The historic and picturesque market town of Strathaven lies in the valley of the Avon Water, 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Hamilton in South Lanarkshire Council Area. Growing in the shadow of a castle which was built in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 15th, Strathaven was created a burgh of barony in 1450, giving the privilege to hold a weekly market. The town green, where the market was held, became the focal point for the area. The village is also known for weaving and brewing and in the 20th Century produced knitwear and rayon products, and farm machinery. It is now principally a dormitory-settlement. A branch railway came to Strathaven in 1863 and by 1904 there were two stations by 1904 but closed in 1965. Notable buildings include 'Lauder Ha'', home to the late Sir Harry Lauder and, to the southwest, Dungavel House the former shooting lodge of the Duke of Hamilton and now a detention centre.
During the covenanting times, when Scotland was divided over forms of worship, Strathaven was a Covenanter stronghold. In 1679, government troops attacked a group of Covenanters at Drumclog, outside Strathaven. The battle is commemorated at the John Hastie Museum, which is dedicated to local history and exhibitions of pottery, porcelain, weaving and Covenanters. Visitors are also welcome at the Town Mill Arts Centre (located in a 17th century building).
Strathaven has hosted an annual hot-air balloon festival since 1999.