Top child-friendly places to visit near Kelvindale

Blog | June 27, 2021

When was the last time you went exploring in your neighbourhood? We caught up with Maeve and her son, Gabriel, who have discovered lots of exciting new places around Kelvindale since lockdown. Keep reading to find out about their adventures and for ideas of some fun and inspiring places to visit with the wee ones.

Have you always lived in Kelvindale?

Maeve: I grew up in Helensburgh and I’ve lived in Glasgow on and off since 1993. I moved to the Kelvindale area in 2009, and then I bought a flat in 2010. When I had Gabriel, I moved to Newton Mearns and then I came back to Kelvindale with Gabriel in 2017.

What is your favourite place to visit in the Kelvindale area?

Maeve: My favourite place to visit on my own is along the canal and around where the gasworks are. I like going up to Dawsholm Park. When I’m with Gabriel, one of our favourite places to visit is “Sneaky Path” or “Atlantis,” which is an area down by the River Kelvin and beside the aqueducts. There used to be houses there and there are also the remains of a railway bridge, which Gabriel calls “The Temple.” It’s quite an interesting spot because you can see remains of the buildings and you can see the view that the people that lived there would’ve had. It’s a beautiful spot, there is a weir where the River Kelvin is. When we were in lockdown, that was the place we went to because nobody else goes there. When you visit there, you get a sense of what was there before. Seeing the aqueducts and looking across the river from there and seeing that there used to be a train station across the river is quite mind-blowing, because now there’s just trees there. I work in arts and heritage, and I think having that background means I’ve got that eye looking for wee stories that come out.

Gabriel: My favourite places are the tennis court and Dawsholm Park. I like to play in Dawsholm Park. There’s lots of muddy stuff, and you can slide down hills and climb up trees. You can look at the birds and try to identify them. We sometimes see those funny birds called parakeets. They are bright green. We saw a fox last week at the canal. We stood really still and it stared at us. Then we looked another way, and when we looked back it was gone!

If you had a friend visit who doesn’t know the area, where would you take them? 

Gabriel: I would take them to my school.

Maeve:  When my aunt and cousin came over to visit, we took them to the canal and that was it. After that we went elsewhere and went to other places in Glasgow. Now, I would take them down to what we call Atlantis, which I think was called Kelvindale Glen. More recently, one of our friends came over to visit, all the way from Bearsden! He’s got quite a thing for these kinds of places sites with history and character. He came over specifically to go down to the Glen to see what it was. I would definitely take a tourist there and I would also take them to the Gasworks. Some people hate them and want them demolished, but I think they are absolutely stunning. You get great views from Weymouth Drive –you can get great views across the city from around that area. Also, I couldn’t not take them to Dawsholm Park – that would probably be the first place we went to. I’m not sure if it is quite in Kelvindale, but it is only a few minutes away. There is a place that looks onto the Switchback Road with an amazing view, it goes up to Bearsden. There’s a massive field and you get a view of Knightswood, the Kilpatrick Hills and you can almost see the Queen Elizabeth from it as well. It’s stunning. The field used to have crazy golf and you can actually see the remains of the crazy golf on the ground. 

What is your favourite thing to get up to in your spare time? 

Gabriel: I like to see my friends at Foxy Park.

Maeve: Foxy Park is our name for the park on Dorchester Avenue. In our spare time, we like to see Gabriel’s friends. I’m now friends with Gabriel’s friends’ mums, which is nice. I didn’t really know any of the mums until lockdown, and then I got to know them. We tend to go to Dawsholm Park with Gabriel’s friends and their mums most of the time – that is one of the main spots. We tend to find ourselves going to the same areas because of lockdown, slightly less so now that we’re able to move about a wee bit. Gabriel sometimes has a little play with me on the tennis court. I am a member of the local tennis club, but I haven’t played against anyone in about a year.  

In my spare time, I do printmaking and I create my own art. A lot of my art is based around this area. So, in my free time, I do a lot of taking photos and researching different spots. I found that since I moved back here, I have been really inspired by the surroundings. I’ve always done art, it’s part of my job. But, when I came back here in 2017, it’s like I rediscovered the area and I think part of it is seeing Kelvindale through Gabriel’s eyes as well as my own. I’ve started to look a little bit closer at things that I wouldn’t have even noticed before. I have always loved the Gasworks, but the canal is a new love of mine. 

I knew I lived where a paper mill was, but I have found that, since being back here, it has been really interesting trying to place where the buildings used to be where our flat is. Where our flat is, there used to be these massive tanks of water which were part of the paper-making process. It’s quite bizarre looking at photos of the area from the 1920s and 1930s and seeing all this: seeing all these buildings, houses and industry that is no longer here. That sparked something within me. 

There is always something quite 1950s about this area because of the design of the houses – a slightly ‘kitchen sink’ feeling – and I think that is influencing my work. I tend not to use particularly strong colours and something about this area still feels slightly industrial. I work in Clydebank, Dumbarton and Alexandria, and they are all quite post-industrial. Because where I work is post-industrial, I would never have initially thought that this spot where I live, where my flat is, is post industrial. Another connection is that I am a paper maker, and I am living where they used to make paper! I’ve developed a real fondness for where we live. I once spoke with a lady whose father-in-law lived in one of the houses in the paper mill where we are, which was fascinating.

Massive thanks to Maeve and Gabriel for taking the time to chat with us about their favourite local haunts. The next time you drop by Kelvindale in Glasgow’s west end, make sure you add Dawsholm Park and Atlantis to your list of places to visit! These wonderful spots are certainly worth your time. Keep up-to-date with Maeve and her work on Facebook and Instagram.

We have been selected to build on our 2019 residency in Partick East and Kelvindale with the next phase of Creative Communities: Artists in Residence. For this project, we are engaging with those who live in Ward 23 to create an immersive audio walk of the area. This audio journey is launching on Sunday 8th August. Check our our blog with local artist, Fraser Taylor, to find out why Partick is such a special place.