If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter then you probably would have noticed that I’ve been in Scotland recently. If you’ve been following for a while then you’ll know we tend to head to the Highlands every January (and also last summer!). This year we went up to the Isle of Skye, but there’ll be more on that in another post. On our way back south we stopped at New Lanark for the weekend to break up the 13-hour drive home and learn about the world heritage site.
Having grown up going to places like the St. Fagans National History Museum (if you’re Welsh then I’m sure you either love or hate this place) on a regular basis, I love learning about what life used to be like for our ancestors. This year is Visit Scotland’s year of History, Heritage, and Archaeology, which I think is pretty cool. Scotland has such an interesting history and my grandfather was Scottish so I love finding out what it would’ve been like for him and his parents/grandparents, etc. all those years ago!
This post is pretty photo heavy but there were so many things to look at and I wanted to share as much as possible! I also have a vlog of the weekend which will shows even more of what we got up to, including a full tour of the Waterhouse that we stayed in, so head over to my channel and check it out!
We arrived at New Lanark on Saturday in the early evening and checked in. We knew it was one of the Waterhouses we were staying in but didn’t know until we arrived that it was actually a superior two bedroom one, which was a lovely surprise!
We tend to prefer having self-catering accommodation when we go away as it saves money on eating out and gives more room for us to spend time in the evenings watching TV or cooking (or both). Which is particularly pleasant in the winter when you don’t really fancy leaving the house in order to eat!
So the Waterhouse was perfect for us, even though we were only there for one night. Everything we needed was provided, but the only downside was there was no wifi and a very patchy phone signal. But since our stay was so short this didn’t bother us too much, Lord of the Rings happened to be on TV so no other entertainment was needed!
I really have to mention the bed, it was so so comfortable and cosy, I don’t remember the last time I slept in a bed that good. The duvet was the kind that just snuggles you and keeps you cosy but doesn’t make you overheat. I didn’t want to get out of it on Sunday morning but we had a full day ahead of exploring the village! I also love the sound of the river flowing outside the window, I use the app Sleep Cycle and usually have that sound playing to me as I fall asleep but here I had the real thing!
Our stay included breakfast in the hotel restaurant, which included a buffet of the usual cereals, toast, juice, yoghurts etc. but also a hot food menu that looked so good. I went for Belgian waffles with maple syrup, it was heavenly (but I did put a bit too much syrup on whilst trying to get a nice shot of me pouring it), and Lee got the Scottish breakfast which was basically a full English with haggis.
The hotel also has health and fitness facilities including a swimming pool and spa, which look very nice indeed, but unfortunately, we didn’t get time to try these out.
After breakfast and checking out of the Waterhouse, we headed over to the visitor centre. The first attraction is the Annie McLeod Experience which I thoroughly enjoyed. You sit in a little egg-shaped carriage and travel along as Annie tells you about her life in 1820. The projections and effects were my favourite part, but you’re carried through different scenes to see what it was like working in the mill and introduces you to Robert Owen, the manager of the mill. I’ll have some snippets of the ride in my vlog but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that might visit!
Once you’re off the ride, you head into the mill which is still working today and you can buy the yarn in the gift shop which I think is super cool. There’s also an exhibition set up with projections and props. The mill then leads you to a lift that takes you all the way up to the roof garden. We were there fairly early in the day so no one else was around and it was so peaceful and lovely looking at the views of the village and the river Clyde.
After admiring the animal sculptures in the garden, we headed back down the stairs and out through the mill to the café and gift shop. I love gift shops, at a lot of attractions I’m more excited about the gift shop than the attraction itself. We had a lovely browse at all the beautiful local and handmade things and bought a couple of postcards.
Next on the list was the other buildings around the village, there’s Robert Owen’s School, a Millworker’s house through the ages with scenes from the 1820s and 1930s, Robert Owen’s house and a village shop. I think our favourite one was the school, the old classroom was amazing, especially the giant globe! But it was great to see all the different aspects of the village, and the comparison between the millworkers house and Robert Owen’s house.
After looking around everything, we were planning to get some lunch in the café before setting off but we were still quite full from the lovely breakfasts we had, so we decided to just get some New Lanark ice creams. Lee got a Jaffa Cake flavour one which is something I hadn’t seen before and I got raspberry ripple, both were delicious.
The village is in such a lovely location and there’s even more that we could’ve done there like the Clyde Falls walk. It would’ve been a lovely day to have a riverside stroll (although it was a bit nippy) and I’m sure it’ll be even better as the weather gets warmer and the trees start to blossom.
It was such a lovely day exploring New Lanark and discovering the history of the mill. I had no idea that so much of our history started in this small part of Scotland. You can find more information about New Lanark on their website and blog, and if you’re into photos of cute old buildings then you should definitely give them a follow on their Instagram. If you want to know more about Robert Owen and the work that he did then have a look at the Robert Owen website (he was Welsh too, just FYI).
Even if you’re not super into history then I’m sure you would still enjoy a visit here, the buildings and surroundings are beautiful, you could have a wonderful afternoon just strolling around. The village is about an hour South of both Glasgow and Edinburgh so if you’re from or holidaying in either city then it’s definitely worth a little day trip. It was also very easy to find, we came via Glasgow and the sat nav took us straight into the village.
If you’ve been before or you’re planning on going then I’d love to know your thoughts on it! And remember to check out my vlog too!
Photos taken by myself and Lee Fryer
Accommodation and tickets to the visitor centre experience were provided free of charge but all opinions and enjoyment are my own.