“ Address: Carlisle Road / Ferniegair / Hamilton / Lanarkshire / Scotland / ML3 7UE „
We often visit Chatelherault Country Park in Lanarkshire as it is only a 10 minute drive from our home. The Park is situated between the towns of Hamilton and Larkhall The park houses an 18th century hunting lodge which was designed by Scottish Architect William Adam. The lodge was built in 1732 for the Duke of Hamilton who was also the Duke of the French town of Chatelherault (hence the name). When the lodge was originally built it was at the end the "Grand Avenue", a tree-lined avenue which ran all the way from Hamilton Palace, the home of the Dukes of Hamilton, to the Hunting Lodge. The Palace, which was once the largest non-royal palace in Britain, along with the Grand Avenue, are unfortunately no longer there. The lodge is open to the public but is actually much smaller inside than would appear from the outside, so it doesn't take long to walk around. The park itself has over 10 miles of some fabulous woodland walks leading down to and along the banks of the River Avon. There are plenty of wide pathways which are ideal for families with prams or buggies but some of the walks do have quite steep steps going down towards the river. We have been going to this park for several years now and still seem to find a new route each time we go. The park also contains the Ancient Cadzow Oaks which have been said to date back to the mid 12th Century which puts them amongst the oldest trees in Scotland. The rear-side of the lodge contains the visitor centre and coffee shop. The visitor centre is really interesting and has quite a few hands-on exhibits which are great for the kids to explore. It not only tells the story of the history of the lodge but also the geological history of the area. Theres also a small shop selling the usual gifts and souveneirs you tend to get at visitor centres. For our children though, the best part of the park for them is undoubtedly the Adventure Playground. It's a large, well equipped play area with different sections for younger and older children. The play park is always busy at weekends with lots of people having picnics and bbqs in the surrounding area. Entrance to the park and visitor centre is free and there are plenty of free parking spaces. You can also get to it by public transport as there is a train station directly opposite the park. A great day out for both children and adults.