New Lanark Walk – A trip to Utopia

Why Go to New Lanark?

Looking for a picturesque walk that’s a short drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh? The UNESCO World Heritage site of New Lanark awaits you! 

Nestled near the Falls of the Clyde, this village has an astonishing history and architecturally speaking remains pretty much the same as when it was established in the 18th century by Robert Owen (more about him later.)

At the Falls of the Cyde, a short stroll away, you can walk in the steps of celebrated artists, literary and historical figures and witness the wonderful waterfalls.

New Lanark

What to Do in New Lanark

Explore the Historic Village of New Lanark

The village of New Lanark was founded in 1785 as a textile mill, due to its close proximity to the Clyde waterway. In the early 1800s, wealthy Utopian idealist Robert Owen (1771-1858) became an investor. Owen later became a manager and during his time at New Lanark formulated his vision of a society without crime or poverty.

A portrait of Robert Owen, c.1799 from the National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

Under the management of Owens, the village prospered. Spacious housing and a school was designed for workers and their families. This was a drastic improvement on conditions for workers in comparison to other mills across the country, such as the one at Derwent Valley. Owens’ vision of an improved society inspired other industrialists to follow his example and laid the foundations for the concept of the Garden City. 

New Lanark Village Scotland
New Lanark, Scotland

Today, most of the original buildings remain which are easily explored. In 2002 180 people lived in the village and 15 of those people both lived and worked in the village. There are still people living in New Lanark who once worked in the cotton-mills (now retired).

Take a Woodland Walk to the Falls of the Clyde

The Falls of the Clyde are one of the most famous waterfalls in Britain. It is said that William Wallace and his men made their escape through the Clyde Forest in the 13th century, after slaughtering Sheriff Hesselrigg at Lanark Castle and stayed in a nearby cave. When the roads to New Lanark started improving in the 19th century, the falls attracted notable visitors such as J. M. W. Turner and William Wordsworth. 

Clyde Walkway Scotland
Clyde Walkway Footpath
Clyde Walkway Footpath

The Falls of the Clyde are located along the Clyde Walkway. The walkway is signposted from the New Lanark visitor centre and is well surfaced. Steps are required to access the viewpoint. 

Falls of the Clyde – Accessible from New Lanark

A cafe, gift shop and toilets are available in the visitors centre at New Lanark.

How To Get There


1 hour’s drive from Edinburgh and a 45 minute drive from Glasgow. 


Trains run from Glasgow to Lanark every hour. The journey lasts 45 minutes.

Another UNESCO site done ☑ that’s 59 now!

How Much Does it Cost? 

There was no cost to explore the village of New Lanark or complete the woodland trails along the River Clyde. At the time of writing (Sept 2020) guided tours were not running. 

Battlefield Bakery Bagel – available from the Duke’s Deli

Where to Eat

The Duke’s Deli absolutely nails breakfast, lunch, dinner and even afternoon tea if that’s your thing! The produce for the deli is made by Battlefield Bakery, which is run by a mother and son team who ‘battle in the bakery’ to produce a range of fabulous bread based products.

The Battlefield Bakery Bagel is the must have from the menu. This handmade bagel can be filled with a delicious range of smorgasbord favourites. I went for the roast beef which comes with Black Bomber cheese, wholegrain mustard and Miller’s Larder chutney. Not only is the food stand out, the coffee is “Ottimo”, an Italian full bodied, easy drinking coffee without a hint of bitterness. If you’re in the mood for something slightly stronger a selection of wine is also available by the glass. 

The Duke’s Deli

Address: 12 Castlegate, Lanark ML11 9DZ

Where to Stay

I recommend spending the evening in Glasgow or Edinburgh. If you are looking to stay locally, The New Lanark Mill Hotel is a recently refurbished 4 star hotel. The restaurant is well reviewed and they have a spa. If you are travelling on a budget, the recently refurbished Wee Row hostel has 18 rooms all featuring river views. All rooms have en-suite facilities and linen is provided.