It was that time of year again – when my wife’s birthday and our wedding anniversary fall within three days of each other – who’s idea was that? As a joint celebration I decided we should get away for the night, however didn’t want to travel too far from home as we decided to take Harry (our two year old son) with us.

Although I have visited the New Lanark Mill Hotel in the past, I have never stayed and thought it would be good to experience it for myself. It is a very popular hotel with our regular guests and reviews are consistently high – averaging at 94%!

The journey from the Glasgow area takes you down the Clyde Valley tourist route through part of Lanark then down in to New Lanark. The hotel is only about 50 minutes from Glasgow, 1 hour from Edinburgh and 1 hour 25 mins from Carlisle – so a really nice option whether travelling from the north or the south.

The hotel is located within the New Lanark World Heritage Site and was originally an 18th century cotton mill which has kept many original features. Some refurbishment work is being carried out with many of the public areas now complete and the bedrooms ongoing – making it a top-end 3-star hotel.

On arrival in to New Lanark, you take the winding road down in to the valley where you approach the very distinctive brick buildings and the hotel is clearly signposted. Being a Saturday night we were anticipating the hotel to be busy however we managed to find a parking space around the side of the hotel with ease.

When we entered it was obvious there was a wedding taking place – however this did not bother us. Check-in was very quick and straightforward (even though it was 3pm) where the receptionist gave us all the information we required including booking our dinner for 8pm (yes, I should know better and booked this before arrival) and providing us with our tickets for the visitor centre (which was included in our deal). Also worth a note that the pool area is open from 7am until 7pm, however children are only allowed between 10am and 5pm – which was fine for us.

All the rooms are located on floors three to six, the restaurant and function suites are located on on the first and second floors and the reception, lounge and leisure are on the ground floor. The receptionist advised us that our room was located in the second building (do not worry the buildings are connected so no need to go back outside) away from the wedding so would not be affected by the noise – which i thought was very good of them.

We were allocated room 29 (a newly refurbished Executive Twin Room) which is located on the the top floor (6th). The lift next to reception takes you to all floors and rooms – which we duly took as no way were we attempting six flights of stairs with enough bags for four nights away and a toddler to contend with. There is another lift in the hotel near the leisure facilities and is handy if you are located in the other building.

On entering we were amazed by the size of the room with two double beds, large bathroom with shower over bath, desk with flat screen TV and the best part – two windows looking out over the River Clyde at the rear of the hotel – well worth the extra £15 per night.

We quickly got unpacked and went straight to the bar for a late lunch and a few drinks – as we had not eaten since breakfast. We were approached by the waiter who supplied us with menus and took our drinks order. The lunch menu in the bar was ideal for a snack – sandwiches, paninis, soup etc. The kids menu was also adequate with macaroni cheese, chicken, etc. I ordered the BLT, my wife got a tuna sandwich and Harry the mac’n’cheese. The food was decent and drinks very reasonably priced – all lunch items were around the £5 mark, a pint of Amstel £3.80 and a mini bottle of Prosecco £6.95.

By the time we had finished it was nearly 5pm, so we decided to take a wander around the village. It was quiet at this time which was great so gave us some time to find out where everything was – we met a lovely couple and their dog who could do all sorts of tricks – which Harry loved. We also took a walk up to the start of the Clyde Valley Woodlands walk, however it was too late to go any further and decided we would tackle this the next day.

We got back to the hotel for around 6.15pm and went back to the room to chill before dinner at 8pm.

Our deal included a 3-course evening meal from the very extensive menu in Mill One Restaurant – one of the best varieties I have seen in a hotel or restaurant. I opted to go for the Salmon and Crab croquettes to start and (as usual) the steak for main course. Both courses were delicious – the rib-eye steak was very tasty and cooked to perfection – well worth the £7 supplement (this is the only item on the menu that has a supplement). Nadia also had the steak which she enjoyed. Harry had fruit salad and steak pie – which was enough for an adult – however I duly helped him out with that (the perks of being a parent)! All of this was washed down with a couple of glasses of the house red wine, all-in-all a very lovely meal. We were finished our main course for about 9.30 so we decided to ask the waitress if we could order dessert and take it to our room so we could get Harry to bed. This was not a problem and they even said they would get someone to deliver it to our room – very impressed.

