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Living in Kirkliston: The local area guide

Kirkliston offers the friendly feel of a small town while still being close to the city. Sat just eight miles west of the centre of Edinburgh, and close to the city’s airport, residents here will benefit from all the perks of the city while enjoying a more relaxed pace of life in the quaint town. The town wasn’t always called Kirkliston though. Historic documents reveal it was originally referred to as Listona, Listun or Listone, the former part of the word meaning court or manor and the latter town or farmstead. It wasn’t until the 14th century that the prefix ‘Kirk’ was added. Now, the region is often referred to as “Cheesetown” – wildly different to its names over the years. This is because when the town’s Forth Bridge was being built, the workers who lodged in Kirkliston often had cheese sandwiches for lunch.

Today, the region is known for its history and growing amenities. It boasts buildings old and new, with the parish church dating back more than 800 years ago. In recent years, a significant number of new housing developments have cropped up in the region, especially to the north of the town, seeing the community here continue to grow.


The population at the time of the 2011 census was 3,386. Just under 25% of residents were under 16 and in full time education while 16.5% were aged 65 and over. The median age here was similar to other small towns in the region at 41.5. Despite the aging population, nearly 70% of Kirkliston’s residents were economically active and in some sort of employment – with just 3.8% of the population unemployed. While there were a high proportion of people in professional employment, other popular industries included wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, construction, manufacturing, and financial and insurance activities.

With a relatively wealthy community, it’s no surprise that many people here own their home. Just over a quarter of all owned properties are detached and over 40% of properties semi-detached. The average number of rooms for a household in this area is 5.3.


One of the best amenities here is the nursery and primary school, located in the heart of the town. Both Kirkliston nursery school and Kirkliston primary school received excellent feedback in their latest report by Education Scotland. Feedback included “Commitment of all staff to the continuous improvement of the school and nursery” and “a highly-supportive ethos for learning, high-quality pastoral care and a relevant curriculum.”

The best local secondary schools can be found in nearby Edinburgh. Here you can choose from The Royal High School and Craigmount High School, to name but a few. Both are situated within a 20 minute drive of the town with approximately 75% of school leavers gaining 5+ SQA accredited awards at SCQF L5 or better. Further education is available at The University of Edinburgh, a globally recognised institution. In fact, the university even ranked 17th in the world in the 2015 QS World University Rankings.


Public transport is great here in Kirkliston. For those far-flung destinations you’ve got Edinburgh Airport, located a 20 minute drive away. For destinations closer to home, there’s a great rail network here with trains running from nearby Dalmeny and Edinburgh. Travel within the region is also made easy by bus. The town is serviced by two major bus companies running services to Stirling and from Heriot Watt via Gyle, Newbridge, Kirkliston and onwards to South Queensferry.

Drivers have easy access to the M9 motorway too, ensuring quick and convenient transportation across Scotland. The motorway passes immediately to the south west of the village, while the M9 spur sits to the west and north of Kirkliston.

Amenities and shopping

Residents here will find everything they need on their doorstep. The small town boasts more than you’d expect, with a library, bowling club, community centre and leisure centre. There’s also a variety of takeaway options and a pub here too – the popular Newliston Arms.

When it comes to shopping, the town doesn’t have a lot – but that’s not really a requirement when you’re so close to Edinburgh. In the town itself, you’ll find a Liston Local Store and a ScotMid Co-operative, for all your grocery needs. An Asda, M&S, and Tesco also sit within a 20 minute drive of the town. For all your fashion needs, take the short trip to Edinburgh, home to some of Scotland’s best shopping spots. Located just eight miles away, you’ll find gems like Edinburgh Princes Street and The Gyle, plus a variety of cafes and restaurants.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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