Moving to West Lothian – Top 5 Towns

Moving to West Lothian
The Top 5 Towns to Move to!

Sandwiched between Scotland’s 2 major cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, moving to West Lothian offers an exciting alternative to living in Scotland’s central belt. So what does West Lothian have to offer and what are best towns to think about when moving to West Lothian? Read on to find out!


Our Guide to West Lothian

West Lothian is situated right in the heart of Central Scotland. Less than 10 miles from Edinburgh in the East, and only 15 miles from Glasgow in the West, West Lothian has become the go to area for young couples looking for good value homes to move into.

View from Seafield Law with the "5 Sisters" shale bings in the background

Predominately a rural setting, West Lothian’s history lies in the extensive coal, iron and shale oil mining operations that took place in the 19th and 20th centuries. The remnants of which can still be seen today, with large red-spoil heaps (also called “bings”) scattered across the landscape of West Lothian. The biggest of which can be seen clearly from the M8, with the 5 sisters bing near Blackburn, and the largest bing just North of Broxburn in Greendykes Industrial Estate, both are easily recognisable from the motorway.

With a total area of 165 square miles, West Lothian has a population of 182,000, as of 2019. The majority of the population reside in West Lothian’s biggest town, Livingston. As of 2020, there were approximately 4,500 businesses in the area, providing almost 72,000 jobs. If you’re thinking about Moving to West Lothian, there are certainly lots of opportunities!

What to Expect when
Moving to West Lothian

When moving to West Lothian, don’t expect the big city life, or endless rows of shops. Instead, think of a nice green valley with lots of small and uniquely styled villages, all connected by a modern network of roads. In fact, the largest town in West Lothian, Livingston, has more roundabouts per square mile than any other British town! Thus making travel in and around West Lothian a breeze!

As of Winter 2022, the average house price in West Lothian sat at £206,659. That’s up a massive 10% since 2019, so it’s a great area for increasing property values. West Lothian is perfectly situated between Glasgow and Edinburgh, so it’s popularity as a commuter region will only increase as time goes on. Thus offering better value for money when moving to West Lothian, and still only a short distance from the main cities. So expect to travel for the city like amenities, however don’t forget the 1 million ft² shopping centre in Livingston!

Activities in West Lothian

Although West Lothian doesn’t have the offerings or architecture that Edinburgh and Glasgow has to offer, it does offer a multitude of activities you wouldn’t find in a modern city.

With 3 country parks on offer, you’re never far away from the peace and quiet of the countryside. You have Almondell and Calderwood Country Park in the South, Polkemmet in the West and Beecraigs in the North, offering some stunning walks and breath-taking views.

If you’re a fan of animals, then the 5 Sisters Zoo is a perfect day out for the entire family. Home to over 196 species of animals, the 5 Sisters Zoo is a great day out for all the family, and isn’t nearly as hard to walk round compared to the hike that is Edinburgh Zoo! Yet another reason why so many people are making the leap and moving to West Lothian.

Plenty of Walking Opportunities in West Lothian with 3 Country Parks

West Lothian is steeped in History, with plenty of castles, old churches and even a Royal Palace to explore in Linlithgow. Several museums exist to tell the tales from the Local Mining Heritage. The most notable being the Almond Valley Heritage Centre, a great day out for all the family, with a bit of education thrown in for good measure!

If the weather isn’t the best (this is Scotland after all), then you have the largest shopping centre in Scotland to explore at your doorstep. With more shops and restaurants than you can shake a stick at, and a massive multi-plex cinema with crazy golf right next door, there will always be something for you to do in the wet weather when moving to West Lothian.

Top 5 Towns to Move
to in West Lothian

In total there are 86 towns and villages within West Lothian to choose from. However, with so much choice, it’s difficult to choose where to move to. So what are the top 5 places or towns to pick when Moving to West Lothian? We’ve ranked our favorite towns within West Lothian, and created our very own list of the top 5 towns when moving to West Lothian.

5. Broxburn

West Lothian shale bing, Scotland

Originally named in 1600 by Sir Richard Cockburn of Clekington, Broxburn was an agricultural community until the development of the oil shale industry in the late 19th Century. During which time the majority of the Broxburn residents worked and earned a living in the shales mines.

From Gaelic origin, Broxburn or “brock’s burn” is an old Scots name for a Badger and a Small River. As such Broxburn can be translated as the Badger’s River. The badger itself is prominently featured on the local school and football club emblems.

