Guide to Loch Lomond holiday cottages

Guide to Loch Lomond

Kate W 14 August 2019

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,

Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond

Where we two have passed so many blithesome days,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Sparkling waters, magnificent mountains and fresh Highlands air: Loch Lomond is a fantastic choice for a holiday getaway - ideal for anyone and everyone looking for adventure or a bit of peace and tranquillity.

Part of the beautiful Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Loch Lomond is a memorable holiday destination with opportunities for activities such as water sports, hill walking or simply hiding away with a book in a cosy cottage.

Explore the vibrant towns and pretty villages that sit on the banks of the loch and enjoy yourselves at the fun attractions. The area is perfect for entertaining kids on family holidays or catching up with mates on a group excursion to Loch Lomond.

About Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

Loch Lomond National Park

This remarkable national park is set right on the border with the Highlands and is said to encapsulate the area perfectly, making it an ideal place to begin any exploration of Scotland.

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park was designated Scotland’s first national park in 2002. The area consists of 21 Munros, 22 lochs, two forest parks and over 50 designated Special Nature Conservation Sites that are home to a fantastic diversity of wildlife. The beautiful Loch Lomond has a shoreline of 153 km, making it the largest stretch of inland water in Great Britain.

If that in itself is not reason enough to visit, then just imagine the wild scenery, thrilling water sports, exciting attractions, sailing, hiking, history plus the superb local food and drink.

The towns and villages of Loch Lomond

Towns and villages around Loch Lomond

Balloch is the largest town in the area, situated on the banks of Loch Lomond at the southern point of the loch with its sister town of Alexandria. Between them, these two bustling towns provide a whole host of great things to do and places to eat. It’s a great pick for a holiday if you would like to stay nearer civilisation.

If you’re more interested in peaceful escapes away from busy towns, you may prefer a holiday to pretty Luss on the western bank. An ancient village that has stood in this spot since medieval times, it has a small sandy beach where you’ll find a range of water sports, perfect for families or adult groups to enjoy sunny days on the loch.

Another peaceful village where you could hide away is Balmaha: set on the eastern bank of Loch Lomond, it’s ideal for adventurers. Kayak or sail across to the island of Inchcailloch or walk, hike and climb the surrounding Conic Hill. You could also hop aboard a ferry to visit the other picturesque villages set around the edge of this great loch.

Other beautiful villages and tourist destinations around the edge of the loch include Tarbet, Rowardennan and Ardlui, not to mention a whole range of entirely off-grid locations where you can truly escape in a welcoming holiday cottage. Discover all our holiday cottages by Loch Lomond

The water sports

Water sports on Loch Lomond

As Loch Lomond is the largest surface area-wise at 71 square km, there’s plenty of opportunity for water skiing, kayaking, swimming, sailing and even water trampolining. In fact, the water sports provide one of the biggest draws for those on holiday.

Water sports' opportunities at Luss beach include the chance to go kayaking and canoeing, as well as trying anything from a speedboat tour, champagne cruise or a ride on a banana boat.

Why not water ski, kneeboard, kayak, canoe, or have a go on the water trampoline that’s set up at Rowardennan on the east shore during your stay? Loch Lomond Leisure offers a whole range of fun activities perfect for families, adult and corporate groups or couples to try out. They also offer a range of boats that you can hire including paddle boats and motorboats, as well as boat tours. Speed boat pub tour anyone?

The walking

The walking on Loch Lomond

There’s a fantastic family-friendly walk for youngsters up in beautiful Luss. A wonderful child-friendly walk, the Loch Lomond Fairy Trail, perfect for the  littlest legs with fairy doors and statues along the way, grab your fairy trail map and follow it to discover the places where the Loch Lomond fairies and trolls dwell with fun interactive activities along the way.

Down at Balloch, the Loch Lomond Shores Walk is a gentle trail along the banks. Take along the baby buggy for a wander down by the waterfront with wonderful views across the sparkling loch and to the mountains beyond.

