Top 7 Best places to live in Scotland with the Best quality of life – 2024

Britain has beautiful scenery and a long history. Scotland is a beautiful place to live in if you want to move to a place with a mild climate, tasty food, and lots of fun outdoors things to do. Most people know the country for its beautiful countryside, castles, and gardens, as well as for its great beer and whisky.

There are many good reasons to move to Scotland, whether you are from a Scottish family or just want to experience the culture. It is also good to know the cost of living in the United Kingdom if you want to move to this amazing place, but if you are considering moving to Scotland, read on as we rank the top 7 best places to live in Scotland based on the quality of life in 2024.

Top 7 Best Places to live in Scotland with the Best Quality of life — 2024

Methodology

Based on “best” being a subjective word, below is our methodology to compile the best places.

Using our ranking of the safest and cheapest places to live in Scotland, we based our ranking on three criteria: safety, affordability, and quality of life.

Our safety ranking methodology is based on a careful analysis of crimes, which is derived from Police Service of Scotland records recorded in the years 2022–2023. The 2022 mid-year population estimates from the National Records of Scotland were released after the publication of the Recorded Crime in Scotland 2022–23 bulletin. Consequently, the 2021 mid-year population estimates were utilized to calculate the 2022 population rates. The crimes consist of dishonesty, non-sexual crimes, crimes against society, damage and recklessness, sexual crimes, and coronavirus restrictions. The Scotland Police calculated the average number of various crimes per 10,000 people.

Affordability takes into account the prices of housing and renting. We collected the data from the UK House Price Index Scotland (September 2023) and Zoopla in December 2023. To help you compare, as of September 2023, the average property buying cost in Scotland is £195,000, and the average 1-bed flat rent is £753 as of January 2024.

The “best quality of life” aspect is measured based on feedback from real people who have moved to this area in our database or real people from trusted online forums. More specifically, we look for positive feedback on job opportunities, quality of education, quality of healthcare, feeling of safety, public transportation, environment (cleanliness), as well as availability of recreational facilities and parks.

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1. Orkney Islands

Best places to live in Scotland
  • Crimes: 228 crimes per 10,000 people
  • Average 1-bed flat rent: £467
  • Average property buying cost: £196,000

Orkney consistently ranks among the best places to live in the UK, thanks to its vibrant community, unique professional opportunities, and high quality of life. With a crime rate of 228 crimes per 10,000 people, it offers a safe environment. As of September 2023, the average property buying cost is £196,000, while the average one-bedroom flat rent as of December 2023 is £467.

The islands are known for their wonderful wildlife, dramatic landscapes, and lively population with an impressive entrepreneurial spirit. Orkney is also famous for its delicious food and drink, including fresh seafood, dairy products, and locally reared beef. Locals enjoy exploring the charming harbor of Stromness, indulging in local seafood and oatcakes, and visiting historic sites like the Ring of Brodgar and the Stenness Stones.

Police Service of Scotland (2022-2023), UK House Price Index (Sept 2023) & Zoopla (Dec 2023)

Orkney Islands, Scotland

2. East Renfrewshire

Apartments in East Renfrewshire
  • Crimes: 238 crimes per 10,000 people
  • Average 1-bed flat rent: £672
  • Average property buying cost: £291,000

East Renfrewshire, a rural and suburban area close to one of Britain’s most attractive shopping cities, offers excellent housing and a high quality of life. With a crime rate of 238 crimes per 10,000 people, it provides a safe environment. As of September 2023, the average property buying cost is £291,000, while the average one-bedroom flat rent as of December 2023 is £672. The area is renowned for having the best schools in Scotland, with consistently high standards above the Scottish average.

Survey findings indicate high levels of satisfaction among residents, with 85% expressing contentment with living in East Renfrewshire. The region boasts a mix of towns and villages, offering a range of attractions for families, professionals, and retirees. Locals enjoy visiting places like Greenbank Garden, Whitelee Visitor Centre, and Rouken Glen Park, making East Renfrewshire an ideal place to live, work, and explore.

Police Service of Scotland (2022-2023), UK House Price Index (Sept 2023) & Zoopla (Dec 2023)

East Renfrewshire, Scotland

3. East Dunbartonshire

Apartments in East Dunbartonshire
  • Crimes: 254 crimes per 10,000 people
  • Average 1-bed flat rent: £873
  • Average property buying cost: £276,000

East Dunbartonshire offers a balanced mix of urban and rural areas, providing a variety of activities such as golf, fishing, sailing, and cycling. Locals enjoy a vibrant shopping scene with traditional shops, restaurants, and bars in Bearsden, Milngavie, Bishopbriggs, and Kirkintilloch.

The area boasts natural heritage sites like the Auld Kirk Museum and the Antonine Wall. With a low crime rate of 254 crimes per 10,000 people and an average property buying cost of £276,000 as of September 2023, it’s an ideal place to raise a family. The average one-bedroom flat rent is £873 as of December 2023, offering affordability and a high quality of life in picturesque semi-rural settings.

