Summerlee Museum

Summerlee Industrial Museum

The Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life is a fantastic experience for anyone interested in exploring Scotland’s industrial history. With an incredible amount of things to do, from exploring an old ironworks site to riding on the tramway, it’s an immersive experience you won’t forget. If you’re looking for a day out with the family, then the Summerlee Museum is the perfect addition to your holiday plans.

The Summerlee Museum opened on March 23rd 1988, and brings to life one of the most important ironworks in Scotland in vivid detail. It was redeveloped by the North Lanarkshire Council in 2008 and stands as one of Scotland’s most important industrial heritage sites. Summerlee is located in Coatbridge and can easily be added to your holiday plans if you’re in the Glasgow area.

Before paying the Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life a visit, make sure to read through our complete guide for essential details to know and attractions to look out for.

Details to Know About the Summerlee Museum

Keep these important details in mind before visiting this site of national significance:

Summerlee Museum Opening Times

The Summerlee Museum is open seven days a week, with opening times from 10:00 to 16:00 every day.

Summerlee Museum Tickets

There’s free entry into the Summerlee Museum! You only need to book ahead if you’re planning to visit with a group of 10 or more. If that’s the case, make sure to call ahead on 01236 638460 before your visit.

How to Get to the Summerlee Museum

The Summerlee Museum is located in Coatbridge, northeast of Glasgow’s city centre. Not only can you reach the Museum quickly, but there are various ways to do so. The easiest way to reach the Museum is by car, bus, or train.

By Car

Take Port Dundas Road north and merge with the M8 eastwards for about 10 minutes. Then, take exit 8 onto Coatbridge Road, Glasgow Road, and Bank Street. Then, at the roundabout, take the first exit onto Canal Street, then turn right onto Heritage Way.

The Summerlee Museum will be on your right. By car, the entire route should take about 20 minutes—an easy addition to a day filled with sightseeing.

By Bus

If you prefer to take the bus to the Summerlee Museum, there are options, too! The most direct route from Glasgow’s city centre is the 902 bus from Buchanan Bus Station, which leaves every hour. The bus drops you off at the Bus Stance in Coatbridge, from which the Summerlee Museum is only a 10-minute walk away.

By Train

Trains are a popular way to traverse the Scottish countryside and an easy way to find your way to Summerlee. You’ll want to start at Glasgow’s Queen Station and take the Airdrie ScotRail from Platform 9. This train leaves every 15 minutes or so, making it easy for visitors with a more open schedule.

The route takes around 25 minutes to reach Coatbridge’s Sunnyside Station, and it will take 15 minutes to reach the Summerlee Museum on foot from the station.


The Summerlee Museum has several accessibility options available for disabled visitors, including:

  • The main exhibition hall at Summerlee is fully accessible to wheelchair visitors.
  • There is a fully accessible lift to the ironworks viewing platform and gallery space.
  • Bike racks are available, but cycling and skating are not allowed within the museums at Summerlee.
  • Only assistance dogs are welcome on-site.
  • There is a wheelchair-accessible tram available to take guests throughout the premises. To ensure the tram is working, call ahead of time for confirmation. There is a chance the machinery is being repaired during your visit.

Summerlee Museum Attractions & Things to Do

Now that you’re all clued up on the crucial details and how to get to the Summerlee Museum, let’s dive into the amazing attractions and things to do here.

See the Summerlee Ironworks

Summerlee Ironworks

The main attraction at the Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life is the ironworks. Here, you can learn about how Lanarkshire contributed to the early engineering, weaving, mining, and steelworking innovations of the 19th century. From multiple exhibitions and galleries to interactive tram tours through the grounds, here are some attractions to look forward to.

Take the Tramway through the Ironworks Site


One of the most exciting parts of the Summerlee Museum is the working heritage tramway that takes you through the entire site. Initially opened in 1988, these tramways have a fascinating history, with the Scottish government purchasing multiple different tramways to allow guests to immerse themselves in the experience.

The Lanarkshire tramways are excellent for reaching the furthest attractions on-site, such as the Coal Mine and Blue Trains.

Take a Coal Mine Tour

Coal Mine Tour

The foundation of the ironworks at Summerlee is the coal that was used to fuel its blast furnaces and production. At the Summerlee Museum, you’ll be able to learn just how difficult it was to procure the coal necessary for ironworks at the Coal Mine Tour.

This unique experience lets you learn about the working conditions of miners at the coal mine, how workers lived in miners cottages, and so much more. It’s an eye-opening experience that offers incredible insight into miners’ stories and what they sacrificed to advance production in an industrial age.

See the Site of the Former Ironworks

Former Ironworks

The highlight of the tour is undoubtedly the site of the former ironworks. To fully appreciate the former site, you’ll need to reach the viewing platform showing the remains of the ironworks in 1836. The impressive scale of the iron works is a wonder to behold, even more so when you realise it held over 4,000 works at its peak.

When it closed in 1924, the demolition was so loud that it is said to have broken the windows at the nearby Sunnyside Station (which you can use to reach this Coatbridge Museum).

Come and see The Vulcan

The Vulcan sits within the Monkland Canal, which was once used to cool the blast furnaces of the ironworks. Although a replica, the 19-metre long and 4-metre vast ship could carry over 200 people in its heyday. Notably, The Vulcan is the last ship built on the Cylde using traditional riveting techniques, which soon became outdated.

See one of the most exciting exhibits at the Summerlee Museum, and explore the deck that once held hundreds of passengers.

See the Summerlee Exhibition Hall

Summerlee Exhibition Hall

The Summerlee Museum’s Exhibition Hall offers everything you’d ever want to know about this industrial site through interactive displays, artefacts from the time, and unique photographs of miners. The exhibition hall was once a hydrocon crane factory, which adds to the industrial atmosphere of the Summerlee Industrial Museum.

If you want to see the Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life photo galleries and item exhibitions and learn a little more about Scottish industry in the 19th century, then the Exhibition Hall is the place for you.

Take your Children to the Play Park

Play Park

Within the Exhibition Hall is a children’s play park, offering a place for kids to let off some steam and play with their friends while they grab a cup of coffee or a snack from the Museum’s cafe. The adventure play park also has a less physical section, where kids can dress up as miners and homemakers, resembling the period when the ironworks peaked.

Pick Up A Souvenir From the Gift Shop

There’s a quaint gift shop within the Summerlee Museum where you can pick up several souvenirs to remember your trip. From keychains, posters, cute toys and a sweet shop, there’s something for everyone—kids and adults—to take with you. Proceeds support the Summerlee Transport Group in maintaining the Museum for future visitors.

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