town in West Lothian, Scotland, UK

Livingston is a large town in 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 century, 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.

Get inEdit

 
Livingston from the air

By roadEdit

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.

By busEdit

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 1 bus terminal is on Almondvale Ave between the two main shopping centres.

By railEdit

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.

2 Livingston North 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.

3 Livingston South 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.

Get aroundEdit

 
Map of Livingston (Scotland)

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.

SeeEdit

  • 1 Almond Valley, Millfield EH54 7AR, +44 1506 414957. Daily 10:00-17:00. Mostly 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. Adult £9.50, child £7.50.  
  • 2 Cairnpapple Hill, 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 Torphichen Preceptory, 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.

DoEdit

  • 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.
  • 1 Deer Park Golf and Country Club, Golf Course Road EH54 8AB, +44 1506 446699. Daily 06:30-21:30. Country club with spa, swimming pool, ten-pin bowling and golf course: yellow tees 6193 yards par 72. 18 holes £15 pp.
  • 2 Escape Livingston, 11 Beveridge Square EH54 6QF, +44 330 133 1620. F-Su 10:00-22:00. Escape 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. £35 for 2, £42 for 3, £48 for 4, £55 for 5 and £60 for 6.
  • Watch football (ie soccer) at 3 Livingston FC, Almondvale Stadium, Alderstone Rd EH54 7DN. They 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 29 May 2021 but tbc.

BuyEdit

 
Livingston shopping centre

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.

EatEdit

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.

  • La Vita Viva, 35b Main St, Mid Calder EH53 0AN, +44 1506 885138. M-W 12:00-14:30 & 17:00-21:00, Th-Sa 12:00-22:00, Su 12:00-21:00. Small restaurant with good selection.
  • Tony Macaroni, The Hub, Almondvale Cres, Livingston EH54 6QX, +44 1506 410505. M-F 12:00-21:30, Sa Su 09:00-21:30. Large Italian restaurant on two levels.
  • Hong, 149a Uphall Station Rd, Pumpherston EH53 0PB, +44 1506 441832. Daily 16:30-23:00. Basic Chinese, sit in or take away.
  • Sapphire, Units 2 & 3, Bankton Centre, Murieston (next to South rwy station), +44 1506 417272. Daily 16:30-23:00. Basic Chinese, eat in or takeaway.
  • Imperial Palace, 14 Marrfield Terrace, Uphall Station EH54 5PY, +44 1506 438656.
  • Khushis, 15 Bank St, Mid Calder EH53 0AS, +44 1506 884514. Su-Th 16:00-22:00, F Sa 12:00-23:00. Cheap and cheerful place, byob.
  • Zaika, 1 Follyburn Place EH54 6BF, +44 1506 461561. Daily 16:30-22:30. This is nowadays just a takeaway.
  • Frankie & Benny's, Unit 10 Dedridge N Rd, Livingston EH54 6XG, +44 1506 465420. Su-Th 09:00-21:30, F Sa 08:30-23:00. Budget chain eatery.

DrinkEdit

  • Brucefield Farm (The Carvery), Brucefield Industrial Estate, Rutherford Square EH54 9BU, +44 1506 417788. M-Th 09:00-23:00, F-Su 08:00-23:00. Family-friendly carvery, does takeaway.
  • Lime Kiln (aka Hungry Horse; formerly The Granary), Almondvale Boulevard EH54 6QT, +44 1506 410661. Daily 09:00-10:00. Family-friendly but erratic eating place.
  • Beefeater Restaurant & Pub is within the Premier Inn at M8 jcn 3, open daily 07:00-23:00.
  • 1 Livingston Inn, 2 Main St Livingston EH54 7AF, +44 1506 413054. Su-Th 12:00-23:00, F Sa 12:00-00:00. Pleasant old pub with food, has rooms.
  • Harvester on Almondvale Ave is a chain pub with food open daily 09:00-20:00.
  • The New Year Field, Unit 1, Livingston Designer Outlet, Almondvale Avenue EH54 6QX. Daily 08:00-00:00. JD Wetherspoons pub with food

SleepEdit

  • 1 Linwater Caravan Park, Clifton Rd, East Calder EH53 0HT (3 miles east of Livingston), +44 131 333 3326. Park for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents, open all year. Two-person tent £20.
  • 2 Premier Inn Livingston, Deer Park Drive Livingston EH54 8AD (at jcn 3 of M8), +44 871 527 8632. Reliable budget chain with 74 rooms. B&B double £80.
  • 3 Livingston Lodge Hotel, Hawk Brae Livingston EH54 6TW, +44 1506 460841. Decent mid range place. Room only double £70.
  • 4 Macdonald Houston House, Uphall EH52 6JS (A899 two miles north of Livingston), +44 344 879 9043. 3-star hotel, 71 rooms. 16th century manor house set in 20 acres of gardens & woods. B&B double from £120.
  • 5 Best Western Hilcroft Hotel, East Main Street, Whitburn EH47 0JU (A705 eight miles west of Livingston), +44 0333 003 4158. Clean comfy modern hotel with 32 rooms. B&B double £75.

ConnectEdit

Good signal everywhere. The larger pubs and hotels have free wifi.

Go nextEdit

Routes through Livingston
GlasgowCoatbridge  W   E  Edinburgh


This city travel guide to Livingston is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.