Loch-side sleeping and exploring in one of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park's most historic locations
It’s not always clear which is the biggest attraction at Loch Katrine. The water itself – a nine-mile-long S shape in the heart of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park – or the 121-year-old single screw passenger steamship (the last of her kind) that sails across it. The world-famous steamer Sir Walter Scott came here in 1899 by barge, boat and horse-drawn carriage before being painstakingly re-assembled for her maiden voyage. Sadly, Sir Walter Scott is not currently sailing as she requires boiler repairs, please support the SOS – Save Our Steamship appeal to raise the funds to get her sailing next year. Details are on site and at the Loch Katrine website.
For today’s visitors it’s a far easier ride. A one-hour drive from Glasgow, a little more from Edinburgh, or the sleeper train from London to Stirling affording you a little less stress on your journey north. From Stirling, it's just a short drive into the spellbinding heart of the Trossachs and the Great Trossachs Forest National Nature Reserve. A truly magical setting, Sir Walter Scott described 'the scenery of a fairy dream’ in his famous poem Lady of the Lake.
Along with running the Steamship Café, the gift shop, a cycle hire centre and a fleet of boats with a variety of trips from piers around the loch, the team here at Loch Katrine also operate an excellent eco lodge site near Trossachs Pier and campervan sites at both Trossachs Pier car park and the lochside car park at Stronachlachar.
Opened in 2018, the 10 secluded lochside glamping lodges allow guests to enjoy modern comforts in the great outdoors. The lodges' prime position means glampers wake up in the long dawn shadows of Ben Venue, soundtracked by the rippling waters of Loch Katrine and the crinkling top of Ben A'an – the mountain in miniature – looming in the distance. As evening descends, the dramatic sunsets enjoyed from the lodges are very special indeed. Inside each eco lodge, a compact kitchen, heating, proper beds, TV and free Wi-Fi come as standard. The largest 'Loch' lodges also offer en suite shower rooms and underfloor heating while the new ‘Glen Lodges have en suite toilets and nearby they have their own designated showers. The ‘Ben’ Lodges don’t have en-suite facilities but they have their own designated toilet, shower and wash hand basin close by.
As pampered as an eco lodge stay might sound, it’s still a far cry from the delights Queen Victoria experienced when she came to visit the loch in 1859, famously demanding an entire house and jetty be built for her exclusive personal use. Alas, despite the production of the gothic royal cottage and jetty, which can still be visited to this day, Queen Victoria never stayed there overnight. The 21 gun salute that greeted her arrival shattered almost every window in the house.
If you’re not listening to such tales as you take a narrated boat tour across the water, then hiring bikes on site is also a fantastic option, with a quiet and family friendly road winding alongside the loch shore for 14 miles to Stronachlachar Pier where the Pier Café provides welcome refreshments in a stunning setting. You can grab a one-way boat ticket to the far end of the loch (taking bikes and buggies on board) and pedal back along the almost car-free, loch-side road. Hiking, meanwhile, is the key attraction for many. Whether it’s a gentle stroll to Glengyle (the birthplace of Scottish legend Rob Roy MacGregor) or to nearby Primrose Hill, taking the long route to Ben Lomond or making your way up to the nearby peak of Ben A'an, there are endless opportunities to keep you occupied. The latter even boasts views back down to the loch, where you can see passenger boats gliding across the water. From up top you can really understand how Loch Katrine – “highland thief or robber” in gaelic – earned its name. It certainly steals your breath away.
Stirling Fk17 8 Hz, Scotland, United KingdomTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by The Steamship Sir Walter Scott Ltd. L.Joined in October 2017
50 Ratings · 79 reviews
September 20, 2022
MH 10 - Hard Standing non-serviced Pitch
Great place for a few days park up. We had a choice of where to park our campervan. The Loch is stunning and plenty history around its banks. You can book to use shower and toilet room, as the main toilets close 5pm shart. Cafe, gifts hop, boat fishing and cruise all on site. Defo will be back.
September 6, 2022
12 - MH 2 - Hard Standing Motorhome Pitch
Great place for motorhome stay.
We stayed overnight with our rented camper van. Is a great location right near to the dock where the loch tour boats go from which has a cafe. Soon the Walter Scott steamship will be running from there again. Also you can hire e bikes to ride along the shore of the beautiful loch Katrine. There is a toilet block with a shower which is very clean and warm. Staff in the booking office are very friendly and helpful.
