things to do near Loch Lomond

6 Things to Do Near Loch Lomond

Although our most recent trip to Loch Lomond (In which we stayed at the fabulous Stuckdarach house, which I will literally never stop raving about to anyone who’ll listen…) only lasted a couple of days, because the loch is relatively close to us (the start of it is roughly 45 minutes from Glasgow), we’ve visited the area enough now for me to feel thoroughly qualified to provide you with this totally subjective list on some of our favourite things to do in the area. These are in no particular order, and when I say they’re totally subjective I mean, “there’s a reason why this list is titled simply ‘things to do near Loch Lomond,’ rather than ‘the best things to do near Loch Lomond’…”, but, with that important disclaimer out of the way, here it is…

6 Things to Do Near Loch Lomond

Amber and Max looking out over Loch Lomond

Luss

Luss is a village on the western shore of Loch Lomond, and it’s one of those places that’s so perfect it looks like it could be a film set. In this case, Luss actually IS a part-time film-set: scenes from Scottish soap Take the High Road have been filmed here, and if you were to take the modern cars –– and, OK, the modern people –– away from the pretty little main street, you could easily believe you’d gone back in time. 

Luss has a small pier, from which you can take a boat tour of the loch, and there are also lots of walking trails which take you into the countryside around the village. If that all sounds too cold/energetic for you, though, you could also do what we did and just spend some time browsing the souvenir shops, before settling in for lunch at one of the little cafes, while repeatedly saying, “Isn’t this place SO pretty? Do you think we should move here?” to the people you’re with.

Visiting Luss, on the banks of Loch Lomond

Max was less impressed with Luss than I was, but only because he wasn’t allowed an ice cream at this particular moment in time…

Loch Lomond Shores

You probably wouldn’t expect to find a large retail complex on the banks of a loch, but as Loch Lomond is one of Scotland’s more accessible lochs, it gets enough visitors every year to justify the existence of Loch Lomond Shores, which has shops, restaurants, and a whole host of other activities, including the Sea Life Loch Lomond Aquarium and Bird of Prey Centre. There’s also tons of other activities like play parks, mini golf, etc, so you could easily spend an entire day here, and still not have time to see it all. If I’d included these as separate items, I could’ve made this a list of EIGHT things to do near Loch Lomond, but I’ll be honest: the last time I went to the aquarium I ended up traumatised by someone holding a giant crab up in the air (context: my crippling fear of crustaceans…), and the last time I went to a bird centre I ended up… just traumatised in general, really … so I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s best I stay away from these places. You should totally go, though; I bet they’re brilliant, really.

The Hill House, Helensburgh

Does Helensburgh count as ‘near Loch Lomond’? Google informs me that the town is just 14 miles from Luss, so I’m going to go with ‘yes’. And even if it was further away than that, I’d still wholeheartedly recommend a visit to the Hill House, because it’s just that good. 

The house was built for the Blackie publishing dynasty, and was designed by architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, with the help of his wife, Margaret McDonald Mackintosh in 1900. If you know anything about Mackintosh and his work, you’ll know that he was light-years ahead of his time in terms of his designs, and the Hill House is testament to that, with light, airy rooms, which, even to someone as uninformed as I am about architecture, seem totally removed from the norms of the time. 

visiting the Hill House, Helensburgh

It’s a fascinating look at how the other half lived back at the start of the last century, and, almost as interesting as the house itself is the giant ‘box’ that’s been constructed around it in a bid to protect the deteriorating building from the harsh Scottish climate. The ‘box’ covers the exterior of the house completely, and contains a series of stairs and walkways which allow you to walk around the outside, and right over the top of the roof. It can be just a little bit freaky at times (I won’t lie, I was clinging desperately onto the handrail at some points…), but if you have a head for heights, it’s also a really cool experience: and there’s a pretty good cafe at the end of it, too… (Click here to see a quick video I made while we walked around it.)
walking around 'the box' at the Hill House, Helensburgh
(Oh, and it’s worth noting that the Hill House is part of the National Trust for Scotland, so if you’re members, you’ll get it totally free…)

Visit the Hill House website here

Ben Lomond 

Ben Lomond is one of Scotland’s best known Munros (or mountains), and it’s also one of the most scenic, thanks to its position overlooking the loch. I’ve never climbed it myself, but my husband has, and reckons it took around 4 hours, with stunning views at the end of it. I’m going to take his word for it, because I prefer to keep my mountain at a safe distance, but if you’d like to climb it yourself, you’ll find more information on that here

Inveruglas Pyramid

Speaking of views, if you have 15 minutes to spare, the Inveruglas Pyramid is well worth a visit. It’s a viewpoint on the banks of the loch, and, as the name suggests, it takes the shape of a large pyramid, which you can walk up to take in the view from the top. There’s also a restaurant and gift shop here, so it’s a good place to stop if you’re driving around the loch, or heading further north. 

the view from Inveruglas pyramidTarbet Village Shop

OK, I’ll level with you: this isn’t so much a “thing to DO near Loch Lomond” as it is simply a “thing I found kind of cute and interesting near Loch Lomond”. And it’s not so much a “shop” as it is a “shipping container”. But it’s a shipping container that’s been converted into a (very small) shop, it’s located in the car park of the Slanj Restaurant, and if you’re staying on the Stuckgowan estate, as we were, it’s the closest place to buy things like bread and milk, as well as a really quite astonishing selection of local produce. It did not, I regret to say, stock the eye makeup remover I sent my husband in search of, but I can’t blame it for that, because if I were a teeny-tiny village shop, I’m pretty sure I’d prioritize food and drink over eye makeup remover, too. Give it up for the Tarbet Village Shop, folks: we really enjoyed the pasta we bought from it!

And those are just a few of my favourite things to do near Loch Lomond: please feel free to add your own!

 

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