Complete 2023 Guide.

Best Areas To Live In Scotland

7 Best Areas To Live In Scotland 2023

Key Takeaways:

  • The Isle of Bute is our pick for the best area to live in Scotland in 2023.
  • The runners up include Melrose in the Scottish Borders and Braemer of Aberdeenshire.
  • Our honourable mentions feature Fife’s Culross and Dunblane in Stirling.

From Granite City to Auld Reekie, we’ve explored the highlands to pick the seven best areas to live in Scotland in 2023.

Specifically, we’ve analysed what living in Scotland is like, looking into community spirit, the quality of schools, things to do, broadband speeds, and transport links.

Whether you’re an expat, family, or young adult, all of these Scottish areas will be perfect for you.

So, without further ado, here are our picks for the seven best areas to live in Scotland in 2023.

Where Are the Best Areas in Scotland to Live? 

Scotland is a great place to live in 2023.

A hive for young professionals and families alike, the country is not only one of the most beautiful in the world, but it’s also a great place to live and work.

The country has been wracking up the accolades in 2023, now named amongst the best places for a night out and one of the world’s most beautiful countries

But where exactly is the best place to live in Scotland? Here are seven picks for 2023:

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Isle of Bute, Argyll

A runner-up on our list of the best places to live in the UK, the stunning Isle of Bute is our pick for the best area to live in Scotland in 2023.

Home to over 6,000 close-knit people, Bute offers the stunning sights, inspiring geology, and sense of community you’ve come to expect from Scotland.

The famously affordable retreat has become the hunting ground for families looking to say goodbye to inner-city hubbub.

But don’t let this convince you the isle is isolated. Although this is island living, it’s not as you know it.

Blessed with surprising connectivity putting Central Glasgow within a 90-minute journey for commuters, Bute continues to redefine what’s possible from an island lifestyle.

That’s not to say that you’ll need to leave, either.

Bute has a respectable high street filled with a plethora of independent shops delivering the daily essentials you’ll need.

While its high street can’t compete with Glasgow and Edinburgh, this beautiful little island is undoubtedly one of the best places to live in Scotland for families.

Melrose, Scottish Borders

Bookworms and sports fans unite: the affluent Melrose makes our list of the best areas in Scotland.

Nestled under the looming shadow of the Eildon Hills, Melrose is a historic town boasting stunning sights, an unquenchable community spirit, and a thirst for sports.

This is Rugby country (Sevens, to be specific), and residents have continued to love the sport since its 1883 inception.

With regular matches and an annual tournament in April, the Borders come alive during Rugby season.

But if Tries and Scrums mean little to you, the locals also love a good page-turner, with the annual Borders Book Festival held every summer.

It is quite fitting given its name, but the Rose tends to put love in the air.

Research from Knight Frank found that Scotland Melrose had the most “love at first sight” sales in 2021 – when buyers purchased properties after one viewing.

As such, it’s not uncommon to leave your heart in Melrose.

Just like Robert the Bruce – Scotland’s most famous king whose heart was found buried in the area – Melrose on the Scottish Borders could be your forever home.

Braemar, Aberdeenshire

Amongst the best places to live in the Scottish highlands, the lofty Braemar is likely at the pinnacle.

Standing at 1,100 feet above sea level and featuring colourful Victorian architecture, Braemar is Scotland at its beautiful best.

Amidst the Cairngorms mountain range, the village is home to just 450 people, with the area a haven for tourists and holiday homes.

Tourism is part of its DNA, with Braemar known to frequently attract royalty.

From the days of Queen Victoria to the modern-day, the Royal village has been elevated to a must-visit Scottish destination.

The only trouble you’ll find here is getting a home.

Half of the houses in Braemar are second or holiday homes, with Aberdeen’s rich coming up in the Spring and Summer to leave it sleepy and baron during the winter months.

But if you’ve got the cash, patience, and luck to find a home, Braemar ranks amongst the best areas to live in Aberdeen and the Scottish Highlands in 2023.

It’s easily one of the best villages to live in Scotland this year.

North Berwick, East Lothian

Seaside towns have always been high on the shopping lists of house hunters.

But for many, a waterfront retreat is a pipe dream, with job opportunities typically forcing people close to the big city.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a coastal escape with a good commute?

Well, travel to the east of Scotland, and you’ll find a breezy, beautiful town that ticks all these boxes and more.

Introducing North Berwick in East Lothian, a sun-drenched seaside haven filled with sandy beaches just 30 MINUTES from Edinburgh.

Community-driven with tasty food and great schools, North Berwick is becoming the destination for young families as one of the best places to live in Scotland by the sea.

And with the WFH revolution in full swing, you may not even need to take the 30-minute commute.

