Places to Visit in The Trossachs and Loch Lomond
Information on the best places to visit to get the most from your stay in The Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park.
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No visit to Argyll in Scotland is complete without a visit to Inveraray Jail. This is not a copy of a historic Jail and County Court, but the genuine article and now a living museum and Scotland's top Scottish visitor attraction. Here real people portray life in a 19th century prison. Vistors are encouraged to Interact with costumed characters, watch courtroom trials, talk to the prisoners, meet the Warder, go to jail and witness cell life, sample the punishments, browse the exhibition of prison artefacts, then make your escape. Also, join the UK's top ghost hunters in ghost hunting nights and paranormal investigations. Open all year round, kids under 5 enter for free.Click here for more info.
Stirling Castle is a great symbol of Scottish history and a source of national pride. The Castle's long, turbulent history is associated with great figures from Scotland’s past such as William Wallace, Robert The Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots. It is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position. Its strategic location, guarding what was, until the 1890s, the farthest downstream crossing of the River Forth, has made it an important fortification from the earliest times. Most of the principal buildings of the castle date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Today, The Castle is host to a huge range of events from music concerts to military exhibitions. It is also possible to have your Scottish Wedding in Stirling Castle. The Castle is open all year round and children under 5 can enter for free.
The Wallace Monument
The National Wallace Monument is a tower standing on the summit of Abbey Craig, a hilltop near Stirling in Scotland. It commemorates Sir William Wallace, the 13th century Scottish hero. The tower was constructed following a fundraising campaign, which accompanied a resurgence of Scottish national identity in the 19th century. In addition to public subscription, it was partially funded by contributions from a number of foreign donors, including Italian national leader Giuseppe Garibaldi. Completed in 1869 to the designs of architect John Thomas Rochead at a cost of £18,000, the monument is a 67-metre (220 ft) sandstone tower, built in the Victorian Gothic style.
The tower stands on the Abbey Craig, a volcanic crag above Cambuskenneth Abbey, from which Wallace was said to have watched the gathering of the army of King Edward I of England, just before the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Visitors climb the 246 step spiral staircase to the viewing gallery inside the monument's crown, which provides expansive views of the Ochil Hills and the Forth Valley. A number of artifacts believed to have belonged to Wallace are on display inside the monument, including the Wallace Sword, a 1.63-metre (5 ft, 4 in) long sword weighing almost three kilograms. For more information and to arrange a visit to the Wallace Monument go to this page.
Set on an island in the Lake of Menteith, Inchmahome (meaning Island of St Colmaig) Priory is an idyllically-situated Augustinian monastery dating from 1238. Much of the 13th century building remains. In 1547 the priory served as a refuge for Mary, Queen of Scots aged four, hidden here for a few weeks following the disastrous defeat of the Scots army. Rich in wildlife, the woodlands are carpeted in wildflowers. 3 Spanish chestnuts on the island are listed in Scotland's top 100 trees. Access can only be gained by boat from the Port Of Menteith fom March until September each year. Attract the boat by turning the signal post around so the white side faces the water. Don't forget your camera as you will truly be rewarded with some wonderful shots. Now in the care of Historic Scotland, See more Historical Buildings and Places to Visit in the Local Business Directory
Visitor CentresThe David Marshall Lodge
The David Marshall Lodge is situated on the hill above Aberfoyle and is a short walk from the village up a fairly steep path or can be reached by car. Recently refurbished to a high standard by The Forestry Commission Scotland it has splendid views over the surrounding countryside and forests. It is the starting point for many good walking routes and is also the home of Go Ape, the High Wire Adventure Course. The Cafe Lochan serves good food all day in the restaurant overlooking the Loch Achray Forest and there is also a shop within The Centre. Visit "The Lodge" page for more information as this is a great day out for all the family.
The National Park Visitor Centre Balmaha
Make a great day out at Loch Lomond even better by dropping into our visitor centre at Balmaha. Discover what makes this loch and village on the edge of the Highlands so special. Information, public toilets, internet access, children’s activities and play area are all available at the centre.
