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Reasons to Move to Scotland

Updated on October 7, 2014
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Why You Should Move to Scotland

Why move to Scotland? Well, we've got fresh air, lots of space, and a lower cost of living than many parts of the UK. And that's just for starters!

If you are thinking of moving to Scotland here are some good reasons to make the move. There are also some things to watch out for if you don't want to be hit too hard by culture shock.

All the photography on this page features Scottish places and wildlife to give you a preview of a little of what awaits should you decide to move to Scotland... alongside a warm welcome, naturally!

Move to Scotland for the Famous Scottish Scenery

Scotland has beautiful unspoiled countryside

Scotland has a population of a little over 5 million. This is a smaller population than that of either London or New York City. Add to this the fact that most of the population is concentrated in the 4 major cities of Scotland (in order of size: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee) and in the 'Central Belt' region surrounding Edinburgh and Glasgow, and it becomes clear that there is a lot of open space!

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The ancient mountains that form the Highland region cover a large part of the country and while the hillsides are dotted with sheep the landscape here is little changed by human interference. National Parks protect the most vulnerable and beautiful areas: the Cairngorms National Park covers 4528 square kilometres (around 2814 square miles) and Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park covers a further 18565 square kilometres (270 square miles).

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If you move to Scotland, these parks will almost certainly be somewhere you will take the time to visit. The National Parks welcome nature lovers and are keen to encourage activities such as cycling, boating, and horse riding. At the same time they protect the rare and unique wildlife of the region including the Scottish Wildcat, Red Squirrel (endangered in Britain), Osprey, Golden Eagle, Capercaille, Scottish Crossbill and Ptarmigan.

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Beyond the National Parks you can still find vast areas of rural land. Even in the cities and more populated areas you are never far from green spaces. Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh, is bordered by the Pentland Hills which are a favorite of hikers. In fact the city itself is very hilly! Small and large lochs (lakes) are found just about everywhere.

Scotland also has an extensive coastline, being surrounded by water on 3 sides, and has numerous inhabited and uninhabited islands with their own unique communities and landscapes.

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If you are an outdoors-loving person and happy to enjoy nature in fair weather and foul, a move to Scotland will be one you will not regret.

Considering a Move to Scotland?

Are you likely to move to Scotland at some time in the future?

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Move to Scotland for the Leisure Opportunities

Scotland offers many leisure activities

Scotland has long been known as a walker's paradise with its hills and mountains and still attracts many hikers and climbers. Reaching the peak of all 283 Munros (a Munro is a Scottish mountain over 3000 ft) is a popular goal.

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Scotland's mountains also offer the only significant snow sports in Britain with 5 Scottish snow resorts offering managed pistes for skiers and snowboarders. Winter sports in Scotland is not, however, for the faint-hearted! Being active will keep you warm but the Scottish weather can be unpredictable and good weather means the slopes soon get crowded. All the same, it can be simply beautiful up Cairngorm Mountain on a clear winter's day.

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If you are fond of water sports you will also be spoiled for choice if you move to Scotland. Surfing and kayaking are popular activities along the Scottish coastline. There are some beautiful beaches on the East Coast, and the West has some spectacular coastal scenery.

If you get the urge to take to the air, you can go paragliding in Scotland or can enjoy more traditional gliding lessons. You might even take a flight in a microlight to enjoy the Scottish scenery from above!

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You don't have to be an all-action type of person to have a good time in Scotland though. Many artists and photographers have been inspired by the landscapes and architecture, and pottery has also thrived. Scottish knitting too is world famous in the Arran and Fair Isle styles of knitting that were created in Scottish island communities.

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Move to Scotland for the History and Culture

Echoes of centuries past

If you move to Scotland you will find reminders of the past all around you. This will be especially interesting if you have Scottish ancestors.

Dream of seeing a Scottish castle? They are everywhere! Scotland has been the home of kings and queens for centuries. From the ruins of Dunfermline Palace where monarchs including King Malcolm III and his wife Queen Margaret (later Saint Margaret) lived in the 11th century, to Falkland Palace where Mary Queen of Scots was a visitor in the 1500s, to Balmoral Castle which was the retreat of Queen Victoria and is now the summer hideaway of Queen Elizabeth and her family, you don't have to look far to find a royal residence.

