fun things to do with kids loch lomond scotland   Travel for Kids
Scotland
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Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Loch Lomond video

Loch Lomond, famous in "the light shines bright on Loch Lomond," is a long skinny lake (the largest in Scotland), formed by glaciers in the last Ice Age. Different towns around the lake have been inhabited for over a 1000 years, and this is also Rob Roy MacGregor country. Ben Lomond looms above the lake, and the shore is dotted with oak woodlands, wildflowers and thistles, the symbol of Scotland. Traveling with kids to Loch Lomond, plan to spend several days, there's plenty to do.

Tip: Loch Lomond has over 30 islands, many of which have the word Inch in the name – Inchmurrin, Inchcailloch, Inchmoan, Inchlonaig. "Inch" means island in Gaelic.

Loch Lomond Photo Album

 

lake cruises
  Loch Lomond boat cruises – One of our favorite things to do with kids is boat trips on the lake. There are one and two hour lake cruises, sunset cruises, and waterbuses. With the waterbuses, take the boat from one side of the lake to the other, get off, hike around, have a picnic, then go back on the waterbus. Here's the cruise and waterbus schedules: Sweeney's Cruises and Cruise Loch Lomond.
    Balmaha – A small but delightful town on Loch Lomond south, on the east side of the lake, and here's where you get the little boat that goes to Inchcailloch island.
     

Loch Lomond National Park Visitor Centre – Stop into the visitor center for exhibits about wildlife and geology of the area (and check out "Twiggy," a deer made out of twigs). Also, pick up the maps for Inchcailloch and other trails.

     

Trails

     

Balmaha Millennium Forest Path - A loop path, 1 mile (1.6km) that goes through woodlands with Scots pine, beech, oak trees, bluebells blooming in spring, autumn leaves in fall, views of the Loch.

highland cattle
   

West Highland Way - From the waterbus pier, follow the path north around the lake. In summer there pebbly beaches with children's playing at the water's edge, parents relaxing on blankets in the shade, bring a picnic. Continue walking along the trail to see a pasture filled with red Highland cattle, and black and white sheep grazing.

     

Picnic areas In the center of town are grassy areas, picnic tables next to the harbor. Try the delicious ice cream at the Oak Tree Inn.

    Inchcailloch – A visit to Inchcailloch is one of our favorite island excursions. Even in summer, if feels as if the island is yours, and it's an adventure.
     

At the little harbor in Balmaha, hop on the wooden boat (“ferry”) to the island (boat goes back and forth all day). Join all other families, kids, grandparents, bringing their picnic lunches to explore the island.

inchcailloch
   

From the pier, take the left fork for the Summit Trail that meanders through forests and ferns, and climbs up to the top of the island, with stellar views of Loch Lomond and all the islands.

   

Follow the path down to Point Bawn, with pebbly beach and picnic tables. Spread out your picnic.

     

To return on a different trail, take the low path (by the restrooms) that goes right along the lake around the island. The path goes up the hill, and by an ancient burial ground. There are sandstone gravestones from the 17th - 19th century (people who lived on the island were typically farmers, sheep herders, traders) - "Here lyes Gregor McGregor ..."

     

From the burial ground, take the North Jerry path back to the pier, where the ferry will pick you up.

     

 

luss stone houses
  Luss A charming town with blue slate houses, decorated with bright flowers in summer, paths along the lake and river, and sandy beaches, where kids can play (water is bit cold for swimming).
   

Luss Village Paths – Explore four different paths: Lochside Path, Riverside Parth, Slate Quarry Path and Luss Heritage Path. Pick up the paths at the parking lot near the park information. Lochside and Riverside are shorter paths, going along the lake, and Luss Water; for a longer hike (1 hour) take the Luss Heritage Path, through the village and into the countryside.

     

On the Lochside Path, there's a 19th century church, but some of the gravestones are 8th century, and there's also an 11th century Viking grave (the Vikings made it to Loch Lomond).

