuters, whose trains come thundering straight through the centre of the town. Apart from the railway, the most noticeable central landmark now is a huge branch of Tesco. Flitwick has three lower schools and one middle school; upper-school children have to travel to Ampthill (see below). For those with surplus energy there is a sports centre with a dance studio, swimming pool and squash courts.

Prices in the modern estates range from £220,000 to £240,000 for a three-bedroom semi; over £250,000 for a four-bedroom detached house. A three-bedroom Victorian house in the centre could be bought for £220,000 to £250,000. Commuters from as far afield as Daventry flood in to street park here and save on the price of a season ticket.

Ampthill, a small Georgian market town with a population of around 7,000, makes Flitwick look like an ugly sister. Its picturesque centre is set around a market square, dotted with antique shops and other small specialist outlets. It has a Waitrose, schools for children of all ages, and a handsome park of around 160 acres. It is believed that Catherine of Aragon once lived here and received visits from Henry VIII.A three-bedroom peg-tiled estate cottage might be picked up for £250,000; a four-bedroom detached period house from £300,000 to £400,000; or a rare Georgian gem with a bit of land for £600,000.

Steppingley, a tiny village a mile to the west of Flitwick, has little more than 40 Duke of Bedford peg-tiled estate cottages, a cricket club, pub and a good restaurant. The atmosphere is upmarket and horsey. Prices for two- to three-bedroom cottages are in the region of £150,000 to £200,000. A four-bedroom detached period house will fetch between £300,000 and £600,000. Out of the village along one of the lanes you could expect to pay up to £500,000 for a Georgian farmhouse with a bit of land.

Good for: access to the M1 and the Midlands.
Local knowledge: Houghton House nearby is a strange shell of a 17th century mansion, roofless to the sky, built as a hunting lodge and now in the hands of English Heritage.
London terminal: St Pancras International
Journey time: 49 mins
Season ticket: £3320
Peak trains: 6 per hour
Off-peak trains: 4 per hour