Nestled in the heart of Scotland, West Lothian is steeped in both natural beauty and historical significance. Bordered by Edinburgh on the east and Falkirk on the west, West Lothian is adorned with stunning landscapes and quaint towns like Livingston and Bathgate. In this guide, we delve deep into this scenic county, exploring everything from its history and revered landmarks, to recreational activities and residential prospects. Whether you covet urban amenities or a tranquil country life, living in West Lothian offers a perfect blend of both. This guide also provides practical information for potential residents, touching on important areas such as school options, transport links, and property prices.

History of West Lothian

West Lothian's history spans thousands of years, with evidence of human habitation since prehistoric times. It has seen the influence of Romans, ancient Celtic tribes and powerful Scottish clans. The region thrived during the Industrial Revolution due to its abundant coal, shale oil and iron deposits. In the 20th century, towns such as Livingston emerged as significant industrial and technology hubs. Despite its march towards modernity, West Lothian retains elements of its fascinating history, echoed in the age-old landmarks and world-class museums.


West Lothian's landscape is punctuated with a multitude of historical landmarks. Livingston's Designer Outlet, Scotland’s largest designer outlet, is a shopper's paradise and a vital economic landmark. The West Lothian Courier building, home to the region's prominent newspaper for over a century, is an emblem of Livingston’s growth. Last but not least, the region's pride, Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, provides a fascinating insight into Scotland's royal history.

Landmarks we love

  • Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Livingston: A wonderful living history museum offering a blend of activities and interactive exhibits that the whole family can enjoy.
  • Beecraigs Country Park, Linlithgow: A great place to enjoy leisurely walks and spot local wildlife amidst a stunning natural backdrop.
  • Blackness Castle, Blackness: A 15th-century fortress on the shoreline provides breathtaking views of the Firth of Forth.
  • Pentland Hills, West Calder: For the thrill-seeking adventurers, this serene mountain range provides excellent hiking prospects.
  • Bennie Museum, Bathgate: The museum houses a beautifully curated collection of local artefacts, providing a snapshot of the county's rich history.
  • Top 10 things to do in West Lothian

    • Five Sisters Zoo, West Calder: Home to over 200 species, it is a must-visit for animal enthusiasts of all ages.
    • Linlithgow Loch, Linlithgow: Ideal for wildlife spotting, boat rides or simply enjoying a picnic basket with a view.
    • Livingston Centre, Livingston: The shopping mall houses a multitude of retail outlets and entertainment centres.
    • Polkemmet Country Park, Whitburn: With playgrounds, picnic areas and a stunning golf course, it's an outdoor enthusiast's dream.
    • Regal Community Theatre, Bathgate: Witness local talent at their best in this iconic cultural venue.
    • Uphall Golf Club, Uphall: Indulge in your love for golf amidst lush green environs.
    • Whitburn Library, Whitburn: A warm and welcoming locale to lose yourself in literature.
    • Winchburgh Canal, Winchburgh: take in the peaceful waterway views and enjoy the colorful narrowboat traffic.
    • Chickens Roadshow, Armadale: An entertaining educational experience about animals suitable for the entire family.
    • Bathgate Hills, Bathgate: A magnificent destination for hill walking, boasting panoramic views across the county.

    Our recommended areas to live in West Lothian

    • Linlithgow: Known for balmy summer festivals and hotspots like Linlithgow Palace and Loch, it’s an ideal pick for history lovers and nature enthusiasts.
    • Livingston: As West Lothian's largest town, Livingston's urban buzz and retail developments make it a preferred choice amongst young professionals and families. With parks, business hubs and top-rated schools, Livingston offers an unrivalled mix of convenience and lifestyle.
    • Bathgate: With its quaint charm, reputable educational institutions and quick rail links to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Bathgate presents a serene backdrop for peaceful family living.
    • Broxburn: A blend of modern suburban living and rural beauty, Broxburn offers a strong community spirit, local schools and vibrant eateries.
    • West Calder: An attractive village housing historic buildings, good schools and leisure facilities. Ideal if you cherish quiet rural living but seek quick access to Edinburgh.

    Best schools in West Lothian

    West Lothian offers quality education from primary through to secondary level. Primary schools such as Linlithgow Bridge Primary and Balbardie Primary in Bathgate maintain a tradition of excellence. The likes of St Kentigern’s Academy in Blackburn and Deans Community High School in Livingston have proven track records in secondary education. The county is also home to West Lothian College in Livingston which offers a variety of career-focused courses, making it an ideal destination for lifelong learning.

    Transport links in West Lothian

    West Lothian is well connected by major motorways such as the M8, A71 and A89, presenting quick journeys to Edinburgh, Glasgow and beyond. The efficient railway network links Livingston and Bathgate to Edinburgh and Glasgow in less than an hour. Additionally, the county boasts close proximity to the Edinburgh Airport, which operates national and international flights, making it perfectly situated for global travellers. Bus services, run by operators like First Scotland East and Lothian Country Buses, connect all major towns and villages, providing residents with hassle-free local and intercity commute.

    The allure of West Lothian lies not only in its deep-rooted history, lush landscapes and bustling towns but also in its strong sense of community, educational prowess and exceptional transport links. Whether you're an adventurer at heart, a history enthusiast, or someone seeking a quiet suburban life, West Lothian has something for everyone. Its accessibility, thriving economic landscape and proactive community development demonstrate why West Lothian stands as one of the most desirable places to live in Scotland.

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