Days out in Lanarkshire
Day trip 1 around Coatbridge
This enjoyable day trip can be made by public transport from Queen Street Station, or free parking is available at both attractions (which are a short walk apart). Take a train from Queen Street station in Glasgow to Coatbridge Sunnyside (approx 20 mins) less than half a mile walk from the station is Summerlee, Museum of Scottish Industrial Life.
Summerlee is situated on the site of a nineteenth-century ironworks and you can take a ride on Scotland’s only operational heritage tram and a tour down a recreated mine. There is a street of miners’ cottages decorated to show how people lived through the ages and an exhibition hall with trains, working machinery and exhibitions from Lanarkshire’s industrial past. If it’s a nice day, the museum is set in 20 acres of outdoor space with a play park and access to the Monkland canal. There is a café on site serving snacks and hot and cold lunches
A short walk away is Scotland’s ‘waterpark’ The Time Capsule which offers everything from thrill-seeking to relaxation. The waterpark features a 25m swimming area, 10-metre high twisting flumes, wave pool and ‘lazy river’ while the health suite includes a sauna, invigorating steam room and hot tub. The time capsule also has an ice skating rink with skate hire for children and adults and penguin-shaped skating aides for toddlers.
Day Trip 2 around Hamilton
Start your day visiting a partly ruined castle hotly fought over during the Wars of Independence with England. Bothwell Castle, built on a grand scale in the late 1200s, frequently passed back and forth between English and Scottish hands.
it’s one of Scotland’s most impressive medieval strongholds standing today. You can also take a stroll along the nearby Clyde Walkway.
Leaving Bothwell Castle head for Low Parks Museum in Hamilton. With plenty of hands-on interactive activities for children to tackle through the galleries, children will enjoy a trip to this fascinating museum with displays relating to weaving, coalmining and the history of the local regiment, the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) plus many others. The museum has an attractive mezzanine cafe offering lunch and coffee and cakes.
Be sure to take the short walk to Hamilton Mausoleum when leaving the museum. Standing at an overall height of 123 feet (37m), the mausoleum is One of Lanarkshire’s most iconic buildings. Children will love the two huge sandstone lions that lie above the entrance to the crypt.
Often referred to as a ‘Jewel in the Landscape’ Chatelherault offers a five-star rated visitor centre, cafe and gift shop within the beautifully restored former hunting lodge building. The Park also has 500 acres of countryside and woodland with over ten miles of marked pathways. Younger children will particularly like the large modern adventure playground.
Day trip 3 around East Kilbride
Start your day with a trip to the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, where you will be blown away by the area’s breathtaking landscapes. A short 20-minute drive from Glasgow, Whitelee has more than 130km of routes which can be explored on foot, or by bike. Scottish weather not permitting? Whitelee Windfarm’s visitor centre is packed with hands-on interactive activities helping you to get to grips with the science behind wind power and a café to recharge with lunches and cakes from local suppliers.
Approximately 15 minutes drive away is one of Lanarkshire’s most popular visitor destinations, the National Museum of Rural Life. A five-star accredited VisitScotland attraction which gives you a glimpse into life on a 1950s-working farm.
Immerse yourself in country living with the tour of an original farmhouse and discover the history behind the revolutionary inventions, combine harvesters and tractors. The experience is brought to life even further with the presence of the museum’s very own farmyard animals, including cattle, pigs, sheep and Clydesdale horses. Following the tour of the museum, treat yourself at the gift shop or relax at the award-winning Shielings Café, where you can enjoy panoramic views of Lanarkshire’s beautiful countryside.
Around 8 minutes drive away you will reach Calderglen Country Park. Calderglen is not your typical country park as it houses its very own zoo, ornamental gardens and an 18-course golf course. Spend the afternoon making your way around the nature trails or taking in the sights and sounds of the many waterfalls. Along the way, stop off at the tropical conservatory, home to more than 50 different animals, including meerkats, tortoises, and rare birds.
Day Trip 4 around Lanark
The journey takes in part of the beautiful Clyde Valley Tourist Route. You will pass numerous garden centres that offer unusual gift ideas and warm hospitality to visitors making them an ideal break point during your journey. You will next pass through the Royal Burgh of Lanark, an attractive market town which offers a variety of attractions including The Royal Burgh of Lanark Museum, which illustrates the ancient and varied history of the town including its association with two of Scotland’s most famous sons – William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce.
The next section of the trip is the short trip (2 miles) from Lanark to New Lanark, UNESCO World Heritage Site. New Lanark rose to fame when Robert Owen introduced a series of social reforms, revolutionary at the time, that created opportunities for the workers that were years ahead of their time. Visitors to the beautifully restored New Lanark World Heritage Site village can gain an insight into what it must have been like to live and work in the village at this time.
Visitors to New Lanark can also enjoy the beautiful riverside walks through the dramatic Falls of Clyde Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve. Visitors here can regale in the spectacle of three waterfalls which show the river’s power and why the village was established in the location in the first place. The most spectacular waterfall is the Corra Linn waterfall which stands at an impressive 27m high.