Open Saturday and Sunday 9.30am to 4.00pm
Balmaha is on the West Highland Way long distance walk and is also the gateway to so many experiences:
- Drink in the sights and smells of Inchcailloch, enchanted island in Loch Lomond
- Take to the water by ferry, water bus, rowing boat or canoe
- Stroll among the oakwoods on the Millennium Forest Path
- Straddle the Highland Boundary Fault – not as painful as it sounds!
- Discover wildlife, geology or local history with a National Park Ranger
- Get all the information you need from our Rangers at the centre.
The National Park Visitor Centre, Balloch, G63 OJQ Tel: 01389 722100
The Scottish Wool Centre
The Scottish Wool Centre sits in the shadow of Craigmore hill in Aberfoyle village, in the heart of The Trossachs. A major visitor attraction in the area, The Wool Centre has many activities our customers can enjoy. Come and see 'The Gathering', our three times daily dog and duck show, where our shepherd will give you a history of Scottish sheep and work his dog 'on hand' with ducks.( April to Sept.) Enjoy wandering around the outside paddocks where there are rare breeds of sheep, goats plus Calamity and Merlin our miniature horses.
If birds are your interest, we have a birds of prey area, fan tailed doves in our dovecot, plus our pond area has various breeds of hens for you to see or to buy! Our more active visitor can play crazy golf or enjoy our kid’s park, next to our picnic area. Visit our Lomond Restaurant for fabulous food before moving on to our large retail area. Open all year from 9.30am and entry is free. Call 01877 382850 for more information or to arrange a group booking.
WildlifeBlair Drummond Safari Park
Blair Drummond Safari Park was opened in 1970, and currently it covers 120 acres of land and has several exotic and endangered animals in its collection. The Park has many attractions, including a host of animals to be viewed on foot and by boat, a kids' adventure area, bird of prey and sea-lion displays, pedal-boats, rides and amusements. Like many safari parks, Blair Drummond features reserve areas that visitors drive through in their own cars and view free-roaming animals such as Bison, Lions and Rhinos.
With barbecue areas, restaurant and bar Blair Drummond is a great day out for all the family. It is open from March until November from 10am. For more information and to book tickets see the Safari Park Page here.
Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre has been voted one of the top five "Family Days Out" in Scotland in the 2014 Scottish Entertainment Guide Awards. Now located at the Lomond Shores Complex in Balloch on the shores of Loch Lomond, the new centre is open all year round and childeren under 3 years old go free. Home to 35 birds with over 25 species our new location is in natural woodland on the edge of Loch Lomond. The site is a relaxing venue to learn and escape every day life. The trees and surrounding vegetation provide the perfect backdrop for not only our own birds, but many species of native wild birds.
Back to the wild: We are active in the rehabilitation of wild birds, in conjunction with the Scottish SPCA. Our education room contains information relevent to Birds, of Prey, Owls, and Falconry.
For more information and to get 25% discount on your tickets visit the Bird of Prey Page.
SEA LIFE Loch Lomond Aquarium is just 20 minutes from Glasgow, situated on the stunning Loch Lomond Shores. The aquarium offers great fun for all the family, whatever the weather! With Sharks, the beautiful Turtle and Common Octopus, here at SEA LIFE you can see them all - from the rescued to the rare and the enigmatic. And can get closer than ever before. With special packages for groups and children tailored to your needs call the centre to arrange a visit. The Centre is just a 5 minute walk from Balloch Station and is open 7 days a week 10am-5pm (last admission at 4pm). Call the centre on 01389 721500.
The Argaty Red Kite Centre
Central Scotland's only Red Kite feeding station where visitors can watch these exciting birds and their spectacular flying. The Red Kite Centre is at Lerrocks Farm which lies on the Braes of Doune where the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage have reintroduced the Red Kite. It is with their help that we are providing a facility for enjoying the birds in comfort but without the risk of disturbing what is still a fragile population. The aim of the project is to have a self-sustaining population of Red Kites back in the wild, so the feeding here is minimal. To attend the working farm and see the feeding of the Red Kites, booking is recommended. We will confirm the best time to see the birds at the time of booking. Call us on 01786 841373 to arrange your visit.
