Scottish Borders is 'best place to live' says new report

Melrose one of Scotland's 'magnificent seven', report says v.1

By Paul Kelly
Friday, 8th April 2022, 2:08 pm
Updated Friday, 8th April 2022, 2:08 pm

Melrose is one of the ‘magnificent seven’ best places to live in Scotland, according to a new report.

The town emerged as among seven locations across the country judged by experts as simply the best.

They were assessed on factors such as quality of schools, transport and broadband, culture, green spaces and the health of the high street.

Well-designed homes and community spirit – particularly during the pandemic – were also considered in the Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide.

Melrose came in at position number six – with the top spot going to the Isle of Bute in Argyll.

There was praise a-plenty for Melrose, with the report saying: “You don’t have to love rugby to live here (it does help) – you can also enjoy views of the Eildon Hills, and the town’s literary reputation, which comes to the fore every summer in the Borders Book Festival.”

Melrose, which has an average house price of £311,000, much higher than the national average of £180,000, is also recognised in the report for inventing rugby sevens.

And Southern Knights captain, Craig Jackson, who runs the Bean ‘n Gone coffee stall, highlights the town’s community spirit, saying: “Wherever you go you know somebody, it’s a small place and you can all look after each other.”

The report is not the first time the town has received national recognition.

Last year it was named the third most tranquil place to live after research by Cheshire-based Delamere Health.

Helen Davies, property editor with The Times and Sunday Times, said: “The list is necessarily subjective. Leave it to just statistics and you will never capture the spirit of the place. For that, you need to visit to take into account that ‘you have to be there’ feeling. Is the pub dog-friendly, for example. Can you live car-free? What are the schools and houses like? Is it multicultural and multi-generational, and can it offer a good way of life to lots of different sorts of people?

“Ten years ago, when we launched the inaugural list, London’s gravitational pull was strong, the WFH (work from home) revolution had not yet reached our doorstep and high streets were stacked with chains. How times have changed – and how welcome that change is.

“This year we have discovered new best places to live, from resurgent city centres in the north, rejuvenated suburbs across the country, hidden villages in the south west, and a commutable Scottish island.”

The other Scottish locations highlighted were Braemar in Aberdeenshire; Culross in Fife; Dunblane in Stirling; Shawlands in Glasgow and North Berwick in East Lothian.