Lanarkshire isn't exactly on the tourist trail. People will go to Glasgow and Edinburgh, but Lanarkshire has a surprising amount of attractions that most would drive by.
Most museums in Scotland are free, and the Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life is no exception.
Great for the whole family, Summerlee Museum will give you a glimpse into the Scottish Industrial Age. There is a decent-sized car-park although it is always best to get there early, especially during school holidays.
Inside the exhibition hall, there are two floors of memorabilia from the past. Information boards and screens with "people from the past" speak to you about what life was like for them.
Outside there are 20 acres of grounds to explore. You can take a walk down to the 1819 replica of the Vulcan and go onboard to watch another film. Walking up the back of the museum will take you past green space before heading up the back of the lot.
Walking along the canal where you can see swans and rabbits (although the rabbits won't let you get close.)
Along with the museum exhibits, there is the Miner's Row to explore. Going into each cottage is like stepping back in time as you have recreations from the late 1800s through to the 1980s.
There are gardens at the back of the 1940s cottages showing the wartime effort of growing for victory. In one of them, is an Anderson Shelter. Filming is occasionally done here, so check before you visit that everything is open.
While here, you can also take a tram ride or experience a mine tour. There is also a cafe here where you can refresh yourself for the next stop.
Not far from the Summerlee Museum is the Drumpellier Country Park. It is here that you can take a walk around the 500 acres of parkland which has two natural lochs, woodlands, grasslands and moorlands. You can take the path around the loch or go off one of the side tracks to venture into the woods.
As well as wildlife in the area there is a well-established playground for the kids to play on.
The paths around the loch and woodlands are easy to use for anyone, including wheelchairs and prams.
The park has a large car-park and cafe due to its popularity with families and dog walkers alike.
Undergoing renovations (summer of 2019), the David Livingston Centre should definitely be on your list to visit when it re-opens.
Starting from the building of his birth, this museum will take you throughout his adventures with 3000 pieces of his collection for you to view.
The grounds are still open for you to walk around.
Bothwell Castle is also not far from the David Livingston Centre and part of Historic Scotland properties.
Built in the late 1200s, it changed hands many times during the Scottish Wars of Independence.
Today you can visit its ruins, but you can still see what an imposing building it would have been. It has a circular keep tower or donjon, which is undergoing renovations at the moment. You can usually go up and see the vistas surrounding the castle.
New Lanark is a fantastic place to visit. It is here that history of the old cotton mills comes to life looking back over 200 years.
After you go through to the main building, you enter the world of Annie McLeod. This ride has the ghostly Annie showing you her life and what it was like to live in New Lanark.
After you've finished the ride, you are free to explore this vast area and the buildings it holds. You can see the roof garden, Millworkers' House in the 1820s and 1930s, Robert Owen's House and the School for Children as well as the Textile Machinery still in use today.
Award-winning ice-cream is available in the cafe as well as other treats, and you have an extensive gift shop.
As well as exploring on your own, you could do one of the tours that operate during the day. From this, you'll get more of an insight into how the mill worked and still works today. The tour is included in your ticket.
After you have explored the mill and village buildings, there is still nature to explore with a walk along the River Clyde.
With four waterfalls, after a bit of rain, the water flows with great force down towards to the township. The track is 3 miles long from the village to Bonnington Linn. There is also a loop walk for those with more time.
The track is easy and well-formed although it is steep and with stairs in parts. In April-June you can watch Peregrines in the area. Walking past the Hydroelectric Power Station, you have a mural of a badger on the wall.
If you want to stay overnight, you can. There are two types of accommodation, the New Lanark Mill Hotel and the Wee Row Hostel.
You could easily spend a day here exploring all there is to offer. If you stay overnight you could catch a glimpse of wildlife on the Falls of Clyde walk in the evening.
At 10-metres tall, Arria or Angel of the Nauld is a surprising sight along the M80. The first time you drive past, you can't believe what you see as she is seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
You can get up close to her, and the easiest way is finding Eastfield Cemetery, and she is behind that. If you go all the way through the cemetery, you'll find a small car-park. From there you have a couple of short paths which lead up to her.
She was sculpted by Andy Scott, who did the Kelpies and then she was named in a local competition.
There are also four other sculptures from various artists along the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh. I only saw one of them and didn't get any photos as they aren't advertised or accessible from the motorway. I was lucky with Arria although you won't find any signs to where you can see her.
Lanarkshire is surprising in that more people don't visit the area. With so much to offer, hopefully, you'll add it to your list of places when you're in Scotland.
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