There is a cafe in the visitor centre or a more extensive menu is offered in the New Lanark Mill Hotel. Did we mention that the hotel also has a spa? Why not make that day trip an overnight stay and then proceed to explore the remaining 27 miles of the Clyde Valley Tourist Route the following day?
Day Trip 5 around Rutherglen
Defy gravity and scale new heights at Cunningar Loop park which has Scotland’s first outdoor bouldering park. There are options for climbers of all abilities to scale, free from the burden of ropes and harnesses. Hone your climbing skills on numerous different rock formations to tackle, some of which reach over four meters tall, you will have plenty to stick your feet into.
Cuningar Loop also has a child-friendly adventure playpark, a biking area and an extensive network of paths including access to one of Scotland’s most popular walking routes, The Clyde Walkway.
The town of Rutherglen has been a royal burgh since 1126 and the busy main street offers lots of options for lunch and refreshments.
Once you’ve finished exploring Cuningar Loop, head to Flip Out with a massive 63,000 square feet of trampolines, inflatables and soft play. For bigger kids and adults to show off there is an adult parkour area. There is a café on site with hot food and snack. Pre-booking is recommended.
Day Trip 6 Around Drumpellier
Drumpellier Country Park is part of the Seven Lochs wetland and has two natural lochs, a wooded area and grasslands, stretching over 500 acres. A vast network of paths means the area is easily explored and the Seven Lochs Trail leaflet shows the native wildlife that can be seen here.
The Crannog play area is themed as an Iron Age dwelling and is designed to be fully inclusive for all users and encourage children to imagine life in an iron age dwelling.
The visitor centre and café offer the chance to refresh yourself and enjoy a tasty homemade snack and learn more about the Park’s history. During the summer months, you can get out on the open water with bumper boats, pedalos and canoes available to hire.
You could then visit the nearby Lochview Family Golf Centre. Whether you are looking to tackle the 18-hole course, practice your swing at the multi-storey driving range, or sit back and relax at the onsite café there is something for everyone to enjoy. Lochview Family Golf Centre offers a programme of golf lessons with a PGA professional meaning that even the youngest members of the family can get in on the action. If the Scottish sun is not shining you can check out the centre’s state-of-the-art indoor golf simulator, perfect for recreational use and video analysis so you can perfect that swing.
Day Trip 7 around Kilsyth
Drive through Kilsyth with the impressive Carron Valley hills forming an attractive backdrop to the town and turn right into the historic Colzium Estate, built in 1783 with a walled garden featuring many ornamental shrubs and plants. There is also a beautiful woodland walk with lots of interesting features such as the historic pet cemetery and Victorian ice house.
A short drive through the village of Croy takes you to the attractive Auchinstarry Marina, with numerous canal barges and boats docked on this part of the Forth and Clyde Canal.
You may not know it, but you are very close to the one-time northern frontier of the Roman Empire. There are various paths where you can view the remains of the wall and walk in the footsteps of the roman soldiers. A short circular route (approx an hour and a half) takes you along the Antonine Wall world heritage site, where you can see evidence of the ancient fortification in the land formation. One option to access the wall is a route which follows the top of the hill and down to an easy stroll back along the banks of the canal.
After your walk take a 10 – 15 minute drive to World of Wings, home to the largest bird of prey collection in Scotland. The centre is home to many rare breeds and rescued birds. There are also many eagles, owls, hawks and vultures. You can learn about the birds and see them up close with the falconers talk indoors in the specially built education centre. You could then stay for a coffee and cake (including a large range of gluten and dairy-free options) in the Cabin Café.
Day Trip 8 Around Motherwell
Get the family out on the water on the beautiful 200 acre Strathclyde Loch, the triathlon venue for the 2013 Commonwealth games. You can hire fun boats, canoes, kayaks and pedalos. For those who like to keep their feet on solid ground, you can hire mountain bikes and explore the 400 hectares of countryside. There are a number of children’s play parks and even a beach, so plenty of places to stop for a rest.
After a strenuous morning, why not treat yourself to lunch at the luxury four star Alona Hotel’s Glasshouse restaurant? With locally sourced vegetables and modern Scottish seasonal dishes cooked on the premises. While you dine, look out over the loch from the glass atrium dining area.
It is a short distance from the historic Dalzell Park estate. The estate was a Royal hunting forest and remained with the Dalzell family until 1647 when it passed to the Hamilton family. The park surrounding the historic building includes many beautiful planted gardens and ancient oak trees including the Covenanter Oak which is over 800 years old. In the late 1600’s the Hamilton family allowed the Covenanters to hold worship services under the tree. The Arboretum has many different types of exotic tropical trees, collected by well travelled botanists and explorers throughout the ages.
Hidden away from the surrounding town and adjoining the estate is the RSPB Barons Haugh Nature Reserve. The haugh is the marsh which is home to the ducks and swans and other residents of the nature reserve. Follow the trail and keep a lookout for deer and Whooper swans which can be found around the loch and if you are lucky you might catch sight of (or hear the sound of) a woodpecker. A great time to visit is springtime when the area bursts into bloom with bluebells.