Livingston (Scotland)West Lothian in the central belt of Scotland, built as a "New Town" from 1963.
In the 12th century a Flemish man, De Leving, built a fortified tower (long gone) and the settlement of Levingstoun or Livingston grew up around it. In the 19th C West Lothian became urbanised when the shale oil industry developed, but the Livingston area remained farmland until the 1960s. Then five "new towns" were built rapidly to relieve congestion in Glasgow, four of them on greenfield sites (East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Cumbernauld and Livingston) while the fifth was built onto the existing town of Irvine. Livingston was laid out on a grid, with A899 running north-south and A705 running east-west, and a chequerboard of residential estates. These include Livingston Village, Bellsquarry, Craigshill, Howden, Dedridge, Ladywell, Knightsridge, Murieston, Adambrae, Deans and Eliburn. The town has expanded to engulf Polbeth, West Calder, East Calder, Mid Calder, Uphall and Pumpherston, and the population is some 56,000. It was run by a development corporation (a "quango") until 1997 then local government transferred to West Lothian; Robin Cook was its MP from 1983 until his death in 2005.
The M8 (Edinburgh-Glasgow) runs to the north of Livingston and the usual approach is to exit at jcn 3 and turn south onto A899. Otherwise follow A71 which runs south of town.
Lothian Country Bus X27/28 runs daily from Edinburgh every 30 mins via Heriot Watt University at Riccarton to Livingston, taking an hour, and continuing to Deans and Bathgate. Bus 287 also plies between Livingston and Bathgate; change there for Bus 29 to Falkirk.
First Bus 600 runs from Edinburgh Airport every 30 mins via Ratho, Newbridge, Kirkliston, Winchburgh, Broxburn and Uphall taking an hour to Livingston, and continuing to Whitburn.
Stagecoach Fife X51 runs hourly from Glasgow Buchanan station to Livingston, taking an hour, and continuing via South Queensferry and over the Forth bridge to Dunfermline, another hour.
Blue Bus 77 runs M-Sat every 2-3 hours from Lanark, taking 40 mins.
Livingston is on Almondvale Ave between the two main shopping centres.
The basic assumption of a 1960s New Town is that everyone should drive, and railways are old hat. So the town straggles between two railway lines, neither particularly convenient.
is next to Carmondean Shopping Centre between Eliburn and Deans. It has trains from Edinburgh every 20 mins via Haymarket, Edinburgh Park and Uphall, taking 20 mins. These continue west via Bathgate and Glasgow Queen Street (50 mins) to Helensburgh or Milngavie.
is by the Murieston shops and has trains from Edinburgh every 30 mins via Haymarket, Slateford, Kingsknowe, Wester Hailes, Curriehill and Kirknewton, taking 30 mins. These continue through West Calder, Shotts and a dozen other halts, taking up to an hour to reach Glasgow Central.
SD Travel Bus 31 runs hourly from Livingston to Linlithgow and Torphichen, continuing to Bathgate. There's no bus along the lane to Cairnpapple Hill but it's an easy bike ride.
phone: +44 1506 414957address: Millfield EH54 7ARMostly for pre-teens, with museum, farm and narrow-gauge railway. Rides & slides & animals. The railway is 762 mm gauge, hauled by a rinky-dinky industrial diesel, and runs weekends April-Sept plus daily in summer school holidays.
- , 3 miles north of Livingston, is a 4000-year old ritual complex with Bronze Age and early Christian tombs. The burial chamber has been roofed over by a modern concrete dome but you can shimmy in. It's open daily April-Sept 09:30-17:30, adult £6.
- , 3 miles northwest of Livingston, has been a religious site at least since the Bronze Age. In medieval times it was a base for the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem, providing shelter and treatment for pilgrims. In 1298 Edward I of England was injured by his own horse before the Battle of Falkirk and was treated here. It's open daily April-Sept Sa Su 13:00-17:00, adult £2.