     

Waterbus – At Luss, pick up the waterbus to Balmaha and Balloch. The roundtrip to Balmaha is about 40 min. each direction, and passes by different islands along the way.

    Tarbet – With an impressive Victorian style hotel and spreading lawns down the lake, it's hard to imagine 13th century Viking raiders attacking the settlement (they brought their boats up Loch Long, then portaged over to Tarbet).
     

At the lake is the pier for the waterbus to Inversaid or Rowandennen, and lake cruises. There's tourist information, picnic tables, a cafe, lots of room for kids to run around, toss stones into the lake while waiting for the boat.

     

Glen Douglas hike – Follow the A83 (road to Arrochar), walking on the sidewalk until you see the sign for "Glen Douglas." Cross the road and walk along the wide track through fields with little streams, wildflowers in summer, horses grazing, farmhouses, views of mountains - be sure to close gates that you pass through. Walk along the track as far as the kids like (we hiked while waiting for the boat to arrive), then retrace your steps and return to town.

    Inversnaid –
     

Inversnaid Falls The river that flows out of Loch Arklet tumbles over a high cascade, Inversaid Falls, into Loch Lomond. You'll find picnic tables next to the waterfalls, or lunch in the hotel.

     

West Highland Way – Hike the West Highland Way along the lake. At the hotel car park, look for the West Highland trail sign, and trail symbol, the thistle. Along the trail are plenty of pebbly beaches where kids can play, incredible rock formations and moss covered walks.

rspb trail inversnaid
   

RSPB Trail – A short distance up the West Highland Way, take the RSPB Trail that forks east, and goes up the hill. The trail follows through woodland with mossy streams and trees, then climbs up through an amazing field of ferns (tall as an adult). At the summit, are benches, lovely views of Loch Lomond and the Arrochar Alps across the lake. Follow the trail back down the hill, where it rejoins the West Highland Way (and retrace your steps to Inversnaid).

     

Tip: Just a short distance up the West Highland Way from the RSPB Trail, maps are marked with Rob Roy's Cave. It really isn't a cave, and there won't be much to see if you go up the trail - kids will just have to imagine the legends of Rob Roy, rustling cattle and hiding out from the Duke of Montrose and his henchmen.

    Loch Katrine – Loch Katrine area has plenty of stories about Rob Roy MacGregor – he was born at Glengyle, and Factor's Island is so named because Rob Roy grabbed one of the Duke's men and kept him prisoner on the island.
     

Cruise the lake in style on the Victorian steamer S.S. Sir Walter Scott – pick up the streamer at Trossachs Pier. Here's the schedule.

     

Hikes Take the Brenachoile Trail from Trossachs Pier that goes along the lake (picnic tables along the way) for 2 miles.

     

Rent bikes – Rent bikes (kids bikes are available) at Trossachs Pier and bike on the North Shore Road all around the lake. Perfect for teens, bike all the way, 12. 5 miles, to Stronachlacher Pier, and return on the boat.

    Scottish Wool Centre (Aberfoyle) – At the Scottish Wool Centre, watch sheepdog demonstrations (dogs herd ducks instead of sheep) April to Sept., explore the paddocks with sheep, goats and miniature horses, there's a restaurant with Scottish snacks, picnic and children's play area.
    Trossachs Woolen Mill (Callander) – Stop here to see Hamish, a Highland Cow, more than 20 years old, and Honey and Hamish Dubh, kids will have fun feeding them, and see the traditional weaving center. Open year round.
kids books loch lomond scotland
     
 
Rob Roy and All That
Allan Burnett, Scoular Anderson

Adventures of 18th century folk hero Roy Roy MacGregor, who defied the powerful Duke of Montrose, kidnapped rent collectors, rustled cattle, was imprisoned but always escaped, and shared his ill-gotten gains with the poor. Good for older kids. (Illustrated chapter book)

 

travel for kids | scotland | highlands | loch lomond & trossachs
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