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Lesmahagow is a small town in Clydesdale just off M74, with a population of 4300 in 2020. The town name means "the enclosure of St Machutus" (better known as St Malo) though only the Priory foundations remain. Their spiritual successors based here are ISKCON, the Scottish branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

A distinguished duo from Lesmahagow were the Cairncross brothers. Sir Alex Cairncross (1911 – 1998) was an economist. John Cairncross (1913 - 1995) was an intelligence officer at Bletchley Park, but recruited by the Soviet Union as a spy. At Cambridge he knew Burgess, Maclean, Philby and Blunt, but it's debateable how much he collaborated with them.

Get in


Lesmahagow is just off M74 junction 10. Cyclists must use the old Carlisle Road alongside, demoted to B7078. From Lanark follow Dillaburn Rd west.

Stagecoach Bus X74 runs every two hours from Glasgow Buchanan Station via Hamilton to Lesmahagow (45 min) and continues south to Moffat, Beattock and Dumfries.

Whitelaws Bus 253 runs from Hamilton, taking 45 min via Larkhall, and continues to Coalburn. It's every 30 min M-Sa and hourly on Sunday. Alternate buses start from Motherwell.

Bus 8 / 258 runs M-Sa every hour or two from Lanark, taking 30 min.

There is no railway station in Lesmahagow. Take the train to any of Motherwell, Hamilton, Larkhall or Lanark then the bus.

Get around


The taxi firm is Les (+44 1555 893337).


  • 1 Lesmahagow Priory, Church Square ML11 0EJ. 24 hrs. This Tironensian monastery was founded in 1144 as a dependency of Kelso Abbey, replacing a group of Culdee monks. It was suppressed in 1607 and its masonry swiftly recycled, so all that remains is the foundation course. The priory church continued in use until 1804 when the present "Old Parish Church" (Church of Scotland) was completed. It suffered a fire in 1981 but was restored. Free. Lesmahagow Priory (Q6531278) on Wikidata Lesmahagow Priory on Wikipedia
  • Karuna Bhavan Temple is within ISKCON, see Sleep. It's open Sundays 10:30-19:00.
  • 2 Birkwood Castle: only the gatehouse remains of this mansion, built in the 18th century then greatly extended in the 19th. In 1923 it became a hospital for children with learning difficulties, which closed in 2005. It's been derelict and dropping to bits ever since, and two developers went bust trying to turn it into a hotel. When another wall collapsed in 2015, paranormal experts said this was because the place was haunted.
  • Tinto is the hill rising prominently to the east, you get a better view by heading up New Trows Rd. See Biggar (Scotland)#Do for the ascent of Tinto.




Old Parish Church
  • Tesco at the M74 junction is open M-Sa 7AM-11PM, Su 8AM-1PM.


  • 1 Pepe's Fish and Pizza Bar, 14 Abbeygreen ML11 0EQ, +44 1555 896655. Su-W 4:15-9:30PM, Th F noon-1:30PM & 4:15-9:30PM, Sa 2-9:30PM. Good trad takeaway.
  • Rollo's Fish and Chips, 47 Abbeygreen ML11 0EF (by Priory), +44 1555 893744. M-F 11:30AM-1:45PM, 4-10PM, Sa 12:30-10PM, Su 4-10PM. Reliable takeaway chippy.
  • 2 Abbeygreen Cafe, 89 Abbeygreen ML11 0EF, +44 1555 894240. Tu-F 8AM-3PM, Sa 10AM-3PM, Su 9AM-2PM. Serves tea, coffee and light bites.
  • Jerry's is a Chinese takeaway at 12 Priory Rd, open W-Sa, M 4:30-11PM, Su 4-10PM.
  • 3 Harry's and Ollie's, 50 Kelso Ave ML11 0BA, +44 7483 143739. Daily noon-1AM. Pub in the south village, most customers are here for the food.


Entrance to Birkwood Castle
  • Black Bull Inn, Abbeygreen ML11 0EF (by Priory), +44 1555 894757. Su-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F Sa 11AM-noon. Friendly village pub serving decent meals, with a small beer garden.


  • Mason Arms Hotel, 30 Abbeygreen ML11 0EQ, +44 1555 893944. It is closed and the property is for sale.-->
  • ISKCON, Bankhouse Rd ML11 0ES, +44 7726 688788. Hare Krishna organic farm with accommodation. B&B double £50.



As of Oct 2022, Lesmahagow and M74 have 4G from all UK carriers, but there's no signal on the east-west roads. 5G has not reached this area.

Go next

  • New Lanark two miles south of Lanark is a must-see, an 18th century mill village and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Abington is near the old moorland mining settlements of Leadhills and Wanlockhead.
  • Hamilton and Motherwell are the start of the Clydeside industrial corridor. Top sight near Hamilton is Chatelherault, the facade of a palace that collapsed into a coal mine.

Routes through Lesmahagow
GlasgowMotherwell/Hamilton  NW  SE  Abington Preston

This city travel guide to Lesmahagow is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.