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East Kilbride
East Kilbride from the air (geograph 4377822).jpg
East Kilbride from the air, 2015
East Kilbride is located in South Lanarkshire
East Kilbride
East Kilbride
Area 26.8 km2 (10.3 sq mi)
Population 75,310 (2020)
• Density 2,810/km2 (7,300/sq mi)
OS grid reference NS635545
• Edinburgh 40 mi (64 km)
• London 338 mi (544 km)
Civil parish
  • East Kilbride
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town GLASGOW
Postcode district G74-75
Dialling code 01355 & 0141
Police Strathclyde
Fire Strathclyde
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
  • East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow
Scottish Parliament
  • East Kilbride
List of places
55°45′52″N 4°10′38″W / 55.764529°N 4.17711°W / 55.764529; -4.17711

East Kilbride ( Scottish Gaelic: Cille Bhrìghde an Ear) is the largest town in South Lanarkshire in Scotland and the country's sixth-largest city or town by population. It was also designated Scotland's first new town on 6 May 1947. The area lies on a raised plateau to the south of the Cathkin Braes, about eight miles (thirteen kilometres) southeast of Glasgow and close to the boundary with East Renfrewshire. East Kilbride is twinned with the town of Ballerup, in Denmark.

The town ends close to the White Cart Water to the west and is bounded by the Rotten Calder Water to the east, the latter flowing northwards adjacent to Blantyre, before joining the River Clyde opposite Daldowie near Cambuslang. In the northern part of the town is The Village, the part of East Kilbride that existed before its post-war development into a New Town. The old village still exists and is integrated into the town to the north of its town centre.


East Kilbride 1
East Kilbride
East Kilbride 3
East Kilbride

The earliest evidence of habitation in the area dates back to ancient graves found near the Kype Water to the south of the district. Roman coins and footwear have also been found in the area.

East Kilbride takes its name from an Irish saint named St Bride (or Brigit), who founded a monastery for nuns and monks in Kildare, Ireland in the 6th century. Dál Riatan monks introduced her order to Scotland. The anglicisation Kil, takes its root from the early Celtic monastics that St. Brigit is representative of: the Culdees or Céli Dé. The Céile Dé were 'the clients or companions of God'. In modern Gaelic, Cille Bhrìghde translates similarly as 'the clients or companions of Brigit.

The original parish church was located on the site of a pre-Christian sacred well, which is possibly the origin of the association with St. Brigit, since the well was dedicated to the Celtic goddess Brigid, whose traditions have been continued through the reverence of St. Brigit. Over the centuries, the church has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, and, as a result, its current location has moved from the original site by about 50 metres (160 ft).

The area of Calderglen was celebrated as a picturesque wooded valley. It was the home of a noble family known as the 'Maxwells of Calderwood' who resided in Calderwood Castle. The remnants of Calderwood Castle were demolished in 1951 and only a few parts of the structure remain.

East Kilbride grew from a small village of around 900 inhabitants in 1930 to eventually become a large burgh. The rapid industrialisation of the twentieth century underpins this growth and left much of the working population throughout Scotland's Central Belt, from Glasgow to Edinburgh, living in the housing stock built at the end of the previous century. The Great War postponed any housing improvements, as did the Treaty of Versailles and the period of post-war settlement it created. In turn, this was followed by the Great Depression. After the Second World War, Glasgow, already suffering from chronic housing shortages, incurred bomb damage from the war.

From this unlikely backdrop a new dawn emerged which would bring East Kilbride to its unlikely success. In 1946, the Clyde Valley Regional Plan allocated sites where overspill satellite "new towns" could be constructed to help alleviate the housing shortage. Glasgow would also undertake the development of its peripheral housing estates. East Kilbride was the first of five new towns in Scotland to be designated, in 1947, followed by Glenrothes (1948), Cumbernauld (1956), Livingston (1962) and Irvine (1964).

