New Lanark World Heritage Site Blog

A Visitor’s View

23/04/15 A Visitor's View # , , , , , , ,

New Lanark: A Visitor’s View – Anabel Marsh

New Lanark: A Visitor’s View – Anabel Marsh

New Lanark is one of our favourite days out, especially when we have guests in tow. We’ve been visiting since the early days, when I remember being shown round one of the newly renovated houses by its resident. However, our most recent visit in March was not to view the mills – we wanted to see the exhibition in the Institute, which at that time was a tapestry telling the story of the Battle of Prestonpans. You don’t need a ticket to visit the exhibitions, so check out the current programme to see what’s on. The Institute is worth visiting in itself and we admired the banners on its walls.

New Lanark Bell Tower

Banners in the Institute for Formation of Character

There was time for a warming bowl of soup in the Mill Café before a walk up to the Falls of Clyde. We’ve done this before too, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much water in the Falls – the immense power which was available to the mills is obvious. We followed the Clyde Walkway past Corra Linn as far as the even more spectacular Bonnington Linn. We then looped back on the woodland trail, after which we were pleased to find the Mill Café was still open and ready to warm us up again with a nice cup of tea!

Bonnington Linn at New Lanark

Following a last stroll round the village, we started the climb back up to the carpark via the Old Cemetery, a poignant place which we hadn’t previously visited. As we went, we talked about our plans for next time when we might extend the loop of our walk right down to Lanark, and maybe even stay overnight in the New Lanark Mill Hotel. Can’t wait!

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Anabel Marsh – New Lanark Guest Blogger

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14/04/15 A Visitor's View # , , , , , , ,

New Lanark: A Visitor’s View – Scotland Traveloholic

New Lanark: A Visitor’s View – Scotland Traveloholic

Are you looking to spend a fantastic day out in a nature reserve? Do you want to get back to the past and experience the life of an enlightened community in Europe? If so you must visit the New Lanark World Heritage Site and the Falls of Clyde Wildlife Reserve.

Throughout the Easter weekend the site organised two events – Easter Holidays Daily Tours and Peregrine Watch with Scottish Wildlife Trust Association.

New Lanark rooftops

PEREGRINE WATCH TRAIL

From the 3rd to the 6th of April in the Falls of Clyde Wildlife Reserve there was the Easter Weekend Special at the Peregrine Watch. This special event has encouraged people to visit the viewing station, which has the best views of nesting peregrine falcons in Britain! We followed the red trail called the “Clyde Walkway”. On this trail all visitors learn about these lovely wild creatures in 10 exciting stages. At each of the stages there is a quiz and you can check your answers at the end of the trail in the viewing station.

New Lanark Peregrine watchNew Lanark Peregrine watch

The trail goes along the beautiful, tumbling River Clyde. It was easy to miss some of the stages because of the awe-inspiring natural beauty and scenery all around. An interesting fact is that the area has been a conservation success story with peregrine falcons returning to nest there in 1997 after a long absence. People coming back from the viewing station were very excited that they had seen peregrines. Their excitement was understandable, I discovered, when we reached the viewing station. At the station staff were describing exactly what was happening with the nesting peregrines. The brilliant thing was that you could look at any time through telescopes if you had not brought your own binoculars. We saw a sitting female peregrine and something more exciting- a peregrine eating it’s mid-air caught pigeon.

New Lanark nature reserve

New Lanark - Bonnington Linn

Don’t worry if you missed the Easter Weekend Special, you can still follow the peregrine clue trail until the 21st of June from 10am to 4pm or you can visit the Scottish Wildlife Trust website to see peregrines live on webcam! I warmly recommend it.

THE NEW LANARK TOURS

During the school holiday period until the 19th of April you can take part in the Easter Holidays Daily Tours with one of New Lanark’s guides. The first group of 25 people leaves the reception every day at 2pm and goes to the Millworkers’ Houses and The New Lanark Village Store.

New Lanark tours

New Lanark tours

This 45 minute tour takes you back into the past, to the 1820s when workers’ families often lived 10 in one small room. Our guide Lesley brought the past of New Lanark back to life in a fantastic, humorous and interesting way. It was surprising, especially for younger visitors, to hear how people were lived in such different conditions to the modern day. The room from the 1930s showed the contrast in living standards. The oldest visitors in our group remembered their childhood homes, so it was nice to hear them share their stories.

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The second part of the tour was in The New Lanark Store, established in 1813 by Robert Owen. It provided goods at retail prices so that anyone in the village could buy whatever they needed. From the historic displays you can find out how New Lanark became the biggest cotton mill in Scotland exporting vast amounts of cotton, how the manufacturing looks today and which famous brands use organic cotton made in New Lanark.

New Lanark Roof Garden

New Lanark buildings

After this short but brilliant tour you can continue to explore the rest of the interesting sites. Highly recommended is taking part in the Annie McLeod Experience Ride, where you really feel like you going back in time in a dark ride which features mill girl Annie who magically appears and reveals the amazing story of her life and times in New Lanark in 1820. If you then take a rest on the Roof Garden you will be delighted by the stunning views around New Lanark and the River Clyde. Don’t forget to take your children to Clearburn Picnic & Play Area, which opened last year. It has a fantastic giant willow storytelling dome, bug hotels and a secret hideaway tree house. Your kids will love this unique adventure playground!

