North Lanarkshire is a region in Scotland sandwiched neatly between the important cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. North Lanarkshire is full of history as well as being a home to a number of beautiful towns. In North Lanarkshire, you will find stunning Scottish countryside, a rich traditional heritage, and plenty to do for everyone. Here are some of the best things to do on your next visit to North Lanarkshire.
1. Strathclyde Country Park
Strathclyde Country Park is an icon of the North Lanarkshire countryside. Covering a huge 400 hectares, the park surrounds the man-made Strathclyde Loch. Here you will find beautiful views of the Scottish countryside as well as stunning vistas across the loch and nearby River Clyde. Search for the remains of a Roman fort and bath house to get closer to Scotland’s rich history. Visit M&D’s for Scotland’s most well-known theme park and a fun day out. Strathclyde Country Park is ideal for nature lovers too, with extensive parkland and woodland to discover. This is a great place to start your adventures in North Lanarkshire.
2. Craignethan Castle
Craignethan Castle was built in the 16th century as a home for Scottish noble families and a defence for the surrounding countryside. Craignethan Castle is filled with rich Scottish history and was the inspiration for Walter Scott’s novel Old Mortality. The famous artist JMW Turner created many sketches and drawings upon visiting the castle. Today you can visit the castle ruins to admire the stunning architecture and the first caponier in Britain. For hikers, there is also a nature trail descending from the castle into the surrounding woodland. Craignethan Castle features history, heritage and beautiful views from every angle.
3. Antonine Wall
One of North Lanarkshire’s most famous landmarks is the Antonine Wall, built by the Romans between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. The wall was constructed on stone foundations covered by turf, with building completed around 154 AD. The original wall spanned 63 km and reached 3 m high. Today, visitors can walk along the remains of the wall or take a cycling path along the entire span. There are a number of things to see and do along the wall, including cafes to stop in for a bite to eat, or rowing along one of the adjacent bodies of water. The wall itself creates an unforgettable landscape in the natural countryside and is an unmissable sight in North Lanarkshire.
4. Black Loch
The Black Loch is one of North Lanarkshire’s most popular lochs. Pay a visit to the loch for stunning views across the water or partake in a spot of fly-fishing. Trout are the most popular type of fish in the loch, with a variety of species including rainbow, brown and blue trout. Afterwards, stop by the nearby village of Limerigg for more nature in the peaceful woodland here. Or relax with a pint in a local pub for an authentic North Lanarkshire experience.
5. Museum of Scottish Industrial Life
The Museum of Scottish Industrial Life – also called Summerlee – explores the industrial history of Scotland. The museum is housed in an old ironworks, giving it an authentic atmosphere and making it a great place to learn about the importance of industry in Scotland. Here you will find steam trains and carriages to transport you back in time. Take a trip on the working museum tram or descend into the mine tour to learn what it was like to work in the local mines. Stop by the café for some cakes or a cup of tea. Keep an eye on events listings for temporary exhibitions, talks and more. The Museum of Scottish Industrial Life is the ideal place to learn about industrial heritage in North Lanarkshire.
6. Chatelherault Country Park
North Lanarkshire is famed for its gorgeous countryside and one of the best places to experience it is Chatelherault Country Park. This park has been open since 1548 and features historical buildings including an 18th-century hunting lodge and summer house. Explore these well-preserved landmarks before strolling through the surrounding park. The park is well-known for its oak trees, beautiful views, and ancient woodland. The River Avon cuts through the park and you can cross it via the stunning Dukes Bridge. There is a lot to see and experience in Chatelherault Country Park, making it one of the highlights of a visit to the region.
Wishaw is a pretty town in North Lanarkshire, located on a site that has been settled since the 12th century. Here you can find gorgeous architecture, especially in the many churches and spires dotted around the town. Taste some local food along the High Street or take a break on a sunny day in Belhaven Park. Wishaw is a lovely village offering authentic North Lanarkshire vibes.
Cumbernauld is a popular town in North Lanarkshire created in the mid-20th century to provide a new suburb for Glasgow. Here you will find excellent shopping opportunities, including Britain’s first shopping centre and the world’s first multi-level town centre. There are chain stores and independent shops in the town centre, and plenty of cafes and restaurants to stop for a break after your shopping spree. Visit Cumbernauld Glen in the heart of the town for wildlife opportunities or learn about the town’s rich history at the local museum. For the adventurous, there is the Cumbernauld Outdoor Activity Centre, offering paintball, archery, off-road driving and more. There is something for everyone in Cumbernauld!
