Loch Lomond lowdown: why you need to visit

For scenic holidays in the great outdoors, there are few better places than Loch Lomond. Scotland certainly isn't lacking in spectacular views, but here you'll find the scenery is simply unrivalled. Part of the Trossachs National Park, the area surrounding this splendid stretch of water - the largest freshwater lake in Britain, no less - not only offers grand vistas, but also plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration.

Covering a total of 720 square miles, the Trossachs National Park offers a range of incredible landscapes and natural features, including 21 munros, rolling hills, dozens of lochs and rivers, and two forest parks. The loch is surrounded by a number of lovely walking and cycling trails, offering everything from pleasant gentle strolls to more strenuous hikes ascending the park's tallest summits. While it is a perfect location to enjoy some serenity, the park is far from lonely. There are more than 15,000 people living here, throughout the quaint little villages that are dotted around the region. 

The park is home to a wide range of wildlife, too. The various natural habitats that exist here; from forests to wetlands, provide shelter for animals such as red deer, porpoises, otters, pine martens and numerous species of birds including golden eagles and gannets. There have even been basking sharks and humpback whales seen in the loch. The RSPB has its own Nature Hub here, a tranquil spot dedicated to wildlife conservation, and there are of course plenty of opportunities to spot the local fauna and flora across the various nature trails.

 

When to visit

 

A visit to Loch Lomond is viable at almost any time of the year, thanks to the wide range of things to do. However, keep in mind that some of the activities and facilities, such as campsites and boat tours, are seasonal. The months of April to September are naturally the most popular times to visit the area, when walkers take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather. If you're looking for more solitude, however, a visit to the loch during the low season can be equally as revitalising; the views of the snow-capped mountains are especially breathtaking at this time of year.

There are a number of visit-worthy events and festivals taking place in the region throughout the year, with Christmas and Hogmanay being particularly popular. If you'd like your trip to Loch Lomond to coincide with the annual Edinburgh Tattoo, take a look at our tour covering both.

 

Things to do

 

When it comes to things to do, Loch Lomond has plenty to offer visitors. Whether you are planning to conquer some challenging hikes or are more inclined to gentler activities, you're sure to have a fantastic trip. Here are our highlights for the best of the loch's attractions.

Walking trails

Walking and hiking is undoubtedly one of the most popular things to do Loch Lomond, and with good reason; the dramatic landscapes and wonderful scenery means that even a short stroll in the area provides postcard-worthy views. The wide variety of local environments; from spectacular mountain peaks to rich forests, allows ramblers of every level to enjoy the area's natural charm. The peaks of Sron a’ Chlachain and Strone Hill provide some striking views for those that partake in the strenuous uphill climbs, while the riverside walk along the Teith is one of the park's most pleasant easy walks.

Boat rides

Seeing the area from the water is a must while in Loch Lomond. There are several lochs across the national park, but the best for sightseeing are Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine. There are a number of options to choose from; hop aboard a cruise, charter a private boat or take the local water bus service during the summer. If you choose to see the sights from Loch Katrine you will also have the chance to ride the famous Sir Walter Scott steamship, which has been offering tours here since 1900.

Fishing

Keen anglers are truly spoilt for choice in Loch Lomond. Having so many different stretches of water - from the vast lochs to small rivers - means there are ample opportunities to catch a wide variety of fish, including salmon, trout, perch and carp to name just a few. You can charter a boat or set sail on a guided fishing trip, and you'll find all of the equipment you need, as well as bait, in shops at the nearby villages. Some of the best lakes for fly fishing include Menteith and Arklet, while those fond of coarse fishing will find the Orchill Fishery extremely worthwhile.

Visit local villages

There are plenty of chances to experience the local life surrounding Loch Lomond. Scotland isn't short of quaint historic villages, and the Trossachs National Park is certainly no exception. Stop off in pretty towns such as Balloch, Callander and Killin, and enjoy a welcome respite from outdoor activities with a hearty meal at a local pub. The scenic village of Luss is a highlight for many, and with its charming cobbled streets, chocolate box houses and sandy beach it's not hard to see why. There are several lovely walks to do here, too, allowing more exploration of this pretty conservation village. 

If you’d like to explore the local villages further north, take a look at our Scottish Highlands holiday.

Distillery tours

It would be rather obscene to visit Scotland and not taste the local whisky. Happily, there are several distilleries close to Loch Lomond, providing a perfect opportunity to spend an afternoon sampling the local creations. Pay a visit to distilleries such as Glengoyne, Deanston and Strathblane for a tour to see the much-loved staple being produced. Of course, there will be ample opportunity to sample and buy the whisky made here.

 

Where to stay

 

For those wondering where to stay, Loch Lomond has an array of options to suit most tastes and budgets. From luxury resorts to cosy B&Bs, you'll find plenty of accommodation dotted around the area. If you are particularly fond of adventure, you might like to experience wild camping in the park; the loch shores are especially scenic spots to set up for a night under the stars. In terms of specific areas of the park, you'll find the south and west are the most popular and as a result have more amenities. The eastern shore is quieter, but offers less in the way of accommodation options.

From the stunning Lochs of Scotland to the picturesque bays of Jersey, the UK is full of wonderful sights to explore. Take a look at our guided UK holidays for carefully-designed trips that showcase the very best of the British Isles.

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