- Walk the Almond Valley. The best of it is downstream: use the car park on Pumpherston Rd (by the bottle bank) and follow the riverside trail. From the weir this follows a feeder sluice to the Union Canal, which spans the valley by an impressive aqueduct.
phone: +44 1506 446699address: Golf Course Road EH54 8ABCountry club with spa, swimming pool, ten-pin bowling and golf course: yellow tees 6193 yards par 72.
phone: +44 330 133 1620address: 11 Beveridge Square EH54 6QFEscape games: teams of 2 to 12 are locked in a room and have to solve a series of riddles, clues and puzzles to escape within the hour.
Watch football (ie soccer) at address: Almondvale Stadium, Alderstone Rd EH54 7DNThey play in the Scottish Premiership, the top tier of Scottish football. Their home ground is the 9000-capacity Almondvale Stadium aka "Tony Macaroni Arena".
- Vue Cinema is a multiplex in the main shopping mall at Almondvale Ave.
- West Lothian Highland Games are held on the last Saturday in May in Meadow Park in the nearby village of Bathgate. The next event is expected to be on Sat 30 May 2020 but tbc.
The core of Livingston is an extensive shopping area, bisected by Almondvale Avenue. The area east of the avenue is Livingston Centre and has more eating places. West side is the Designer Outlet; Vue Cinema is here. Together they have over 250 stores, generally open M-W F 09:00-19:00, Th Sa 09:00-20:00, Su 10:00-18:00. These 250 are relentlessly the same as each other and as any other retail unit in the country, not least by lying empty: as of mid-2019 only about half the units are occupied.
There's no stand-out, but lots of budget places in the main mall of Almondvale, with others in the villages of Uphall and Mid Calder.
phone: +44 1506 885138address: 35b Main St, Mid Calder EH53 0ANSmall restaurant with good selection.
Tony Macaroniphone: +44 1506 410505address: The Hub, Almondvale Cres, Livingston EH54 6QXLarge Italian restaurant on two levels.
phone: +44 1506 441832address: 149a Uphall Station Rd, Pumpherston EH53 0PBBasic Chinese, sit in or take away.
Sapphirephone: +44 1506 417272address: Units 2 & 3, Bankton Centre, MuriestonBasic Chinese, eat in or takeaway.
Imperial Palacephone: +44 1506 438656address: 14 Marrfield Terrace, Uphall Station EH54 5PY
phone: +44 1506 884514address: 15 Bank St, Mid Calder EH53 0ASCheap and cheerful place, byob.
Zaikaphone: +44 1506 461561address: 1 Follyburn Place EH54 6BFThis is nowadays just a takeaway.
Frankie & Benny'sphone: +44 1506 465420address: Unit 10 Dedridge N Rd, Livingston EH54 6XGBudget chain eatery.
Brucefield Farmphone: +44 1506 417788address: Brucefield Industrial Estate, Rutherford Square EH54 9BUFamily-friendly carvery, does takeaway.
Lime Kilnphone: +44 1506 410661address: Almondvale Boulevard EH54 6QTFamily-friendly but erratic eating place.
- Beefeater Restaurant & Pub is within the Premier Inn at M8 jcn 3, open daily 07:00-23:00.
Livingston Innphone: +44 1506 413054address: 2 Main St Livingston EH54 7AFPleasant old pub with food, has rooms.
- Harvester on Almondvale Ave is a chain pub with food open daily 09:00-20:00.
address: Unit 1, Livingston Designer Outlet, Almondvale Avenue EH54 6QXJD Wetherspoons pub with food
phone: +44 131 333 3326address: Clifton Rd, East Calder EH53 0HTPark for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents, open all year.
phone: +44 871 527 8632address: Deer Park Drive Livingston EH54 8ADReliable budget chain with 74 rooms.
phone: +44 1506 460841address: Hawk Brae Livingston EH54 6TWDecent mid range place.
phone: +44 344 879 9043address: Uphall EH52 6JS3-star hotel, 71 rooms. 16th century manor house set in 20 acres of gardens & woods.
phone: +44 0333 003 4158address: East Main Street, Whitburn EH47 0JUClean comfy modern hotel with 32 rooms.
Good signal everywhere. The larger pubs and hotels have free wifi.
- Edinburgh and Glasgow both rate as must-see.
- Linlithgow has an impressive ruined medieval palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, and the coast is attractive around Blackness Castle.
- To discover if they made a better job of Scotland's other four New Towns, see East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Cumbernauld and Irvine.