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Be a local tourist and enjoy exploring Lanark

Wallace statue at Castlebank

Discover Lanark urges you to be a local tourist...

In our Lanarkshire beauty spot, we are extremely lucky to be surrounded by amazing countryside and heaps of interesting sites and attractions, so with restrictions easing and limited prospects of travelling abroad this summer, it’s time to uncover the jewels on your doorstep and become a local tourist.

To help you plan, we’ve pulled together some activity options, in and around town, to keep you busy at the weekend or on a staycation.

Captivated kids

At Langloch Farm, children can book into woodland activity sessions (ages 6-11), visit the play park or explore the one-kilometre nature trail and have fun spotting wooden animals, changed regularly to keep frequent visitors entertained. Pop into the poly tunnels where you can buy plants and kids growing packs before heading to The Barn Tearoom and Gift Shop to pick up a take-away picnic or a coffee and cake. The gift shop stocks a wide range of produce made by the participants at Clydesdale Community Initiative (CCI), the social enterprise running the facility, including lip balms, soap, chutney and a whole host of wooden crafts.

Karen Tennant, finance and commercial manager, said: “It’s been great to welcome local people. We started organising adventure picnics at booked slots, one group at a time, because people were desperate to get their children outside in a safe environment.

“Now in phase 3, it’s a bit more relaxed and people can just order a picnic and tell us what time they want to pick it up.”

Langloch Farm is open Monday to Saturday, 9.15am to 4.45pm.

A full day out

New Lanark World Heritage Site normally attracts visitors from all over the world, but when did you last visit? As so often is the case, we can be guilty of overlooking what’s right under our nose. It’s easy to spend anything from a couple of hours to a whole day here, with access to the Falls of Clyde via the Clyde Walkway – or for the less energetic, a stroll through the beautiful buildings in the historic village. The Mill Café is now integrated with the Mill Shop, reopened in a larger space to ease social distancing, serving freshly made pizza and barista style coffee. On a Saturday and Sunday, the Makers Market showcases handmade products from across Scotland from 11am to 5pm. Finally, if you just want a change of scenery, why not book an overnight stay, not too far away from home, at the New Lanark Mill Hotel or at the self-catered Waterhouses.

Claire Freckleton, head of sales and operations, said: “We are all very excited to welcome people back.

“All international groups are cancelled for the summer and we are unlikely to have school groups until next spring-time, so it’s been mostly local people that have been coming to New Lanark.”

She said: “We’ve got disposable menus, and contactless ordering launching next week and every member of staff is wearing a face mask.”

Artwork

If it’s culture you’re after, then stop by the Tolbooth which is hosting an exhibition entitled Over the Rainbow from Friday 17 July through to Saturday 8th August – featuring artwork made by the community during lockdown. The vibrant display is both uplifting and inspiring. Hot on its heels is the summer exhibition, Coasts and Rivers, running from 10 August to 9 September, displaying themed works from 30 local artists. The exhibitions are open from 10am-4pm, Monday to Saturday.

Walking

While at the Tolbooth, grab the leaflets containing informative, guided walks around Lanark - complete with handy maps and pictures. The Heritage Trail and In the Footsteps of William Wallace are just two manageable strolls, providing a great way to learn more about the town’s history and the architecture we pass every day. You can also find the leaflets on The Lanark Website.

Parks and gardens

Castlebank Park, Delves Park, Lanark Loch and Clearburn Park in New Lanark– are just some of the wonderful green spaces in and around town, open for you to enjoy.   Kids can run riot and burn off that pent up, lock down energy while adults can take a more leisurely wander. Tired and hungry from all that fresh air, then it’s time to head into town to one of its numerous eateries.

Cafes and restaurants

For a small market town, Lanark punches above its weight, offering a wide range of food and drink options. Deliciously distinctive, independent cafes including Tea Time and The Duke's Deli are perfect for coffee and cake and light bites, while The Hidden Courtyard, The Crown Tavern, Ristorante La Vigna and Prego are just a few great options for a scrumptious lunch or evening meal. For those that are still apprehensive about ‘eating in’, many cafes and restaurants are providing a take-away services and it’s best to check opening hours, which may have changed since pre COVID-19 times.

Be a local tourist

The coronavirus pandemic has profoundly altered day to day life in recent months and the impact on local businesses has been enormous. Now, as the country begins to emerge from lockdown, we have an opportunity to pull together as a community by touring the local area, discovering gems a stone’s throw from the backdoor – and having a lot of fun in the process.

Article by Alison Gilchrist for Discover Lanark BID