Another point for an Italian Ex-pat, is that if you are prepared to commute further distances places like Bedford have a very large Italian community.
When I lived in Bedford I was about 200m away from a small corner shop who had weekly deliveries from Italy, so I got very attached to proper ferrero cakes, fig rolls, and decent olives and parmesan
Downside, its over an hour by train into central London. Also like most British towns, there are nice parts of Bedford, and there really crappy bits.
The advice about renting for 6 months is one of the best, as you'll never know an area well until you live there for a while