What to know before your move from England to Scotland

7 Things to know and do before moving to Scotland from England

Scotland typically ranks well in terms of quality of life, with low crime rates, excellent healthcare, and easy access to outdoor activities. Being known for its unique culture and friendly people, this place is a good start for those who want to live a high quality of life with a lower cost of living compared to other parts of the UK.

Before deciding to move, it’s crucial to thoroughly weigh all the options to avoid conflicts and to help you decide, here’s MovingWaldo’s 9 things to do and know when moving to Scotland from England.

Important things to know before moving from England to Scotland

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1. First steps before moving to Scotland

Visa requirements

Discover the types of Scotland visa requirements and permits

If you are a UK citizen moving from England to Scotland, you do not need to complete any extra paperwork or fulfill any specific conditions. The UK government will determine the immigration policy in Scotland, since it is part of the United Kingdom. 

You can apply for settled status under the EU settlement plan if you are a citizen of the EU, EEA, Switzerland, or one of those countries, and you lived in Scotland before the end of December 2020. The EU Settlement Scheme expired on June 30, 2021, however, you may visit Help and Advice for EU Citizens in Scotland or Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for further details, including if you can submit a late application.

Finding a job 

Many people opt to move to Scotland for cost-effective living while still enjoying good job prospects. Major cities such as Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Edinburgh offer ample job opportunities. Currently in-demand professions to work in Scotland comprise delivery drivers, electricians, beauty therapists, resource planning managers, food and beverage supervisors, and associate dentists.

Getting there 

When relocating from England to Scotland, you have several transportation options to consider. Flying is a convenient choice, with multiple airports such as Edinburgh and Glasgow serving as entry points, taking approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

Train travel via the East Coast Main Line and West Coast Main Line connects major cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham to Edinburgh and Glasgow. B

Bus services, including National Express and Megabus, offer a more economical but slightly slower alternative. If you wish to bring your car, you must register it with the DVLA and update your insurance policy accordingly. 

To simplify your move, you can also find reliable and trustworthy removal companies through trusted services like MovingWaldo.

Must dos before your arrival 

Moving to Scotland from England can be both exciting and challenging. Being aware of these things beforehand will better prepare you for your new life:

  • Know about Catchment Area Policy In Scotland. In Scotland, catchment areas are used by councils to assign schools for your child. You may receive a confirmation letter the year before your child starts primary or secondary school. Simply reply “confirm” to secure a spot at the nearby school. Inform your local council if your child will attend another school. Note that some councils may not send confirmation letters.
  • Prepare for Scotland’s unpredictable rainy and chilly weather checking local forecasts and packing accordingly, especially if you’re not familiar with the climate.
  • Plan ahead by researching and scheduling apartment visits before your arrival to streamline your housing search and ensure a smoother transition.

2. Upon your arrival in Scotland

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Familiarize yourself with the neighborhood and note essential emergency numbers.
  • Find the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for safety and emergencies.
  • Contact your employer to inform them of your arrival and receive guidance on the next steps.

Healthcare

If you’re moving to Scotland from England, you will continue to have access to the Scottish National Health Service (NHS). The NHS offers free healthcare to all Scottish citizens, regardless of nationality or immigration status.

To register with a GP in Scotland, just find a nearby GP practice and complete a registration form. Proof of your identification and address, such as a passport or driving license, as well as proof of your Scottish residence, such as a utility bill or council tax bill, will be necessary. 

Once enrolled with a GP, you will have access to a variety of free healthcare services. It is important to note that some services, such as dental treatment, may require you to pay a fee. These costs, however, are often cheaper in Scotland than in the rest of the UK.

Setting up your cell phone 

Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom, your UK mobile phone plan and device should work without any additional charges or fees. Cell phone service providers in Scotland include BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, O2, Three, Vodafone and EE. Because coverage varies based on your area, it’s a good idea to compare coverage maps before selecting a plan before moving to Scotland from England.

Here are some general price ranges: 

  • Cell phone plans – pay as you go, with monthly contracts, or sim only plans range from £5 to £50 per month depending on the amount of data and level of service included. 

To enhance the coverage for some areas, Scottish has programs like the Scottish 4G Infill Programme

Looking for a broadband provider? Discover the best Glasgow Internet providers

Getting a driver’s license 

If you are from England and want to apply for a driver’s license in Scotland, you must apply for a provisional driving license from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). In Scotland, you must first pass a theoretical test before taking your driving test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) website allows you to arrange a theory exam online. You may arrange a practical driving test on the DVSA website or by calling their booking line after you are confident in your driving abilities. 

If you already have a full driving license from England, you may not need to take the test in Scotland. Rather, you can exchange your license for a Scottish one. You can do this by updating your information and sending it to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea.

Setting up a bank account 

If you are moving to Scotland from England, you can continue to use your existing UK bank account. However, it is recommended that you create a new bank account in Scotland to facilitate financial management and access to local banking services.

In Scotland, you may establish a bank account at any major bank branch, including Lloyds, RBS, Barclays and Santander. Many banks also allow you to create an account online or via phone. It is important to note that certain banks may need you to have a particular amount of credit history or income to create an account, so do your research before applying.