Lochs and CruisesSweeney's Cruises on Loch Lomond
Step aboard Sweeney's Cruises and you step into something out of the ordinary. Whether you're joining us for one of our daily sightseeing cruises, a private celebration or a memorable corporate event, you'll find our luxury fleet of boats are equipped for the occasion - all against the most beautiful of backdrops, Loch Lomond. With cruises starting from Balloch, Luss and Balmaha its a great way to explore Loch Lomond. Cruising on the loch is available all year round and for further information, timings and prices go to the Sweeney's Cruises page here.
Sail on Loch Katrine
Experience the ever changing Trossachs landscape throughout the varying seasons, on board our classic and elegant steamship the Sir Walter Scott, our cruiser Lady of the Lake, or our latest arrival, the MacGregor of Glengyle. Select your sailing based on time, the route, or your ship of choice. Each sailing offers a different Loch Katrine experience.
From cycling expeditions to family adventures – a sail on Loch Katrine is the best way to enjoy the magnificent landscapes of the Trossachs. A list of all our cruises that are on offer, choose the one that’s right for you and enjoy Loch Katrine to its full potential. For more information on sailings and to get a 20% discount on sailing tickets visit The Loch Katrine Sailings Page. If you would like information about having your wedding aboard the Sir Walter Scott click on the link for more details. Enjoy your day out.
Cruise Loch Lomond from Tarbet
Cruise Loch Lomond offers you the opportunity to experience the serenity of the ‘bonnie banks’ from the comfort of one of six vessels in the fleet. Whether entertaining clients or colleagues, considering having a wedding on Loch Lomond, or celebrating that special occasion with a private party in this unique venue. Cruising on the upper part of the loch with departure points at Inversnaid, Rowardennan and Luss and also operating a Waterbus service to take visistors across Loch Lomond adding variations to any site seeing itinerary. Go to the Cruise Loch Lomond website from the Local Business Directory for more information.
Sail on Loch Fyne
The Portavadie Marina on Loch Fyne must be Scotland's best kept secret. Scotland's longest sea loch it is a great place to hire a yacht or a kayak, bring your own, or to simply chillout harbour side and watch the boats go by. Portavadie Marina and 5 star Leisure Complex. Onsite are a selection of Places To Eat and shop, plus Spa Facilities. For the more energetic you can hire bicyles to explore on land.
The Lochs of The Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park
There are many more wonderful scenic lochs within the boundary of the park and we have a more information on 14 of the most popular that offer visitors lots to see and do from sailing, fishing amd watersports. We also have lists of activity and equipment providers that will hire equipment if you have not brought your own or want to try something new and exciting. Click on the links below to visit the lochs pages.
Scotland's most famous export, after the Scots themselves! is Whisky. There are over 100 thriving Whisky Distilleries in Scotland and a few are within or nearby to The National Park. We have listed a few that can be easily reached on a day trip and which we recommend to be well worth a visit.Glengoyne Distillery
Dating back to 1833, Glengoyne is one of Scotland's oldest distilleries. The favourite tipple of the late Queen Mother, Glengoyne was given a hard to achieve Royal By Appointment seal of approval. Glengoyne is a distillery like no other as it has the slowest distillation process in Scotland. It’s as pretty as a picture, with its whitewashed walls and pagoda roof nestling into the bottom of Dumgoyne Hil on the Southern edge of The National Park. Glengoyne has a great range of tours for visitors all year round. To find more information about tours available and to get a 10% discount on your tour tickets visit the Glengoyne Page.
Below you can find 12 distilleries located in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and those that are within a day trip from The Park. Most distilleries offer tours where you can learn how to create Scotland's popular drink and taste the results of the process at the end of the tour. Besides tours for beginners, some distilleries even offer tours for whisky experts or tours where you can create your own blended whisky. Whisky distillery tours are fascinating as you see how plain Scottish water is turned into "Uisge Beatha", (pronounced "wish-ga bah-ha" or "ish-ga ba-ha") meaning the "Water of Life".
