Galashiels tops poll as Scotland’s happiest town
It’s official ... Galashiels is the happiest place to live in Scotland, according to a poll run by online property portal rightmove.co.uk
Rightmove’s annual Happy at Home Index asked more than 22,000 residents from 194 places across Great Britain to say how contented they are where they live, based on 12 happiness factors.
The 12 factors range from how safe residents feel and how friendly the neighbours are, to how good the local services are, the level of community spirit and the quality of cultural activities in the area.
And Galashiels came out on top in Scotland, ahead of major cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling. The Borders town is also ranked 11th in the UK.
There does seem to be a mixed reaction to the news this week, though.
Tracey Alder, secretary of the town’s community council, told us: “I knew I moved here from the West Midlands for a reason and I had no idea about the place when I moved.
“I had applied to every single housing association and local authority to try to find somewhere to live away from all the anti-social behaviour.
“Eildon Housing was the very first to contact me and after a flying visit up here, I knew Galashiels was the place for me.”
Galashiels’ Scottish Borders Councillors were also delighted at the news.
Harry Scott said: “I’m delighted that Galashiels ranks so highly in this survey. I have never ever doubted that living in the Borders is the best place to be, and this survey goes a long way to confirming that.”
And Euan Jardine told us: “I am not surprised that Galashiels is top of this list, it is a fantastic place to live.
“Anywhere I go, whether around the country or abroad, people talk highly of the town and people in it.
“Galashiels has a great sporting and cultural network as well as historic traditions.
“A really unique place on the map and I am very happy to see it being recognised as the happiest place to live.”
And Andy Anderson enthused: “I am delighted to see Galashiels come out top, especially when you look at the ‘opposition’ – some of which I have stayed in and most others visited.
“It is great to see that the survey ranked Galashiels first in Scotland and 11th in the UK on factors such as how friendly the neighbours are to how good the local services are.
“I think that most local residents are already aware of this, and it is them that make Galashiels the place it is.
“Sometimes it just takes an outside perspective to make people appreciate what they do have.
“I now live in Stow, but use that short train journey a lot to Galashiels, more often than going the other way!”
Polly Cregan, head of estate agency Galbraith in the firm’s Galashiels office said: “It’s no surprise that Galashiels is loved by people who live here.
“It offers excellent services, schools, restaurants and shops.
“A wide range of styles of property can be found in the town from traditional large family houses, original mill workers flats dating from the 1800’s to modern properties in new developments.
“The countryside surrounding Galashiels offers superb opportunities for outdoor pursuits and the town has excellent access via both road and rail to Edinburgh.
“Above all, Galashiels has the annual Braw Lads Week in the summer which brings the whole town together and culminates in the Braw Lads Gathering, which is such a proud and joyous celebration of our history.
“We regularly have buyers from all over the UK who relocate to Galashiels to enjoy a better quality of life.
“The buzzing town set amongst beautiful scenery attracts families looking for a better work-life balance.
“The most popular properties currently are family homes and bungalows, which are in huge demand whenever they come on the market.”
However, when the news was shared online by our sister paper the Scotsman, commenters were a little bit more surprised.
Robin Waddell wrote: “Galashiels! Folk must be happy with having a desolate High St and the prospect of a big rug on the wall.”
And Sylvia Kocaba said: “Don’t think so x”
But Phil Mundie said the town certainly used to be a good place to live.
He wrote: “I grew up in a few different places when I was young and I have to say that Gala was special. Don’t know what it’s like now.”
It turns out the happiest place to live in the UK is Hexham, just down the A68 in Northumberland.
Meanwhile, Llandrindod Wells tops the Welsh table.