Despite not being the largest town in North Lanarkshire by population, Motherwell serves as the headquarters for both North Lanarkshire Council, which is one of Scotland's most populous local authority areas, and of Strathclyde Police "N" division. The name Motherwell originates from an ancient religious well, the site now marked by a plaque on Ladywell Road. The name 'Moderwelt' appears on a map constructed by Timothy Port between 1583 and 1611, though at the time, it was only a hamlet.
Motherwell is also famous for its reputation as a Steel production town, so much so that the town is given the nickname 'Steelopolis'. This is because of the nearby Ravenscraig Steelworks, which operated from 1954 until it was closed for good in 1992. Demolition and clean-up started in 1996 and remained as a brownfield site now being transformed into the nearby new settlement of Ravenscraig. The other steel plants in the town, at Dalzell and Clydebridge, remain open to this day.
Motherwell has ideal connections to the main central Scotland road network and beyond. The M74 from Carlisle to Glasgow appears at the south of the town, whilst the M8 from the two main Scottish settlements, Glasgow and Edinburgh, is approximately 3 miles away to the north, easily accessible by the A723, which travels from the town the Chapelhall, passing the M8 along the way.
Future indications appear to point to the creation of a dual carriageway, which would travel through Motherwell and neighbouring Ravenscraig, linking both the M8 and the M74. Many politicians see this as vital to the regeneration of the new Ravenscraig settlement.
Motherwell is very easily accessible by bus, as many bus operators, mainly First Glasgow, travel through the town. First Glasgow regularly runs buses to settlements such as Airdrie, Coatbridge, East Kilbride, Glasgow, Hamilton and Lanark. Several other operators, such as Whitelaws and JMB Travel, regularly run coaches to nearby towns and villages. The three acute hospitals in Lanarkshire; Hairmyres, Monklands and Wishaw General, are easily accessible by bus. The busiest bus stops in the town are in or around Motherwell Town Centre.
Motherwell has two railway stations; the main station, known as Motherwell, on Muir Street in the town centre, and Airbles Station on Airbles road. Motherwell station is considered one of the main railway stations in Scotland, as it lies on the West Coast Main Line running from Glasgow to London, via large cities such as Edinburgh and Newcastle upon Tyne. Many national train operators, such as Virgin Trains, East Coast, Cross Country and TransPennine Express, travel through the station, but not all will stop at this station. This station has 4 platforms, safe pedestrian walking over the railway lines, disabled access and on-screen arrivals and departures.
The smaller station is Airbles station, running on the Lanark to Dalmuir line via Hamilton Central and Glasgow Central Low Level. Connecting with the main station, this station is by far the least busiest of the two town railway stations, with trains ran by Scotrail stopping there.
Motherwell is ideally situated in the Central belt of Scotland, with easy motorway access to the two main airports. Motherwell lies approximately 16 miles away from Glasgow Airport and 31 miles away from Edinburgh Airport. Glasgow Airport can be easily accessed by the M74 which connects onto the M8 for the duration of the journey. Edinburgh Airport can be accessed via the M8.
There are several pedestrianised areas and underpasses within Motherwell Town Centre, which can be useful for access to some of the main shopping streets/areas, restaurants/pubs and leisure facilities in the centre, as well as bus shelters, taxi ranks and the main railway station. Plenty of parking areas based within the town centre are available for those people who travel by car. There is also the Greenlink Cyclepath, a walkway/cyclepath giving access from the town centre to the nearby Strathclyde Country Park. In future, this may extend into the new Ravenscraig settlement.
With Motherwell being situated within a highly populated area of Scotland, as well as the largest settlement Glasgow, there is provision for the many people that are based in or within the town.
- Strathclyde Country Park. Formerly the mining village of Bothwellhaugh, much of this settlement has been drowned and replaced by a large loch with surrounding country to make present day Strathclyde Country Park. Amenities include a camping/caravaning site, watersports centre and M&D's, Scotland's Theme Park.
- Motherwell Cathedral, 31 Coursington Rd, Motherwell ML1 1PP, ☎ . Also known as Motherwell Cathedral, this 100+ year old building is a place to come and worship, pray and grow in faith in Christ.
- North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre, Motherwell Heritage Centre, High Road, ML1 3HU, ☎ . Monday - Saturday from 9.30am to 4.30pm. Formerly Motherwell heritage centre, this is a four-star centre that is the main repository for archives and records for the whole of North Lanarkshire. Free.
- Motherwell Civic Centre and Concert Hall, Civic Centre, Motherwell, ML1 1AB, ☎ . This is the main headquarters of North Lanarkshire Council as well as being the venue for annual concerts, ceremonies, plays and pantomimes.