If you are more interested in how ordinary people lived you can again find history all around you. Visit St Andrews for the medieval university buildings and little cobbled streets, and see where Patrick Hamilton's initials mark the spot of his gruesome death at the stake. In Edinburgh you can still see the shady closes and wynds (narrow streets) where Burke and Hare once carried out their murders, or visit the underground vaults. New Lanark World Heritage Site in the south of Scotland has a beautifully preserved cotton mill and social housing dating from 1786.

The Italian Chapel (built by POWs) on Orkney
The Italian Chapel (built by POWs) on Orkney | Source

Orkney's Italian Chapel

Orkney's Italian Chapel
Orkney's Italian Chapel

Read the incredible true story of the Italian prisoners of war sent to Orkney to work on building roads between the islands, and of the beautiful chapel that they created during their spare time.

 

To travel back much further in time, go to the islands of Orkney in the far north where you can find standing stones and henges and the remains of a Neolithic village. Orkney was also colonized by the Vikings and once formed part of Norway!

If your love of Scotland has been fostered by Scottish movies, you may be interested in visiting the grave of Rob Roy MacGregor in Balquhidder Kirkyard. Many locations in the Highlands have appeared in films and the castle of Eilean Donan is particularly famous. You might recognize it from Highlander.

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Be Prepared When Moving to Scotland

Culture Shock?

Depending where you move to Scotland from, you might not expect to experience culture shock. However, any change of country can bring with it a challenge of adjusting to a new way of life.

Haggis, neeps and tatties
Haggis, neeps and tatties | Source

Scottish Food

Scotland has some wonderful local produce and it's definitely not all haggis and whisky, though if you are fond of those you have come to the right place! On the other hand, it is true that the Scottish have one of the unhealthiest diets in Europe. This is the land of the deep-fried Mars Bar (known as a Milky Way in America) and square sausages.

Of course, not everyone in Scotland is a heavy drinker or has a diet of pies and chips (fries). It's as possible to eat a healthy diet in Scotland as it is anywhere, if you can avoid temptation. Personally, I blame all the comfort eating on the cold weather!

Scottish Weather

How much impact the Scottish weather has on you probably depends on where you are moving to Scotland from. One thing to note is that Scotland is situated in the north of Europe and although it is in the UK its temperatures can be significantly lower than London, for example. The weather is also very changeable. There's a good reason why you'll hear Scotland being said to have '4 seasons in 1 day'!

Although the skies are frequently overcast, you can get the occasional beautiful day with a high blue sky at any time of year, and then it seems there can be nowhere lovelier than Scotland.

Two or three years ago the winter weather was very cold with deep snow, but this is unusual and had been happening across northern Europe.

On the other hand, something that should be expected is the short winter days and long nights. Some days it feels like the sun forgot to come up at all. The long days in summer are of course a treat, though you will need good curtains if you need a dark room to sleep!

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Learn the Language

The Language(s) of Scotland

You do not need to learn Scottish Gaelic to come here. Unlike Irish or Welsh, the language is not in common use and other than the odd sign in the northern parts of Scotland you may rarely encounter it.

However, you will almost certainly need to pick up some Scots to understand the local dialect. This is not the same thing as Gaelic but is the Scottish dialect and may have local variations. Words you might recognize in Scots are 'bairn' for child, 'wee' for small, 'canny' for shrewd, and also the poetry of Robert Burns.

I'm from England and it took me a while to understand everything said in broad Scots! For example, when someone is going for the 'messages' they are not checking the mail, they are going to get the groceries!

© 2011 Indigo Janson

Have You Packed Your Bags Yet? - Did I convince you to move to Scotland?

Submit a Comment

  • Thomasjames1992 profile image

    Thomas James 2 years ago from London

    Scotland is amazing

  • profile image

    moonlitta 3 years ago

    Hi there:) I'm not moving to Scotland. Once I got a special gift thanks to you... so I'm dropping by :) Hope I find you well ... and happy!

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    removals15 3 years ago

    Yes, you did. Lovely place indeed!

