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South Lanarkshire

Location directions Wishaw 9.1 miles, Hamilton 12.3 miles, East Kilbride 16.8 miles, Livingston 18.8 miles

Population 8253. Figures taken from 2001 Census.

The Royal Burgh of Lanark sits on high ground at the south end of the Clyde Valley. It is surrounded by rich countryside, bordered by the River Clyde. It is a historic place, full of buildings from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

With its roots firmly in agriculture Lanark Auction Market, which has now relocated to a new multi-million pound facility, attracts buyers and sellers from all over Scotland and the north of England. Lanark has a busy, wide main street that slopes down to St Nicholas Church and has a vibrant nightlife, thanks to its selection of restaurants and bars.

Lanark Loch is a popular weekend destination for families and dog walkers alike and its new decking and landscaping make it a popular backdrop for sunny lunches and picnics. Castlebank Park is situated near the town centre, close to the site of Lanark Castle and is on the Clyde Walkway. It is reputed to be the place where William Wallace began the chain of events that led to the Scottish Wars of Independence. To commemorate the life of Wallace, the 'Spirit of Wallace' was laid to rest in the grounds of St Kentigerns Church in a special 'Homecoming Ceremony' on 11 September 2005, the anniversary of his great victory at Stirling Bridge).

Lanimer Day is an ancient celebration which started in 1140. Usually held on the second Thursday in June, the whole town turns out for the costume parade through the town and the crowning of the Lanimer Queen. The event has grown over the years and now special events take place from the Sunday before Lanimer Day to the Saturday after. You can discover the story of Lanimers and the town at Lanark Museum.

A major project to improve the streetscape on the town's High Street was completed in 2008 and a series of other improvements in the town are also underway.

Lanark has a variety of housing, from council and private let flats to country cottages and family villas. There are small pockets of new build developments and if you have a substantial budget, there are occasionally mansion houses and castles on the open market. The town has a number of grade 'A' listed buildings including the Auction Room and Cattle Market, the Cartland Bridge Hotel and Clydesholm and Hyndford Bridges. And less than a mile from the town centre is the popular wedding venue, the New Lanark Hotel, which is situated in the former mill village which is now a World Heritage site.

Lanark has a selection of town and country primary schools and Lanark Grammar is being refurbished as part of the multi-million pound schools modernisation programme.

Major employers in the Lanark area include New Lanark Conservation Trust, Tuffnells Parcels Express, engineers BHC, Glenmuir Knitwear and Border Biscuits.

The local newspapers are the Lanark Gazette and the Lanark and Carluke Advertiser.


Lanark has a wide variety of shops from high street names such as Tesco and MandCo to boutiques and craft shops.

The new Lanark Auction Market on Hyndford Road is open to the public with a selection of shops. There is also local honey, butter and cheese on sale every day with a vibrant fruit market with local suppliers on a Monday.

Lanark has a regular schedule of events including a Spring Fair, summer music festival and autumn medieval fair. There are often craft and food shows as well as a Christmas market at the end of the year.

How to get there

Lanark lies on the A73 from Biggar or Wishaw and from Hamilton take the A72. It is also easily accessible from the M74 via the A70 and from Edinburgh via the A70 or Lang Whang as it is known locally. Lanark has bus services covering the local area, Glasgow and Edinburgh. It has a half-hourly train service to Glasgow with connections to Edinburgh en route.


Lanark's strategic location was first exploited by the Romans who built a fort in the area known as Castle Hill, a site that has been reused and fortified many times over the centuries. In 978AD the very first Scots Parliament meeting was held in Lanark by Kenneth II and in 1140, David I granted Royal Burgh status on the town, making it one of the oldest in Scotland.

Lanark Castle, built in the 12th century was used by David I and William the Lion, although during the Wars of Independence it was under English control. It was here that local resident William Wallace sparked off the wars after killing the English sheriff William Heselrig who had murdered Wallace's wife Marion Braidfute whilst trying to capture the outlaw Wallace. Robert the Bruce, who was made the Sheriff of Lanark in 1303, destroyed the castle after it had been retaken from the English in 1310 as part of his policy to prevent strongholds being used by the enemy. The site of the castle was eventually levelled in the middle of the 18th century and is now used as a bowling green.

A famous ruin in the town is the church of St Kentigern, which was built around 1180 on the site of an earlier church. It is believed that this was the church where Wallace was married. Also in the town at the time was a small chapel, now the parish church of St Nicholas, built in 1774. Today only a few of the original carved stones survive. There is a stone plaque across from the church which states: "Here stood the house of William Wallace who in Lanark in 1297 first drew sword to free his native land." Inset into the steeple of St Nicholas' Church at the foot of the High Street is an 8ft statue of Wallace. This is where the Lanimer Queen is crowned during the week-long festival held every year in early June. The statue of Wallace was created by the famous Carluke sculptor Robert Forrest in 1817.

As a market town, Lanark had its own Mercat Cross where the burgesses congregated to make important decisions. The earliest record of the Cross was in 1488 and it was here in 1666 that a massive affirmation of allegiance was made by 3000 Covenanters (those who opposed the interference of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland by the Stuart kings' belief in the Divine Right of the Monarch). The Mercat Cross was demolished in 1785 but the foot of the High Street is still known as the Cross.

When the railway arrived in 1855, improved communications greatly increased livestock trade and allowed the development of a tourist industry based on the beautiful scenery of the surrounding countryside. Hotel keepers, tour operators, vehicle hirers and photographers all benefited. The improvement in transport links with Glasgow and Edinburgh also allowed Lanark to become a commuter town. Despite these advances, Lanark escaped the worst of the industrial revolution as the area had few minerals to be exploited. However, the manufacturing industry played a significant part in the area with the building of the world-famous New Lanark cotton mills from the 1780s, harnessing the power of the Falls of Clyde. Other products in the area included shoes, gloves, knitwear and Mauchlineware (box-work).

Visitors to the area shouldn't miss the New Lanark World Heritage Site which comprises a beautiful 18th century cotton mill village, award-winning visitor centre and hotel. The village is the gateway to the Falls of Clyde nature reserve where you can enjoy beautiful riverside walks, following in the footsteps of poet William Wordsworth and artist Joseph Mallord William Turner, take in three waterfalls and perhaps see peregrine falcons.

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