Bell tent camping near Helensburgh

The pretty town of Helensburgh is an easy getaway from Glasgow and a gateway to Loch Lomond.

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Bell tent camping near Helensburgh guide

Overview

For well over 100 years, the elegant resort town of Helensburgh has been a popular retreat from Glasgow, less than an hour away. The town draws visitors with its handsome mansions (including the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-deisgned Hill House); long seaside promenade, and pretty parks and gardens. It’s also a favourite of outdoor enthusiasts for its easy access to the Argyll Kayak Trail, cycling trails and hiking trails including the John Muir Way and Three Lochs Way, which links Loch Lomond, the Gareloch and Loch Long. From parking in a comfortable caravan site to wild camping in spectacular scenery, campers have plenty of options.

Where to go

Balloch

Six miles east of Helensburgh’s town centre, and close to Loch Lomond, Lomond Woods Holiday Park is ideally placed for embarking on cruises and kayaking adventures on the loch. The site has touring pitches suitable for caravans and motorhomes, as well as a selection of glamping pods and static caravans (including one with a hot tub).

Luss

Nine miles northeast of Helensburgh, the pretty village of Luss is one of the main gateways into Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and a typical departure point for sightseeing cruises on the loch. Just outside the village, and away from the crowds but within walking distance of a pub and shops, Luss Caravan and Campsite is set on the western banks of Loch Lomond and offers a selection of grass and hardstanding pitches. 

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

A landscape filled with steep mountains, lush valleys and shaded woodland trails makes Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park a magnet for outdoor adventurers. There is a wide range of private campsites in the park, including the basic campground on Inchcailloch island on Loch Lomond, accessed by boat from Balmaha, 20 miles east of Helensburgh. Visitors following the Scottish Outdoor Access Code may also wild camp, though in some areas campers are restricted to designated sites where permits are required from March through September.

When to go

For long and often sunny days, May through September is the best period to visit, although the area does get crowded with tourists in July and August. September is a great month to visit as most of the large crowds have gone and the autumn colours and blooming heather make Loch Lomond especially beautiful.

Know before you go

  • Not all campsites are open year-round: check opening dates before traveling.
  • If choosing to wild camp, be sure to adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
  • Helensburgh is easily reached by train from Glasgow. Buses from Helensburgh can take you into the national park.
  • Biting midges are a common nuisance in the summer. It’s a good idea to wear long sleeves and bring repellent.

Top regions near Helensburgh

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