The town has been subdivided into residential precincts, each with its own local shops, primary schools and community facilities. The housing precincts surround the shopping centre, which is bound by a ring road. Industrial estates are concentrated on the outskirts of the town, in northern, western and southern directions.


East Kilbride forms part of the Greater Glasgow conurbation. However, the urban area is not directly connected to any other. The hamlets of Nerston and Jackton which were once separate settlements are now on the periphery of the expanding town.

The nearest Glasgow district of Castlemilk is about 3 miles to the north-west, with the village of Carmunnock in between (a bypass has been built in recent years to remove Glasgow traffic from Carmunnock). Rutherglen and Cambuslang lie about the same distance to the north-east and are linked to East Kilbride via the Dual carriageway A749 road which continues into Glasgow.

Clarkston and Busby are also about 3 miles away to the west, with Thorntonhall much closer. Eaglesham lies to the south-west (again this is about 3 miles from East Kilbride centre). Another modern bypass keeps East Kilbride traffic heading for the M77 motorway away from Eaglesham.

The closest town to the south of East Kilbride is Strathaven, about 7 miles away. The majority of land in that area is taken up by Whitelee Wind Farm.

Hamilton, the administrative headquarters of South Lanarkshire is about 5 miles from East Kilbride to the east. The road linking the towns also leads to Blantyre and Bothwell and ultimately to the M74 motorway.


East Kilbride hosted the National Mòd in 1975.

Local areas

East Kilbride is divided into a number of smaller areas bordered by main through-roads. Part of the new town design was that each of these would be a self-contained entity, with local shops and primary schools. This is true for the original areas of the town but newer developments, such as Stewartfield do not adhere to this model.


There are approximately 30 Christian churches in East Kilbride. This includes nine Church of Scotland churches, three Baptist churches, and four Roman Catholic churches. St. Mark's Episcopal church is situated in the Murray. There is one Lutheran parish of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England, which is located in the Westwoodhill area. An Evangelical Christian congregtion is also located in the Westwood area. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints meeting hall is situated in Vancouver Drive, Westwood. Three congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses share a Kingdom Hall near the centre of the town. The Christadelphians meet in Calderwood Community Centre. There are two United Reformed Churches, one in the Village, and one in the Murray. In the Greenhills area is a congregation of the Methodist church, whose premises are currently shared by the Seventh Day Adventist church.


East Kilbride 3
Looking east on the Queensway towards East Kilbride Town Centre

East Kilbride is connected to Glasgow city centre by road and rail. Three main roads connect East Kilbride with surrounding suburbs and the city, one being the A727 (formerly A726) leading west to Busby and on to Clarkston Toll. Another route being the A749 which runs north into Rutherglen. Recently, the addition of the Glasgow Southern Orbital road links the west of the town directly with Newton Mearns and the M77; this road has taken over the designation A726. Similar to other New Towns, the road network within the area is populated by many roundabouts; Glaswegians jokingly refer to East Kilbride as "Polo mint City" after the round, mint sweet. The main dual carriageway road running north–south through the town is known as the Kingsway, while the main east–west road is known as the Queensway.

Public transport

East Kilbride bus station, at the East Kilbride Shopping Centre, was rebuilt in June 2005 with modern facilities, including 14 rapid drive-through stances, allowing quick turnover of buses. East Kilbride railway station is situated in the Village, about a 10-minute walk from the bus station. Trains depart to Glasgow Central railway station every half-hour, with a journey time of about 27 minutes. The town is also served by Hairmyres railway station in Hairmyres.

East Kilbride's primary bus operator is First Glasgow which provides regular services to the city centre, Busby, Clarkston, Castlemilk, Rutherglen, Blantyre, Hamilton, Motherwell and to many other destinations across Greater Glasgow. McGill's Bus Services provide a service linking East Kilbride to Eaglesham, Newton Mearns, Barrhead, Neilston and Uplawmoor as well as another service to Cambuslang and Halfway. JMB Travel and Whitelaws Coaches also run services in the area.