The Whisky Trail
We have compiled a list of Hotels, Pubs, Bars and Inns that have a good selection of whiskies from all over Scotland and can offer advice on each region and flavour. Some of the establishments have special whisky tasting menus and can help you organise a visit to a local distillery.
Some hotels also have special Whisky Breaks where the emphasis is learning about, matching whisky to food, and of course sampling, the many whiskies on offer from all over the whisky regions of Scotland and The Isles.
If you would like to know more about Scotch Whisky, its origins, types and what to expect when you buy a bottle of whisky, then visit the Whisky Home Page where you will also find an interactive map of the distilleries and how to get there.
The National Park has many centres for shopping with the main location being Stirling which has the Thistle Marshes Shopping Centre which has all the shops you would expect to find in any city. However, there are also some very nice speciality shops in Stirling's cobbled streets leading up to Stirling Castle which provide a good shopping experience for visitors. Other towns and villages have very individual and specialist shopping experiences all which add to the diversity of the The Trossachs and Loch Lomond.Portavadie Leisure Complex and Marina, Loch Fyne.
Portavadie has got to be SCOTLAND'S BEST KEPT SECRET! Purpose built on the shores of Loch Fyne, The Portavadie shop is a treasure trove of coastal-inspired clothing, accessories, gifts and more. You will find affordable luxury for men, women and kids with iconic brands such as Dubarry, Animal, Joules, O’Neill, Oakley Musto, Gill and Henry Lloyd and there are regular Arts and Crafts events. The perfect day trip or short break destination you will want to keep going back . Click here to visit Portavadie's Page to find more information and arrange a visit.
The Scottish Arts and Antiques Centre Doune
The Scottish Antique and Arts Centres at Doune offers an inspiring shopping experience, suiting many tastes, budgets and interests. Situated beside the picturesque Trossachs, and minutes from the historic Doune Castle, The Scottish Antique and Arts Centre at Doune has three halls of antique and vintage shopping at its best. Over the years the Centres have evolved from supplying antiques and collectables alone to introducing selected contemporary furniture, food, home accessories, fashion and contemporary art. Always looking at new ways to make our customers’ visit to the centre more interesting, this year we have added plants for sale by a local nursery just one of the many features at the centre which all went to gaining us a place in the ‘Top Ten Antique Centres in UK – Homes and Antiques Magazine. Go to the SAAC Page to find more information and arrange a visit.
The Scottish Wool Centre Aberfoyle
The Scottish Wool Centre in Aberfoye is a multi function visitor attraction with the emphasis on retail therapy, something that all visitors on holiday or a short break need a shot of !
Situated in the heart of the Village of Aberfoyle, the centre is a major attraction to the village. With something for everyone, from Cashmere, Harris Tweed, PG Field country and casual wear, James Pringle golf wear plus many gifts to take home including our large range of whisky in the food and whisky section, the centre is well worth a visit if you are looking for that special gift to take home, or just something to remember your visit.
The Scottish Wool Centre Aberfoyle Stirlingshire FK8 3UQ
Whether you're looking for big brand names or unique one-of-a-kind shops, there's not a more picturesque place to shop than at Loch Lomond Shores. Jenners department store offers a wide range of top-name designer and high street brands as well as a Valvona & Crolla foodhall with an irresistible range of Scottish food and whiskies. Our other stores offer visitors a wonderful selection of gifts, fashion items, jewellery and toys as well as an unmissable antiques and art centre. And once the shopping is complete, you can rest and admire the beautiful Loch view in one of our many cafes or restaurant.
Lomond Shores is also the home of the "Maid of The Loch" paddle steamer and the Sea Life Centre Aquarium making it a destination where you could spend a whole day exploring. With fantastic views up the loch and towards Ben Lomond Lomond Shores is a fantastic venue for shopping and sight seeing.
Loch Lomond Shores, Ben Lomond Way, Balloch, G83 8QL