Day 1: Escape from the city
Morning: Start your trip in Edinburgh, Scotland’s cosy, cool capital. A few days can easily be whiled away exploring its cobbled streets. A walk down the Royal Mile will take you from Edinburgh Castle down past Tartan boutiques and year-round Christmas shops, copious taverns serving Haggis, neeps and tatties (best washed down with a smooth Talisker whisky, of course), all the way to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Other points of interest include Grassmarket for eating and drinking (Mary’s Milk Bar is a local favourite) and Victoria Street, claimed to be the inspiration for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley.
Afternoon: It’s time to head out on the road. Heading east, towards the historical city of Stirling and to Trossachs National Park! Yet another castle awaits, with its sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. After a short stroll around the town, continue driving deeper into the park, towards Callander and Loch Lubnaig. In Scotland, the journey is often just as impressive as the destination.
Evening: Have dinner in Callander (Scott’s Bistro is highly regarded) or take a picnic to the shores of Loch Lubnaig. Spend the night surrounded by nature in one of many lodges surrounding the loch, or set up camp nearby.
Day 2: The shores of Loch Lomond
Morning: Covering around 720 square miles, Trossachs National Park is immense, with varied topography and landscapes to rival that of, say, Canada. Whilst the drive from Callander to Loch Lomond is only around an hour, allow time for sightseeing along the way.
For example, the Inchmahome Priory is eerie from afar – it stands on an island in the middle of Lake of Menteith, Scotland’s only lake (rather than loch). Take your time soaking in the views as you head toward Luss on Loch Lomond’s west shore.
Afternoon: Luss serves as an ideal gateway to Loch Lomond, renowned as one of Scotland’s most ‘bonnie’ lochs. From the Loch Lomond Leisure centre you can rent anything from speed boats to pedal boats to explore the lake. For thrill seekers, there’s also a range of watersports such as wakeboarding, water-skiing and paddleboarding.
Back on dry land, young children will enjoy the magic of the Loch Lomond Faerie Trail, a quaint woodland walk with ‘faeries’, trolls and unicorns hidden amongst knobbly trees.
Evening: Watch the sunset over Loch Lomond from Luss pier before venturing into Luss town for a bite to eat – all that driving and time spent on the water is hungry work!
Book it with… Shearings
Shearings has a wide range of short tours offering a taste of Scotland. Its Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Weekend tour includes three nights hotel with a Scottish breakfast and three evening meals from £279pp. shearings.com