- Motherwell Football Club, Fir Park Stadium, Fir Park St, Motherwell, ML1 2QN, ☎ , fax: . This is the main town football team, who play in the Scottish Premier League, the highest level of Scottish football.
- M&D's Theme Park, Strathclyde Country Park, Motherwell, ML1 3RT, ☎ , fax: . This is Scotland's Theme Park, consisting of Theme Park, ten-pin bowling, crazy golf, amusement arcade and a large number of restaurants.
- Aquatec Leisure Centre, 1 Menteith Road, ML1 1AZ, ☎ . The leisure centre of Motherwell, consisting of leisure pool, large gymnasium, dance studios and health suite.
- Rainforest Adventure, 517 Windmillhill Street, ML1 2UD, ☎ . Kids soft play-area at the former Texstyle World store.
- Brandon Shopping Centre, The Brandon Shopping Centre, Brandon Parade South, ML1 1RB, ☎ . Brandon Shopping Centre is the main shopping district of Motherwell Town Centre. It is a pedestrianised outdoor centre. Based within the centre are a mixture of international/independent retailers and restaurants/cafes, along with litter bins and benches. There are underpasses spread about the centre that can give easy access to other parts of the centre, such as neighbouring supermarkets ASDA and ALDI. There are free public toilets based within the centre, as well as bus shelters, taxi ranks and it is within walking distance of Motherwell railway station. There is also large car-parking areas surrounding the centre. free car-parking.
- Da Claudio Restaurant, 388 Brandon Street, ☎ .
- Tony Macaroni, 352 Brandon Street, ☎ .
- The Mandarin, 70 Hamilton Road, ☎ .
- Hup Lee Buffet Restaurant, 131 Merry Street, ☎ .
- Gourmet House, 85 Manse Road, ☎ .
- Spicy Nights, 467 Merry Street, ☎ .
- The Indian Villa, Windmillhill Street, ☎ .
- Toby Carvery, Strathclyde Country Park, ☎ .
- McDonald's, Brandon Street, ☎ .
- The Brandon Works (J.D. Wetherspoon), 61 Merry Street, ☎ .
- Mega Bar and Club Hype, 245 Brandon Street, ☎ .
- Electric Bar, 291 Airbles Road, ☎ .
- Burns Tavern, 210 Merry Street, ☎ .
- Railway Tavern, 31 Merry Street, ☎ .
- Dalziel Arms, 320 Brandon Street, ☎ .
- The Brandon Bar, 394 Brandon Street, ☎ .
- New Century Bar, 49 Windmillhill Street, ☎ .
- Windmill Tavern, 75 Windmillhill Street, ☎ .
- The Bullfrog, 238 Shields Road, ☎ .
- Jack Daniels, Glencairn Street, ☎ .
- The Woodcutter Bar, 127 Merry Street, ☎ .
- Horseshoe Bar, 1-3 Muir Street, ☎ .
- The Moorings Hotel, 114 Hamilton Road, ☎ .
- The Alona Hotel, Strathclyde Country Park, ☎ .
- The Dalziel Park Hotel, 10 Hagen Drive, ☎ .
- The Bentley Hotel, 19 High Road, ☎ .
- The Old Mill Hotel, Mill Road, ☎ .
- The Holiday Inn Express Hotel, Strathclyde Country Park, ☎ .
Motherwell is generally a safe area, but there are some rundown areas, such as Muirhouse and Forgewood, that should be avoided in the evening. If you need to go to those areas, a taxi or a ride in the car would be the safest form of travel. Motherwell does have a number of high-rise flats and there is no guarantee that there won't be any danger, so try if possible to avoid walking near high-rise residential flats. Again, a taxi or car-ride should be taken in special circumstances.
In the town centre, crime is limited to drunken behaviour, as there is a large police presence within that area, plus a large number of CCTV camera's. As Motherwell is generally a popular night hotspot, most of the pubs, particularly larger ones, will have security guards located inside and out, so that trouble is kept to a minimum.
In the event of an emergency in Motherwell, the nearest police station is:
- Motherwell Police Office, 217 Windmillhill Street, ML1 1RZ, ☎ 101.
- Motherwell Health Centre, 138-144 Windmillhill Street, ML1 1TB, ☎ .
- Wishaw General Hospital, 50 Netherton Street, Wishaw, ML2 0DP, ☎ . Wishaw General Hospital is the closest hospital to Motherwell with an A&E available. It is approximately 2 miles away from the town.
Free unrestricted wifi spots are located at both the Brandon Works on Merry Street and at the McDonalds restaurant in Brandon Street. For use of public internet facilities, the nearest library is:
- Motherwell Library, 35 Hamilton Road, ML1 3BZ, ☎ .