Ten things to do in South Lanarkshire this summer

The summer holidays are arriving for schools across the nation this week, giving youngsters many weeks in which to be idle.

But there’s lots to see and do across Scotland this summer, and we kick off our series of places to go with 10 locations worth a visit in South Lanarkshire.

It has a host of fantastic open spaces, all of which have accompanying cafes for those in need of a cup of tea after a busy day.

1. Calderglen Country Park, East Kilbride
Calderglen is a hidden gem in the west of Scotland. As well as having some great walks alongside the River Calder, and having great playparks for children, it plays host to a mini zoo. For a modest admission fee, there’s a hothouse packed with all manner of creatures, from snakes to monkeys to tropical fish, while outside, you can admire wallabies, a porcupine, lovebirds, kookaburras and many others. And the Courtyard Cafe does a good ice cream!

2. Chatelherault Country Park
Located just outside Hamilton, Chatelherault (pronounced Shat-ler-oh) was once the 18th century hunting lodge for the Dukes of Hamilton. Now, the magnificent building is home to a museum, which also has seasonal exhibitions. The park itself has 500 acres of countryside and woodland and over 10 miles of routed pathways. It features an adventure play ground, picnic facilities, a visitor centre, cafe and gift shop. Occupying an elevated setting, on a clear days it offers views across the central belt, including to Ben Lomond.

3. Hamilton Mausoleum
Sadly, the former Hamilton Palace was demolished decades ago, but this impressive structure has to be seen. It’s located just across the River Clyde from Strathclyde Country Park (in North Lanarkshire), and offers great views. The mausoleum sometimes opens to the public for tours. Also work a visit is the nearby Low Parks Museum, which shows images and surviving relics from Hamilton Palace, as well as featuring a permanent exhibition to the Cameronians Scottish Rifles regiment.

4. James Hamilton Heritage Park
Named after a local farmer, the park is a haven for watersports enthusiasts in the summer months. Youngsters won’t miss out, as there’s fun bumper boats for them, kept within a restricted area, while there are paddle boats available for others to hire. There’s windsurfing facilities too. There is a flat, even path around the loch, which isn’t quite a mile long, making it ideal for those looking to exercise their pets or energetic youngsters. The home baking in the cafe is top notch.

Beautiful New Lanark

5. New Lanark and the Falls of Clyde

New Lanark is a historic gem, a testament to David Dale’s hard work to create a community for people, to work in the mill. It’s been carefully restored over the years to become a top notch tourist attraction, which has themed displays throughout the year – this summer, it’s boardgames. The nearby hotel is a great venue and offers great food. For those looking to stretch their legs, the paths along the falls of Clyde offer amazing views, many of which will genuinely take your breath away. The Cora Linn is well the walk on its own.

6. Lanark Loch

Enjoy a pleasant drive through the Clyde Valley, past several garden centres, and make your way to beautiful Lanark. A Royal Burgh, it’s got a beautiful traditional main street, and a visit to the loch is a must. It’s a beautiful walk around the shores, with lots of activities for young and old. And there’s a fantastic restaurant in which to wine and dine, when you’re done.

7. Lead mining museum

The Museum of Lead Mining is a Visit Scotland 4 Star visitor attraction set in the picturesque village of Wanlockhead. You can visit a real 18th century lead mine set deep in the hillside where visitors can experience the thrill of going underground. Make your way along village paths to the miners’ cottages and see how the miners really lived in the different periods of 1750, 1850 and 1910. You can also search for hidden gold – yes, real gold – by trying your luck at gold panning.

8. Biggar
Biggar is a little gem – quite frankly, Biggar is better! There’s several attractions worth a visit there, despite it being a small town. The Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum offers a chance to look at its history, while the gasworks museum gives an interesting insight to the past. And there’s a puppet museum, which has shows running on a regular basis. Worth a visit.

Hunter House in East Kilbride

9. Hunter House cafe

If you’re looking for a snack and drink, at an award-winning venue, then look no further than East Kilbride’s Hunter House coffee shop. Earlier this month, it won the top prize at the Scottish Independent Retail Awards after being nominated by loyal customers and reaching the south-west region final. The cafe was named overall winner and coffee shop of the year at the national event. The building – once home to famous scientists John and William Hunter – was previously owned by South Lanarkshire Council until it was taken over by Calderwood Baptist Church as a community hub six years ago. It now serves over 2000 people every month.

10. Cunningar Loop

Located on the border between South Lanarkshire and the City of Glasgow is the Cunningar Loop. It’s part of the Royal Burgh of Rutherglen, and was created by the Forestry Commission Scotland. This woodland park is sited on the banks of the River Clyde, offering an extensive path network, adventure play facilities, a bike skills area, Scotland’s first outdoor bouldering park, aA woodland workout, large meadow and picnic areas, an outdoor classroom and a riverside boardwalk. Rutherglen Town Hall is a short drive away, and it’s worth making the trip to see this fantastic building, which has a good cafe.

Click HERE for more things to do with VisitScotland.