Marking the boundary between the lowlands and the Highlands, Loch Lomond offers the perfect mix of scenery and adventure, and is your gateway into Scotland’s biggest National Park.
In under an hour from Glasgow the train takes you to the shores of Loch Lomond, looking out to forested hills and mountains – it’s one of Scotland’s premier outdoor activity destinations. The loch’s surrounding villages boast three railway stations.
The closest to Glasgow, Balloch, lies at its southern tip, with the Loch Lomond Shores retail centre and Sea Life aquarium. To strike deep into the wilder heart of the national park, take the first stretch of the scenic West Highland Line to Arrochar and Tarbert on the western shore, or Ardlui in the north – perfect for hikers and mountain bikers.
It takes just over an hour to reach Arrochar and Tarbet, and roughly an hour and a half to Ardlui. As part of our most popular Great Scenic Rail Journey, expect brilliant views first over the Clyde firth, then through the woods to the dark waters of the loch. And if you’re travelling to Balloch by train, don’t forget that you get access to exclusive offers, including 2 for 1 entry to top attractions.
Getting to and from Loch Lomond by train
- Glasgow Queen Street to Balloch – approx 44 minutes
- Glasgow Queen Street to Arrochar & Tarbet – approx 1 hour 19 minutes
- Glasgow Queen Street to Ardlui – approx 1 hour 36 minutes
A visit to Loch Lomond opens up a whole range of active and more leisurely adventures. The loch is one of Scotland’s top boating and watersports destinations, offering everything from kayak and canoe safaris to jetski and speedboat fun. Want to take it easy, stay dry, and enjoy the stunning views? Climb aboard one of Sweeney's Cruises from Balloch, or a Cruise Loch Lomond boat at Luss, Tarbet or Inveruglas.
There’s a regular waterbus that stops at popular places around Loch Lomond – pick up a timetable at the visitor information centre in Balloch for details.
For an easy day’s cycle, try getting the train to Arrochar and Tarbert and cycling south along the a 28km cycle path along the loch’s west bank to Balloch.
For a short hike, hop on the bus from Balloch to Balmaha and head up Conic Hill. The short, steep climb rewards you with spectacular views across the loch and the surrounding mountains. There’s a visitor centre at the bottom, as well as a great pub. If you need to fill the afternoon, catch the boat to Inchcailloch, a small island close to Balmaha with a secluded, sheltered beach – ideal for lazy picnics and wild swimming.
Those who only want to admire the view, should head to Balloch’s Loch Lomond Shores complex. There, along with a good range of shops and and restaurants, you’ll find the historic Maid of the Loch paddle steamer – currently open to the public as a visitor attraction – and the Sea Life Loch Lomond Aquarium.
If you’re up for a serious hike, you’ve got plenty of options. A section of the West Highland Way runs along the east shore – catch a bus from Balloch to Drymen and set your course north towards Ardlui. There’s a hostel at Rowardennan, if you want to break the walk into a more leisurely two-day affair. You could also tackle Ben Lomond: get the waterbus from Balloch to Rowardennan Pier, and the 974-metre (3,196 ft.) Munro is there for the taking. It’s a serious mountain though: take the right kit with you.
Find out more
- VisitScotland website
- Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park website
Travelling from Loch Lomond?
With Ardlui, Arrochar and Tarbet all on the West Highland Line, it makes sense to continue your journey north to take in this spectacular Great Scenic Rail Journey. Set your course for Fort William and Mallaig to get the full spectacle, including the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, or head for Oban and the gateway to the west coast isles of Mull, Lismore, Coll, Tiree, and Barra.
Ways to save...
- Spirit of Scotland Travel pass: 1-2 weeks of train, ferry and coach travel covering the whole country
- Rail & Sail: combine train and ferry travel into one ticket for more convenience and better value
- Kids Go Free: travel off-peak and up to two children aged 5-15 can travel free with each adult
- Railcards: see if you could save with a national or regional Railcard