East Kilbride bus station

EK Bus Station and Shopping Centre
East Kilbride Bus Station

East Kilbride bus station is managed and operated by the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. It is situated by East Kilbride Shopping Centre and is situated right outside the Princes Mall section of the Shopping Centre, and is easily accessible from the Olympia Arcade section also. It is approximately a 10-minute walk from the town's rail station.

The current bus station went under a major £4 million expansion and re-planning of the existing site to form 14 rapid drive-through stances with new travel centre and CAB facility at the eastern gateway to the Town Centre. The bus station was designed by the architectural firm CDA. The brief given to the designers was that they were "to achieve a fast turn around of buses, safe pedestrian/vehicular segregation and a secure and accessible environment set within an attractive urban realm". The new bus station was officially opened on 3 June 2005.

There are 14 stances (stands) at the bus station that are equipped with electronic displays showing the next few departures. There is also a Travel Centre which is open Saturdays between 9.00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The operators at the bus station are First Glasgow, McGill's Bus Services, JMB Travel and Whitelaw's Coaches.


Many of the busy roundabouts in East Kilbride feature underpasses which allow pedestrians and cyclists safe access across roads. On 19 June 2009, National Cycling Route 756, connecting East Kilbride and Rutherglen with the City Boundary, was opened. In November 2007, South Lanarkshire Council published three cycle routes, named the "East Kilbride Cycle Network" which start at the East Kilbride Shopping Centre in the centre of the town and are signposted. Route One is route is to Strathaven, via Newlandsmuir; Route Two to St Leonard's Shopping Centre, and Route Three is to Calderglen Country Park. Incidentally East Kilbride prior to new town development was a prized health resort, with cycling being a popular pastime there from the late 19th to early 20th centuries.


Dollan Baths, East Kilbride 1
Dollan Baths

A seated statue of Sir Walter Scott, at the corner of Old Coach Rd and Markethill Rd, is locally known as "The White Man". Outside the Montgomery Arms in the village is a loupin'-on-stane or mounting block. The National Museum of Rural Life is a museum and working farm, featuring 1950s dairy farm methods, run by National Museums of Scotland at Kittochside. The James Hamilton Heritage Park is a 16 acres (6.5 ha) manmade lake with watersports facilities and surrounding nature sanctuary. It is overlooked by Mains Castle, a privately owned tower house. St Bride's Church, by modernist architects Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, was built 1957–1964.

Dollan Aqua Centre

One of the most significant buildings of an earlier phase of development was Dollan Baths leisure complex (opened 1968) which has category A listed status. The Dollan Baths are the subject of a local urban myth, which told that the pool was built 5 cm short of Olympic size. In fact, the pool was built as 55 yards (50 m) long, but is only six lanes wide, rather than the Olympic standard of 50m and ten lanes wide. The Aqua Centre re-opened on 28 May 2011 after a major refurbishment costing £6.5 million. Facilities include swimming pool with moveable floor, health suite and fitness gym. The famous glass wall allowing views from the reception area into the pool remains.

Hunter House Museum

Contains exhibits relating to medical pioneers, William and John Hunter, who were born in the area. In recent years the Hunter House was bought by the neighbouring Calderwood Baptist Church. The building was refurbished and is now used for meetings, groups and functions as well as housing some exhibits from its previous life as a museum. The building also houses a café.

St. Brides's Church

Langlands Moss

A local nature reserve which comprises a Lowland Raised Peat Bog, a UK BAP priority habitat. The reserve is owned by South Lanarkshire Council and maintained by The Friends of Langlands Moss L.N.R. A boardwalk allows visitors to walk over the reserve safely while observing the wildlife which lives on the Moss – many species here occur only in Bog habitats making this site one of special importance. Located just south of East Kilbride, the reserve is accessed easiest from the A726, heading towards Langlands Golf Course & Auldhouse.

