At the head of one of Scotland’s prettiest lochs, Kinross offers easy access to the outdoors.
Around midway between Perth and Edinburgh, the bustling town of Kinross is well worth a stop. Kinross sits at the head of Loch Leven, which is a national nature reserve noted for its abundant birdlife, and the largest loch of the Scottish Lowlands. You can explore the loch and its surroundings by foot or bike by following the 16-mile (26-kilometre) Loch Leven Heritage Trail that travels along the north and east shores of Loch Leven. Another popular activity is taking a tiny ferry to Lochleven Castle, perched on an islet on the loch. The castle is famed as the place from where Mary, Queen of Scots escaped captivity in 1567.
Staying within the town puts you within easy reach of Loch Leven, as well as several golf courses and facilities such as shops and restaurants. Just north of the town centre, Gallowhill Caravan and Camping Park has grassy pitches for tents and campers with views of the surrounding hills.
If Lochleven Castle piques your interest, you can further explore the life of Mary, Queen of Scots at the 16th-century Falkland Palace, one of her favourite retreats. The town of Falkland is also a draw for walkers, who can head into the nearby Lomond Hills Regional Park. On the edge of the park, family-run Pillars of Hercules Organic Farm has basic pitches for tents and small campers.
A 25-minute drive north of Kinross, the small village of Dunning has a long and rich history with Pictish and Jacobite connections. The village is also surrounded by hills and glens to be explored. Just south of the village, the small working Greenhill Farm is home to cows, sheep, chickens and peacocks and offers a glamping experience in shepherds’ huts.
Summer is the most popular time to visit the area, but the peak season can bring crowds and booked-up campsites. If planning to visit in the summer, try to avoid travelling during the school holidays in July and August. The best time to visit Loch Leven Nature Reserve is in the autumn when around 20,000 pink-footed geese arrive. Note that the ferry to Lochleven Castle only operates from April to September.