Loch Lomond has been the subject of much verse and song, hailing the beauty of the place. But it’s more than just scenery, it has become a vibrant centre for water sports.
This beautiful loch presents you with the perfect holiday location, set right in the middle of one of Scotland’s most idyllic and unspoilt areas. I have driven around the loch many times on my way north, and I always leave home at least an hour earlier than I need to, because I find it difficult not to stop and admire the fabulous views.
Less than 30 miles from Glasgow, holidaying here gives you the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery, towns and villages in the area, the convenience of being close to the city, and you’ll find many excellent hotels and guest houses around the loch.
Car hire is essential if you’re coming here for a holiday or a short break. If you are based in or near Glasgow, hire a car and just take your time exploring the whole area.
If you ARE driving from Glasgow, you will first arrive in the lovely village of Balloch, on the southernmost point of the loch. This is probably the best place to start off, as you will get to see Balloch Castle and if you have time to spare, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll on the fabulous nature walk on the grounds of Balloch Castle Country Park.
While in Balloch, most of your shopping needs are catered for with the Loch Lomond Shores retail outlets, and, if you are going to need a supermarket you really have to make a stop here, because you won’t find any on your way round the loch.
But what you will find is the old paddle steamer ‘Maid of the Loch’ which is tied up at Balloch pier where it has served as a floating restaurant for some years.
Families can enjoy outdoor activities, including pedal boats on the loch, with the ‘Can You Experience’ and the Rangers at the National Park Gateway Centre, have fun playing in the soft play at the Ceramic Experience, or learning and touching at the Loch Lomond Aquarium. From here you can also have a short cruise on the Loch.
Public transport will get you as far as Balloch, but the only practical way of getting around Loch Lomond is by driving or cycling, as it covers an area some 24 miles long and 5 miles wide, but it’s worth seeing. There are lovely little towns and villages dotted around the loch where you can find some restaurants and lots of coffee shops.
From Balloch, travelling up the west side, you will pass through Arden, and arrive at Luss, which was the setting for the old Scottish soap opera, “Take The High Road”.
Luss (pictured here) is a Conservation Village, beautiful, and very peaceful. You can also have cruises from here, but if you do venture down to the pier, you’ll probably want to stay there, captivated as you admire the stunning views, including Ben Lomond.
Also on the west side is Tarbet, with the Ben Lomond Cafe and Craft Shop, and the Tarbet Tea Room. And, as you’ve maybe guessed, there’s more pleasure cruises from here. There’s also the Tarbet Hotel, railway station and Tourist Information Centre.
Ardlui, on the northernmost point of the loch, has a marina, and a caravan park where you can get permits for fishing on the loch. A ferry takes you to the east side, for the best Pike fishing in the area. But there’s more than just Pike here. The Loch is the largest expanse of fresh water in Britain, with a plentiful supply of Brown Trout, Salmon, Sea Trout and Perch, and the south of the loch offers really good fishing.
Other attractions include The Golf Club which is situated on its south western shore. More recently another golf club, “The Carrick” has opened on the banks of the Loch adjacent to the Golf Club. There are also golf courses at Drymen and Alexandria.
Travelling down the eastern side of Loch Lomond you’ll find the quaint little villages of Inversnaid, Balmaha, Rowardennan, and an assortment of interesting towns and villages further inland, with the most beautiful scenery to view everywhere you go.
In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, Loch Lomond was named as the sixth greatest natural wonder in Britain, which is not surprising given the natural beauty of the place.
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Apart from the many pleasure cruises, there is also a variety of water sports available, like water skiing, jet skiing and sailing to keep the family amused. You can also enjoy delicious food and great views over the Loch at the nearby Duck Bay Hotel & Marina.
This beautiful area is not only the perfect holiday location in itself, it provides an ideal touring base for exploring the North, Central, South and Eastern areas of Scotland, including The Trossachs, and the cities of Stirling, Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
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