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Living in West Kilbride: The local area guide

West Kilbride is a small town that sits on the east coast of Scotland, near to the wilds of Clyde Muirshiel National Park, and benefitting from stunning views across the sea to Goat Fell and the Isle of Arran. The town is thought to be named after the ancient after the Celtic Saint Brigid of Kildare, often known as St Bride, and there has been a hamlet in this area since 82 AD, when a Roman general stationed 30,000 troops in the village. William Wallace’s uncle had an estate in the north of the village, which is still in use as a caravan park. There are some impressive castles in the area, including Law Castle and Portencross Castle, which add to the rugged, historical feel of the town.

West Kilbride has recently achieved fame as the ‘Craft Town Scotland’, thanks to an initiative of a local group. The village has a number of artist’s studios and craft shops, and is home to the Weft Blown weaving studio and well known silversmith Marion Kane. In January 2012, the Craft Town Scotland project won the Creative Scotland £100k ‘Creative Places’ award.


At the 2001 census, West Kilbride had a population of 4393 people. 85% of the people who live there were born in Scotland, and 10.6% were born in England. The number of adults aged 45 and over is higher than the Scottish average, as is the number of children aged 5-15. The top employment sector in the town is health and social work, followed by manufacturing, real estate and wholesale and retail trade. Though the area is predominantly rural, agriculture accounts for just 1.4% of local jobs.


West Kilbride Primary School serves the areas of West Kilbride, Seamill and Portencross, and has 465 pupils. 88% of pupils in the school are performing well or very well at level p7, and 66% are performing well or very well at numeracy. The nearest secondary school is Auchenarvie Academy, which has 51% of school leavers gaining 5+ SQA accredited awards at SCQF level 5 or higher, compared to the national average of 55%. Other nearby secondary schools are Kilwinning Academy and Irvine Royal Academy.


West Kilbride railway station sits on the Ayrshire Coast line between Glasgow Central (which is a 50 minute journey away) and Largs. There is a good bus service that runs every half an hour from West Kilbride that connects it with Greenock to the north and Ayr to the south. The town sits directly on the A78 and the nearest motorway junction is the beginning of the M77 at Fenwick that runs towards Glasgow.

Amenities and shopping

West Kilbride attracts many artists and creative people, thanks to its reputation as ‘Craft Town Scotland’, and is home to The Barony Centre, a major exhibition space that also houses a café serving freshly prepared food made using seasonal produce from local suppliers wherever possible. West Kilbride Museum is located in the village hall, where visitors can explore the village’s impressive history. The town has a few cafes, including Giuiani’s, an Italian sweet and coffee shop, and The Wee Deli. For everyday shopping needs, there is a Co-op, as well as a few other small convenience stores. The Kilbride Tavern is a lively local pub that hosts karaoke, a quiz and shows football matches.

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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