Have you ever stopped and looked at your surroundings? When to-ing and fro-ing all over the city, have you ever just wanted to discover new places? I sure have but sometimes it’s hard to just stop “urban auto piloting” out of your own little bubble in the city. I know several people who never venture away from the West End unless they ultimately have to, and those who would never dream of heading to the South Side of the city into the unknown. However, how do you really know what those areas have to offer until you actually take advantage of them and explore?


Last month I teamed up with American Express to discover some hidden gems and inspirational places around Glasgow to create a digital map with the help of my readers and followers. The places could have been anything from your favourite place to people watch, to work out or even your favourite music hangout. After being inundated with responses, the list was whittled down and the map was starting to take shape.


Research was also carried out with American Express who sound that just one in five people take the time to look at their surroundings. This is a stark contrast to our behaviour when we venture abroad. When visiting foreign cities, we are 49% more likely to research new places to visit and explore, compared to just 16% when we are at home.


I’ve started to change my own percentage by using apps on my iPhone such as Yelp and Twitter to discover new haunts in Glasgow and even further afield. I’ve been lucky to explore countries in Asia and the Middle East, yet I’ve hardly explored Glasgow and Scotland. Up until last year, I rarely frequented the West End and South Side, now I’m whizzing around them and can even list some of my favourite places.


Dr Esmée Hanna, a demographic specialist, commented: “’Urban Autopilot’ is a great way to describe our behaviour in cities: all too often it’s about hurrying from one place to another rather than taking time to live in the present. As a result, we don’t always register the richness and diversity of our surroundings as we pass them by. When we go away we have our eyes and ears open to soak up the sights and sounds of the city we visit, if we did a bit more of this at home we would be amazed at how many inspiring and undiscovered places are waiting for us to experience.”


To help overcome this, the map was created and is now live on Pinterest (ideally viewed via computer). To navigate you can either hover over each pin recommended by myself which matches an image I took along with a brief description of the location or zoom into the map itself and click on a location to be taken to the pin. It’s rather snazzy and will be expanded upon with your suggestions such as:

  • Sixty Steps on Queen Margaret Drive which is a massive retaining wall of steps that were created by Glasgow architect, Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson in the early 1870’s.
  • Baird in the Botanics at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens bringing Shakespeare to life in our very own city.
  • Cathkin Braes for great walking and mountain bike treks, overlooking the city.
  • Mansfield Park Farmer’s Market where you can find some of Scotland’s best produce such as venison, shell fish and cheeses.
  • Glasgow’s Necropolis where you can view graves of the famous, inspirational and military as well as great views of the city.

 hidden gems and inspirational places around Glasgow

Glasgow is a truly wonderful city and it’s time to get your little explorer hats on and have a good day out. You can access it quickly via the widget below as well, just cause I’m nice.

Follow American Express UK’s board Glasgow’s top inspirational places on Pinterest.


  1. Have you checked out “13th Note” on King Street just behind Argyll Street?

    “an independent music venue (also hosting comedy and theatre and art), bar & vegetarian & vegan cafe and also stocking a fine selection of beers from the Williams Brothers, WEST, vegan lagers and wines.”

    They sell one of the best veggie burgers in Glasgow and have a great atmosphere and really friendly staff.

    Well worth a look even if it’s not your usual scene.

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