3. Best places to live in Scotland

Best places to live in Scotland

Here are the best places to live in Scotland while also considering their quality of life. The criteria used to determine quality of life include health, pollution, green areas and leisure, climate, education, and employment. We based our ranking on 3 criteria: safety, affordability, and access to recreational amenities and parks.

  1. Orkney Islands – Affordable housing
  2. Shetland Islands – Paradise for birdwatchers
  3. Na h-Eileanan Siar – Perfect for nature lovers
  4. East Renfrewshire – Home to Whitelee Windfarm (UK’s largest onshore wind farm)
  5. Aberdeenshire – Best for foodies
  6. Moray – One of the most affordable coastal areas in the UK
  7. East Dunbartonshire – Near Glasgow
  8. Angus, Scotland – Historically rich city
  9. Argyll and Bute – Over 3,000 miles of coastline
  10. The Highlands – The most mountainous terrain in the UK

Setting up home services 

  • Although Scotland’s utilities are typically similar to those in the rest of the UK, there might be certain regional differences in service providers and costs. Here are a few of Scotland’s most popular utilities:
  • Scottish Power and SSE are two of the country’s largest electrical suppliers, although there are also a number of additional choices. Depending on your region and the size of your household, prices may change.
  • In Scotland, Scottish Water is the principal company offering water and wastewater services. Prices are uniform throughout Scotland and are regulated by the Water Industry Commission.
  • British Gas, Scottish Power, and SSE are Scotland’s three main gas suppliers. Once more, rates can change based on consumption and region.

Should you rent or buy?

The Scottish housing market remains highly competitive, with locals cautioning that you may need to pay around 20% above the asking price. To save costs, consider buying properties outside city centers, such as in Glenrothes or Kirkcaldy. 

Moreover, purchasing a house in Scotland involves a substantial amount of paperwork, which can be overwhelming for newcomers. Therefore, if you’re on a budget, it may be a wiser decision to initially rent a property.

What is a home report? 

If you already choose the house you prefer, request a Home Report from the seller, their solicitor, or their estate agency. If the house is known to be for sale, it should have a home report. This is a document that contains all the information you need to know about the house. It is divided into three sections: a survey and valuation, a property questionnaire, and an energy report.

4. Cost of living in Scotland

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

£701.14

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list (£33.40 multiplied by 4)

£133.60

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

£251.14

Internet with 60 Mbps

£31.41

Transit pass

£61.80

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

£56.87

Gym membership 

£33.33

Total

£1,904.61

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & First Bus (Oct 2023)

What to expect from your new life in Scotland

  • In Scotland, the cost of living and housing costs are both affordable and reasonable based on Numbeo’s data.

  • Scottish people accents are unique and vary significantly from area to region; they are typically distinguished from accents heard in England.

  • Different accents and dialects: It may take some time to become familiar with the particular accent and dialect used by Scots when speaking.

  • The design of Scottish banknotes is unique and frequently shows interesting Scots such as Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott.

  • The weather in Scotland differs from that in England in that it may be much more unpredictable, wetter, and windy. You should be ready to pack clothes that are suited for the Scottish climate.

5. The weather in Scotland

Despite being small, Scottish weather is unexpected compared to England. 

  • Spring – during the months of March, April, and May, average maximum temperatures will vary from 7°C (45°F) to 13°C (55°F). 
  • Summer – the hottest months of Scotland are typically June, July, and August, with average maximum temperatures ranging from 15°C (59°F) to 17°C (63 °F). 
  • Autumn – from September through November, temperatures in Scotland are expected to range from roughly 8°C (46°F) to 14°C (57°F). 
  • Winter – the coldest months in Scotland are typically December, January, and February, with average maximum temperatures hovering around 5°C (41°F).

6. What to do as a local in Scotland

Scotland has a lively music culture, with many towns and cities hosting live music venues or music festivals that locals love.

The Scots are also big fans of sports, particularly outdoor activities. During their free time, some of the things that locals do in Scotland are skiing, walking, hiking, riding, fishing, football, shinty, golf, curling, and water and extreme sports.

Scottish people like going to sporting events as they have a strong sporting culture, with football, rugby, and golf being especially popular.

7. Fun facts about Scotland

  • Scotland’s official animal is the unicorn!
  • The first picture in color was taken in Scotland. 
  • With all the rain that comes down in Scotland, it’s no surprise that the raincoat was invented in Scotland.

Conclusion

Moving to Scotland from England offers a high quality of life with lower living costs. UK citizens don’t require much extra paperwork for the move. Job opportunities are abundant in cities like Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. Transportation options include flying, trains, or buses. 

Scotland offers free healthcare through the NHS, with some costs for services like dental treatment. 

Your UK mobile phone plan should work without extra charges when you relocate to Scotland. Setting up a bank account in Scotland is advisable. Housing costs vary, with competitive markets in city centers. Weather can be unpredictable. Scotland’s diverse culture and outdoor activities await you. Fun facts include Scotland’s official animal as the unicorn and the invention of the raincoat.

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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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