I like historic places. It makes my inner buff got a bit crazy and I just walk around the whole time like “wow I am glad I was not alive when this happened.” Castles are my personal fave to visit (Alnwick Castle <3) but I have been to New Lanark Heritage Park before.
I went when I was kid with my parents and sister and I remember thinking it was pretty damn cool. So when I got the opportunity to go along for a day, I jumped at the chance.
It seemed like a nice way to spend a weekend a bit differently in Glasgow. Usually my weekends consist of the beer bar, sleeping in late, watching a lot of Netflix and doing a bit of prep and uni work for the week to come. Oh and pretending to clean the flat.
So it was SUPER nice to head on a train at 9.20 one Sunday morning to Lanark instead of not showering for a whole two days wearing a pizza stained t-shirt. The weather was a lil bit drizzly and damp which was a smidge annoying but most of the things to see at New Lanark are inside so it wasn’t the end of the world.
The train from Lanark to Glasgow Central only took about 50 minutes which was pretty divine as I managed to read a tiny bit of Virgil’s The Aeneid, being a good student and all that. Once there, we managed to navigate our way to New Lanark from the station by following the signs like the smart students we are and it took about 20 minutes to walk there. It was simple and easy to get to and I didn’t feel stressed one tiny bit. We managed to get an any-time return from Glasgow Central to Lanark for £10 which was good as we were able to stay at New Lanark for as long as we wanted.
After picking up our tickets at the Visitor Centre we headed into Mill 3 and went on the Annie Macleod experience. It was giving me vibes at first of the Edinburgh Dungeon but then I remembered it was a family friendly experience so I should stop being a massive wimp. The ride was really good, it basically just took you through the history of the mill narrated by Annie Macleod and introduced Robert Owen, what he did and the concepts behind the New Lanark establishment. The next part of the museum was an active mill as the mill still produces wool and there was a lot more information about the mills in Robert Owen’s time, his influence and New Lanark in practice in the 1800s.
Other parts of the museum which are super cool are Robert Owen’s house, a mill worker’s house, the mill school and the village store. We also took a walk up to the Falls of Clyde and saw the old grave yard on our way out. If it was a nicer day, I would have loved to have done some more walking around the grounds but meh, it was raining and I’m kinda lazy. And I didn’t wear the rights footwear because I’m dumb.
One of the best things about New Lanark is the scenery. It is so tranquil and quiet and peaceful and Robert Owen was definitely onto something when he realised that providing nice surroundings to a place of work like a mill will do the world of good. We had a picnic as well because picnicking is fun and we sat at a bench overlooking the water which was pretty pretty.
New Lanark is a pretty ace place: there is lots to do for starters. The museum itself is really interesting and the whole set-up and history behind New Lanark is so unique. There is also a hotel there if you are feeling fancy and they did afternoon tea for £18 and it looked a pretty sizeable afternoon tea. Next time I visit I’ll definitely be doing that.
As students, we don’t really get out that much outside of our Netflix controlled existence. So it was nice to be able to go out to the countryside and do something a lil different for once. We had a culture fill, got some proper fresh air and I walked up a hill and didn’t drop dead so maybe this new year new me thing is working out after all.
This is Visit Scotland’s themed year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and the whole time we were at New Lanark, I was constantly reminded that what happened there was a pretty big deal. Owen’s way of thinking was way ahead of his time and the impact he made on his own mill and the workplaces to follow was HUGE. Embracing the past and appreciating it is so important. And understanding it is even more so. I was in a Classics seminar where we talking about politics in Imperial Rome and there was a lot of alarming similarities to erm, the USA today.
Get outdoors, visit places with an interesting past and eat a couple of M&S flapjacks whilst you are at it.