26 January 2019

  • Orkney takes top spot in the UK for the first time, up from second place
  • Shetland the only other Scottish location to break the top 50 in the UK
  • Eilean Siar (Western Isles) named third most desirable place to live in Scotland

Orkney has finally been crowned the UK’s best place to live, following the past two years as runner up, according to the 2019 Bank of Scotland Quality of Life Survey.

The archipelago, famed for its spectacular landscapes and archaeological treasures, sealed the top spot based on Orcadians’ high employment levels, low crime rate, strong exam results, smaller primary class sizes and good health and happiness scores.

Shetland, which takes second place in the Scottish table, is the only other location north of the border to break into the UK top 50 (38th, up from 70th last year). The Western Isles, Argyll & Bute, and Dumfries & Galloway make up the top five in Scotland.

Ricky Diggins, Network Director, Bank of Scotland, said: “Orcadians will be thrilled to learn that not only is their home the best place to live in Scotland, it’s now taken the crown for the whole of the UK. With Shetland and Eilean Siar coming second and third in Scotland, it’s a clean sweep of the podium places for these island communities.

“Their more remote locations may not appeal to everyone, but with benefits including high employment, low crime rates, smaller class sizes and more affordable housing, people around the country will now be dreaming of a life spent on the isles.”

At a UK level, Richmondshire in North Yorkshire took second place, followed by Rutland in the East Midlands, Hambleton in North Yorkshire and Eden in Cumbria in fifth place.