About 10 minutes later there was a chap at the door where one of the waitresses had our desserts. So we got to enjoy our Salted Caramel, Peanut and Chocolate Delice in bed! As the room consisted of two double beds, which were quite high, we were not comfortable with Harry sleeping on his own for the fear of him rolling out – so we made him choose who he would like to sleep beside – and he chose is mum! So it was a nice romantic getaway for us both!

I had a very peaceful sleep (listening to the constant roar of the river outside) – although I am not sure the same can be said for Nadia, sharing with our son who likes to do acrobatics in his sleep! We got up and went down for breakfast at about 9.30am.

We were seated right away, tea and coffee order was taken and advised that we could help ourselves to the continental breakfast (cheese, croissants, bread, juice, cereals etc) and someone would be over shortly to take our hot food order. Although I do love a full buffet breakfast in a hotel – it is quite nice ordering what you like so I do not end up eating 25 sausages and 15 pieces of bacon and being in a food coma the rest of the morning. I went for the full Scottish breakfast, Nadia had the eggs Benedict and Harry had a selection of everything – it was great and I left feeling satisfied and not overloaded with food.

After breakfast we went to the health club where I took Harry for a swim. The pool area was quiet and it if wasn’t for the Water Babies class, we would have been the only ones in pool area. There is everything you would expect – large pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and a gym. Although we didn’t get to use the spa, the prices were very reasonable for treatments – 30 minute back, neck & shoulder massage for only £20! We only stayed in the pool for about 20 minutes as it was approaching check-out time of 11am – however the receptionist advised if we were a little bit later then it would be fine.

We checked-out at around 11.15am, packed the car and walked over to the visitor centre. The centre contains the story of the mill dating back to the 1700’s. It starts with a 10-minute ride where the story is told by Annie Mcleod who reveals the amazing story of her life and times in New Lanark in 1820. Afterwards you enter part of the cotton mill which still produces and also have access to the rooftop garden with amazing views. The tickets also give you access to Millworkers’ House in 1820s and 1930s, Robert Owen’s house (the owner of the mill) and the Village Store – a great experience going back in time. There is also the mill shop and cafe. You could literally spend the whole day at all these attractions. There is also an option for a guided tour which is included with your ticket.

One of the other main attractions currently on in New Lanark is Lego’s Brick City – which features some amazing exhibits and Lego structures. The exhibition is located in the the old School House and was £6 for adults and Harry was free. The exhibition is on until 10th September. However, before we entered we decided to stop and grab a some of New Lanarks own ice-cream – it was amazing!

As soon as we entered and went up to the first room, Harry made a b-line for the main structure (which was the only one not protect by glass) and started to pull the Lego men off! However, one of the staff members was great and took Harry to show him all the trains etc. Although he is too young to appreciate it, he still had a great time exploring the two rooms of Lego structures. We then went to the theatre where there are a series of short Lego films. Afterwards there was a room full of Lego which you could use and build what you like – they also had Duplo in the adjoining room which Harry really enjoyed (and we secretly did too). The thought has crossed our mind to buy some for the house now, however he seems to create enough mess already without throwing Lego in to the mix!

As planned the previous day, we wanted to take a further walk down the Clyde Valley Forest Walk to the Falls of the Clyde. So we got our wellies on and made the trip. We were advised it was about half an hour to get to the Falls of the Clyde – however with a toddler this was closer to 45 minutes. It is a fairly gentle walk (with some bird watching on the way) – we even passed some people with buggies. A lot of the trail you follow a boardwalk along the very edge of the river with some nice views. Only the last part of the walk has a fairly steep hill which some people may struggle with. It was well worth the wait though. The views of the falls from the top of the hill are stunning and I would highly recommend adding this to your itinerary whilst staying at the hotel. Even with Harry we were there and back within an hour and a half. We stopped in to the Scottish Wildlife Trust museum before heading back to the car at about 3pm. As you can imagine Harry was exhausted by this time so we decided to head back home – I think he was sleeping before we left the village.

I have always known that the New Lanark Mill Hotel has been a very popular destination and now I know why they consistently review very highly on our website. From the friendly staff (not too over friendly) to the good food, nice leisure facilities, new rooms, amazing views and fantastic location. This really is a short break destination for everyone – whether you are looking to relax or do some sightseeing.

A special mention goes to the General Manager, John Stirrat, who runs a very tight ship from the top which feeds down to all his staff – nothing is too much hassle.

Whether you are looking for a relaxing night away or longer for your group,  I would certainly recommend a visit.