March 27, 2019
There’s no denying that Galashiels is a great place to live. With its welcoming community, beautiful countryside backdrop and range of convenient amenities – there are plenty of reasons you might be considering the town as a place to call your home. But what could your life look like living in Galashiels? We’ve put together a guide to living in Galashiels to help you if you’re considering buying a property there.
Galashiels has a rich and vibrant history that dates back centuries. Originally a small village, Galashiels flourished during the Industrial Revolution when the textile industry, particularly wool and tweed manufacturing, boomed in the area. The growth of the textile trade transformed Galashiels into a bustling centre of production and trade.
One of the town’s prominent historic attractions is the Old Gala House, a 16th-century mansion that now serves as a museum. It offers insights into the region’s history, showcasing various artefacts and exhibits. Melrose Abbey, located nearby, is another must-visit site. Founded in the 12th century, the abbey boasts stunning architecture and is the final resting place of Scottish kings and nobles.
Galashiels also hosts the Great Tapestry of Scotland, a magnificent artwork that depicts the nation’s history through intricate tapestry panels. This exhibition offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors.
The small town has a brilliant cultural scene and offers a variety of festivals, events, and artistic endeavours. The town embraces its rich heritage and showcases its cultural traditions through numerous celebrations and attractions.
One of the standout events in Galashiels is the ‘Braw Lads’ Gathering’, Galashiels’ version of the traditional Common Riding, a historic festival that takes place annually during the summer. The event celebrates the town’s history, with horseback riding, parades, and the symbolic “Riding of the Marches” ceremony. This lively event brings the community together in a display of civic pride and camaraderie.
Galashiels is also home to the Borders Book Festival, a prominent literary event that attracts renowned authors and avid readers. The festival offers talks, book signings, workshops, and other literary activities, creating a vibrant literary atmosphere.
For art enthusiasts, the Heart of Hawick is a cultural hub featuring museums, art galleries, and a cinema. It hosts various exhibitions, showcasing local and international artwork, as well as film screenings and theatrical performances.
Additionally, Galashiels has a thriving music scene with live performances and concerts held at venues like the Volunteer Hall and other local establishments. These events feature a range of genres, from traditional Scottish music to contemporary acts.
Galashiels may be a small town, but it boasts a thriving food and drink scene that caters to various tastes and preferences.
The most popular spots to eat and drink in Galashiels include traditional Scottish pubs, charming cafes, and contemporary restaurants. The Salmon Inn is a local favourite. This charming pub offers classic Scottish dishes like haggis, Cullen skink, and mouth-watering fish and chips, all served in a cosy and welcoming atmosphere.
If you’re in the mood for a unique dining experience, Seasons is a standout choice. This restaurant combines local ingredients with innovative flavours, creating delightful dishes that showcase the best of Scottish produce in a contemporary setting.
Galashiels also has a selection of welcoming pubs and bars, where locals and visitors can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, along with a pint of local ale or whisky. The Bridge Inn is a popular spot – this traditional pub offers a wide selection of local ales, whiskies, and spirits, providing a quintessential Scottish pub experience.
Galashiels offers a charming shopping scene that caters to a variety of needs and interests. The town provides a mix of independent boutiques, high street chains, and specialty stores, ensuring a diverse shopping experience for locals and visitors alike.
The High Street is the main shopping area in Galashiels, hosting a range of popular retailers, fashion outlets, and department stores. Here, shoppers can find well-known brands and browse through a variety of clothing, accessories, and household items.
Additionally, Galashiels boasts a selection of independent shops that add character and uniqueness to the shopping scene. These smaller establishments offer specialty goods, artisan crafts, local products, and bespoke items, providing an opportunity for one-of-a-kind finds.
The town also features a retail park, offering larger stores that focus on furniture, electronics, home improvement, and groceries, providing convenience for everyday shopping needs.
For fresh produce and local delicacies, the Heartland Market is a must-visit. Held regularly, this market showcases a range of vendors selling fresh produce, homemade baked goods and handcrafted creations.
Galashiels and its surrounding areas offer a wide range of sports and outdoor pursuits, providing ample opportunities for residents to stay active and enjoy the natural beauty of the Scottish Borders. From hiking and cycling to water sports and team sports, there is something for everyone to enjoy and stay active in this picturesque part of the Scottish Borders.