The average house price in Broxburn is £191,573. Located only 12 miles from Edinburgh City Centre, and only 5 miles from Edinburgh Airport, it’s a perfect commuter town for those travelling and working in and out of Edinburgh. Although there is no train station, Broxburn is served by several bus services in and out of town, Broxburn also has 2 industrial estates that provide work for many of the residents, with Campbells Prime Meats Ltd and Glenmorangie being the two biggest employers in the area.

There are several primary schools in the local area such as Uphall, Kirkhill and Pumpherston. All of these feed into the main secondary place of education, Broxburn Academy, home to almost 1000 students, and ranked 55th in Scotland.

With a bustling main street with plenty of shops, you’ll not have to travel far, if at all, to get your weekly shop, and with a modern sports centre located in the heart of Broxburn, you’ll have no trouble keeping fit and active! So if you like to be closer to Edinburgh, but still have that rural feel then keep Broxburn high on your list of places to think about when moving to West Lothian.

Moving to Broxburn - Key Rankings

Affordability 70%
Amenities 65%
Location 60%
Transport Links 50%
Overall 61.25%

4. Torphichen

View of Loch Cote near Torphichen

With a population of just over 700, Torphichen is the smallest of our top 5 places to live in West Lothian. Located to the south of Linlithgow, Torphichen sits nestled away in the Bathgate hills.

Originally founded in 400AD by St. Ninian, the parish church developed and grew with the local area until 1165, when the Knights of Hospitaller made Torphichen Perceptory their Scottish Headquarters.

In the mid 20th Century, Torphichen benefitted from several council developments in the Priorscroft area and St. John’s Place. Even after some more private homes were built in the 1990s, Torphichen is home to less than 350 dwellings, making it the perfect, quiet and peaceful village to move too. 

To the North of the village you also have Beecraigs Country Park, perfect for long walks and cycles, and to the North East you have Loch Cote. So if you’re an outdoors type of person, that likes a quiet village, then we can highly recommend Torphichen for it location and access to the wilds of West Lothian. Although the average house prices are much higher here due to the location, with an average price of £326,885.

With only a single Primary School in the village, older children need to travel to Linlithgow for their secondary education, with larger shops 5 miles away in the same town. As the furthest away from either the M8 or M9 motorways, Torphichen is the most remote town on our list. So if you’re looking for a nice quiet and small village to move to in West Lothian, then Torphichen may be your ideal choice!

Moving to Torphichen - Key Rankings

Affordability 50%
Amenities 65%
Location 90%
Transport Links 55%
Overall 65%

3. Bathgate

Moving Home in Wester Inch, Bathgate with Purdie Worldwide

King Malcom IV of Scotland recognised Bathgate by confirmation charter way back in 1160.  An evolution of the Cumbric name meaning “Boar Wood“, Bathgate sits 18 miles West of Edinburgh and less than 30 miles from the centre of Glasgow. Ideally served by 2 junctions of the M8, Bathgate has become an increasingly popular commuter town, with the population almost doubling between 1991 and 2011 to a total of just over 20,000 residents.

Bathgate saw great industrial development during the 1960s with the introduction of British Leyland to the area, providing jobs and and boosting the local economy for the next 25 years.  After it’s closure in the early 90s, the land was purchased by developers and a new village was created on the existing site and renamed Wester Inch. Served by a large Tesco, this village is still considered part of Bathgate, but offers more modern abodes than the traditional 18th and 19th century homes in the town centre. The average house price in Bathgate sits at £186,275 according to Right Move.

With it’s own train station, Bathgate provides it’s residents access to Edinburgh in 20 minutes, and Glasgow within 30 minutes. These very short commute times allow workers from either city to easily commute back and forward without the need for a car. Within the town itself is a main precinct with many shops on offer, along with a modern shopping park to the South boasting a range of modern high street shops and restaurants.

When moving to West Lothian with a young family, it’s a good idea to look at the education system on offer. Bathgate has many multi-denominational primary schools, but only one main High School; Bathgate Academy. The Catholic High School, St Kentigern’s Academy has it’s campus in the neighbouring town of Blackburn, home to none other than moving legends Purdie Worldwide!

With it’s Sports Centre in the West, Kirkton Park in the East, there are several opportunities for small walks. However, you’d need to head out further afield to find longer walks that leave you with a feeling of the great outdoors rather than a simple stroll about the town.

Want find more things to do in Bathgate? Then check out My Voyage Scotland’s article which features 18 things to do in Bathgate!

Moving to Bathgate - Key Rankings

Affordability 75%
Amenities 65%
Location 70%
Transport Links 70%
Overall 70%

2. Livingston

The Lanthorn Community Centre, Dedridge, Livingston

The fourth of the new towns designated in 1962, Livingston is the newest and largest town on our list. Home to Premier League Football Club, Livingston FC, and Scotland’s largest shopping mall, Livingston sits 14 miles from Edinburgh and 30 miles from Glasgow. The M8 motorway runs straight through the middle from East to West, allowing easy access for commuters to both cities. Livingston is also served by 2 stations in the North and South of the town.

