Scotland is world-famous for its beautiful lochs and highlands. All elements of this scenic beauty is on full display in the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, conveniently located within a few hours of Glasgow and Edinburgh.
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The Loch Lomond National Park straddles the Highland Boundary Fault line which literally separates the Scottish Lowlands from the Scottish Highlands. Stand atop Conic Hill and you’ll see flat farmland on your left and rolling mountains on your right.
Look straight ahead and you’ll see a chain of islands across Loch Lomond which were created by the fault line. A pretty amazing sight (and kinda educational too!)!
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is an outdoor playground, filled with endless opportunities for family-friendly adventure.
Where to Stay in Loch Lomond with Kids
With an area of over 700 square miles, there is no shortage of Loch Lomond accommodations. If you’d prefer to stay in a town with a selection of restaurants and shops, there are four primary places to choose from:
- Balloch is the largest center and the transportation hub of the national park. This is the easiest place to stay given it has a Visitor Centre, many restaurants, shops and a grocery store. Plenty of organized tours leave from here as well.
- Luss: a small, but very charming village along the western shore of Loch Lomond.
- Aberfoyle: An excellent choice if your adventures take you to The Trossachs region of the park. There’s plenty to do and plenty of places to stay.
- Balmaha: A small village on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond. The West Highland Way runs through Balmaha and is also the starting point for the very popular Conic Hill hike.
Not having been to Loch Lomond before, we chose to rent an Airbnb in Balloch due to its size and central location. This option was great for our family as we had our own rooms, a kitchen, laundry and a supermarket.
That said, most of our daily activities were near Balmaha or Aberfoyle. I still think Balloch worked best for our family, but we needed to do 30-60 minutes of driving every day to get to our hikes.
Loch Lomond Accommodation Options
Search for Loch Lomond B&B’s and more on Booking.com
Getting to Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a rugged wilderness, so it’s amazing how close it is to Scotland’s two major cities.
There are several towns to choose from in Loch Lomond, but Balloch is the most logical place to start. Nestled on the southern shore of Loch Lomond, Balloch is the logistical hub of the park where most Loch Lomond tours originate from.
Given most of Loch Lomond’s attractions are outdoors in remote locations, we highly recommend having your own rental car. Your most convenient location to rent a car is the Glasgow Airport (GLA), which is only 24 miles away from Bolloch. The Edinburgh Airport (EDI) is another easy option, but it’s a 72 mile drive.
Depending on the age of your kids, you may need car seats for your rental car. We figured out that buying our own at Argos was cheaper than renting them for 2.5 weeks. You may wish to do the same math…
If you are ok without a car, you can get to Balloch by bus or train from Glasgow or Edinburgh. Here’s how:
Best Things to do in Loch Lomond with Kids
Scenic Hill Walking
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is home to several famous long-distance treks, including the West Highland Way and Rob Roy Way. These multi-day treks are long and hard, but this doesn’t mean families can’t get in on the fun.
The following hikes take you to the summit of hills in the Scottish Highlands. Being uphill, they can be a bit challenging, but they are all popular with families and should be within the physical capability of most.
Conic Hill Hike
This very popular 5.3km Loch Lomond hike takes you along a portion of the West Highland Way through an ancient forest to the summit of Conic Hill. At the top you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of Loch Lomond National Park.
The string of islands you’ll see cutting across Loch Lomond are visual evidence that you are standing on a fault line which separates the Scottish Lowlands from the Scottish Highlands.
Read more about hiking the Conic Hill Walk with kids.
Ben A’an Hike
Ben A’an is another very popular day walk in the Trossachs section of the national park. This is a short, steep hike to the summit of Ben A’an. The payoff at the top are sweeping views of two lochs nestled within the surrounding mountains of the Trossachs. There’s lots of space at the top to enjoy the views while having a well-earned family picnic.
Read more about the hiking to the Ben A’an summit with kids.
The Whangie Hike
The Whangie is a fun, family-friendly hike just south-east of the national park. The Whangie is a 5.6km hike which slowly climbs the side of Auchineden Hill. At the far end of the hill is the very fun Whangie rock formation, which kids of all ages will enjoy exploring and climbing.
Read more about The Whangie Walk in Scotland with kids.
