Think you know Glasgow and Edinburgh? Scotland’s two largest cities offer some awesome surprises when you head off the beaten track or take time to discover some of the quirkier attractions. From Glasgow and Edinburgh, you’re also within easy reach of some incredible places to visit which are only a short journey from the city centres. Visit Scotland have shared a few hidden gems and some fantastic locations to explore for those who want to venture further afield.
Bold, innovative and proud, Glasgow is a city which really has a buzz. You could discover the sprawling urban landscape by following the City Centre Mural Trail to see some incredible works of street art. Or why not hop on the subway to the West End and discover the trendy bars, fine eateries and an independent cinema on Ashton Lane, the pretty paved street tucked behind bustling Byres Road?
Nearby, you can get a breath of fresh air and enjoy the green space of Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens. It’s home to the Kibble Palace, a beautiful domed Victorian glasshouse.
Step into the past at the Britannia Panopticon, a once lost treasure. It’s the world’s oldest surviving music hall. You could also slip below the concourse of Central Station on a tour of subterranean vaults and see the forgotten old Victorian platform.
Did you know you can be at the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond in less than an hour from Glasgow? Soak up the beauty of this majestic National Park on lochside walks, hop aboard a cruise, or make a splash and try thrilling watersports.
In Edinburgh, Scotland’s beautiful capital city, you don‘t have to go far to uncover some real treasures. Ten minutes’ walk from central Princes Street you’ll find charming Stockbridge, a bustling part of the handsome Georgian New Town - it’s full of independent stores, regular markets and fabulous charity shops, perfect for bargain hunters.
Nearby, you could stroll along the Water of Leith pathway to the enchanting Dean Village. Winding paved streets, converted mills of fine sandstone and mock-Tudor architecture all help to create a magical corner of Edinburgh which is completely unique in character.
In the Old Town, step inside St Giles Cathedral to discover the stunningly ornate Thistle Chapel, or venture further down the Royal Mile to the fantastic Scottish Storytelling Centre and John Knox House. For those with a love of all things science (or the macabre!), don’t miss the Surgeon’s Hall Museum where you can learn about fascinating surgical developments over the centuries and see hundreds of samples of - gulp! - body parts in jars. Not for the faint hearted!
Fancy seeing what else lies outside the city? Take the Borders Railway through Midlothian and the Scottish Borders. The train terminates at Tweedbank, which lies a short distance from the wonderful Abbotsford, the stately home lovingly built by acclaimed writer Sir Walter Scott.