Personal Finance

Let’s move to Linlithgow, West Lothian: Silicon Glen capital with a regal past

What’s going for it? Linlithgow wears its 21st-century role as a commuter town in the sweet spot between Edinburgh and Glasgow in the way a megastar of stage or screen might – someone who, in later life, has had cause to stack shelves in Lidl. Nothing wrong with stacking shelves or, indeed, Lidl. But Linlithgow has known grander times. This, I’ll have you know, is the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, and it has the palace to prove it, ta-dah on its hilltop pedestal, as if anyone could ignore it. Don’t you know who I was? True, the palace lacks a roof these days. Yet this palace gave birth to Mary, Queen of Scots. This palace was the centre of the Stuart dynasty. This palace’s fountain once flowed with wine, it’s said, for the marriage of James V and Mary of Guise. Still, those days have long gone. Although there’s romance still in its polished old streets, today it’s a romance designed, not as a stage set for monarchy, political intrigue and government, but for more humble, suburban dreams, and propping up house prices. Linlithgow has grown accustomed to its new role: capital of Silicon Glen, Queen of Middle Scotland, provider of comfy sofas and Netflix filming locations to the strivers of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The case against… It’s a small town of commuters: kids and beatniks will want to escape – though worry not, the fleshpots of Edinburgh and Glasgow are nearby. It’s a victim of its own popularity: traffic, parking, house prices and oversubscribed schools.

Well connected? Trains: to Edinburgh (20 mins); and Glasgow (30 mins, via Falkirk), with up to four an hour during rush hour. Driving: you’re right on the M9, so it’s 45 mins to central Edinburgh or Glasgow, 20 mins to Edinburgh airport or the other way to Falkirk.

Schools Primaries: quality indicators at Linlithgow and nearby Springfield are mostly “very good” or “good”, according to Education Scotland; there are no current reports for St Joseph’s RC or Linlithgow Bridge. Secondaries: Linlithgow Academy has no current report, but a fine reputation.

Hang out at… The Champany Inn serves old-skool cosy classics like cullen skink. Taste Cafe Deli is in an old bakery that once served the royals, but now serves more modern fare – paninis and such.

Where to buy The centre has a delicious, long high street of crowstepped gables and turrets. I even like the postwar bit (I would), though I understand it causes some local consternation. Some nice 1960s/70s suburbans, plus farmhouses in the hinterland, often fine and built of stone. Large detacheds and townhouses, £350,000-£700,000 and occasionally higher. Detacheds and smaller townhouses, £275,000-£350,000. Semis, £175,000-£300,000. Terraces and cottages, £175,000-£300,000. Flats, £80,000-£220,000. Rentals: not a lot; a one-bedroom flat, £400-£650pcm.

Bargain of the week One-bedroom flat, right in the centre, yours for offers over £85,000 with

From the streets

Maire McCormack “A wonderful place to live – great independent shops and cafes. The basin on the Union canal (Edinburgh to Glasgow) is a treat.”

Paula Ryans StokesThe Rose Garden, tucked behind the palace; it’s cared for by a small group of volunteers but is currently under threat.”

Live in Linlithgow? Join the debate below.

Do you live in Saffron Walden? Do you have a favourite haunt or a pet hate? If so, email by Tuesday 31 March.


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