For those who enjoy hiking and exploring the great outdoors, the Eildon Hills provide stunning vistas and numerous trails for all levels of experience. Whether it’s a leisurely walk or a challenging hike, these hills offer breath-taking views and a chance to connect with nature.
Cycling enthusiasts can take advantage of the extensive network of cycling routes that crisscross the region. The Borders Railway Path, in particular, offers a scenic cycling path along the old railway line, providing a pleasant way to explore the area on two wheels.
Water sports enthusiasts can make use of the nearby rivers, such as the River Tweed, for activities like fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. The rivers in the region are known for their salmon and trout fishing, attracting anglers from far and wide.
Golfers can enjoy a round of golf at courses like Torwoodlee Golf Club, which offers picturesque views and challenging fairways.
In terms of team sports, Galashiels has various sports clubs catering to different interests, including rugby, football, cricket, and more. These clubs offer opportunities for both competitive play and recreational involvement.
Furthermore, the surrounding areas provide access to horse riding, clay pigeon shooting, and archery, adding to the diverse range of outdoor pursuits available.
Galashiels benefits from good transport links, making it easy for residents to get around and access other areas. The town is well-connected by roads, with the A7 running through it, providing convenient access to nearby towns and to Edinburgh.
Cycling and walking are popular modes of transport within Galashiels, thanks to well-maintained paths and cycle lanes. The town is served by reliable bus services, offering connections to neighbouring communities and beyond.
The Borders Railway, with a station in Galashiels, provides regular train services to Edinburgh and other destinations, making commuting and exploring the region hassle-free.
While Galashiels itself doesn’t have an airport, Edinburgh Airport is easily accessible, offering domestic and international flights.
Galashiels has a diverse economy that has evolved over the years. Once driven by the textile industry, the town has adapted to changes and now offers a range of employment opportunities across various sectors.
While the textile industry remains present, the economy of Galashiels has expanded to include sectors such as retail, healthcare, education, tourism, and services. Retail plays a significant role in the town’s economy, with a mix of high street chains, independent shops, and commercial centres providing employment opportunities.
The healthcare sector is also prominent, with the Borders General Hospital being a major employer in the area. The education sector thrives with schools, colleges, and the Heriot-Watt University School of Textiles and Design, contributing to employment opportunities in teaching and related roles.
Galashiels benefits from its location in the Scottish Borders, attracting tourists who come to explore the area’s natural beauty, history, and cultural attractions. This, in turn, supports jobs in hospitality, leisure, and tourism-related services.
While Galashiels has faced economic challenges, efforts have been made to diversify the job market and stimulate growth. The town has seen positive developments in recent years, including infrastructure investments, revitalization projects, and support for entrepreneurship.
Overall, Galashiels demonstrates resilience and a growing economy, albeit with ongoing efforts to create more job opportunities and sustain growth. The town’s main industries encompass retail, healthcare, education, tourism, and services, with notable employers including the Borders General Hospital, educational institutions, and a range of local businesses that contribute to the town’s economic stability.
Families considering a move to Galashiels will be happy to know that the town has some excellent school options across each different stage of education.
St. Peters Primary School is highly regarded for its nurturing environment and strong academic focus, consistently achieving excellent results. Galashiels Academy, the town’s main secondary school, provides a comprehensive curriculum and a supportive learning environment, offering a wide range of subjects, extracurricular activities, and personal development opportunities.
Furthermore, Galashiels is distinguished by the presence of the prestigious Heriot-Watt University School of Textiles and Design. This renowned institution offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in textile-related fields, attracting students from around the world.
Additionally, the town benefits from its proximity to other schools and educational institutions in the wider Scottish Borders region, offering families a diverse range of options to consider when choosing the right educational path for their children. Parents considering a move to Galashiels can explore these schools and other local options on the Education Scotland website.
If you need advice for first-time buying in Galashiels – or if you’re looking for a reliable mortgage broker in the Borders – don’t hesitate to contact us today.
We’re experts on all things mortgage-related (and our services are always 100% free).
March 27, 2019
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