Loch Lomond is a freshwater Scottish lake, located within Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, crossing the Highland Boundary Fault. It’s the largest inland body of water in Great Britain, and is home to a number of different islands and spectacular wildlife. Together with the rest of the park, the loch is a fantastic destination and offers a range of outdoor activities to suit all ages and abilities.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker looking for a challenge or trying camping for the first time, a trip to Loch Lomond is truly inspiring. From the breath-taking lake views and glorious evening sunsets to the exhilarating water sports or joy of seeing the native red squirrel up close, there is much to do and discover.
The lake is a nature lover’s dream and it’s as famous as it is flourishing; featured in ‘The Bonnie Banks O’ Loch Lomond’, a poignant song which beautifully depicts loss and sadness and is an anthem known throughout the world. And whilst it does not carry the same celebrity status of its sister lake Loch Ness, situated 3 hours north near Inverness, Loch Lomond does have its own fable of a mythical monster living beneath the surface of its waters.
If you’re planning a trip to Scotland, a visit to the wonderful Loch Lomond should certainly be on your itinerary. Below you will find the ultimate guide of ways you can best enjoy your visit.
Things to Do
There is so much to do at Loch Lomond. But with such incredible views and so much surrounding greenery, we believe that this is the kind of place where you’ll have just as great a time doing nothing at all. Whether you’re planning a relaxing getaway or an active holiday, you’ll find so much to suit your tempo. Here are some of the activities that we just love…
Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is ideal for every type of camping. You can book a pitch at one of the managed campsites (complete with facilities) or try wild camping for a few nights to really get away from it all. If you’re not exactly a camping aficionado, book a stay at one of our stunning Loch Lomond holiday homes so you’ve got somewhere cosy and luxurious to head to after your camping adventure.
Walking & Hiking
One of the best (and easiest) things to do around the lake is walking or hiking. The terrain is mostly easy to moderate, meaning that it’s suitable for people of all ages and abilities – even young children. Whether it’s a short stroll or an energetic workout, there are so many trails to explore, all with varying topography. Including lochside or riverside, forest or glen, gentle hills or mountain slopes.
Exploring the lake and national park on two wheels is a fun activity that will get hearts pumping and muscles moving. It’s a family friendly activity so you won’t have to leave the kids behind, and there are a number of bike hire places for complete convenience when travelling (including Go Country near Aberfolye, In Your Element in Balloch, Wheelology in Callander, Peloton Bike Shop in Drymen and the Killin Outdoor Centre).
As well as Loch Lomond, there are also over 20 other lakes within Trossachs National Park. So water sports is a hugely popular activity and there is so much choice, with lake-based activities suited to beginners or pros. Available water sports include canoeing, kayaking, boating, swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, sailing and windsurfing.
In addition to sailing and boating, visitors can hop on one of the wonderful loch cruises (leaving from Balloch, Luss, Tarbet or Inveruglas). These cruises are between 1 hour to 2 and a half hours, giving passengers a chance to explore Loch Lomond, its fjord-like northern end, its numerous islands, the surrounding wildlife and its history. The two cruise companies are Sweeney’s Cruise Company and Cruise Loch Lomond.
The park offers plenty of chances for angling across all 22 lochs. Fishing permits can be bought from a number of newsagents or fishing tackle shops on site. The lakes are known for their salmon, sea trout, brown trout and other coarse fish.
Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park is the perfect destination for a golfing holiday in Scotland. In fact, there are 7 courses to choose from in the park itself. These are: Aberfoyle Golf Club, Buchanan Castle Golf Club, Callander Golf Club, Killin Golf Club, St Fillans Golf Course, Ross Priory Golf Club and Strathendrick Golf Club.
Walking Routes at Loch Lomond
There are different walking routes and trails in the national park to suit everyone. From short walks and gentle strolls that are suitable for children to extended hikes for experienced walkers who want a bit of a challenge. Here are some of our favourite walks to check out:
• Sron a’ Chlachain to Killin
• Auchmore Circuit to Killin
• Acharn Forest to Killin
• Strone Hill
• River Eachaig & Massan Circuit
• Kilmun Heritage
• Beinn Mhor (Cowal)
• Callander Meadows
• Lower Woods to Callander
• The Glacier Trail
• The Three Bridges of Callander
• Callander Heritage Trail: Stories in the Stones
• Luss Village Paths
• Killin Heritage Trail
• Balloch Castle Country Park Scooter Routes
• Millennium Forest Trail at Balmaha
• Bracklinn Falls Circuit
• West Highland and Rob Roy Way Circular
• West Highland Way
• Three Lochs Way
• The Great Trossachs Path
• Rob Roy Way
• John Muir Way
• The Cowal Way
Pubs and Restaurants
When it comes to food and drink, Scotland has always excelled. Fresh seafood, local ingredients, foraged goods and rustic dishes define the style of Scottish cooking, both traditional and modern. If you’re a foodie, a holiday to Loch Lomond will definitely impress your palate. And you’ll never be too far from somewhere serving great local tipple. Here are some great pubs and restaurants that you won’t want to miss…
The Drovers Inn
Known for its delicious comfort food and traditional Scottish classics, The Drovers Inn located at the top of Loch Lomond on the A82 to Crianlarich, is the perfect hiker’s pit stop. Or a great place for a cosy evening meal with loved ones after a long day of outdoor activities. This old inn is surrounded by a number of easy walks and trails, and is also known as one of Scotland’s most haunted pubs! The menu features a variety of Scottish pub favourites, including their famous Steak & Guinness Pie, their hearty Venison Casserole, or their Loch Lomond Monster Burger.
