Nestled in the heart of Scotland, Dunbartonshire captivates visitors with its enchanting blend of Scottish heritage and beautiful landscapes. Sitting to the north of the River Clyde, this primarily rural area is split into two sections — East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire.

In this area guide, we delve into the history and charm of this splendid county. From the scenic tranquillity of Loch Lomond to bustling towns like Clydebank and Bearsden, the region brims with a variety of experiences. We will provide you with practical information regarding living in Dunbartonshire, such as schooling, transport and property prices, highlighting the lifestyle it offers.

History of Dunbartonshire

The ancient county of Dunbartonshire, often called the 'heart of Scotland', is steeped in history that dates back to prehistoric times. Its name 'Dun Breatainn' translates to 'Fort of the Britons', signifying its historic role as the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Strathclyde. Historical artifacts confirm the Roman presence, and later, the area witnessed significant industrial growth, playing a crucial role in shipbuilding and whisky production. Dunbartonshire's history has shaped its culture, contributing to a rich architectural heritage and a strong local identity.


Dunbartonshire is home to some remarkable landmarks. At the heart of this region is the majestic Loch Lomond, the largest freshwater lake in Britain, famed for its stunning beauty and recreational opportunities. The iconic Dumbarton Castle, perched atop a volcanic plug, offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. From Clydebank, the remnants of the area's industrial heritage, such as the Titan Crane, provide a glimpse into Dunbartonshire's past.

Landmarks we love

  • Bearsden Bathhouse: Situated at Roman Road in Bearsden, this ancient Roman bath complex paints a vivid picture of ancient Roman life in Scotland.
  • Overtoun House: Located near Dumbarton, this imposing 19th-century mansion, set in a serene landscape, evokes the grandeur of Dunbartonshire’s past.
  • The Hill House: In Helensburgh, the Hill House is a masterpiece of architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, showcasing unique modern design amid traditional aesthetics.
  • Loch Lomond Shores: Based in Balloch, this visitor centre offers stunning views of Loch Lomond, coupled with retail and leisure facilities.
  • Kilpatrick Hills: Situated to the north of Clydebank, these sprawling hills offer thrilling hiking, birdwatching, and panoramic views across Dunbartonshire.

Top 10 things to do in Dunbartonshire

  • Auchentoshan Distillery: Nestled in Clydebank, this distillery offers an immersive experience into Scotland’s whisky-crafting heritage.
  • The Clerkhill Woods: Near Killearn, these woods provide tranquil trails for wonderful walks and wildlife sightings.
  • Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre: Based in Balloch, this place is home to over 35 birds, where visitors can participate in fascinating experiences like falconry.
  • Mugdock Country Park: Located in Milngavie, this park offers leisurely strolls, castle ruins, and beautiful gardens to explore.
  • Clydebank Museum and Art Gallery: Located within Clydebank Town Hall, it offers a peek into the region's history and hosts several art exhibitions.
  • Dumbarton Castle: With its strategic location offering panoramic views, it incites visitors to unravel Scotland’s eventful past.
  • Kilmardinny Loch: Based in Bearsden, this picturesque loch is perfect for tranquil walks and bird watching.
  • The Cooperage: In Dumbarton, this restaurant serves traditional Scottish food in a homely atmosphere.
  • Balloch Castle Country Park: Lush gardens, stunning views of Loch Lomond and a historic castle makes it a haven for nature-lovers.
  • The Scottish Maritime Museum: Located in Dumbarton, it brings life to Scotland's maritime history through a captivating display of historic ships and maritime artifacts.

Our recommended areas to live in Dunbartonshire

  • Bearsden: Known for its excellent schools, Roman ruins, and vibrant town centre, Bearsden makes for a charming living space for families.
  • Helensburgh: This coastal town offers panoramic sea views, a picturesque promenade, and renowned eateries, making it an ideal place for a laid-back lifestyle.
  • Clydebank: Close to Glasgow and home to a college, shopping centres, and parks, Clydebank offers all the benefits of city life with a community feel.
  • Dumbarton: Rich with history, stunning natural beauty and proximal to Glasgow, Dumbarton has been a favoured residential hub over the years.
  • Balloch: Its proximity to Loch Lomond and good transport links to Glasgow make it a popular choice with commuters and nature-lovers alike.

Best schools in Dunbartonshire

Dunbartonshire is renowned for its quality education. The region boasts several outstanding schools like Bearsden Academy, a top-performing secondary school nationally. Primary schools such as Milngavie Primary and Castlehill Primary also earn high praise. For private education, the likes of The High School of Glasgow and Kelvinside Academy present excellent options. The area also hosts a well-regarded further education institution, West College Scotland. This commitment to education makes Dunbartonshire a top choice for families looking for excellent educational opportunities.

Transport links in Dunbartonshire

Dunbartonshire is conveniently located, offering excellent transport links. The area is well-served by a network of roads, including the M8 and A82, facilitating easy commutes to Glasgow and beyond. Public transport is well-catered for with regular bus and train services, including stations at Dumbarton, Clydebank, Bearsden, and Milngavie. Proximity to Glasgow Airport makes domestic and international travel easy. The county's cycling and walking routes offer greener alternatives for local jaunts and leisurely exploration.

In conclusion, Dunbartonshire fits the bill as an attractive place to live, whether you prefer peaceful countryside living, the vibrancy of a town, or the convenience of a city. It blends historic charm with contemporary living against a backdrop of stunning landscapes. With excellent educational institutions, comfortable commuting options, and a range of leisure activities, it offers an enviable lifestyle for families, professionals and retirees alike. Its blend of historical intrigue, natural beauty, and everyday convenience makes Dunbartonshire not just a place to live, but a place to call home.

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