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London commuter belt facts for kids

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London Commuter Belt map no TTW
An approximate view of the London Commuter Belt showing commuter towns and the main road and rail links into the city. Urban areas in and around London are grey.

The London commuter belt is a metropolitan area that includes London and its surrounding commuter zone (the area in which it is practical to commute to work in London). It is also known as the London metropolitan area, or Southeast metropolitan area. It should not be confused with Greater London or the Greater London Built-up Area.

The most up-to-date population figures are from Eurostat, that the London metropolitan area is the largest in the EU with a population of 13,879,757 (in 2013, provisionally 14,031,830 in 2014).


The boundaries are not fixed; they expand as transport options improve and affordable housing moves further away from city centre. The belt currently covers much of the South East region and part of the East of England region, including the home counties of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Kent and Essex, and, by several definitions, Hampshire, West Sussex, East Sussex and Bedfordshire.

The population of Greater London and those counties adjacent to the green belt was 18,868,800 in 2011. Much of the undeveloped part of this area lies within the designated Metropolitan Green Belt, which covers nearly all of Surrey, eastern Berkshire, southern Buckinghamshire, southern and mid Hertfordshire, southern Bedfordshire, south-west Essex, and western Kent. In addition, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the Chiltern Hills, Surrey Hills and North Downs AONBs) surrounding the Thames basin are within the commuter belt.


Travel to Work Area

London TTWA 2001
The London Travel to Work Area in 2001 (dark blue), with the administrative boundary of Greater London shown.

The London Travel to Work Area, defined by the Office for National Statistics as the area for which "of the resident economically active population, at least 75% actually work in the area, and also, that of everyone working in the area, at least 75% actually live in the area." has a population of 9,294,800 (2005 estimate).

Environs of Greater London

There are 17 local government districts that share a boundary with Greater London, in the East and South East regions. Most districts are entirely, or have sections, within the M25 motorway or are within 15–20 miles (24–32 km) of Charing Cross.

Adjacent districts often share characteristics of Outer London, such as forming part of the continuous urban sprawl, being served by the London Underground, being covered by the London telephone area code, (until 2000) forming part of the Metropolitan Police District and having a relatively high employed population working in London.

London's Larger Urban Zone

Larger Urban Zone is a definition created by Eurostat that measures the population and expanse of metropolitan areas across European countries. The population of London's Larger Urban Zone is 11.9 million (2004), ranking it as the largest metropolitan area in the European Union. The districts that are considered parts of this Larger Urban Zone are listed here: no districts in Bedfordshire, Hampshire or Sussex are included. Several large conurbations fall just outside the zone: Reading, Luton, High Wycombe and significant parts of the Aldershot and Crawley Urban Areas.

Region County Districts within London's larger urban zone Districts outside London's larger urban zone
East Hertfordshire
  • Broxbourne
  • East Hertfordshire
  • Dacorum
  • Hertsmere
  • Three Rivers
  • Stevenage
  • St Albans
  • Watford
  • Welwyn Hatfield
North Hertfordshire
South East Kent
  • Elmbridge
  • Epsom and Ewell
  • Guildford
  • Mole Valley
  • Reigate and Banstead
  • Runnymede
  • Spelthorne
  • Surrey Heath
  • Tandridge
  • Woking


  • Bracknell Forest
  • Slough
  • Windsor and Maidenhead
  • Chiltern
  • South Bucks
  • Aylesbury Vale
  • Wycombe
  • Milton Keynes

Urban areas within the commuter belt

020 UK dial code area - 2007
The urban area of London (grey) extends beyond the London boundary. The M25 is also shown. The 020 telephone dialling code is shown in red.

The following table lists urban areas (also known as built-up areas) considered part of the London Commuter Belt with populations over 20,000. The Basingstoke, Sittingbourne, Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath urban areas are not considered part of the commuter belt, according to World Gazetteer, though Leighton Buzzard is.

Rank Urban Area Population

(2011 Census)

1 Greater London Urban Area 9,787,426 Greater London
2 Reading/Wokingham Urban Area 318,014 Berkshire
3 Southend Urban Area 295,310 Essex
4 Luton/Dunstable Urban Area 258,018 Bedfordshire
5 Aldershot Urban Area 252,397 Hampshire
6 Medway Towns Urban Area 243,391 Kent
7 Crawley Urban Area 180,508 West Sussex
8 Slough Urban Area 163,777 Berkshire
9 Basildon/Wickford 144,859 Essex
10 High Wycombe Urban Area 133,204 Buckinghamshire
11 Chelmsford 111,511 Essex
12 Basingstoke 107,642 Hampshire
13 Maidstone 107,627 Kent
14 Stevenage 90,232 Hertfordshire
15 Grays/Tilbury 89,755 Essex
16 Aylesbury 74,748 Buckinghamshire
17 Royal Tunbridge Wells 68,910 Kent
18 Maidenhead 64,831 Berkshire
19 Welwyn Urban Area 59,910 Hertfordshire
20 Reigate/Redhill 56,621 Surrey
21 Brentwood 52,586 Essex
22 Horsham 51,472 West Sussex
23 Sittingbourne 48,948 Kent
24 Amersham/Chesham 46,122 Buckinghamshire
25 Hertford/Ware 45,457 Hertfordshire
26 Letchworth/Baldock 43,529 Hertfordshire
27 Hatfield 41,677 Hertfordshire
28 Fleet 38,726 Hampshire
29 Tonbridge 38,657 Kent
30 Canvey Island 38,170 Essex
31 Bishop's Stortford 37,838 Hertfordshire
32 Leighton Buzzard 37,469 Bedfordshire
33 Billericay 36,338 Essex
34 Hitchin 36,099 Hertfordshire
35 Haywards Heath 33,845 West Sussex
36 Windsor/Eton 33,348 Berkshire
37 Burgess Hill 30,635 West Sussex
38 Harpenden 30,240 Hertfordshire
39 Sevenoaks 29,506 Kent
40 Stanford Le Hope/Corringham 28,725 Essex
41 Ditton 25,982 Kent
42 Godalming 22,689 Surrey
43 Potters Bar 22,639 Hertfordshire
44 New Addington 22,280 Greater London
45 Berkhamsted 21,997 Hertfordshire
46 Swanley 21,839 Kent
47 Gerrards Cross 20,633 Buckinghamshire
48 Crowborough 20,607 East Sussex
TOTAL 13,529,275
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