With over 55,000 people as of 2011, Livingston is the closest of all the places in West Lothian to move to that resembles city life. Built around a collection of smaller towns (Livingston Village, Bellsquarry & Livingston Station) Livingston was created to stop the expansion of Edinburgh and provide housing for 100,000 people, as well as offering large sections of land for commercial use.

Such was the uptake on these new commercial developments, Livingston was named as Scotland’s Silicon Valley in the late 80s and early 90s. Big players on the global scene had bases of operations in Livingston, such as Motorla and NEC. Although these companies withdrew from the area in the early 2000s, large companies such as Sky, Mitsubishi Electric and DS Smith currently occupy the area and provide jobs and an income for many families.

Part of the charm of Livingston is in it’s ability to remain a collection of small towns, and not one collective entity. Each part of Livingston has it’s own distinct character. From the historic buildings in Livingston Village, to the new ultra modern show homes in the Murieston area, Livingston has something for every budget and lifestyle. As of 2022, the average house price in Livingston is £224,887.

If there was one thing that lets Livingston down, it would be it’s lack of any real large green spaces. Although you have Almondvale, Howden and Eliburn parks, none of them are in the same league as Beecraigs or Almondell parks. Walks in Livingston never give you the feeling that you’re truly in the countryside. Yes, a shop may only be just around the corner, but if you’re looking for open spaces to spread your wings and explore, don’t choose Livingston as the place when moving to West Lothian.

Moving to Livingston - Key Rankings

Affordability 65%
Amenities 80%
Location 70%
Transport Links 70%
Overall 71.25%

1. Linlithgow

Linlithgow Palace Circa 2008

Linlithgow, or “loch in a damp hollow” as it’s name is originally translated to, is a site that has been occupied since early Roman times, with evidence of early bronze age settlements in the form of Crannogs on the loch. It gained Royal Charter status in 1388 from Robert II of Scotland and developed throughout the middle ages as a royal residence. Linlithgow was seen as a logical stop when travelling from Edinburgh Castle to Stirling Castle.

The Palace itself was started in 1424 by James I of Scotland, however it was attacked by Oliver Cromwell in 1650 and later burnt out in 1746. Although unroofed, Linlithgow Palace remains Scotland’s finest surviving medieval secular building, and is a popular tourist attraction to this day. It’s appearance in TV shows like Outlander have contributed greatly to it’s popularity and helped boost the local economy at the same time.

Located in the North of West Lothian, Linlithgow sits 20 miles West of Edinburgh, and has it’s own train station which is directly connected to the Edinburgh and Glasgow main lines, allowing swift and easy access to Scotland’s main cities. The average house price in the Linlithgow area is slightly higher than country average at £282,866.

As Linlithgow has grown, it has encompassed the local Linlithgow Bridge and Springfield areas, resulting in a town with a population of almost 13,000 people as of mid 2020. With 5 Primary schools and a large secondary school that ranked 11th in the Scottish 2021 league table, the opportunity for a good education is among the best out of any town in Scotland, let alone West Lothian.

With a modern golf course, sports centre and 2 neighbouring country parks, if you’re an avid outdoors type person, then Linlithgow should definitely top your list. The high street still has an array of smaller bespoke shops, whereas the West side of town has a new retail park which is home to larger brand name shops such as Argos and Aldi’s.

If you’re a fan of the outdoors, then Linlithgow might be the best place to move to in West Lothian. The loch itself provides an excellent walking route, and with the 370 hectare country park of Beecraigs is within walking distance of the town, you’ll be spoilt for choice for outdoor activities.

Overall, Linlithgow offers the best balance of location, activities and history across all the towns in West Lothian we’ve listed. You have easy access to the M9 motorway, allowing quick and easy travel to and from Edinburgh or Stirling. The place is steeped in history, and if you like your walks, there are more walks around Linlithgow than any other town in West Lothian.

Although house prices are on the rise in Linlithgow, they’re still a lot cheaper than the centre of Edinburgh, Glasgow or Stirling. So if you looking for the best place to move to in West Lothian? Our choice would definitely be Linlithgow.

Beecraigs Country Park, Linlithgow

Moving to Linlithgow - Key Rankings

Affordability 60%
Amenities 80%
Location 90%
Transport Links 70%
Overall 75%

Move to West Lothian Today!

Fancy moving to a town in West Lothian? Get a Moving Quote from us today, and get on that path to a happier home in West Lothian!


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