Biggar, a great family day out boasting more museums per head of population than any other Scottish town.
This small, picturesque town is a must day visit on the Clyde Valley National Tourist Route.
Biggar lies on the A72 Clyde Valley Tourist Route and could be called South Lanarkshire's gateway to the Borders. It nestles among rolling hills and has spectacular views of Tinto Hill, the highest hill in South Lanarkshire.
Days out in Biggar
Biggar is host to the famous Biggar Little Festival in October each year. This annual arts festival, celebrates dance, arts and crafts, drama, and literature.
One of Biggar's best known traditions is its Hogmanay bonfire. Preparations start in December and on New Year's Eve, following a torch-lit procession through the town, the fire is lit outside the Corn Exchange.
A number of events take place in the town's show field, including the agricultural show and the vintage car rally. The Biggar Gala Day takes place in June.
For days out of town, Biggar is hard to beat with five excellent museums to visit - all maintained by the Biggar Museum Trust. Indeed, Biggar probably has the highest number of museums per head of population than any other Scottish village.
The curious visitor can explore everything from the Moat Park Heritage Centre, Gladstone Court Museum, Greenhill Covenanters Museum, through to the Biggar Gasworks Museum.
If you prefer outdoor pursuits Biggar Public Park and Golf Course are situated on the edge of the village.
Biggar also has Scotland's only permanent puppet theatre, Biggar Puppet Theatre, which is run by the well known Purves Puppets family set in a miniature Victorian music hall.
Situated among rich farmland, it’s a great place to come for shopping, if you’re looking for something different.
The village's wide main street gives away its medieval past as a market town and shops include an award-winning grocer, a famous ice cream and chocolate shop, an award winning fish and chip shop and a good mix of book, toy and craft shops, bakeries and florists.
Biggar also has a Visitor information centre which is open from Easter to October each year on the main street.
Biggar lies close to Lanark, Peebles and the River Tweed as well as the Clyde and there are many scenic walks in the area, through the Biggar Country Path network. Biggar is 30 miles from Edinburgh on the A702.
Biggar Heritage Trail
The Biggar Heritage Trail discovers historic points of interest and important events in the life of the town, with the new map being filled with useful information and profiles of the characters connected with Biggar who have helped the town become as well known as it is today.
Download the fantastic Biggar Trail Map at the bottom of this page.
Brief History of Biggar
Biggar is a town with a rich and varied history. In the 12th century a Norman motte and bailey was built and the first permanent bridge across the Biggar burn was constructed. Its attractions have won numerous awards, including Best Tourist Town in Scotland, Scotland in Bloom and individual awards to its museums.
The roots of the burgh date back centuries and there is evidence that Biggar common was inhabited during Mesolithic times.
Later on in Biggar's history, in the early 1900's a farmer, who lived in Biggar, founded Albion Motors as a small business which eventually grew into the largest truck country in the British Empire. The archives of Albion Motors can in fact, still be found in Biggar.
Biggar received its Royal Charter in 1451. It was created as a free Burgh of Barony by King James III as a mark of favour to Lord Fleming, the landowner.
Biggar still has its medieval layout. A few buildings date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, but the majority of Biggar's prominent buildings are Victorian. One of Biggar's key buildings, the 450 year old Biggar Kirk, was built by the Flemming Family of Biggar.
Its vibrant local traditions and festivals have contributed to Biggar's development into a thriving community, with a range of facilities and activities.
During Victorian times, a railway line ran through Biggar which resulted in an increase in holidaymakers. The station and signal box are still standing but the railway line has since gone but leaving a scenic walk between Biggar and Peebles, as well as a variety of activities for visitors to the historic town.
Famous faces from Biggar
John Buchan (1875 - 1940) - John Buchan wrote over fifty books including the well-known novels Greenmantle, Prester John, Witchwood and perhaps most famous of all, The Thirty Nine Steps. Buchan was a Minister of Parliament who went on to be Governer General of Canada. Born in Perth he spent much of his childhood in the village of Broughton near Biggar, where a museum commemorating his work is maintained by Biggar Museums Trust.
Hugh MacDairmid - poet (1892 - 1978) - Doctor Christopher Grieve was better known as Hugh MacDiarmid, the pen name under which he founded a Scottish literary renaissance. The poet lived just outside Biggar in Brownsbank Cottage for the last twenty-six years of his life. Brownsbank Cottage has been preserved by Biggar Museum Trust and is now used as a base for a writer-in-residence for most of the year.