New Lanark World Heritage Site is such a hidden treasure in Scotland. Walking down to the village felt like stepping back in time. We spent a snowy Easter Monday there, travelling with two children aged 2 and 4. I enjoyed it so much that I spent the whole way home reading up more about the site (yes I’m a geek!) I’ll give you a short history of what I found out and then a run down of our day.
New Lanark was founded as a cotton spinning village in 1785, the village became an international sensation when Robert Owen took over with a new enlitened management style. It was successful up until it’s closure in 1968.
Robert Owen is a name I had heard of, but couldn’t have told you the extent of his contribution to society. His ideas were far ahead of the time he lived in. He challenged the pecking order and wanted to improve conditions for the working classes. New Lanark was the home to the first infant school in the world! Owen made sure children under 10 didn’t work in the mills, he introduced free medical care, education and evening classes for all and most amazingly, a creche for working mothers. Most of these things we take for granted in our life today, but back then New Lanark was a model community. And far ahead of it’s time. Demonstrating management policies that are now seen to be a lead up to the personnel management we have in place today.
In 1974 the New Lanark Trust brought the village back to life. It has been restored and a glimpse of history can be sampled.
When we arrived, we walked through the village down to the reception. You go through a beautiful sensory walkway, showing how the mills were founded to use the natural power of the Falls of Clyde. You then take an experience ride, learning about the life of a young mill worker, Annie McLeod. Travelling with two small children aged 2 and 4, I was a bit worried about this part as it was dark and you ride in roller coaster style, hanging seats. I went in one seat with my 2 year old daughter and she loved it – she kept saying ‘wow’ when things came into view! My husband travelled in another seat with our 4 year old son and he really enjoyed listening to the story. Lots to see and not too scary. A major bonus!
After this we took the lift up to the roof garden. It was snowing but still absolutely beautiful – I can imagine how amazing it would be in summer. You could spend a while here looking at the views and the inspirational quotes posted around.
We then stopped in at the New Lanark Mill Cafè which serves delicious hot and cold dishes. There was a decent selection for the kids and the cakes and ice cream (even in a cold day!) were amazing! On the way to the cafè you will pass by the working historic textile machinery and can watch the wool being spun. You can purchase New Lanark textiles in the shop, we went in and bought a few treats!
The weather wasn’t good enough to use the huge outside play area, but it looked like fun. My favourite place was the historic classroom where we were able to show the kids how they would have had their lessons back then. There is lots of information boards up around the site and you can find out some really interesting information. It was so interactive too and it this was great for the children because you could get really hands on. A member of the team also had lots of the old toys out in the classroom for everyoneto have a play with.
The biggest hit for the kids was the huge sensory soft play. Suitable for kids up to the age of 7, it was a large room with a range of activities and let the kids enjoy some fun while we had a break.
After this we decided to walk along to the Falls of Clyde. There are some beautiful walks and you can visit the Scottish Wildlife Trust Visitors Centre. The kids had fun learning about the different animals. The views – even in a miserable day – were breathtaking and worth the walk.
Finishing off our tour we visited the mill workers cottages and Robert Owens house, this was the only part of the day we found hard with two pre-schoolers! So many tempting things to touch and climb on! But it was so beautifully resostored that we had to take it in turns to have a look round while the other kept the kids entertained. This would be great for those children a little older, there was a dressing up box and so much information about how the mill workers lived throughout the decades.
All in all we had a great visit to New Lanark World Heritage Site. We have already recommended it to many friends as a hidden treasure that is really worth the visit.
If you are travelling as a couple for a day out you will have a great time. As a family it will be a lot of fun and there is plenty to keep children of all ages entertained. We arrived at the site about 11am and didn’t leave until after 3pm so it is a full day out.
The site is open 7 days 10am-5pm(April – October) and 10am -4pm (November – March). Tickets can be booked online, with adults prices at £12.50, children are £9, under 2’s are free. Family tickets are available too.
From the South the site is only 30 minutes from junction 13 on the M74. We travelled from the North and it took us just under an hour from GLasgow. There are good train and bus links to the site too.
Find out all you need to know here.
I was given a family day ticket in exchange for a review of my experience. All thoughts are my own and no financial compensation was received.
Have you been to Beamish before? This is what New Lanark reminded me of! I can recommend it without hesitation.
Let me know if you’ve been and if you have any questions I love to hear from you.