East Kilbride is a town in the Central Belt of Scotland, some 8 miles southeast of Glasgow.
Housing in post-war Glasgow was a bleak mixture of slums and craters, so five "new towns" were built rapidly to rejuvenate the Central Belt. Four of them were on greenfield sites, East Kilbride being the first from 1947. It was followed by Glenrothes, Cumbernauld and Livingston, while the fifth was built onto the existing town of Irvine. These fulfilled a basic and urgent need for housing but demonstrated all that is wrong with crass central planning. A sixth town, intended for Stonehouse south of Hamilton, fortunately was never built. However East Kilbride has preserved some attractive countryside along the Rotten Calder valley, the moors of Lanarkshire rise up to the south, and the town's main attraction is the Museum of Rural Life.
Long-distance public transport to East Kilbride will usually involve travelling via central Glasgow.
Trains run from Glasgow Central every 30 mins, taking just over 30 mins to 1 East Kilbride railway station where they terminate. They run from 06:00 to 23:00 and also stop at Hairmyres at the northwest edge of town, convenient for the University Hospital.
Bus: The bus station is in the main shopping centre. First Glasgow Bus 18 runs every 10 mins from Glasgow Sauchiehall St and Central Station via Rutherglen to East Kilbride, taking an hour, and continuing to Greenhills Shopping Centre. Bus 31 also runs hourly to town from Glasgow Osborne St via Gorbals, Castlemilk, Carmunnock and Stewartfield (for the Museum of Rural Life). These run 05:00 to midnight. There are also night buses from Glasgow Sauchiehall St in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday: N6 via Cathcart to East Kilbride and Calderwood, and N18 via Dalmarnock, Rutherglen, Burnside and East Kilbride to Greenhills.
Stagecoach West Scotland Bus X16 runs hourly from Hamilton to East Kilbride, and continues west to Kilmarnock and Ayr. An occasional direct bus runs from Motherwell but it's usually quicker to change in Hamilton.
By road the usual approaches are M8 from Edinburgh, M74 from Carlisle and M77 from Kilmarnock, to join A725 / A726. From central Glasgow you'd probably follow A730 onto A749.
Bus 31 runs past the Museum of Rural Life.
- 1 National Museum of Rural Life, Wester Kittochside Farm, Philipshill Rd G76 9HR. Daily 10:00-17:00. Part of National Museums of Scotland, with museum, farmhouse and working farm. Open all year but wear wellies and other outdoor gear, and don't bring a dog. Your ticket is valid for a year. Summer 2020: Museum reopens 12 August, visitor numbers limited, advance booking required. Adult £8.
- Hunter House Museum in Calderwood, birthplace of medical pioneers William and John Hunter, closed in 2011. William's collection is in the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, while John's is in the Royal College of Surgeons in London. The house is now a Baptist church community centre.
- 2 Calderglen Country Park, Strathaven Rd G75 0QZ, ☏ . Zoo & conservatory daily 10:00-16:00. Extensive park with zoo, tropical plant conservatory, ornamental gardens, nature trails and walks along the glen of the Rotten Calder. Adult £1.70.
- 3 James Hamilton Heritage Park on Stewartfield Way north of town, surrounds a 16-acre loch, and has a watersports centre, adventure playgrounds and cafe.
- 1 Dollan Aqua Centre, Brouster Hill G74 1AF. M-Th 07:00-22:00, F 07:00-20:00, Sa Su 08:00-17:30. 50m swimming pool. The building was designed by Alexander Buchanan Campbell and opened in 1968. It is a category A listed building.
- 2 Village Theatre is on Maxwell Drive.
- Carmunnock Highland Games are held in late May on King George V football ground in Carmunnock, two miles north of East Kilbride. The 2020 and 2021 events were cancelled so the next are probably on Sun 29 May 2022, tbc.
- In town centre, best meals are in the pubs, see "Drink". There's a little collection north towards the railway station, with Village Steakhouse, Zucca Pizzeria, and a Malaysian, Vietnamese and Indian.
- Another little strip is on High Common Rd to the southeast, with a Chinese, Punjabi and Italian place.
- Hudsons, 14 Cornwall St G74 1JR. M-Sa 11:00-00:00, Su 12:30-00:00. Friendly town centre pub, Free House. Pub quiz Wed, open-mic Thur, DJ F & Sat, and big-screen sport.
- Others nearby are The Hay Stook (JD Wetherspoon), Zucca Piada, Exchange Bar and The Tower.
- 1 Premier Inn, Brunel Way G75 0LD, ☏ . Convenient budget chain hotel in town centre. B&B double £75.
- 2 Torrance Hotel, 135 Main St G74 4LN, ☏ . Decent mid-range place near railway station. B&B double £100.
- 3 Holiday Inn Glasgow - East Kilbride, Stewartfield Way G74 5LA (near jcn A727 & A726), ☏ . Decent budget chain hotel at edge of town. B&B double £80.
- 4 Crossbasket Castle, Stoneymeadow Rd G72 9UE (jcn B7012 and A725 Expressway), ☏ . Upscale place in extensive grounds, caters for many wedding parties. B&B double from £330.
East Kilbride has 4G from all UK carriers. As of July 2021, 5G has not yet reached town but is getting close.
- You're likely to travel via Glasgow but don't just rush through, it's a great destination in its own right.
- See Scotland's other "New Towns" to see if later examples were any better. Those are Glenrothes in Fife, Cumbernauld, Livingston and Irvine.
- Head west to the Ayrshire coast. Ayr has the birthplace of Robert Burns in Alloway, and Ardrossan has ferries to the charming Isle of Arran.