With beautiful surroundings, friendly people and low cost of living, it’s easy to see why Scotland has become a very desirable place to live. While many other parts of the UK are seeing soaring property prices, Scotland remains a very affordable place to live for the most part.
Although many people instantly think of Glasgow and Edinburgh when they think of Scotland, there are many other beautiful parts of the country that have plenty to offer. There are so many towns and villages that are off the beaten path that have beautiful beaches and unique culture of their own.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the best places to live in Scotland based on certain criteria. These include the best places for affordable property, the best places for schools and the best places for culture.
Let’s start by looking at some of the places in Scotland with the most affordable property.
Best places for affordable property
- Irvine – Irvine has some of the lowest property prices in Scotland, with both houses and flats being very affordable to rent and buy. As well as the low property prices, Irvine has plenty more to offer and is home to the Scottish Maritime Museum and Eglington Country Park. Being a coastal town, it also has its own beach, making it a great place to live in the summer.
- Kilbirnie – Kilbirnie is another area with very low property prices. It’s a small town, with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, so if you’re looking for somewhere lively and with plenty going on, it may not be the best choice. That being said, it is close to Glasgow and convenient to get there using public transport, so this may not be too big of an issue.
- Girvan – Another coastal town, Girvan in south Ayrshire is known for its low property prices and there are plenty of houses and flats to choose from. It also has a beach, The Quay Zone and Girvan Golf Course, making it a perfect place if a relaxing lifestyle is what you’re looking for.
Best places for schools
- Glasgow – Glasgow is home to some of the highest rated secondary schools in Scotland, including Jordanhill School and Glasgow Gaelic School. When you consider everything else that Glasgow has to offer, such as its great culture and low property prices, it makes it a very appealing city overall.
- Aberdeen – Aberdeen is another city with excellent schools, including the highly rated Cults Academy. Just like with Glasgow, Aberdeen has plenty to offer besides its excellent schools, so it’d make a great place to live for a family.
- Stirling – Although it might not be quite as vibrant as Glasgow and Aberdeen, Stirling is another place in Scotland that has some excellent schools, such as Dunblane High School.
Best places for culture
- Glasgow – Glasgow is at the top of the list when it comes to culture in Scotland. It has everything from great bars and restaurants to beautiful parks and historic buildings. Some of the highlights in Glasgow are Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Glasgow Cathedral and Pollok Country Park.
- Edinburgh – Being the capital city, it makes sense that Edinburgh will be brimming with culture and history and this is certainly the case. One of the must-visit attractions in Edinburgh is Edinburgh Castle. Overlooking the city, it provides you with some spectacular views and learning about the history of the castle is well worth your time. That isn’t all Edinburgh has to offer though. There’s also the National Museum of Scotland, Holyrood Park, Edinburgh Dungeon and the Scott Monument to name just a few.
- Inverness – Inverness is another great city for culture in Scotland. If you’re looking for historic monuments, then Inverness has plenty to offer, with the likes of Fort George and Inverness Castle both being must-visits. If castles aren’t your thing though, there’s also Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, Inverness Botanic Gardens, Leakey’s Bookshop and Eden Court Theatre & Cinema.
Best places for safety
- North Berwick – If you’re looking to move to an area that’s safe but also nearby Edinburgh, North Berwick is ideal. It has very low crime rates and is also home to an excellent high school, so it’s a good choice of area if you have a family. In addition to this it has a number of golf courses, beaches and a range of properties for reasonable prices.
- Dunkeld – Dunkeld is another very safe area of Scotland. A small town with a population of just 1,300, it wouldn’t be ideal for everyone but if safety is high on your priority list, Dunkeld is well worth considering.
- Broughty Ferry – A considerably larger town than Dunkeld, Broughty Ferry is a suburb in Dundee and is another area with very low crime rates. It isn’t just the safety of Broughty Ferry that makes it appealing though. It also has many excellent restaurants and bars.
Best coastal locations
- Tobermory – Tobermory is a beautiful port town that looks extremely distinctive due to the row of coloured houses that line the waterfront. There are some nice restaurants and cafes nearby as well as a theatre and aquarium.
- Oban – Another port town, Oban is located on the west coast and provides you with some beautiful sights. There are also some great places to eat and drink there.
- Aberdour – Aberdour is another great coastal location in Scotland. With two beaches, a castle, a harbour and a golf course, it’s a perfect location if you want somewhere quiet and away from the hustle and bustle of a city.
Why choose Scotland?
If you’re still undecided on whether moving to Scotland is right for you, then below are some of the biggest pros to living there.
- Affordable property – Scotland has some of the most affordable properties in the UK. Depending on the area, you can find many houses and flats for under £100,000 and even the more popular areas such as Glasgow are still affordable to live in for the average person.
- Friendly people – People are generally very friendly in Scotland, whether you’re visiting or moving there to live. This of course makes it a lot easier to settle for both families and young people.
- Great culture – There’s plenty of culture to be found all across Scotland. Cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen are particularly good for culture but there are plenty of smaller towns and villages that are worth exploring too. There are so many great museums, parks, art galleries, theatres and exhibitions – you’ll never be short for something to do!
- Safe – Some people have the wrong impression that Scotland can be a dangerous and violent place. This might be true for certain areas but in the main, it’s a very safe place to live. City centres at weekends might be quite rowdy but overall the crime rates are quite low throughout Scotland, making it a good choice for families.
- Great beaches – There are many great coastal towns and villages in Scotland that are home to beautiful beaches. This makes it ideal if you’re a nature lover and many of the beaches are dog friendly too. Scotland is a country that gets cold during the winter though, so it’s best to go during the warmer summer months.
- Plenty of job opportunities – There are plenty of job opportunities in Scotland too. There are many growing industries there, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding work. This is particularly true in larger cities, such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Are there any downsides?
Just like any other place, Scotland isn’t perfect and there are a few drawbacks to living there. Below are some of the biggest ones.
- The weather – There’s no getting away from it – Scotland can be a very rainy and cold place for a lot of the year. The further north you go, the colder it gets and during the winter, it can be particularly harsh if you’re not used to it. The summers can still be very nice though, so it’s not all doom and gloom.
- Certain parts of the country are expensive – Although it’s true that Scotland is generally a very affordable place to live, there are certain areas that are a lot more expensive. The most upmarket areas in Glasgow and Edinburgh for example, have quite a few properties that are far above the average cost.
- Limited travel options in rural areas – Another potential downside to moving to Scotland is that travel options can be quite limited in the more rural areas. This isn’t necessarily an issue if you drive but if you’re relying on public transport, this is something to bear in mind.
Overall, Scotland has plenty to offer for families and young professionals alike. There are so many places to choose from, whether you’re looking for a vibrant and bustling city or a quiet coastal town. Although there are some downsides to living there, the positives outweigh the negatives quite significantly and it’s likely only going to become more appealing in the future.
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I’m Paul Smith, Founder and Director of HouseMoveHelper. I have a great love of business, marketing, the wilderness and love to travel. You can learn more about me here.