Orkney named best place to live in Scotland for eighth consecutive year

Orkney is the only Scottish area to feature in a list of the UK’s best places to live – taking the top spot in Scotland for the eighth year in a row.

The Bank of Scotland’s Quality of Life index listed the islands as 18th, well below top ranked East Hertfordshire. No other Scottish towns, cities or council areas made the top 50. The south-east of England is the highest ranking region, with 18 local authorities securing spots in the top 50 best places to live.

Orkney maintained its top position in Scotland for the eighth consecutive year thanks to high employment levels, low crime rate, strong exam results, smaller primary class sizes and good health and happiness scores.

Glasgow’s East Renfrewshire has moved into second place in Scotland, up from 13th, with Shetland down one place to third and East Dunbartonshire fourth. Meanwhile, Edinburgh rose 15 places to fifth. The top five Scottish locations also appear in the UK top 100.

Stromness village in the Orkney islands


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The latest ONS figures indicate adults living in Orkney are among the most happy, satisfied and content in the UK, with low anxiety rates. Meanwhile, Orkney is one of the most affordable places to live for first-time buyers with an average house price of £131,913 and has the highest employment rate with nearly nine in ten 16 to 64-year-olds in work.

Harvey Johnston, convener of Orkney Islands Council, said: “We are delighted, but not in the slightest bit surprised by the fact Orkney has taken the crown eight years running as the best place to live in Scotland.

“This reflects well on our environment and on the people of our islands, who combine a strong and traditional sense of community with a forward-thinking, ambitious, can-do attitude that makes Orkney a very special place to live, to work or to visit.”

Tara Foley, managing director of Bank of Scotland, said: “Orcadians have long celebrated the islands’ status as one of the most desirable places to live in Scotland as well as the UK. The Scottish locations that make it into the UK’s top 100 showcase the diversity of Scotland, from the dramatic beauty of its remote islands to the impressive architecture of its historical cities.”


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The annual research takes into consideration 26 different factors that homebuyers consider when choosing a place to live. For the first time this year, it takes into account how important these factors are to people looking to find the perfect property, with affordability, safety and access to parks and green spaces all proving essential.

East Renfrewshire residents boast the highest weekly earnings in Scotland at £972, while Edinburgh has the highest proportion of people with degrees.