In fact, WFH has led to even more people leaving the bustle of Edinburgh for the waves of Berwick. Could you be next to make the switch?

Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire

Top schools and superb properties combine to make Bearsden one of Scotland’s most coveted spots for the aspirational.

Over the years, the town has had a VIP smorgasbord of the rich and famous, with the likes of Alex McLeish and Alex Kapranos calling this Glaswegian suburb home.

And it wears this affluence on its sleeve.

Streets are lined with slick cars, with Bearsden the chosen home of aspiring families reaching for the pinnacle of Scottish living.

But who can blame them? Just one look at Bearsden and its jaw-dropping scenery, and you’ll want to live there too.

Residents from across the country have tried to reclaim a connection with the great outdoors since pandemic lockdowns, and this is all too easy for Bearsden’s local community.

From the picturesque Kilmardinny Loch to the Whangie, a 340 million-year-old rock formation, Bearsden offers the chance to leave behind skyscrapers and office blocks for rolling hills and fresh air.

What’s not to love?

Dennistoun, Glasgow

Rural retreats and sunny seaside towns are great.

But sometimes, finding a charming city district with an edge is where home is.

And if you’re one of the many young professionals seeking a cool (and affordable) place to live in Scotland in 2023, Dennistoun in Glasgow should be right at the top of your list.

Named the eighth coolest neighbourhood in the world by Time Out magazine, this Glaswegian retreat offers the connections, broadband, and affordability you’d expect from the inner city.

However, unlike many areas on this list, Dennistoun isn’t the finished article – it’s a district on the up with an aspiring young population helping it along the way.

You won’t find fine-dining or bustling high streets here. Dennistoun is neither polished nor gentrified.

But it is charming, which truly sets the place apart from the rest. Gorgeous food spots and glorious green spaces make Dennistoun one of the best areas in Glasgow to live.

So:

If you’re looking for a hip neighbourhood with its own community and great transport links into the vibrant nightlife of Glasgow, then Dennistoun could be the home for you.

Portobello, Edinburgh

We’re back on the coast again, but it’s a little bit different this time:

We’re actually in Edinburgh.

The coastal suburb of Portobello is just three miles east of the historic city centre of Edinburgh and hits both barrels for young families.

If you want the nature retreat that goes hand-in-hand with beach-side living, then you’ve got it here.

And for commuters hungry to capture the opportunities in Edinburgh city centre, you’re just 20 minutes away.

Yet despite these benefits, Portobello remains reasonably affordable.

While average house prices in Edinburgh city centre nearly hit the £360 mark, Portobello’s over £50k cheaper – surprising, given just how much is offered here.

From its independent shops to its lovely coast, Porty – as it’s known to the locals – is one of the best areas in Edinburgh to live and an ideal escape from city life while still within touching distance.

Download 2023 Best Areas To Live Guide

Honourable Mentions for 2023

From the west coast to the east, Scotland holds so many treasures that it would be impossible to mention them all.

And since we all have our opinions on what makes the best area in Scotland, whose opinion is better to share than the Sunday Times?

The Sunday Times release an annual list of the best places to live in the UK, and it’s held in high regard as one of the most prestigious awards.

They recently released a 2022 list, and we thought it would be right to share their findings as some honourable mentions in our list.

You might notice some familiar faces.

Their top 7 list of the best places in Scotland 2022 include:

  1.     Isle of Bute, Argyll
  2.     Braemar, Aberdeenshire
  3.     Culross, Fife
  4.     Dunblane, Stirling
  5.     Glasgow: Shawlands
  6.     Melrose, Scotland Borders
  7.     North Berwick, East Lothian

You can see their full list of the best places to live in 2022 by following the link.

Our Methodology: How We Chose the Best Places to Live in Scotland <h2>

We’ve attempted to capture what people want from their homes in 2023 in our list.

With Covid-19’s WFH revolution in full swing, priorities for house hunters across the UK have changed.

Community spirit, which helped so many through the dark days of lockdown by giving as much support as possible, is now vital.

As are fresh air and access to green space, with many looking to rekindle their link with mother nature – it’s why we’ve got a seaside village and rural areas dominating this list.

Things like local services and local businesses are still important, as are schools, which are forever a box to tick for families.

Broadband’s also vital, with stable internet connections for Zoom calls and uploads now a necessity.

However, while we certainly thought about property prices, we haven’t placed a huge emphasis on them.

After all, this is a list of the BEST areas to live in Scotland, and sometimes a big budget is needed to find a dream home.

You can find the average prices for all of the best areas in Scotland in the table below:

City/Town/Village

Average House Price

Isle of Bute

£126,352

Melrose

£287,397

Braemar

£287,833

North Berwick

£486,222

Bearsden

£384,130

Dennistoun

£147,388

Portobello

£306,892