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    kelseyrobin123 3 years ago

    @amanda-mizell-39: hi there, I am from Scotland and I can't wait to get out of here ! if ur going to move then move to the north of Scotland, its beautiful. Im from Central Scotland ( Glasgow) and I don't like it. Im moving to New York soon and I can't wait ! good luck in the future if moving to Scotland

  • profile image

    amanda-mizell-39 4 years ago

    I would love to move to Scotland. I love the scenery and the history. Maybe some day I will be able to afford to move there.

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    tracyann-alexander-3 4 years ago

    i wanna move to scotland because its a beautiful country

  • profile image

    Namsak 4 years ago

    Don't need to move to Scotland - I'm already here! Lovely (and quite accurate) lens.

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    I would move there in a heartbeat if I had the means. My goal is to work here until I can get enough money to move there. It will happen one way or another. I'm not looking for big city entertainment but would love to live in a town where I could get a job. I'm easy going and willing to work.

  • Magda2012 profile image

    Magda2012 4 years ago

    Want to visit Scotland one day... but not moving there :)

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    I would be there in a heartbeat given half the chance, but I do hope that it will happen one day.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Cannot decide tbh i would move to be with my girl but hard to leave England atm

  • adragast24 profile image

    adragast24 5 years ago

    Looks lovely, but my career is now dictating where I can move :p

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    In short, yes!

  • indigoj profile image
    Author

    Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

    @octopen: Thank you, and I'm sure you will get the chance one day!

  • octopen profile image

    octopen 5 years ago

    Lovely lens, I would LOVE to go and visit Scotland, it is a dream of mine. Maybe I will go there in the future?!

  • Monica Ranstrom profile image

    Monica Ranstrom 5 years ago

    Really beautiful lens! I'd love to visit but I don't think we'll be moving there!

  • ItayaLightbourne profile image

    Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

    Probably not, but it sure is awesome to read about it and see your lovely photos here! Wonderful article. :)

  • indigoj profile image
    Author

    Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

    @SusanDeppner: Thanks so much, Susan. Maybe you'll at least visit one of these days. :)

  • SusanDeppner profile image

    Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

    I'm not moving anywhere, but wow, what a beautiful and informative tour of Scotland! Loved reading it!

  • profile image

    MarcellaCarlton 5 years ago

    Although I would like to move there it is a different story with my husband. he is a homebody and likes living here. Really great lens though, it has my heart beating.

  • randomthings lm profile image

    randomthings lm 5 years ago

    Very good article. Lots of great information about why Scotland is so great! I was there once 30 years ago and hope to get back soon. Thanks!

  • SheilaMilne profile image

    SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

    I've already done my time in Scotland. :) I do miss it though but life has moved on and we need to be further south for family reasons.

  • domjohnson lm profile image

    domjohnson lm 5 years ago

    Great lense. It would have been quicker to reasons not to move to Scotland. If you did that you'd just have to talk about the weather! :)

  • Wednesday-Elf profile image

    Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

    Since I just moved to Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A. two weeks ago, I have no plans to move at all, at least in the 'near' future. But I do feel a strong 'pull' to visit Scotland someday, since my ancestors came from Edinburgh. Your photos and descriptions here are very enticing!

  • profile image

    THEHuG5 5 years ago

    I'll be studying in Scotland and this was very useful info. I just hope I can understand what the people are saying lol! Great lens

  • profile image

    simpsonia 5 years ago

    You don't need to convince me. I was born here and love it. Great lens!

  • profile image

    julieannbrady 5 years ago

    Well, I can be convinced, you know? Looking for new challenges, new opportunities, new places to visit. Send me a ticket! Lovely landscape.

  • shellys-space profile image

    Shelly Sellers 5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

    While I don't plan to move to Scotland, I would love to visit there! Congrats on a well-deserved Purple Star!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    enjoyed your lens, would sure be easier if I had family living in Scotland, nevertheless, great lens, squidliked it too!

  • indigoj profile image
    Author

    Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

    @Northern-Light: I think I probably skipped over those annoying little pests. ;) As to Independence... I wonder too. Might not happen, of course.