August 25, 2022
Loch Venachar - Eco Lodge
A great wee place!
Clean and cosy.
Friendly and helpful staff.
Will definitely be back.
August 20, 2022
Ben A'an - Standard Eco Lodge
Lovely place. All good, clean.
August 19, 2022
MH 10 - Hard Standing non-serviced Pitch
Lovely site easy to find. Facilities clean and tidy. No network signal but did get occasional Wi-Fi but no bother. Had breakfast in the cafe really nice too.
August 5, 2022
Ben Venue - Standard Eco Lodge
Excellent find overlooking the loch
We stayed in the cheapest lodge but were surprised but how good the accommodation was: bedding provided for an extra £20 and a private bathroom less than 2 minute walk from the cabin. The bathroom was great, good water pressure, lovely shower and a really decent size. The cabin itself was clean and well equipped, Wi-Fi is very patchy but we actually preferred this. The nearby cafe was great, really friendly staff and they were very patient with our autistic son. The view was absolutely amazing and for what we paid, you couldn’t ask for a better trip.
From the host
Staying in Loch Katrine EcoLodges or overnight in acampervan/motorhome are great ways to enjoy the stunning beauty of Loch Katrine.
When your day exploringnature’s wonderland is over – relax and let Loch Katrine be your home for thenight!
There are 10 loch side lodges inone of the most special areas of the Trossachs overlooking Loch Katrine and BenVenue, from which to choose. We offer you the opportunity to make one of theselodges your base for the week, weekend or a mid-week break away from the ratrace.
At this unique location, we are sure that this will be the starting point formemorable adventures in the Trossachs with walking, the Great Trossachs ForestFootpath runs close by; cycling, fishing or just taking it easy and enjoyingthe beauty of this very special place which is part of one of Britain’s largestNational Nature Reserves. During the darker nights, visitors can take advantageof our street light free location for a bit of star gazing too!
We hope to see you soon hereat Loch Katrine!
Catching a boat tour from Trossachs Pier to Stronachlachar is a must. The hamlet is full of history and not more than an hour’s walk from Inversnaid, a checkpoint on the West Highland Way. For cyclists, the road along the northern shore of the loch is a relatively flat, car-free tarmac surface, making it the ideal alternative route to the other end of the water. You can hire bikes from Katrine Wheelz (01877 376366) at Trossachs Pier and bikes can also be booked on board the boats, so you can cross the loch and cycle back. For other routes in the Trossachs, the ‘School House Cycle’ is a family-friendly trail that enjoys views across Loch Katrine and surrounding hills such as Ben A’an and Ben Venue. The trail itself is an easy ½-mile and can be combined with a cycle from Trossachs Pier or Stronachlachar but it also links up with 35-mile national route 7. Between Loch Katrine and Loch Achray, Ben A’an (Gaelic for “pinnacle” ) is one of Scotland’s more accessible peaks and one of the most rewarding hikes in the area. There are a series of well catalogued routes, for varying levels of hikers in the Great Trossachs Forest and Queen Elizabeth Forest Park (the latter boasts a visitor centre at the Lodge in Aberfoyle). The route from Loch Achray to the summit of Ben A’an is 2½ miles long, for those looking to experience the hilltop view without a complex climb. Other nearby attractions include the castles at Stirling (01786 450000) and Doune (01786 841742), whisky distilleries at Deanston (01786 843010) and Glengoyne (01360 550 254), the National Wallace Monument (01786 472140), Blair Drummond Safari Park (01786 841456) and Go Ape Aberfoyle (0845 094 9032).
Food and drink
There aren’t many spots with a view like Loch Katrine's own Steamship café (01877 376 799). Grab some pre-exploration breakfast, lunch or enjoy a much deserved tea and cake, all overlooking the loch. Situated at the Trossachs Pier, the café offers a warm welcome and extensive array of locally sourced fresh food on offer for families, hikers and cyclists in the area, as well as those staying at the campsite. Open daily on a seasonal basis but not in the evenings. New for 2021 there is a takeaway facility, with lochside seating.
There are a number of places to eat and drink in lochside settings and also in the nearby settlements of Brig o Turk, Callander and Aberfoyle. A daytime visit to the Pier Café at Stronachlachar by boat is highly recommended.