Museum of Rural Life – As you may know Scots2Travel started a farming series looking for the best family days out in the countryside. This time we’re shining a light on the rather fabulous National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride, just a short hop out of Glasgow.
This gem tells the story of Scotland’s rural people, the land, the tools and the machines. For the more mechanically enthused (not me) the museum is home to combine harvesters, tractors, threshers and ploughs explaining how machines took the strain over the years.
My favourite section is the Garden Detectives room which, with a range of genuinely fun toys, engaged children with the food chain, split animals into mammals, invertebrates, amphibians and fish and allowed kids to use crayons to create reliefs of paw prints. It was all really well thought out.
Then it was time to jump aboard the colourful ‘Farm Explorer’, the museum’s tractor and trailer, for what’s described as a ‘rattling good ride’ up to the farm. Here the lives, breeding patterns and traits of Aberdeen Angus cattle, Tamworth pigs (and adorable piglets), Ayrshire cows, Blackface sheep, Clydesdale horses and hens were all explained by Margaret our very amicable and informative museum guide. It’s even possible to have a go at milking ‘Clover the Cow’ within the 1950s byre – Mr Toddler was a natural. Then we took a step back in time 50 years by peaking inside the period farmhouse to sense what life was like for our rural forefathers.
Visitors can catch the Farm Explorer back to the museum but we chose to walk the sign-posted ten minute pedestrian route through the fields with our buggy and boogie board.
There is a small playpark at the museum which we cunningly bypassed by distracting Mr Toddler with some farm machinery up ahead. Instead we dined at the museum’s Shielings Cafe which does a fine range of soups and sandwiches, bagels, coffees and cakes as well as burgers, fried haddock and chicken goujons. There’s also a separate children’s menu.
And if you wondered what a Woolly Weekend was then it’s running on 11-12 June 2016 from 1000-1700. Watch sheep being sheared, come face to face with some alpacas and discover more about how fleeces are transformed into wool and garments. Author and illustrator Emily Mackenzie will also be there reading her book Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat.
THE LOWDOWN – We drove from Aberdeen to Glasgow, overnighting at the new Travelodge on Queen Street, and drove the half hour to East Kilbride to reach the museum. If you don’t have a car click here to find out how to visit. The museum is open daily 1000-1700 with the exceptions of 25 and 26 December and 1 January. Ticket prices are Adult £7, Concessions £6, Child £4 (under 5 free) and Family £19 (2 adults and 2 children). National Museums Scotland Members, National Trust Scotland Members and National Art Pass holders are free.
Scots2Travel received complimentary passes to the museum. We will always remember the piglets.
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