Easy Walks in Loch Lomond
Given how many hills and mountains there are in Loch Lomand & The Trossachs National Park, we were impressed with the variety of easy hikes we found. Here are our favorites:
A fun and easy add-on to the Whangie hike, the Devil’s Pulpit is a short walk along the top of a canyon. There’s a set of stairs which descends to the canyon floor to a section where the water runs red. There’s a pulpit-shaped rock over the water, thus the name Devil’s Pulpit. Even without the gimmicks, this is a very scenic little canyon and is worth a stop if you are in the area.
Want to take a walk through the ruins of an abandoned 700-year old monastery? The atmospheric ruins of Inchmahome Priory are reached through a fun boat ride to an island in the Lake of Menteith. When you are done with the ruins, take a stroll through dense, lush forest around the perimeter of the island.
Kids should keep their eyes open for the wooden red squirrels hidden throughout the forest by the staff at the Visitor Centre. Can they find them all?
The Waterfall Hike in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park is easily the most fun our kids had in Loch Lomond. This hike is filled with little interactive displays to teach kids about Scotland and life in the forest.
Our kids literally ran the entire length of this short hike, running from one exhibit to another. The kids didn’t even notice the beautiful waterfall, until we forced them to stop and take a look.
Balloch Castle and Country Park
The beautiful grounds of the Balloch Castle is a wonderful place for an easy family walk. Built in 1809, the Tudor-Gothic Balloch Castle is currently closed and unoccupied, but it’s in great condition allowing kids imaginations to take over. Our kids decided this is where Merida from the Disney movie Brave lives.
As you explore the grounds of the castle you can walk through an ancient forest along the shores of River Levin as it flows into Loch Lomond. The pathway between the castle and Balloch is lined with many beautiful imported, ornamental plants and trees.
West Highland Way
The West Highland Way is famous for its scenic route between Glasgow and Fort William. Much of this hike is strenuous, heading over mountain-after-mountain, but not all of it is hard… There’s a nice long & flat stretch of the West Highland Way running north out of Balmaha.
This stretch runs through the forest along the western shores of Loch Lomond offering excellent scenery along the way. As a bonus, there are a series of beautiful beaches along the shores of Loch Lomond at the 1.5km mark. It’s a great place to take your kids to play after summiting Conic Hill.
Read more about these easy Loch Lomond and the Trossachs hikes.
We like to have a map of these hikes and walks on our phones just in case. We’re currently using the GAIA GPS app for our offline hiking trail maps.
Loch Lomond Itinerary
Here is our 6-Day itinerary for Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park with Kids. If you have less time available, we’d recommend skipping the Whangie walk and the easy shoreline walk along Loch Lomond.
Day 1: Picked up our rental car at the Glasgow airport and drove 25 minutes to our Airbnb in Balloch. After a quick lunch, we walked to the Balloch Castle and Country Park for an enjoyable stroll along the shores of Loch Lomond and the estate lands of the Balloch Castle.
Day 2: Drove to Balmaha to hike the very popular Conic Hill Walk.
Day 3: A weekend day with lots of visitors from the city around and since we were still a bit leery of driving on the left-hand side of the road, we chose to hike The Whangie due to its close proximity to Balloch. Based on a recommendation from a local, we enjoyed a visit to the nearby Devil’s Pulpit.
Day 4: We drove to the Trossachs section of the park to walk to the summit of Ben A’an to enjoy the sweeping views.
Day 5: We’d been pretty active so far and thought the kids could use a bit of a break, so we hopped on a boat and visited the 700-year old monastery ruins of Inchmahome Priory. Afterwards, we drove to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park for a very fun & educational walk along the Waterfall Trail.
Day 6: We’d done our fair share of Scottish hill walking so far, so we decided to enjoy the scenery along the shores of Loch Lomond by walking further along the easy portion of the West Highland Way north of Balmaha.
Day 7: Packed up and drove to Fort William / Glencoe for the next leg of our Scotland family adventure.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Tours
A fun way to enjoy the scenery of Loch Lomond is to take the family on a 1-hour boat ride. Enjoy the transition from the Scottish Lowlands into the Highlands as you pass the islands created by highland boundary fault line on your way to see Ben Lomond.
Staying in Edinburgh? Why not try a full-day tour of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs? In the park, you’ll visit the shores of Loch Lomond as well as the Trossachs area. In addition to the park, you’ll also visit the Stirling Castle and the Kelpies.
A full-day tour of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs is also available from Glasgow. Enjoy a 1-hour boat ride on Loch Lomond and a visit to the Trossachs. A visit to Sterling Castle rounds out the tour.
Wondering what to pack for Loch Lomond? See our full packing list for Scotland with kids here (coming soon).