Just 12 miles south east of Glasgow is Motherwell, a large town in the Clyde Valley.
Its size is due to its historic, and hugely successful, heavy industry. And although its gigantic steel works have ceased production, Motherwell is enjoying a second lease of life as an attractive residential area.
Its position on home-buyers' radar is largely due to its favourable road and rail links. Glasgow is easy to reach either by train or car, as is the city of Edinburgh. However, the town itself is also full of shops, state-of-the art sports centres and music halls.
The popularity of the town with city workers is reflected in its house prices. Average values currently stand at £135,000, which is around £15,000 more than the average for North Lanarkshire as a whole. Historical properties are particularly sought after and can command high prices. You can check the latest figures here.
Living in Motherwell: what to expect
In and around the centre are matching grids of post-war housing, but scattered between the modern in-fills are sought-after stone properties from the 19th century. These homes are quickly snapped up and have ensured a buoyant housing market.
Large-scale regeneration projects have helped the town pick itself up after the closure of its industry. One of the benefits to come out of this investment is the Ravenscraig Sports Centre, which is now on the site of the former steel works. New homes are also making more of an appearance.
The shops and entertainments of Glasgow are less than half an hour away by train, but Motherwell has its own thriving town centre too.
It has a shopping centre and dedicated shopping streets filled with both national and local stores. Night clubs, a concert hall and theatre also put live entertainment on your doorsteps.
Where to start your property search
In town: Most neighbourhoods in Motherwell are characterised by identikit post-war terraces, but the most desirable homes are the Edwardian and Victorian properties built during the town's industrial heyday.
The conservation area on and around Hamilton Road is the best place to look for period properties. Most buildings here date from the 19th century and predominately feature stately red sandstone terraces and semis. Bay windows and generous gardens complete their appeal.
Another desirable period property is the converted Dalzell House. This A-listed property was changed into flats in the 1980s and now features grand two-bedroom flats with high ceilings and fireplaces. Residents can also benefit from close proximity to a large nature reserve.
For more red stone terraces outside of the conservation area, take a look at roads such as Gavin Street and Catherine Street. Some of the larger properties have been converted into flats but there are stone semis and some bungalows too.
Avon Street also has a lovely collection of semi-detached bungalows as well as some traditionally built detached homes. The most desirable have views over Duchess Park and large gardens.
Most property dates from the post-war era, much of which is ex-local authority. Millburn Street is a good place to look for examples of the ubiquitous two-bedroom terrace. Larger properties tend to have been converted into modest flats.
However, modern housing is no longer in short supply. In the Firpark area, take a look at roads such as Gadwall Grove for four- and five-bedroom detached villas. These exclusive homes are sited on the former grounds of Motherwell College Barons Grange and have spacious rooms and en suite bathrooms.
The Craig Brae development in the Ravenscraig area is another new development. It features large family homes of three and four bedrooms, all of which benefit from being close to the countryside.
Forgewood is full of former local authority homes. Look here for comfortable terraces and flats on streets such as Bellshill Road.
Carfin, on the other hand, has a large choice of more modern homes. Contemporary terraces, semis and detached homes can be found on roads such as Taylor Avenue, many of which back onto open countryside. Brand new developments are also appearing on the former Ravenscraig steel works. Raven's Cliff has 98 semi-detached and detached properties with two to four bedrooms.
Holytown village has a mix of old and new housing. Ex council terraces can be found on George Street, Burn Crescent and Union Street, among others. But new developments, such as Fullwood Gardens off Stevenston Street, have expanded the choice to spacious semis and detached family homes.
Newarthill offers a substantial supply of semis – take a look at Whittagreen Avenue for examples. Of course, later 20th-century terraces are also available – look on Manse View and Burnside Road. Some of these properties overlook open countryside and have extensive gardens.
Getting around Motherwell
By rail: Residents have their pick of three stations: Motherwell, Airbles and Shieldmuir. Motherwell is the central station and it sits on both the West Coast and East Coast lines. The former runs from Glasgow to London and the latter's service runs via Edinburgh and Newcastle.
The fastest trains to Glasgow can reach the city in just 17 minutes, whereas Edinburgh can be reached in as little as 44 minutes.
By car: The town sits right next to the M74, which gives motorists a direct run north to Glasgow. They can follow the road south into Cumbria too.
Motherwell is also close to the M8, which links the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.
By air: A 45-minute drive will bring you to Glasgow Airport. It has more than 100 direct flights to the UK and Ireland as well as Europe, the Middle East and The Americas. One-stop flights to Australasia and Asia are also available.
Things to do in Motherwell
History: Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral is more than 100 years old. It's a fine example of the Victorian passion for Gothic architecture and boasts some stunning stained-glass windows.
Take a trip to the past at the North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre. Its exhibition area has displays on the area's history as well as contemporary arts and crafts. Head up to the fifth floor viewing platform for enviable views over the Clyde Valley.
Cultural: Live music, comedy, theatre, dance and even psychic medium shows are hosted at the Motherwell Concert Hall and Theatre. It's recently undergone a £6m refurbishment and now hosts large concerts for up to 1,800 people or national touring shows in its 406-seater theatre.
Other events include the North Lanarkshire Beer Festival. It's held every year in September and showcases a wide variety of beers, accompanied by live music.
Outdoors: Strathclyde Country Park is an ideal place to venture for sports and wildlife spotting. Its watersports centre on Strathclyde Loch offers rowing and water-skiing, but visitors can also make use of the park's bridle paths, cycle routes and walking routes.
The Dalzell Estate & Baron's Haugh is packed with historical features, birds and wildlife. Its landscaped grounds feature quiet woodland glens and open water, which make it perfect for bird-spotting. Several bird and animal hides are scattered across the estate for visitors to observe wildlife undisturbed.
Chatelherault Country Park is also close by. Originally a hunting lodge and summer house, the grounds are now home to a visitor centre and adventure playground. Walkers can also explore 10 miles of walks alongside the River Avon and through the park's ancient woodland.
Shopping: Large supermarkets include Lidl, Aldi and Asda, but smaller shops can be found along Windmillhill Street. This road is home to take-aways, bars and small businesses such as hairdressers and solicitors.
The Motherwell Shopping Centre is also home to a mix of national and independent brands. Big names include Boots, Argos and New Look, which sit between independent and specialist stores.
Food and drink: Diners have a cosmopolitan choice thanks to a plethora of Indian, Chinese and Italian eateries. One of the most popular is Da Claudio, a Tuscan family-run restaurant.
Also popular is the oddly named Wide Mouth Frog at the Dalziel Park Hotel. It serves retro, classic and European-style dishes, including frogs’ legs and 28-day aged beef. Try twists on the classics, such as a starter of haggis samosa.
Friendly pubs are also in abundance. The Railway Tavern, for example, is a family-run public house that hosts popular live bands every weekend. In summer, guests can take advantage of its large beer garden.
To the north west of Strathclyde Country Park is the site of the Battle of Bothwell Bridge. It took place in 1679 and was fought between government troops and Scottish covenanters. The bridge has largely been rebuilt but still has a plaque marking the battle site.
5 reasons to live in Motherwell
- Easy car and train journeys to Glasgow and Edinburgh
- Good choice of family homes
- Access to untamed countryside
- Lively town centre
- Regeneration has given it a new lease of life
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