Police Service of Scotland (2022-2023), UK House Price Index (Sept 2023) & Zoopla (Dec 2023)

East Dunbartonshire, Scotland

4. Shetland Islands

Apartments in Shetland Islands
  • Crimes: 278 crimes per 10,000 people
  • Average 1-bed flat rent: £313
  • Average property buying cost: £173,000

In the Shetland Islands, locals enjoy a wealth of outdoor activities amidst stunning landscapes and wildlife. With 900 miles of coastline and numerous hills, the islands are perfect for walking, hiking, and cycling. Kayaking, diving, and fishing opportunities abound in the calm coastal waters and over 300 lochs. The clean air and wild landscapes make Shetland Islands a haven for nature lovers, with diverse birdlife and rare migratory visitors in April and September.

This place offers the best quality of life in Scotland, with top rankings for health, employment, and education. With a low crime rate of 278 crimes per 10,000 people, an average property buying cost of £173,000 as of September 2023, and an average one-bedroom flat rent of £313 as of December 2023, Shetland Islands provide safety and affordability amidst its more than 100 islands. Locals cherish outdoor adventures, wildlife, history, and local cuisine.

Police Service of Scotland (2022-2023), UK House Price Index (Sept 2023) & Shetlands Island Council (March 2023)

Shetland Islands, Scotland

5. Aberdeenshire

  • Crimes: 306 crimes per 10,000 people
  • Average 1-bed flat rent: £753
  • Average property buying cost: £199,000

Aberdeenshire, known as the “Granite City,” has been named one of the best places to live in Great Britain for its affordability. The region offers a rich cultural experience, with Old Aberdeen’s sandy shoreline and vibrant dining, shopping, and art scenes. Community centres, libraries, schools, and theatres contribute to a thriving area with modern amenities set amidst picturesque landscapes.

With a low crime rate of 306 crimes per 10,000 people, an average property buying cost of £199,000 as of September 2023, and an average one-bedroom flat rent of £753 as of December 2023, Aberdeenshire provides a high quality of life. Locals appreciate the area’s attractions, including beaches, cliff walks, and castles, as well as its convenient commuting distance and well-maintained roads, even in winter.

Police Service of Scotland (2022-2023), UK House Price Index (Sept 2023) & Zoopla (Dec 2023)

Aberdeenshire, Scotland

6. Angus

Apartments in Angus
  • Crimes: 399 crimes per 10,000 people
  • Average 1-bed flat rent: £470
  • Average property buying cost: £166,000

Angus, considered Scotland’s birthplace and home to stunning landscapes, offers a choice between rural tranquility and vibrant town life. Situated near Dundee, it boasts a short drive to the city. It has a reported low crime rate of 399 crimes per 10,000 people, an average property buying cost of £166,000 as of September 2023, and an average one-bedroom flat rent of £470 as of December 2023.

Locals in Angus have access to healthcare facilities and a wide range of outdoor activities, from climbing and hillwalking to mountain biking, amidst beautiful countryside and rugged coastline. From vast sandy beaches to historic Pictish stones and wildlife hotspots like Montrose Basin, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Police Service of Scotland (2022-2023), UK House Price Index (Sept 2023) & Zoopla (Dec 2023)

Angus, Scotland

7. Moray

  • Crimes: 410 crimes per 10,000 people
  • Average 1-bed flat rent: £475
  • Average property buying cost: £194,000

Moray is known for its outstanding natural resources, world-famous coastlines, and high standard of living. Voted one of the top 5 rural regions in Scotland for quality of life, it offers affordable housing, great schools, and beautiful scenery. With an average property buying cost of £194,000 as of September 2023 and an average one-bedroom flat rent of £475 as of December 2023, Moray provides affordability. For safety, it has a reported crime rate of 410 crimes per 10,000 people.

Known for its pretty coastal villages, sightings of dolphins, and famous whisky distilleries, it’s a haven for those seeking rural living with access to local brands. Locals mention that they enjoy easy access to transportation, including buses and train services, and appreciate the region’s proximity to both the Highlands and the coast, offering plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and indulging in local specialties like Cullen Skink soup and fresh seafood.

Police Service of Scotland (2022-2023), UK House Price Index (Sept 2023) & Zoopla (Dec 2023)

Moray, Scotland

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Conclusion:

Many people are curious about the best places to live in Scotland and want to find out more information about them. After reading our ranking of the top 7 best places to live in Scotland, you should be able to decide about where you want to call home and spend the rest of your life. If you are moving soon, you should probably familiarize yourself with the best removal companies so that you can find one that can assist you.

 

Last year’s ranking (2023)

  1. Orkney Islands
  2. Shetland Islands
  3. Na h-Eileanan Siar
  4. East Renfrewshire
  5. Aberdeenshire
  6. Moray
  7. East Dunbartonshire
  8. Angus
  9. Argyll and Bute
  10. The Highlands

 

Our rankings are meticulously curated, considering safety, affordability, and the quality of life. It’s important to highlight that certain places may have changed from last year’s lists due to fluctuations in criteria used in our methodology. We encourage readers to weigh these rankings in light of their individual needs and preferences for a more informed decision-making process.

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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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