We sketch a workflow for cognitively plausible recognition of vague geographical concepts, such as a city centre. Our approach imitates a pedestrian strolling through the streets, and comparing his/her internal cognitive model of a city centre with the stimulus from the external world to decide whether he/she is in the city centre or outside. The cognitive model of a British city centre is elicited through an online questionnaire survey and used to delineate referents of city centre from point of interest data. We first compute a measure of ‘city centre-ness’ at each location within a city, and then merge the area of high city centre-ness to a contiguous region. The process is illustrated on the example of the City of Bristol, and the computed city centre area for Bristol is evaluated by comparison to reference areas derived from alternative sources. The evaluation suggests that our approach performs well and produces a representation of a city centre that is near to people’s conceptualisation. The benefits of our work are better (and user-driven) descriptions of complex geographical concepts. We see such models as a prerequisite for generalisation over large changes in detail, and for very specific purposes.