  • indigoj profile image
    Author

    Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

    @articol: I would LOVE to visit Orkney! Never been but I know there is the most amazing scenery, wildlife and history to be discovered there.

  • articol profile image

    articol 6 years ago

    I am hugely biased living in Scotland myself. But my favourite so far has been the Orkney Islands, highly recommended. Brilliant lense on Scotland, having spent the last few years seeing it all I will definitely second your argument to move here.

  • Northern-Light profile image

    Antony J Waller 6 years ago from North Yorkshire

    You make a good argument for moving, but I love Scotland anyway. Did you mention the midgies? I just wonder once you get full independence what will happen....

    Great pictures!

  • profile image

    ccorrig 6 years ago

    I've packed up my things. Leaving tommorrow. Great lens!

  • profile image

    Jerrad28 6 years ago

    I would definitely like to visit Scotland, great lens!

  • profile image

    amysawyer 6 years ago

    I love to travel, but i have never been to Scotland. I am however considering a move overseas, Scotland doesn't count as overseas though! Great Lens!

  • Bill Armstrong profile image

    Bill Armstrong 6 years ago from Valencia, California

    Ma hoose is still there, wi ma Maw, Lady Wee Maggie

  • profile image

    anonymous 6 years ago

    That's a very descriptive lens about Scotland. I have never been there but Now it would be in my "To do list". Very well presented.

    Cairngorm Mountain

  • JeremiahStanghini profile image

    JeremiahStanghini 6 years ago

    Wow! Move to Scotland... never considered that possibility.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    Jeremiah

  • profile image

    RinchenChodron 6 years ago

    I've visited Scotland. Some family from the Hebrides - name MacDougall. Are we related? Very nice job on this lens.

  • makingamark profile image

    Katherine Tyrrell 6 years ago from London

    I used to spend my childhood holidaying in Scotland - and have great memories

    A really nice lens with good content. Blessed by an angel

  • dezwards profile image

    dezwards 6 years ago

    Scotland, and St Andrews in particular, is fantastic. One day maybe, one day. . .

  • BuckHawkcenter profile image

    BuckHawkcenter 6 years ago

    You did convince me and I think I would thoroughly enjoy living in Scotland. I already enjoy some Scottish food, so I should be ready! Great addition to the Jenga Tower.

  • Blackspaniel1 profile image

    Blackspaniel1 6 years ago

    Well, if your lens is a sample, how could anyone not want to visit.

  • juliannegentile profile image

    Julianne Gentile 6 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio, US

    My husband and I have talked about moving to Scotland forever. I just lost a dear friend from Scotland, too. Thanks for the lovely lens. Blessed by and angel.

  • capriliz lm profile image

    capriliz lm 6 years ago

    I never realized that Scotland was so beautiful! I really hope I can visit someday. I would love to see some of the spots you have described so beautifully in your lens.

  • sorana lm profile image

    sorana lm 6 years ago

    Beautiful country, beautiful pictures, great lens. I would love to go and visit Scotland.

  • profile image

    anonymous 6 years ago

    I have always had a very romantic notion of Scotland and would indeed love to visit at some time in the future. Your photos are lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  • indigoj profile image
    Author

    Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

    @Addy Bell: Well, depending on whether you see Scots as a dialect or as a language, some would agree that they weren't speaking English at all! :)

  • Addy Bell profile image

    Addy Bell 6 years ago

    I would love to visit, but I probably can't move there for a variety of reasons. I've never tried to understand broad Scots, but my husband has traveled there on business and says that if he didn't know better, he'd think some of his Scottish colleagues weren't speaking English.

    Glad to see you at the Jenga challenge!

  • BrickHouseFabrics profile image

    BrickHouseFabrics 6 years ago

    I love Scotland- it touches one's soul.

  • TeacherSerenia profile image

    TeacherSerenia 6 years ago

    I have scottish ancestry and I would love to visit Scotland, But I couldn't live there.

    I could never understand those broad scottish accents. I had enough trouble trying to understand Susan Boyle!!

  • petermurray profile image

    Peter Murray 6 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

    I visited Scotland in 2009. Great place.

