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National Park on a budget

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has something to offer for everyone, but with so many places to explore, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Here are five easily accessible destinations to explore in the National Park on a budget:

Balloch

Balloch

Balloch is a small but charming town that sits on the southern shores of Loch Lomond and offers plenty to see and do.

Balloch Castle Country Park is a must see. It offers stunning views across Loch Lomond and a large area of 18th-19th century designed landscapes, filled with ornamental woodlands and open parklands. Take a stroll through the tree-lined avenues up to Balloch Castle, a 19th century gothic mansion built on the foundations of the original castle. Be sure to stop off at the Walled Gardens along the way, which boast stunning plants and a perfect peaceful spot for a midday picnic.

At Loch Lomond Shores you can browse the shops, stop for a bite to eat or just enjoy the beautiful lochshore backdrop. There’s also a selection of cafes and shops on the main road through Balloch to drop in on during your visit.

Balloch is easily reached by frequent trains from Glasgow. It’s also the perfect spot to join the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path, or National Cycle Route 7, so be sure to bring your bike!

Find out more about Balloch.

Arrochar & Tarbet

Loch Long from Arrochar

The villages of Arrochar and Tarbet are easy to get to. Sharing a train station, they can be reached by the West Highland Line, one of the most scenic train lines in Scotland. Buses to Oban and Campbeltown from Glasgow’s Buchanan Street Bus Station will also stop here.

If you fancy going for a hike, the village of Arrochar is a popular spot for mountaineers. Take a trip up into the beautiful Arrochar Alps where you’ll get beautiful views of Loch Long, and tackle The Cobbler, one of the National Park’s most distinctive peaks thanks to its unique shape. The Alps are best for experienced hikers, but if you are brave enough to venture up you may even spot a rare golden eagle or red deer. The village also grants passage into Argyll Forest Park and Cowal, which offer plenty of more accessible hikes that are just as breath-taking.

If you fancy something a little more relaxed, nearby Tarbet sits at the northern shore of Loch Lomond. Here you can take a trip on the waterbus to Inversnaid or Rowerdennan. Even the trip between the two villages is a treat, just follow The Hidden Heritage Trail!

Find out more about Arrochar and Tarbet.

Luss

Luss

Take a Citylink bus from Glasgow to Luss and you’ll be greeted by a picturesque community of 18th and 19th century cottages. This conservation village is a favourite among tourists for a variety of reasons, not least of which are the sublime views of Loch Lomond, and the looming Ben Lomond. Luss’s church was built in 1875, decorated with Scots Pine rafters and beautiful Victorian stained glass, and is framed by a graveyard with stones dating back to the 7th and 8th century! There’s plenty for history buffs, including the strange tale behind the village’s Gaelic name…

For walkers, the Luss Hills are a smooth and simple climb that nevertheless offer some rewarding views for your efforts. No visit would be complete without visiting the beach, so grab an ice cream and see the beautiful panoramic views of Loch Lomond. Then, hop on a waterbus if you fancy extending your visit to Balloch, Balmaha, or the island of Inchcailloch. If you do fancy enjoying the lochshore waters, be sure to check up on our water safety advice.

Find out more about Luss.

Callander

Callander

Callander is a popular town for visitors to the National Park and is easily accessible from Stirling by bus. It’s a busy wee town, with plenty of places to eat, drink and shop, and sits comfortably alongside the River Teith, which runs through the glorious Trossachs. There’s even the opportunity to hire bikes if you want to take advantage of the nearby cycle routes. Given its popularity with tourists, the town is often selected as the site for numerous festivals and events, but if that’s too lively for you, it’s also the home of Europe’s largest burial cairn! This cairn, known as Auchenlaich, is thought to be a Neolithic burial ground.

Literature fans among you may be interested to know that the area has often been celebrated by the Romantics, including poets such as Coleridge and Wordsworth. If you make the trip down yourself, you can walk in their footsteps and experience the sights that inspired them. Both the Bracklin Falls and Callander Crags are popular routes that are just waiting to be explored!

If Callander peaks your interest, check out our vlogger, Erin, on her trip from Glasgow to the Callander Crags.

Read up more on Callander.

Balmaha

Balmaha

Balmaha is an essential stop for walkers on the West Highland Way, and can otherwise be reached by taking the 309 bus from Balloch bus rink. This east Loch Lomond village is home to the National Park’s only visitor centre, so is your one-stop-shop for anything you want to learn about the National Park itself.

This is also the ideal spot to book a waterbus or ferry over to Inchcailloch, perhaps Loch Lomond’s most famous island. The island is covered in stunning bluebells in springtime, but is home to an array of wonderful flora and fauna all year round. Deer are frequently sighted on the island since they were originally brought here for hunting, but if you’re lucky, you may even spot one of the white deer that roam the island’s woodlands.

Balmaha is also the starting point for the trail up Conic Hill, a beautiful hill walk that can be completed by most hikers in an hour or two. From the summit, you can see right across Loch Lomond, and trace the Highland Boundary Fault which separates the Highlands from the Lowlands by the trail of islands it leaves across the Loch.

Learn more about Balmaha.

We hope this has inspired you to take a trip to this beautiful part of the world, but there are a few things to know before you go. See our info on respecting your Park and staying safe here to make the most out of your visit.

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