Home to mainland Britain’s largest lake, Loch Lomond’s raw nature and dramatic mountain slopes imbues its landscape with layers of fiction and fantasy. A beloved destination in Scotland’s hill-walking culture, encounter the untamed Highlands and the remote coastlines on foot, exploring 18th-century castles and waterfalls, and craggy peaks rising from western reaches.

At Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, discover the woodlands of the Golden Eagle, climb the Devil’s stairway in West Highland Way and explore the coastal islets of Inchcailloch — all embellished with picturesque villages and packed with wildlife.

1Discover the treasures of West Highland Way

A panoramic view of the trail from Milngavie to Fort William
A panoramic view of the trail from Milngavie to Fort William

This linear long-distance route is a real treat for lovers of Scottish adventure and takes in Milngavie, Balmaha, Rowardennan, Inverarnan, Glen Coe, Fort William and many stopover towns along the way. History enthusiasts will also be enthralled as the route travels through drovers’ roads – medieval rural trails that date back to Jacobite uprisings. 

2Walk through an ocean tunnel at the Sea Life Centre

This “tropical ocean tunnel” is right in the heart of Balloch. Located within the Drumkinnon Tower, the Aquarium Restaurant offers expansive underwater views of its 250,000-litre aquarium. The tour includes seven tropical zones, paired with views of an aquarium that houses more than 5,000 species of fish from around the world. The aquarium has an observation deck from where you can gaze at the awe-inspiring views of the lochs.

3Sip whisky in the Loch Lomond Distillery

A single malt pour of whisky from the Loch Lomond Distillery
A single malt pour of whisky from the Loch Lomond Distillery

Perched near Alexandria’s beautiful countryside, this is an award-winning whisky distillery in Scotland, offering a variety of tastings and tours. There is even the option of a specialist tour, which allows keen enthusiasts to create their unique blend and taste them at the end of the visit. Reserve a private tour of the distillery and explore the inner workings of Scotland’s only production facility where they make both grain whisky and malt whisky under the same roof.

4Enjoy pony trekking in the Midlands

Horses have played an influential role in Loch Lomond’s culture for centuries and were famously used as war horses. Today, there is a multitude of different horse and pony riding experiences that will allow you to discover the charming moorlands and valleys of the national park. Take beginner lessons in Tullichewan Farm or, if you are more experienced, ride through Balloch and Drymen, a region renowned for its beauty and dotted with polaroid villages.

5Fill up on scones at the Coach House Coffee Shop

Visitors enjoying scones and jam on a picnic table
Visitors enjoying scones and jam on a picnic table

There is nothing more quintessentially English than a platter of scones, and Loch Lomond boasts some of the best places to indulge in them. Coach House Coffee Shop is renowned as one of Luss’s most popular cafes featuring a wide range of local and Scottish fare. Do not shy away from ordering a platter of their scones with a side of jam or whipped cream, and compliment them with a wholesome cup of tea.

6Take a tour of the Loch Lomond National Park

Capped off by the Trossachs, the Loch Lomond National Park is an iconic backdrop in the Alexandria skyline. The trekking options on these 720 sq miles highlands are so challenging as diverse that aspiring athletes and climbers use them for training.

Walk across lochs and rivers with a million shades of green, cut through with waterfalls and Scotland’s most southerly Munro (a term used for any of the 277 mountains in Scotland). In the summertime marvel at the spectacular wildflowers. In the heart of this region is the Loch Lomond itself, emerald waters with vistas of the surrounding Ben Lomond, and the Arrochar Alps.

7Visit the Island of Inchmurrin

A view of the Inchmurrin coastline and village
A view of the Inchmurrin coastline and village

The “Highlander”-style seaside holiday has been perfected on Inchmurrin Island, the largest inland island in Britain. Alongside beach huts and the tall-standing Lennox Castle, you will find quiet beaches and historic ruins for a cultural experience. Hop on the Burnfoot Jetty at Arden for a 15-minute ferry ride that will take you to the island. Book a stay at one of their rustic cottages and dine on some of the finest local produce with spectacular views over Loch Lomond.

8Sail aboard the Maid of the Loch

Discover the grandeur of the thriving Scottish countryside scene of the West Dunbartonshire aboard Maid of the Loch, Loch Lomond’s official paddle steamer. Help yourself to some traditional tea and home-baked confectionery before taking part in their onboard activities like audio displays narrating the journey of the steamer. Steamship enthusiasts can also volunteer to join the “crew” and experience the restoration campaign that is currently working to reconstruct the Maid for sailing in the summer.

9Marvel at Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s hill house

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s small, terraced house in the English midlands
Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s small, terraced house in the English midlands

Rustic, dramatic and contemporary all at the same time, The Hill House draws inspiration from the history and culture of its Scottish roots. With bespoke interiors and restored architecture, the establishment discreetly spread out across a formal garden. This exotic hideaway is designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh and its rooms boast of vivid design, cutting-edge technology, and unique modern amenities.

Due to its limited accessibility, it is recommended to book a tour in advance, where you can learn about the Blackie family, former owners of this domestic masterpiece and how the National Trust for Scotland is ensuring its historic preservation.

10Visit the Falls of Falloch

Nestled near river Falloch, just 30 minutes south-west of Crianlarich, Falls of Falloch is catnip for waterfall chasers. This is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of destination with 19 miles of trails: You might trek through the valley of Glen Falloch, make googly eyes at the caged walkway, or gawk at the treetop camps—one near the A82 and the other at the base of the waterfall.

Getting to Loch Lomond

Airport: The nearest airport is Glasgow (GLA) approximately 23 miles from Loch Lomond. Get a ticket for the Scottish Citylink bus from the airport for the fastest commute to your destination.

By Car: If you are planning to drive to the entryway, follow the A82 through the banks of Loch Lomond from the park’s entryway marker. With Balloch only north of the Stoneymollen Roundabout at Balloch toward the northern tip of the loch, drive towards Breadalbane and the north district of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

By Rail: ScotRail offers a train service regularly from Glasgow’s Queen Street Station to Balloch, the central transport stop from where you can easily reach the National Park.

More information: Check out www.lochlomond-trossachs.org for visitor information, upcoming events, travel inspiration and more.