If you want to escape for the weekend and you want somewhere in Scotland that’s off the usual tourist trail Lanark may be just the place. A Royal burgh with an interesting history, fab foodie options, lots of beautiful green space to stroll and a pretty town centre full of cute independent shops Lanark is only an hour from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, but being surrounded by lush green forest, waterfalls and winding country roads you would never know it. Why should you make this your wee weekend escape? Read on …
1 New Lanark
Forward thinking social pioneer Robert Owen managed this cotton mill in the 18th century and revolutionised working and living conditions for his workers. He made sure they received a decent wage, fair hours, free health care and a new education system. His enlightened actions ensured his fame and the restored cotton mill is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can take a dark ride to find out about young Annie McLeod and her life at the mill, before exploring the village and seeing for yourself the mill, housing, village store and even the classroom that improved the lives of so many of the children. This award winning attraction is a brilliant day out for all the family. You can find out more on their website at http://www.newlanark.org, tickets are £9.50 for adults and £7 for children.
2 The Wallace Trail
Lanark is the only place in Scotland that you can see buildings that are directly related to William Wallace so this new trail is a must for any fans. Wander at the ruins of Kentigerns Church where Wallace married Marion Braidfute. Discover artefacts from the period of Wallace at the museum in the YMCA and see the house where he and Marion lived on the High Street.
There is also a brand new wooden Wallace statue in Castlebank Park.
3 Falls of Clyde
Leaving from the New Lanark World heritage site and walking 1 1/2 miles along a pretty forest path will bring you to the amazing Corrie Lynn waterfall. Extend your walk past the other spectacular waterfalls and the circular walk will return you to where you started. A lovely afternoon out with the family and can be combined with a visit to the centre.
4. History nearby
Nearby Craignethan Castle is along a long winding single track road overlooking the River Nethan. Building began in 1530 by James Hamilton of Finnart who planned it as a showpiece, to show how talented he was at military and domestic architecture, before he began design at both Blackness Castle and Linlithgow Palace.You can visit this intriguing castle and spend time exploring the Nethan nature reserve which surrounds it.
5. Lanimer Festival
Visit during Lanark Lanimer Week in June as the town celebrates a tradition which began in 1140. What began as the Lord Cornet inspecting the boundaries of the town has grown into a week long festival where the town comes alive in a flurry of colourful bunting, massed bands and imaginative floats.
We had a fantastic meal in Inn on the Loch which overlooks Lanark Loch. The large whitewashed restaurant has outside seating and a spacious interior. Quite an extensive menu meant we were spoilt for choice but I settled on a light Stornaway black pudding and Chorizo salad with Apple and pear then a classic burger. I highly recommend a visit here, the service was ace and the prices were reasonable – all with a fab view.
The next day we had lunch in a pretty little cafe near the town centre called The Wallace Tea Rooms. I’d heard it was popular and could immediately see why. A cosy and comfortable atmosphere and really good menu meant we could relax for an hour and tuck into some pretty great food. We enjoyed a “Highlander Platter” stuffed full of local and handmade produce. Each table has its own themed name, we were at the Bruce table, a nice touch. The cafe is also well known for their delicious cakes which unfortunately we were too full to try them, guaranteeing a return visit.
We spent the night at the rather grand Cartland Bridge Hotel just outside Lanark. Packed full of country house charm this 19th century beauty has wood panelled walls, elaborate chandeliers and big spacious rooms. Pairing back on non essentials like umpteen staff and unnessessary extras means the prices are affordable so you can stay in luxury accommodation for a decent price. Thumbs up from me.
I visited Lanark with my fellow Scotlanders and in partnership with Lanark Life but my opinions, as always are my own.