9. Dumbreck Marsh
Dumbreck Marsh is a must for nature lovers visiting North Lanarkshire. This haven for wildlife and natural countryside features a number of trails through grassland, ponds, marshland and more. Here you can get close to water birds via walkways across the marshes, or find other species of bird including lapwings and skylarks. For bird-watchers, there is the opportunity to spot the rare water rail, all in glorious surroundings. Visit the marsh at sunset for beautiful views.
10. National Museum of Rural Life
The National Museum of Rural Life examines local heritage and life in North Lanarkshire. It is housed in a farm so there is plenty to explore and see here. The farm offers visitors a hands-on taste of rural life in Scotland, with machinery and tools on show for guests to get to grips with. Learn more about the history of farming and rural life by visiting the period farmhouse on-site. The museum has an extensive programme of events, including hands-on days where visitors are invited to try out daily farming activities for an authentic experience of rural life in Scotland. See and feed animals, attend a horse show, and eat at the on-site café to rest after all that hard work! The National Museum of Rural Life is a delightful place to spend a day in North Lanarkshire.
11. New Lanark
New Lanark is one of North Lanarkshire’s most famous landmarks. New Lanark is a village built in 1786 as a settlement and workplace for the local mill industry. The village was one of the first successful “utopias” and contributed significantly to the history of urban planning. Today, New Lanark is a World Heritage site, featuring a visitor centre where you can learn more about the history of the village. Here you can find beautiful views out across the surrounding river and woodland, as well as plenty of independent shops and food places to enjoy. For a truly authentic utopian experience, book a stay in the New Lanark Hotel, built into one of the old mills originally constructed here.
12. Carron Valley
Carron Valley is an ideal location for thrill seekers, providing the first man-made mountain bike trails in North Lanarkshire. Carron Valley is easily accessible from major cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh. Here you will find professional trails spanning around 15 km, all surrounded by gorgeous countryside and mountains. There are a number of trails, each increasing in challenge, so Carron Valley is suitable for mountain bikers at any level. For a more relaxed activity, try fly-fishing at Carron Valley Fishery, with well-stocked trout in the Carron Valley Reservoir. There are also many walking trails available for hikers or anyone else who wants some fresh air in the glorious North Lanarkshire countryside.
13. Falls of Clyde
The Falls of Clyde are four waterfalls on the River Clyde, ranging from a height of 84 ft to 10 ft. The falls have been visited by a number of famous people, including William Wordsworth and Walter Scott. Today you can visit the falls to get closer to nature and for gorgeous scenery. The area is popular with local wildlife, including ospreys, badgers and bats, with walks and tours available. There is a visitor centre on-site where you can learn more about the falls and their history, and self-guided trails that will highlight important locations around the falls. This is a lovely and peaceful retreat in North Lanarkshire.
Motherwell is a famous North Lanarkshire town, once the heart of Scotland’s steel production. Motherwell has a rich industrial heritage with ties to both the steel and coal industries. Visit Motherwell Cathedral for stunning architecture and regular performances by the choir. Stop by Dalzell Estate for a taste of period life in Motherwell, or grab some local food at an independent café or restaurant. A local favourite is the Wide Mouth Frog, serving contemporary Scottish food in a cheerful setting. There is plenty to see and do in Motherwell, affirming its reputation as a key North Lanarkshire town.
Cloudbusters is the perfect day out for adventure lovers in North Lanarkshire! Cloudbusters is a paragliding centre, offering experiences for all levels of paragliders. The centre provides full tuition for beginners as well as refresher courses for more experienced paragliders. This is an ideal place to try something new or to grab some tips before you take to the North Lanarkshire skies.
Amazonia is Scotland’s largest indoor tropical rainforest, packed with animals and exotic plants. Here you will find over 70 species of animals, including monkeys, parrots, reptiles and butterflies. Visit the Handling Room for your chance to pick up snakes, frogs and tortoises. There are virtual trips to the Amazon available on-site, as well as daily feedings and talks to learn more about the animals on show. For a truly immersive visit, grab a Keeper Experience to help with animal care and maintenance. There is so much to explore at Amazonia, making it a wonderful and informative day out in North Lanarkshire.
Coatbridge is located in North Lanarkshire’s Lowlands, on a site that has been settled since the Stone Age. Coatbridge has played an important role in Glasgow’s industrial history, having once provided iron to the major city. Visit the Time Capsule leisure centre for activities including ice skating and swimming. Alternatively, head a short way out of town to the Drumpellier Country Park for local wildlife and beautiful countryside, including two natural lochs. Coatbridge is home to impressive architecture, particularly in St Mary’s Church and Coatbridge Library. Be sure to visit the local market for some delicious street food and plenty of shopping opportunities. Coatbridge is a delightful hidden gem in North Lanarkshire.