New Lanark

September 27, 2017

This last week I took a long over due visit to New Lanark - one of Scotland's World Heritage Sites. Did you know Scotland has 6 World Heritage Sites? This is Scotland's year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, so its a great time to learn about our heritage and visit these beautiful sites.

Since history and archaeology mean so much to me - have you heard about the tattoo I just got? - I've been trying to tick off each of the World Heritage Sites on Dig It's bucket list. Back in April I helped celebrate World Heritage Day in Orkney, exploring the Neolithic sites and lighting up the Ring of Brodgar!

So, after being offered to come and visit New Lanark, how could I say no? It's only a short train ride from Edinburgh (with a change in Motherwell), and an even shorter ride from Glasgow, so its the perfect day out if you're looking for somewhere to explore.

New Lanark became a World Heritage Site in 2001, due to its cultural significance. The site is located on the Falls of Clyde, and the energy from the falls was harnessed in the late 1700s for cotton mills. In the early 1800s, Robert Owen owned the mills and reformed the living and working conditions of the 2500 people who lived here.

Robert Owen's vision for New Lanark included educating the children, fair wages and food tokens, and wash houses to improve the living conditions. These ideas were revolutionary - he even created the first nursery in Britain.

When you visit New Lanark, you're taken through the history of the site, by purchasing a "Passport Ticket". You can visit the mills themselves, as well as the houses, village shop, school and Robert Owen's own house. All the while, you get to hear and visualise the stories of the people.

In the mills, you firstly get to go on the "Annie Mcleod Experience Ride" - a 10 minute ride where you are introduced to Annie, a 10 year old who lives and works in New Lanark. She tells you all about life in New Lanark under Robert Owen, so that you can get a feel for the lives that these people lived. You're then able to explore some of the machinery and cotton manufacture, and watch some of the machinery in action. Then, by taking a lift up a couple of floors you're on a roof top garden. Here there are incredible views of the village and the river.

Within the Millworker's house, village shop and Robert Owen's house you can explore the rooms while finding out about how they changed and evolved over time. Did you know the workers would live in one roomed houses called singlets? In the 20th Century they then got use of more rooms, which you can see within the exhibit.

After we explored all the areas of the village, we then took a walk through the incredible surrounding area - filled with woods and paths that lead to the falls of Clyde. Robert Owen believed that by encouraging walks in the forests, this would improve the quality of life for his workers. So we followed some of the paths and were stunned by the falls - which were formed 10,000 years ago.

There's so much to do while at New Lanark, that you can make a day of it. We even took a packed lunch, but there's also a cafe where you can buy lunch.

As well as exploring the area, New Lanark have a number of events that you can take advantage of. On the 21st and 22nd of October is Shining Lives - a sound and light projection on the buildings. And tickets for this are free! Over Halloween, there are haunted tours of the village with real life stories and experiences! And to get in the festive mood over December, you can book in for Santa's grotto, Christmas rides and craft as well as a pantomime!

I had a great time learning about the history of New Lanark, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the lives of mill workers and experience the beautiful landscape.

Want to know more? I've started up a new Youtube channel and my first video will be a vlog of my visit to New Lanark. Be sure to subscribe to be the first to know when I upload!


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* I was gifted tickets to the attractions at New Lanark, however all opinions are my own*

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  1. It looks like such a historic place, beautiful! I've always loved learning about history and the lives of people years ago xx