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“Interesting Experience”

The David Livingstone Centre
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Blantyre
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: There are storeys of stories about David Livingstone, the famous Scottish explorer and missionary, in this birthplace museum of his life and work. Housed in Shuttle Row, a tenement which the Livingstones shared with 23 other families, this historic attraction is packed with items relating to his explorations in Africa. These range from letters and navigation equipment to his gruesome medical kit and hippo and lion skulls! It also gives a fascinating insight into the living and working conditions of 19th-century Scotland.We have children's quizzes and regular events to help keep little ones entertained, along with a sandy playpark and 20 acres of parkland and woodland. Located on the banks of the River Clyde, we are the starting point for some beautiful walks.Our tearoom is run by Motherwell College, providing lunches every weekday from 11am-2pm. Unfortunately the tearoom is not open on weekends.
Hamilton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
248 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 151 helpful votes
“Interesting Experience”
Reviewed May 29, 2013

It is at least 25 years since I last visited the Centre. Much has improved and it is a interesting experience. It gives considerable insight into the life and work of David Livingstone. The admission at time of writing was £6.50 for adults (£5 for senior citizens) which compares unfavourably with New Lanark in respect of total value for money. Although there is a lift, this old building is not going to be easy for disabled people. It is quite "low-tech" although some effort has been made to interest children and younger people. There is a shop but the very restricted opening hours of the cafe are a real disappointment as there are no good alternatives nearby. But, yes, anyone who visits the centre will learn something.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Alasdair G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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142 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
91 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Interesting but flawed.”
Reviewed May 26, 2013

This Lanarkshire attraction presents an insight into the life and work of 19th Century explorer and missionary David Livingstone from his place of birth at Blantyre.
The exhibition comes under the NTS but there was a distinct lack of the usual NTS guides around the place. Many historical houses and castles nowadays make a decent earnings from a good tearoom on the premises, but the David Livingstone Centre has the worst tearoom I have seen in a long time. Apart from the extremely restrictive opening hours, the atmosphere of a school dining room, and a dismal selection of food and drink on offer, such a wasted opportunity!
The exhibition itself was interesting and clearly aimed at both adults and children/school groups.
Modern and high tech it was not - but I did come away knowing much more about this remarkable man and his various African travels.
Perhaps they get relatively few visitors but I am sure they could generate traffic (like other places in the county) with a good tearoom and shop rather than the current disasters they have.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank coldal9305
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh
Level Contributor
89 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“Don't be fouled by the promotional material”
Reviewed May 25, 2013

After visiting this site, the feeling is one of disappointment as the promotional material is excessively worded.

Sadly (as an NTS member), can only second earlier reviews about the tired feel of the exhibition and the whole site overall.

The exhibition of artefacts and dioramas needs a complete repurposing to bring into the 21st century and make it a genuinely fascinating and inspiring experience. At the moment, a long dark gallery with poetic and crafty but still 'tableaux' on one side, and the accumulation of busy showcases and panels on the other side make for a perfect example of what the place should not look like anymore.

The good thing is that there is SO much potential with the themes associated with Livingstone, and the artefacts already on display ! although the colonial missionary environment of the story might make it a hard sale to 21-century post-modern visitors.

During the visit, vibrant memories of the Natural History Museum's Darwin exhibition resurfaced as this was very inspiring, and both characters were contemporaries and are involved in contentious issues.

Although Scotland and the world are celebrating the 200th anniversary of Livngstone's birth, the site itself offers to keen visitors a poor sight and could do with some well-deserved Heritage Lottery Fund awarded after this celebration. Can only look forward to the future!

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank artvisits
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Class Visit”
Reviewed May 21, 2013

I recently visited the centre with 25 children from my class and two other adults. By the time we left we were all very much impressed by the centre and it's staff. We split into two groups and each group had a guide who took us through the exhibition. Although it may not be high tech, this was very much compensated for by the information which the guides provided. Following the tour the children enjoyed having their picnic lunch (indoors due to weather). They were then able to have a run around and had great fun playing in the play area. The day was rounded off by James oe Jimmy as he introduced himself to the children, showing them African atrefacts, including instruments. The pupils enjoyed playing the instruments and learning the African song, which they performed to their music teacher the following week. So we would like to say a big thank you to Kate James for their excellent information.
If you are going to visit the centre then perhaps you should be prepared to be informed rather than entertained.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Josephine M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stavanger, Norway
Level Contributor
31 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“I loved this place”
Reviewed May 17, 2013

If you have any interest of colonial history or of David Livingstone at all, you have to visit this place. I've been to it's opposite in Livingstone, Zambia, and being able to visit this place makes the round complete. The park is lovely, the old buildings where he lived is beautiful, the "jungle walk" is fun, and the only small negative was a very 70-ies coffee shop with a dissapointing bookstore. The place is situated in cosy Blantyre, and you should just go there.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank geirsan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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