The best places to live in Scotland

Scotland is well-known for its stunning landscapes, bustling cities and friendly locals. There are many reasons why you’d fall in love with the country — and many people are so enamoured that they decide to up sticks and move here.

In fact, people are flocking to Scotland. In 2016, for example, 46,300 people from across the UK migrated to the country, while 22,900 people made the move from overseas.

Whether you’re currently living in Scotland or planning on relocating to the country in the future, we look at the top five best places to live, based on The Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2018. For each of the locations that made the publication’s shortlist, DM Design — providers of bedroom furniture in Glasgow — has examined the availability of schools and transport links to show what really makes them so appealing to potential home buyers.

Melrose, Scottish Borders

Located in the Scottish Borders, Melrose took the title of Best Place to Live in Scotland in 2018. Despite only having 1,700 residents, this small town has plenty going on — and it’s easy to see why.

Schools

There are two schools located in Melrose: Melrose Primary School and St Mary’s School. The latter is a prep school for children aged 2 to 13 years, offering both day attendance and boarding options. A termly fee must be paid to attend the school, although discounts and bursaries are available. The town is also in the catchment area for the hugely successful, Earlston High School.

Transport Links

Despite its small size, Melrose takes advantage of strong transport links — including a number of bus services and access to Tweedbank train station. Residents can take the 964 Border Weaver bus service to Tweedbank Station, where they can hop on a connecting train to Edinburgh in less than an hour. There are also a number of taxi companies that operate in the area.

Aberdour, Fife

The small seaside town of Aberdour in Fife boasts the best of both worlds — a small town community with stunning views and excellent transport links.

Schools

There are two schools within Aberdour; Aberdour Primary School and Hillside School. The town’s solid transport links means school-goers are able to attend schools within the nearby area and Edinburgh.

Transport Links

Aberdour train station connects the town to Edinburgh in just a 33-minute journey, while the number seven bus service will take residents to Dunfermline in just over 45 minutes. What’s more, the newly constructed Queensferry Crossing provides an easy link for motorists commuting to Edinburgh and the nearby area.

Aboyne, Aberdeenshire

The village of Aboyne in Aberdeenshire is picture-perfect and home to the oldest 18-hole golf course on Royal Deeside. With a host of amenities in the village itself, it’s not surprising that Aboyne made the list of the best places to live.

Schools

Aboyne Primary School and Aboyne Academy are the two main schools in Aboyne. With the two sharing a campus, the schools are located to the west of the village and are attended by children from Aboyne itself and the surrounding areas. The academy features a swimming pool, theatre and all-weather pitch, and was awarded the Eco-schools green flag in 2012.

Transport Links

The nearest train station to Aboyne is in Inverurie, although it is approximately a 45-minute drive away. However, once there, you can travel directly to Inverness in roughly three hours, or travel south to Glasgow and Edinburgh. There are also a number of bus services that serve the village, connecting it to the surrounding areas and further-afield cities.

Black Isle, Highlands

The Black Isle is an idyllic setting in the Scottish Highlands — with picturesque views of its sparkling waters, colourful fields and fishermen villages distinguished by its Georgian architecture. Although this peninsula feels completely remote; you’re not too far from a more populated area.

Schools

People are often surprised with the amount of schools that are situated across the Black Isle area (there are 12 in total). With 11 primary schools and one secondary school to pick from, those who decide to move to this area will be spoilt for choice when it comes to enrolling their children. Not only that, Fortrose Academy is one of the best state secondary schools in the Highlands — ranking 26th.

Transport Links

Most people living in the Black Isle rely on buses as their main form of transportation around the area. However, train stations aren’t too far away, with the closest in Dingwall, Conan Bridge and Muir of Ord. If you like to regularly go on holiday, Black Isle is a 30-minute drive from Inverness Airport.

Dundee

If you’re used to the busy streets, Dundee might be the perfect location for you and your family to move to as it takes the title of fourth-largest city in Scotland and has recently experienced a complete makeover to make it more attractive to families, tourists and businesses. 

Schools

Dundee has a diverse range of schools to choose from, too. With a total of 9 secondary schools (1 private), 38 primary schools (1 private), 1 state-run special educational needs schools, and an independent school which offers both secondary and primary education. The city’s focus is on creativity — which is encouraged in education.

Transport Links

Whether you’re planning on travelling to watch a production at one of the renowned theatres or are looking to visit a unique museum, the travel links are exceptional in Dundee and they even have a museum dedicated to them. Dundee is home to both an airport and a rail station, meaning that you always have the opportunity to travel.

These were there top five places to live in Scotland — where will you be moving?