This lovely inn at Balloch is a warm and friendly family pub – and it’s dog-friendly too so you can bring along your furry friends. On Sundays, they serve up a generous Sunday roast (with free top ups on yorkies, roasties and gravy) and there are plenty of menus to suit your occasion or mood. Including an Afternoon Tea Menu, a Buffet Menu, a Summer Menu and a Kids’ Menu.
Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond
For something a little more up market, reserve a table at this spectacular Michelin starred restaurant, overlooking the loch at Cameron Bay. Experience one of the UK’s most highly acclaimed dining venues and choose from a number of different tasting menus, featuring a mix of fresh seafood and meat dishes. There’s also a fantastic 3 course lunchtime menu, starting from just £32 per head.
The Kilted Skirlie
The Kilted Skirlie in Balloch offers beautiful loch views and a refined menu made with the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. Food here is inspired by traditional Scottish cuisine, made with a contemporary twist. Including classic Scottish Smoked Salmon, Skirlie Steak Pie, Scottish Sirloin Steak and Haggis Neeps & Tatties. There’s also a ‘Wee’ans Menu’, made just for little people. So this is the perfect place to bring the whole family.
The Village Rest
Located in Luss, in the heart of an old village, this fantastic restaurant and café combined is the place to go for a bite to eat. The daytime menu features everything from sandwiches, wraps and jacket potatoes to a fine selection of cakes and scones; whilst the evening menu is a casual affair filled with family favourites such as pies, pasta, gourmet burgers, and choice of meat, fish or vegetarian dishes.
Oak Tree Inn
An award winning pub with great facilities, a good family friendly atmosphere, and even better food! Located in the beautiful village of Balmaha, the Oak Tree Inn is surrounded by lush greenery and wildlife. And Loch Lomond itself is just a stone’s throw from the pub’s front door, close to the Balmaha Boat Yard for lake sailing adventures. From the best coffee in town and a wide selection of locally brewed beers by the Balmaha Brewing Co. to Loch Lomond Luxury Ice Cream (for kids and adults alike), this really is a top spot for refreshments. And when it comes to food, you’ll find the tasty and family friendly menu to be pleasing for taste buds.
In the heart of Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park and home to honest, home cooked food. Hearty meals and deluxe sandwiches can be found on the lunch menu, whilst everything from Scottish lamb and Scottish salmon can be found on the evening menu.
Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park covers around 720 square miles in distance and features some of the UK’s finest scenery, and is home to rich and diverse wildlife. The loch itself is one of 22 lakes within the vast park and it has become of the most desirable destinations in Scotland. Here are some fun and interesting facts about Loch Lomond and its surrounding area.
• Loch Lomond is 24 miles long – it also has an estimated 92,805 million cubic feet (2628 cubic m.) of water and is only 27ft or eight metres above sea level.
• There are 22 named islands on the loch – these include Inchmurrin, Inchcailloch, Inchconnachan, Inchtavannach, Inchlonaig and Inchfad which can be explored by loch cruises.
• There’s a Loch Lomond Monster – just like the Loch Ness Monster, Loch Lomond has its own legendary creature, with a number of sightings over the years. And in the 1954 US film ‘The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms’, a giant dinosaur-like creature which attacks New York is based on the fictional (or perhaps non fictional) Loch Lomond Monster.
• There are over 15,000 people living in the National Park – the surrounding areas of the loch may be quiet and filled with unspoiled nature, but there are actually more than 15,000 people living within the Trossachs National Park region.
• There are over 40 mountains in the park – that’s a total of 21 Munros (mountains above 3,000ft) and 20 Corbetts (mountains between 2,500ft and 3,000ft)
• Loch Lomond has its own endemic plant – this plant is called Rumex Aquaticus (known as the Loch Lomond Dock) and was discovered in 1953. It doesn’t grow anywhere else in Great Britain.
How to Get There
Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park is convenient to get to by all means of transport. And is within easy travel distance from Glasgow, Stirling, Oban, Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee.
From the north, follow the A82. From the south or east, take the M74/M8 past Glasgow, followed by the M898 to the Erskine Bridge, then take the A82 into the National Park. Driving distance from Glasgow is approximately 35 minutes whilst Edinburgh is around 90 minutes, Newcastle 3 hours 20 minutes, Manchester 4 hours, Birmingham over 5 hours, and London 7 hours and 30 minutes.
There are 2 main train lines that provide access to the National Park. Take the Virgin train to Glasgow from the south, or take the ScotRail train from within Scotland.
The National Express coach service can take you to coach stops at Crianlarich and Tyndrum.
The nearest airports are Glasgow Airport and Edinburgh Airport, both with car rental services as well as reliable public transport links that can take you to Loch Lomond.