For a longer walk, head up Conic Hill from Balmaha - a 2.5-mile walk that takes between 2 and 3 hours to complete - and you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view from the summit. Otherwise try Beinn Dubh Glen Striddle Horseshoe Walk, an 8-mile hike that can take 4 hours or longer to complete, perfect for anyone seeking a challenge.

That all sound too easy for you? True trekkers may wish to attempt The Three Lochs Way. There are four stages to complete, you may wish to pick just one route out of the four, and the fantastic terrain is worth it – you’ll cross moorland, pass by Loch Lomond, Gare Loch and Loch Long and see the famous mountain skyline of Arrochar.

Want more fantastic walks? Discover 8 Munros in Scotland that should not be missed

The Loch Lomond boat tours

Cruise Loch Lomond

You could take a cruise on the waters in the shadow of the mighty Ben Lomond, Scotland’s most southerly Munro, as well as the jagged shoulders of the Arrochar Alps. Look out for the wallabies when you pass Inchconnachan – this island has had a colony of these creatures happily hopping since being introduced there in the 1920s by a local landowner.

The family-run Sweeney’s Cruises have been offering sightseeing cruises of Loch Lomond for over 100 years, offering also a seasonal daily waterbus service and private boat charters. The Maid of the Loch paddle steamer, built in 1953, also operates on Loch Lomond.

The attractions for rainy days

Otters at SEA LIFE Loch Lomond

If you’re looking for an active week with plenty of rainy-day attractions to entertain the kids, the town of Balloch on Loch Lomond’s south coast is the place to visit with a wonderful selection of attractions to entertain everyone.

Discover a whole range of fish and mammals who live at SEA LIFE Loch Lomond aquarium in Balloch. They have a deep-sea section as well as a tank showcasing the creatures who live in Scotland’s own lochs. Besides the wonderful sharks, rays and sea horses, this aquarium also has mischievous otters that kids will love to watch.

If shopping is more your thing, make sure you pay a visit to the Loch Lomond Shores with views of the water making it one of the most beautifully situated shopping destinations in Britain. You can browse famous Scottish brands and unique independent shops as well as picking up some fine local fare to try.

Meanwhile, up in Helensburgh sits a National Trust beauty. Anyone with a passion for design and architecture should not miss the Hill House, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It showcases the visually exciting mix of Art Nouveau, Scottish Baronial and Japonisme architecture and design, plus a beautifully restored garden.

The outdoor attractions

The Devil's Pulpit near Loch Lomond

An unexpected family attraction, Inchcailloch is a beautiful island up by Balmaha that is home to wild wallabies! Get a ferry across to it or kayak across to meet these creatures living wild, see the church and its burial ground (now a Scheduled Ancient Monument), and climb to the summit of Tom na Nigheanan. It’s ideal for a picnic or a bit of wildlife spotting, and you can even stop by the island restaurant

Explore Balloch Country Park - a great place to take kids with a children’s play park down by the water and a café adjacent where you can grab a bite to eat. The grounds provide the perfect opportunity for walking and wildlife spotting, discovering mini beasts, flying kites or a playing a game of footie. There’s forest to wander through and extraordinary views down to the loch.

At TreeZone Loch Lomond, kids from 7 years and above can climb through the trees and get active. Adult groups will love this activity too as they welcome corporate, hen and stag parties as well as youth groups to join in the fun. 

A great chance to get up close to wildlife, the Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre in Balloch has hawks, eagles and owls. Watch the birds showcasing their skills at the centre; pick out an experience from a hawk walk to keeper for the day. 

If you enjoy fishing, you are also welcome to catch your own dinner as Loch Lomond is a great place for fishing as it has a huge variety from sea trout to chub. Try your luck and see what you reel in on the loch.

Just 9 miles from Balloch, The Devil's Pulpit is a gorge in the National Park with emerald walls due to the rich vegetation and red water coloured by the stone underneath. The Devil’s Pulpit actually refers to a rock that stands just above the waters where legend has it the Devil used to stand to address his followers. Today it’s a beautiful spot to explore, although be aware that the descent can be slippery and dangerous.

