It is possible to live 15 years in Glasgow and not have visited Blantyre. I’m the living proof of this. However, thanks to our still current National Trust for Scotland membership and my first point of call for things to do with the family, http://www.whatsonforkids.co.uk, we decided that an Easter egg hunt combined with an NTS property that we hadn’t seen yet was just the ticket for a day out and went to the David Livingstone Centre.
We didn’t go there with any outdoorsy agenda, so when we arrived after a surprisingly short drive, we were rather pleasantly surprised. I wondered how many people in Glasgow are like me, and didn’t know this place even existed, or what it had to offer and what a shame as it’s so accessible, both by car but also by train.
The exhibition building itself is very informative although it didn’t engage the children – apart from the dressing up box that is. So for younger children it’s not that suitable though I personally found a lot of interesting facts and enjoyed the visit. What made our day though was the combination of a great sandy outdoor play area, sunshine, the gardens and the beautiful woodland walks along the Clyde right next to the centre.
The location is in fact stunning. And as for the play area – it’s so rare to find a well maintained sandy play area. There wasn’t much equipment, but what there was was engaging and it was wonderful to sit back in the sunshine and enjoy watching how swiftly the children joined up for elaborate imaginative and cooperative play, just by having been given the right environment for it.
The grounds also have a pleasant picnic area next to the play area as well as a cafe in case one forgot one’s packed lunch. The gardens are situated right at the Clyde as are the woodland walks and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was possible to visit the gardens without charge for those without an NTS membership (the centre is free to members).
A great day out and a real gem just outside of Glasgow. I have since found out that the Centre has been under threat of closure and that people in Blantyre campaigned hard to keep it open.