  • giacombs-ramirez profile image

    gia combs-ramirez 6 years ago from Montana

    I've always wanted to visit Scotland...coming from Montana though I won't be visiting it for its skiing or snowboarding!

  • evelynsaenz1 profile image

    Evelyn Saenz 6 years ago from Royalton

    Okay, now you have convinced me. Scotland is now on my list of places I would love to visit. I never would have guessed that going to get the messages had anything to do with groceries.

  • mysticmama lm profile image

    Bambi Watson 6 years ago

    I have a friend in Scotland who would probably love if I moved there lol...It's a beautiful Country, but I'm not a fan of cold weather ~ I may visit though :)

    ~ Blessed >*

  • LisaAuch1 profile image

    Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

    Wonderful 'ye did us proud Lass!

  • Stuwaha profile image

    Stuwaha 6 years ago

    Two words: Fried Pizza

  • profile image

    WhitePineLane 6 years ago

    Excellent lens - very enjoyable! I love Scotland. Once in Edinburgh we had dinner in a little pub, and after dinner they passed out song sheets and there was a singalong! It was great fun.

  • Sylvestermouse profile image

    Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

    Scotland is beautiful! I have to say that if I ever decided to move from my beloved US home, I would place Scotland in one of the two top places I would like to live. I would just have to have Amazon deliver my food :) I don't believe I have ever seen a lovelier country!

  • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

    ChemKnitsBlog2 6 years ago

    I have never been to Scotland... but I now want to go more than ever!

  • DecoratingEvents profile image

    DecoratingEvents 6 years ago

    Wonderful lens! I enjoyed your tour of Scotland!

  • malloryjane profile image

    malloryjane 6 years ago

    Great lens, it's definitely pushing me more & more towards choosing Scotland as my next place to settle for a while. I loved all of the pictures! What a gorgeous country! =)

    Thanks for creating this lens!

  • puzzlerpaige profile image

    puzzlerpaige 6 years ago

    The only problem with reading lenses about wonderful faraway places is that it leaves me wanting.

    Oh how I'd love to visit Scotland and many other nearby places.

  • profile image

    anonymous 6 years ago

    Scotland is obviously a wonderful place to live! I think I would really love it there!

  • Sensitive Fern profile image

    Sensitive Fern 6 years ago

    I've been doing some research on my ancestry again the last few days and have a yen to visit Scotland and see where they lived. Lovely lens!

  • justholidays profile image

    justholidays 6 years ago

    I've never been to Scotland but would like to visit one day! In reality, I always dreamed of doing the one week train journey in Scotland, it's an amazing trip that lasts for 7 days and allows you to visit Scotland entirely.

    Crossing my fingers for soon to go to this amazingly beautiful country!

  • tandemonimom lm profile image

    tandemonimom lm 6 years ago

    Beautiful! As a Stewart married to a Paden, you might guess we have lots of roots in Scotland though our families have been in America for generations. We'd love to visit!

  • Missmerfaery444 profile image

    Missmerfaery444 6 years ago

    Fabulous! I have visited several parts of Scotland (Moffat, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Shieldhill Castle in Biggar - hmm I need to make some lenses!!) and there are countless more areas I want to visit still. most of all the Highlands. It is a beautiful country!

    Now that I have moved from the south east to the north west of England it is much easier for me to keep on popping up to take in the incredible scenery!

    A wonderful addition to the Jenga tower :)

  • jptanabe profile image

    Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

    Well you made me homesick! You never know, maybe I'll move back to Scotland some day.

  • LoKackl profile image

    LoKackl 6 years ago

    Gorgeous!

  • pkmcruk profile image

    pkmcr 6 years ago from Cheshire UK

    I am a regular visitor to Scotland with business and it's always a real pleasure. Beautiful country and delightful people - and they seem so much better at coping with folks like me who have a gluten allergy. My much better half was born in Scotland so a move there is a possibility at some point in the future

  • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

    Lynne Schroeder 6 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

    This is a wonderful journey through Scotland! I visited Scotland about 20 years ago on a Sales incentive trip from London. Stayed at Gleneagles and enjoyed a meal at Stirling Castle before our party was quickly evacuated due to some kind of bomb threat! We never did find out the details.Scotland is gorgeous.