Waitrose effect sees Helensburgh named top coastal town in Scotland

Helensburgh has been named as the best place to live by the sea in Scotland by The Times newspaper.

The town’s Waitrose supermarket, opened in 2013, is cited as a key reason for its attractiveness in today’s report, which puts Rhossilli in South Wales at the top of the table for coastal living.

Helensburgh is 14th in the UK but has the highest position of anywhere in Scotland is the newspaper’s top 30 – next best is Elie in Fife in 20th, followed by Bute (28th) and North Berwick (29th).

The newspaper says that ‘wealthy Glaswegians and some of Scotland’s finest footballers’ live in Helensburgh, adding:

This affluent seaside town on the north shore of the Firth of Clyde is great value for money and is one of the few places in Scotland to have a Waitrose.

There’s some fabulous architecture from Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the stars of the Arts and Craft movement, who built handsome villas for wealthy Glaswegian merchants, and it’s only 45 minutes by train to Glasgow.

You can get a five- or six-bedroom sandstone Victorian villa for £500,000 that would have cost £850,000 pre the crash in 2007.


  1. I’m not sure whether to laugh out loud or be a bit depressed by the criteria used. A Waitrose and £500k houses certainly wouldn’t figure in most peoples’ scoring system when assessing a town. I do think Helensburgh is a fantastic place to live – but for much more important reasons than a supermarket and house prices.

  2. Bless. I Can’t think of anyone who would think that an out of town supermarket was something to make a song and dance about! And no mention of the millions spent on the CHORD project? lazy reporting methinks.

    • Noting remarkable about that Liz. Sadly I think we can more or less take it as given that there are foodbanks in all towns and cities nowadays. :o(

  3. I was in town last night (Thursday) this used to be a busy time for any part of the town. Unfortunately we tried to eat in two sea front establishments at 20:15 and were told they were shutting in 45mins due to it being quiet. We did manage to eat in the end but not the choice we were looking for. After leaving the restaurant at 10:15 we tried to get a drink and unfortunately out of all the pubs in Helensburgh there were 4 open and the only one with any customers in was Wetherspoons. The town is dead and even the taxi home said he had taken £26 since 17:30. Something needs to be done soon, we must have the most expensive taxis in UK £16 to the base after 22:00 come on A&B Council you set the tariffs. Now I can see why 2000 base staff do not come in to town.
    But hay Ho we have the most expensive supermarket that only a few people can afford to shop in. So that’s ok for snob value…

    How on earth did the town achieve this status?

    • Sadly I think this is no different from any other small town in Scotland. Times are hard for pubs. I spent a couple of days in Alloway last January with my wife. Both nights we went into Ayr to eat and when finished the only pubs that were opened were dismal places. Several others had closed early. It seems to be the same all over.

  4. Two questons:
    1. What about Cove & Kikcreggan? Far far better quality of life than Helensburgh in my view
    2. Bute? Really?

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