The food and drink

Enjoy afternoon tea by Loch Lomond

A fantastic place for foodies, Loch Lomond has its own annual Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival that takes place in (where else?) Balloch. The town offers market stalls and food vans with a range of local produce and delicious dishes for you to try, go sample tasty cheeses and then round off the day with a wee dram of whisky.

There’s a fantastic selection of pubs, restaurants and eateries all around the edge of Loch Lomond offering fresh local produce and delicious dining options. You could try the beautiful waterfront restaurant, Colquhoun's Restaurant in Luss, and dine on delicious dishes while gazing across the water.

The Boat House on the outskirts of Alexandria is a stylish eatery and, you’ll also find the cosy restaurant: The Clubhouse on the site. They are both parts of Cameron House, an estate where there’s also the option for a round of golf or a day at the spa.

The quirky Loch Lomond Coffee and Ice Cream Bar sits in Balmaha, great for sunny days or rainy afternoons when you need somewhere to cosy up and grab a warm drink.

Or head up to Slanj Restaurant the pretty waterside village of Tarbet, a dog-friendly eatery with live music and excellent views across the surrounding landscape – perfect for a cosy lunch or evening dinner.

For those that enjoy a pint or two, visit Loch Lomond Brewery and see how these handcrafted ales and beers ‘capture the flavour of the surrounding landscape’.

Did you know Drymen in Loch Lomond is home to one of Scotland's oldest pub? The Clachan Inn is said to be the oldest! Discover more in our guide to the oldest pubs of Scotland.

The accommodation

Holiday cottage Loch Lomond

From magnificent castles to romantic hideaways for couples, we have a wonderful collection of properties for you to pick from for your holiday to Loch Lomond. Discover a holiday getaway up in pretty Luss or by the harbour in Balmaha, pick out a stylish cottage in Balloch or a rustic lodge hidden to the north of Loch Lomond.

Take a look at our collection of cosy holiday escapes for families, boltholes for couples, and large stylish houses for big groups, and find your perfect holiday cottage by Loch Lomond

What are you looking for? We have holiday homes with wood burners, ideal for cosy evenings after a busy day of exploration or lodges with floor-to-ceiling windows so you can make the most of the extraordinary views offers across the region and everything n between. Pick a pet-friendly holiday home with a garden where the dogs can race about or the kids can play, or choose a cottage with a stylish interior that you know will impress your guests.

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs are often described as a perfect example of the Highlands landscape. So, if you’d like to peruse more options, you could view our full collection of holiday homes, lodges and cottages throughout the Scottish Highlands

The history

The history of Loch Lomond

You can find a bit of everything from prehistoric cairns and stone circles to ruined castles around Loch Lomond.

A few of the most interesting tales are about the history in each of the villages. The village of Tyndrum is one of the most intriguing as it is built over the battlefield where Clan MacDougall defeated Robert the Bruce and also has an association with Rob Roy, whose gravestone can be seen at Balquhidder Parish Church. Stumble across the past with ruins and remnants throughout the area such as the Auchenlaich Cairn, a neolithic chambered cairn; the Kinnell stone circle in Killin and the ruins of Strathfillan Priory in Kirkton.

There have been many songs and poems inspired by the great beauty of the region. From Edwin Morgan to Robert Louis Stevenson, Scotland has been immortalised in the written word for centuries enticing visitors to explore and marvel at the wild landscapes and rugged hilltops that were once, before the end of the 18th century, secret and foreign. Famous travel writers such as Thomas Pennant published accounts of their journeys into the Highlands, fuelling further interest and intrigue.

First put on the map by Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake in 1810, the popularity of Loch Lomond has only grown and it remains one of the most loved and most explored areas of Scotland today. It's time to embrace the epic and make a journey to this magical place.

Discover The Trossachs with a stay in one of our holiday homes, lodges or cottages in this beautiful region. Pick out a holiday cottage by Loch Lomond and start planning an unforgettable holiday to Scotland. 

O ye’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye.

But me and my true love will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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