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10 Best Places to Live in Scotland

18 May 2023

10 Best Places to Live in Scotland
The highlights of life in Scotland are never-ending.

If you’re considering a move, the rich culture, stunning landscapes, and friendly locals are all fantastic draws to our northern neighbour country. Rolling hills and rugged coastlines offer ample hiking, cycling or climbing opportunities, while charming castles offer the stories that history buffs long for. What’s more, in addition to no real language barrier to speak of, you can move to Scotland from England without sacrificing your access to the UK’s NHS service. 

While this all sounds exciting, the appeals of the country don’t take away from the big decisions you’ll need to make. One of the biggest; where do you want to live in Scotland? As removal experts, not just in the UK but worldwide, we can help you every step of the way, from moving advice to organising your belongings in your new home. 

According to the Sunday Times’ annual Best Places to Live guide, Dunkeld in Perthshire has been deemed Scotland’s top location to live. But the best place for you depends on so many factors - from amenities, schools, house prices, and much more. Here are some of the best places to live in Scotland.


A green, tree-surrounded park next to Dunkeld Cathedral, Scotland.


1. Dunkeld, Perthshire

Nestled in the country’s highlands, Dunkeld is a beautiful village with nature right on its doorstep. Enjoy the close community feel, excellent shops and restaurants, and organic vegetable garden. Another great aspect of life in Dunkeld is its easy commute to nearby large cities. Perth and Dundee can be reached easily for work or nightlife, and transport links make travel to other areas of the country a breeze.


The Edinburgh skyline at sunset viewed from Calton Hill.



2. Edinburgh

The list would simply not be complete without mentioning the vibrant and beautiful capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. This gorgeous old city needs little introduction and frequently tops lists of best cities in various categories across the world. In fact, Time Out actually named it their Best City in the World 2022, which is not a title to be taken lightly! 

There are countless lovely neighbourhoods for every requirement, whether you’re a young professional or have kids to look after too, and it is often praised for its walkability. Along with world-class amenities, eateries and entertainment, the streets are steeped in history, and the countless festivals of arts, music and comedy bring fun in abundance. Take a look at our top 5 reasons to move to Scotland’s capital and if you decide that this city could be the ideal destination for you, we have the professional removals services you need to get there.


Kames Bay and the village of Port Bannatyne on the Isle of Bute.


3. Isle of Bute

For life a little further from the beaten track, the Isle of Bute could be your dream destination. Always fancied that dreamy island lifestyle? The Isle of Bute is an affordable and accessible place to move while fulfilling all of your island fantasies.

Imagine escaping the pollution and traffic of large cities, enjoying rolling countryside and gorgeous coastlines, all within your budget AND within easy reach of bustling Glasgow. Even better, if you’re concerned about the Scottish weather, the shelter that the Isle of Bute offers, as well as the influence of the Gulfstream, provides a much milder climate than you might expect! The outdoor lifestyle and low crime rates make the island a fantastic place for families with young children.


View down Buchanan Street, one of the main shopping streets in Glasgow.


4. Glasgow

Despite the initial difficulty in understanding the strong Glaswegian accent, Glasgow is another great contender when looking at the top moving destinations in Scotland. Edinburgh is not the only city topping international polls - Glasgow is renowned for its friendly locals, which is a commonality all Scottish destinations share in abundance. 

More affordable than Edinburgh, Glasgow is perfectly situated for residents to enjoy green parks and entertainment of all kinds, as well as quick access to other areas of Scotland. Young professionals and young families are appreciating the pulls more and more, with plenty of neighbourhoods to compare for amenities and school access. 


Aerial shot of buildings in St Andrews, Scotland.


5. St. Andrews

While smaller than some of the other locations in this list, the gorgeous town of St Andrews is another excellent contender for the best places to live in Scotland. Set on the east coast, breathtaking views of the North Sea are the cherry on top of this historic settlement. 

Perhaps most famous for being a prestigious university town, St Andrews attracts a wide range of characters. It also boasts fantastic outdoor lifestyle opportunities, with the abundant countryside and nearby Tentsmuir Forest to explore. The close-knit community feel will also provide a welcoming environment to settle into when you first arrive.


Views over Loch Lomond and the surrounding hills.


6. Stirling

Just North of both Edinburgh and Glasgow, Stirling provides everything you could need for a comfortable life in Scotland. It will offer you a sterling quality of life without breaking your budget, recently rated one of the most affordable UK cities as well as one of the happiest. There are plenty of entertainment avenues to explore, from historical sights to live music, and nearby Loch Lomond will fill every outdoor requirement you have. The large train station at Stirling also means that commuting to nearby cities or the breadth of the country is easy.


Rooves of Kirkwall and the rolling hills in the distance.


7. Kirkwall, Orkney

If you’re still after that island vibe, Orkney could be an ideal place to move to, just off the northeastern tip of Scotland’s mainland. Kirkwall is the main population centre of this group of islands, making it the best place for amenities of all kinds. The community spirit among locals is unparalleled, and despite the rugged weather at times, the population has been rated among the happiest in all of the British Isles. Whether by ferry or by plane, there are plenty of ways to explore the rest of the country from charming Kirkwall.


The Tay Road Bridge leading to the city of Dundee.


8. Dundee

Moving away from rainy islands, Dundee boasts the most sunshine hours of all the Scottish cities, besides Edinburgh. For families, coastal Dundee has everything you could need in terms of amenities for everyday life, as well as the transport links to find the things it lacks further afield. Beaches and hills are well enjoyed in the city’s sun, with exciting outdoor activities just a stone’s throw away at Ancrum Outdoor Centre. What’s more, house prices are remarkably affordable in this northern settlement.


Waterfall in the Birks of Aberfeldy.


9. Aberfeldy

The community in Aberfeldy is proud of its identity as the first fair trade town in Scotland. The abundance of fresh food here is truly mind-blowing, with local produce being favoured for its flavour above all else. The great outdoors is also not far away - avid hikers will adore the nearby trails and for the art lovers, there is an abundance of independent local galleries.


Iconic colourful harbour houses on the Isle of Skye.


10. Isle of Skye

Last but certainly not least is the Isle of Skye, the largest Scottish island off the western coast. The size of the island offers an ideal balance between quality amenities and charming island living. Extremely popular among tourists, Skye is one of the most desirable places to live in all of the UK, which can make finding suitable housing a challenge. The free road bridge and ferry are the only ways to get around, so a car is suggested if you’re looking to move to the Isle of Skye.

Has our list of fantastic locations inspired your move into action? If you’d like assistance from a professional moving company like Bishop’s Move, get in touch today and see how we can get you moving in no time.