Whitelee Windfarm

Whitelee Wind Farm, Europe's largest on shore wind farm, is located near Eaglesham, to the south of East Kilbride.

Parks and sports

East Kilbride YM FC is the town's oldest football club, founded in 1921. They currently have three men's, under-17s' and veterans' sides. EKYM are also part of the East Kilbride YMC Community Club which encompasses East Kilbride YM, East Kilbride Youth Club FC and East Kilbride Girls providing a football pathway from under-5s to adults.

East Kilbride Thistle Juniors also operate from The Show Park in The Village.

East Kilbride from the Scottish Lowland Football League, is based in the town, and play at the K-Park Training Academy at Calderglen Country Park.

East Kilbride Cricket Club was formed in 1962, and was a founder section of the East Kilbride Sports Club. The club fields two Saturday teams and a mid-week team, as well as multiple junior teams and a ladies team.

East Kilbride RFC were formed in 1968 and are based at the Torrance House Arena, at Calderglen Country Park. From 1976 they rose steadily through the leagues, peaking for three years in Premier 2. They now play in the West Regional League 1, the fourth tier of club rugby. They run two senior men's teams and numerous youth teams which are linked to the local schools. Retired Scotland national player, Alasdair Strokosch, played through all the youth levels at EKRFC.

East Kilbride Pirates are the country's top American football team and play in the BAFA Community Leagues.

EK82 Handball Club Founded in 1972, they train at the John Wright Sports Centre and the Alistair McCoist Complex. They play in the Scottish National League.

Athletics in the town is covered by three athletics clubs: Whitemoss, East Kilbride and Calderglen. Both Whitemoss and East Kilbride Athletic Club are based at the John Wright.

East Kilbride Netball Club (EKNC) was founded 1968, and has a current membership of 76 players, under-13s, under-15s, under-17s and seniors with two current Scotland national players. The team trains at the Alistair McCoist Complex.

East Kilbride Bowling Club is the oldest sports club in the town, founded in 1872. The bowling green and club remain on their original site.

Twin town


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East Kilbride

The town centre is occupied by a large shopping centre comprising 6 linked malls, developed in phases. The malls are known by local residents as "The Centre".

The six malls are The Plaza (development started in 1972), Princes Mall (1984), Southgate (1989), Princes Square (1997), Centre West (2003) and The Hub (2016). The shopping centre has come under recent criticism for losing major retail chains in light of rising rental prices. However, some of this criticism is unjustified as the largest retailers to leave had only been charged peppercorn rents of £1 per annum as a loss leader. It is with a large increase in internet shopping and decreasing high street footfall that has led to a number of properties within the centre to remain closed for months at a time, notably on the first floor of Centre West and the Plaza.

A £400m redevelopment of part of East Kilbride shopping centre was approved in 2006 by South Lanarkshire Council. The plan proposed demolishing some existing buildings to create a new civic centre, health centre, library and shopping facilities. It would also see a "landmark" arts and culture complex with a 1,000-seat theatre, a 500-seat conference centre, a museum and a new town square. However, the project has been indefinitely postponed.

East Kilbride ice rink
East Kilbride ice rink

A branch of the government's Department for International Development, now the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, is located in the western Hairmyres area of East Kilbride.

The newly renovated Olympia opened late 2016, renamed "The Hub". It contains several restaurants and a new 'sky trail' with a soft play area above the ice rink.


Primary schools

Additional support needs

  • Greenburn Primary School, Calderwood Road
  • West Mains School, Logie Park

High schools

  • Calderglen High School, High Common Road
  • Duncanrig Secondary School, Winnipeg Drive
  • St Andrew's and St Bride's High School, Platthorn Drive

Additional support needs

  • Sanderson High School, High Common Road

Further education

  • South Lanarkshire College, College Way

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See also

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