It has surely proven to be one of the best places to visit in Scotland!

Scotland Traveloholic – New Lanark Guest Blogger
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16/03/15 A Visitor's View , New Lanark Visitor Centre # , , , , , , ,

New Lanark: A Visitor’s View – Donna Mairi MacIver

New Lanark: A Visitor’s View – Donna Mairi MacIver

We were delighted to welcome blogger Donna from www.ordinarywanders.com to write a guest blog for us on her trip to New Lanark. Have a read to find out what she enjoyed most about her visit…

 

What does the world famous Smithsonian Museum have in common with a small mill town in the south of Scotland? The answer lies in the heart of the New Lanark UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our journey back to the 19th century began with our descent into the village from the car park. The rows of perfectly symmetrical buildings stand seemingly untouched. The River Clyde continues to flow through the site and churns as it ever did, though no longer in demand as the lifeblood of these once great mills. So much has changed at New Lanark due to the renovations which brought the original buildings back to life, but there is a sense that the true heart of this old mill town has endured.

Rooftops of New Lanark

I didn’t know much about Robert Owen, one time owner of the New Lanark mills, until I visited this famous historical landmark on that cold, grey day in February. Just walking around this site allows visitors to gain an understanding of what Owen wanted to achieve whilst in charge of the mills. His words are quoted throughout the town and provide a great insight into his forward-thinking views, which were sometimes deemed to be quite controversial.

Robert Owen's quotes at New Lanark

This is such an inspirational place to visit – here are just some of my personal highlights from the New Lanark Visitor Centre:

  • The Annie MacLeod Experience

This is a great little ride that allows visitors to gain an insight into life in New Lanark. Annie MacLeod, the ghost of a girl who worked in the mills in 1820, hosts the ride. She introduced us to some of Owens’ modern ideas, such as a workers sick fund and shorter working days. The rides’ effects and illusions were a real treat and I think it’s the perfect way to engage children with the reality of life in the 1800’s.

  • Robert Owen’s School.

Owen believed in community and education. Most notably, whilst other young people around the country were put to work almost as soon as they could walk, those of New Lanark were being encouraged to stay in school.  In this model classroom there are lots of things that you would expect to see; benches for the children to sit on, slates to write on, a lectern. There is also a replica cage that was once used to house a real crocodile. Owen was no ordinary man and the education he insisted on for the mill children was certainly not ordinary. He really was a person before his time and this classroom is indicative of that.

Robert Owen's School for Children

  • The Mill Café & Shop

The Mill Café has a great selection of refreshments and our generous soup and sandwich lunch kept us full until teatime (that’s dinner time to any non-Scottish readers!) The star of the show, though, was the coffee. The perfect, frothy latte I received really set me up for heading back out into the damp Scottish afternoon. We could have sat in this busy little café for the rest of our visit, if only the sites we had passed on the way in hadn’t called out to be explored.

Though the mills no longer work to full capacity, traditional methods are still used to produce smaller amounts of New Lanark wool. This can be bought in the on-site Mill Shop alongside lots of other locally sourced gifts and trinkets. It’s a real treasure trove there and well worth taking the time to look around.

Coffee in the Mill Café

  • Robert Owen’s House

This was the last stop on our tour and it felt like the satisfactory end to an epic journey. Inside there are replicas of the rooms that the Owen family stayed in. There is also a small exhibition that informs visitors about what became of the Owen family after they left New Lanark. The world famous Smithsonian museum? It was Robert Owen’s son who proposed its creation via the United States Congress. The Owen family all continued to do great things once they left Scotland, including; campaigning for gender rights, championing the resettlement of freed slaves in North America and establishing the first kindergarten in the US.

Other historical buildings include a replica of the mill workers accommodation and of the Village Store that once served the whole town, where you can still buy a treat or two. If you’d like more time to wander around the site you can choose to stay for a few nights in one of the renovated mills, which has been turned into the New Lanark Mill Hotel, or the Wee Row Hostel. And if you really enjoy your visit, you can even choose to stay on a more permanent basis in one of the local residential houses – though these are so popular they are swept off the market almost as soon as they appear.

Whatever the reason for your visit, I can guarantee you will leave inspired by the story of Robert Owen, his perseverance and his ambitions to make the world around him a better place. I know that I did.

Guest blogger – Donna Mairi MacIver

www.ordinarywanders.com

 

If you would be interested in writing a Visitor’s View Blog on your trip to New Lanark, please email [email protected] 

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New Lanark World Heritage Site Aerial View

New Lanark is a beautifully restored 18th century cotton mill village in Scotland, and is one of Scotland's six UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

On our blog you'll find a behind-the-scenes look at all the latest news, events, stories and general 'goings-on' from New Lanark World Heritage Site.

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