A great place to visit which is even free of charge is Chatelherault. It’s situated in Hamilton with easy rail access from Glasgow (there is a train station just outside the country park.
Chatelherault offers a perfect day out for a family (or anyone really) – with beautiful long woodland and river walks, an adventure playground, a garden centre with a rescued farm animals area (which carries an entry charge to maintain it) and the mansion itself which has a lovely cafe and an exhibition, as well as events for children of all ages.
When we first went in autumn, our plan was to have lunch in the cafe and then go for a short walk to leave time for farm animals and adventure playground, but we took a wrong turn and went on a long walk instead, which pretty much took the whole afternoon between toddler and then post-c-section-mummy-wearing-baby. Lots of pine cones were collected, stones thrown into the river Avon, holes were explored for badgers and bears, mushrooms were discovered and sized up, and sticks were carried and used for drawing on the ground.
On our return recently, a very rainy day and a late arrival meant we explored the small garden centre which has lots of animals to look at an a nice cafe. We also visited the rescued farm animal area (£2.50 for adults and £1.50 for kids, which goes towards the food and care of the animals) which was a great hit with both 4 year old and 10 month old. A nice lady told us all about the animals and took a lot of time and patience to make this a very memorable visit. So after 2 visits of Chatelherault we still have to explore the exhibition in the former hunting lodge, try out the adventure playground and take part in some of the countryside events that are offered throughout the year.
Chatelherault is situated just outside of Hamilton and since 2005 has a train station with a half hourly service from Glasgow and Hamilton. Entry to the country park and all attractions with the exception of the farm animal rescue is free.