If you’re still thinking about where to settle down when you leave the Armed Forces, there is surely nowhere more breathtaking than bonny Scotland to consider.
By Alexandra Johnson
The age-old debate of west versus east rings true here, as we explore Scotland’s two biggest spheres of influence: Glasgow and its surrounds on the west coast, and Edinburgh in the east.
This vibrant city is the largest in Scotland. Situated on the banks of the River Clyde, it has several parks and green spaces to wander through as well as a bustling city centre. And like all cities, it has its good areas and its ‘up and coming’ areas.
Where to live
Where you choose to live will, in the most part, be dictated by what type of work you’re looking to do, where it is and how long you’re prepared to commute for.
The most affluent area of the city is found around the university in the West End. Hotspots here include: Dowanhill, Kelvingrove and Hyndland (the latter being a tenement conservation area). The prices here (renting and buying) are similar to those you would find in London.
North of the city you’ll find Milngavie and Bearsden, both popular spots for commuters, and even further out again is Helensburgh. If it’s leafy suburbs you’re after, go to the South Side and if it’s trendy warehouse conversions, try the Merchant Quarter.
Housing in Glasgow is considerably cheaper than most other cities in the UK with rental prices for a three bedroom flat in the city centre starting upwards of £900 pcm, and outside the centre at £600 pcm.
If you’re looking to purchase property, in the city centre you’re looking at £2,000 + per square metre and outside the city centre at £1,100 + per square metre.
You couldn’t choose a better area to start over than Glasgow, thanks to its wealth of job opportunities. The key job sectors in Glasgow are manufacturing, retail, healthcare, finance and business services.
For those interested in getting into media, BBC Scotland’s headquarters are based in Glasgow, as is STV. There is also a growing number of digital and media agencies too.
Leisure opportunities for you and your family
Glasgow is home to some wonderful museums (many with free entry) such as the People’s Palace, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the Riverside Museum, plus the Gallery of Modern Art in the city centre.
If museums aren’t your thing, there are lots of green spaces, namely Kelvingrove Park and the Botanic Gardens, and if you’re feeling adventurous, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is just on your doorstep.
For everything else, the shopping in Glasgow is reputed to be second only to that found in London.
With so much to offer Service-leavers and their families, there’s a reason why everyone falls in love with this cosmopolitan city. Steeped in history, culture and with high employment, Scotland’s capital is also a fun place to live.
Housing in Edinburgh is on a par with most cities in the UK, with rental prices for a three bedroom flat in the city centre typically starting upwards of £1,000 pcm, and outside the centre at £780 pcm. If you’re looking to purchase property, in the city centre you’re looking at £2,100 + per square metre and outside the city centre at £1,250 per square metre.
The most sought after area to live is Edinburgh’s affluent New Town, a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The neoclassical and Georgian properties of Royal Circus, Heriot Row or Abercromby Place for example, are stunning. For those looking for affordable leafy suburbs for families, it will be worth exploring out of the city centre. Areas around The Grange, Morningside, Barnton, Cramond and Inverleith neighbourhoods all boast plenty of striking Victorian and Georgian properties.
Commuting into and around Edinburgh is easy and straightforward thanks to the plethora of Lothian and First buses crisscrossing the city and the tram linking the city centre with the airport.
Leisure opportunities for you and your family
There is no shortage of fun activities in Edinburgh, with such highly esteemed spots as Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle (built on an extinct volcano) being perfect to explore. You’ve also got the Fringe, the Tattoo and the film festival every summer to enjoy.
It’s easy to spend hours in the National Gallery of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery. If the weather holds there’s also the zoo, the botanic gardens and the Water of Leith walkway. Arthur’s Seat on the city’s outskirts is beautiful and the Pentland Hills further out still, make for an easy day’s walking.
Edinburgh is renowned for being one of the most productive cities in the whole of the UK, boasting the lowest unemployment rate too. Some of the stronger areas of employment in Edinburgh are:
Financial Services – Edinburgh’s financial services sector is well established and extremely diverse, with strong representation from banking (home to the RBS banking group), insurance, pensions, fund management and asset servicing.
Technology and Software – Named as Europe’s most attractive destination for technology businesses to locate to by European Business Magazine, Edinburgh is growing a sterling reputation as a global tech hub.
Creative Industries – Edinburgh is the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature and home to the largest arts festival in the world.