The conservation and heritage charity for the
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

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Park Gateways

Dunoon, Gateway to CowalThe main approach roads to the National Park are well signposted, but before entering the designated Park area, there are a number of interesting gateway towns and villages nearby. They are well worth a visit and also make ideal touring bases.


In the west, this is a classic gateway to the beauties of Cowal.  Dunoon is the largest town on the peninsula. It has good shopping and leisure facilities and is known as the maritime gateway to the Park. Its ferry links across the Clyde Estuary - a short crossing with a real sense of ‘getting-away-from-it-all’  - gives access to a scenic hinterland  that feels almost like an island. And the town has a good accommodation choice as a base for exploring the Argyll Forest part of the Park and further afield.
Historic points of interest include the Robert Burns connection by way of a statue to ‘Highland Mary’, the poet’s lover. Nearby are the scanty remains of Dunoon’s ancient castle, once a royal fortress with the Campbells as hereditary keepers. Dunoon is also famous for its annual Cowal Gathering, with the world-renowned ‘March of a Thousand Pipers’ thought to be the largest gathering of its kind in the world.


Hill House, Helensburgh
This attractive tree-lined planned town is easily accessible by road and rail from Glasgow and has easy access both to the western and southern portions of the Park along the west bank of Loch Lomond.  Like Dunoon it is a long-established Clyde coast resort town, with a good share of the fine villas and mansions originally built by the city merchants and business folk.  Helensburgh is the setting for perhaps the most famous of all: Hill House by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.
With plenty of accommodation choice, and the Park just minutes away ‘over the hill’ Helensburgh is an excellent gateway. The town is also on the Three Lochs Way, a signposted walking route that takes an exciting course northwards into the Park high above Loch Long.

StirlingThe Wallace Monument, Stirling

Further east, the city of Stirling also gives easy access to the National Park. The Trossachs hills and Ben Lomond are prominent from the ramparts of its ancient and impressive castle, for long at the centre of Scotland’s story. And it is an easy journey from Stirling to both Aberfoyle and Callander, within the park boundaries.
Well-resourced with a good range of shops, accommodation and other leisure facilities for those visitors preferring a larger centre as a base, Stirling also lies close to the motorway network and has good rail connections.


Comrie, an attractive Perthshire villageContinuing round the Park area, further north, visitors cross the boundary west of the attractive village of Comrie. The same fault line encountered to the south-west by Ben Ledi and through the Loch Lomond islands, also marks the Highland-Lowland edge hereabouts - so that Comrie has a real sense of a portal or gateway to the grand landscapes that lie beyond by way of Loch Earn or Ben Vorlich.
While Comrie has places to stay, as well as little shops and galleries along its main street, the choice is further widened by the larger town of Crieff, just minutes away to the east.

Things to See and Do

There is a huge range of places to see and things to do in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. For many the choice starts with making the most of the outdoors, with walking and cycling trails galore, golf, angling and horse-riding; plus all the options on the water, from cruising to canoeing. The shopping choice at places like Callander, Aberfoyle or Loch Lomond Shores, plus the range of museums and visitor attractions within easy reach of the National Park all add to the all-weather options.  

The businesses featured here are all supporters of the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, either through our Business Supporters Scheme or the Our Park Visitor Giving Scheme. They all recognise the value of caring for the special, natural and cultural heritage qualities of the National Park and with the help of their customers they are contributing to a range of practical projects to make the Park a better place. They value your support and patronage.There are also fuller details of things to see on the National Park website and the websites of active local tourism groups in the area (see below)

Recommended by the Friends

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Lodge on the Loch, Luss

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