Balloch, together with the adjoining towns of Alexandria, Jamestown, Bonhill and Renton forms the Vale of Leven conurbation with a population of around 20,000. This occupies the valley between Loch Lomond and the River Clyde at Dumbarton.
Balloch is at the Southern entrance of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, but is the most urban of the communities in the park. The national park has no entrance fees, and if you are passing through the only evidence of the park that you may see are a few road signs.
- Two trains per hour run to 1 Balloch (BHC) from Glasgow Queen Street station. Note that on Sundays the service runs from Glasgow Central instead. Journey time is approximately 50 minutes.
- First Glasgow operate two services, the 204 and the 215 from Glasgow city centre to Balloch. Journey time can vary greatly between two to three hours.
- Scottish Citylink operate several services a day that run along the A82, which bypasses Balloch. The walk from the A82 is about 10 or 15 minutes and caution is advised while crossing the road.
- Balloch is easily accessible by car. The easiest route is via the A82, making a right turn at the Stoneymollan roundabout. Travel time by car is on average between 30 and 40 minutes from Glasgow.
Balloch village is small enough to get around on foot. The Loch Lomond Shores complex is about 15 minutes walk from the train station, however there are bus services running between Loch Lomond Shores and Balloch bus station.
By bike: a cycle path runs from Balloch along bypassed loops of road and purpose-built track along the west bank of the loch to Luss and Tarbet, 17 miles in all. It's level going and suitable also for hikers, wheelchairs and horses.
- 1 The Maid of the Loch. A paddle steamer that is undergoing a full restoration, The Maid is open to the public for most of the year. There is a small shop onboard operated by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society. There is also a cafe. The Maid of the Loch can be booked for private functions including weddings, so it may be closed at those times. Near to the Maid of the Loch is the Duncan Mills Slipway used as launching base for jet skis and power boats. A new attraction is the Steam Slipway complex.
- 2 Balloch Castle Country Park. The park was once a private estate set on almost 200 acres (81 hectares) of land. Today it is a public park and a venue for a variety of events from the annual Dragon Boat race to music festivals attracting tens of thousands of revellers. The centrepiece of the park is Balloch Castle which is closed to the public. It was built in the early 20th century to replace the old castle located further down the hill, and only served as a manor house. The park also has a few formal gardens including the Walled Garden, and the Chinese Garden adjacent to the castle.
- 1 Sweeney's Cruises (near Balloch railway station). Sweeney's offer one and two hour cruises, along with a sunset cruise. Cruises are mainly on board the Astina and the Silver Marlin, however some may operate on the smaller Lomond Duchess, Lomond Sunrise and Glen Falloch.
- 2 Can You Experience Loch Lomond, The Beach, Loch Lomond Shores, Ben Lomond Way, G83 8QL. Outdoor sports such as canoeing and mountain biking.
- 3 Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre (in the Loch Lomond Shores site). Nov-Feb daily 10:00-16:30; Mar-Oct daily 09:30-18:00. Home to variety of hawks, eagles, falcons and owls. adults £8.
- 4 Loch Lomond Aquarium (just off the A82 at Balloch, follow signs for Balloch and Loch Lomond Shores, just 20 minutes from Glasgow, it is within Loch Lomond Shores), ☏ . from 10:00. Many strange, beautiful and fascinating creatures of the deep. Astonishing close views of everything from humble starfish to mighty sharks, all in displays which carefully recreate their natural habitats. web £9.24, £13.20 on the door.
- Loch Lomond Highland Games are held at Moss o Balloch Park, west bank of the river. They're usually on the second Saturday in July, however the next is on Sat 18 July 2020.
- Luss Highland Games are held on the first Saturday in July.
- Loch Lomond Food & Drink Festival: the main event is in September, with the next on 7-8 Sept 2019. There's also a similar Spring event, with the next probably 4-5 April 2020 but tbc.
- 1 Loch Lomond Shores. Shops daily 10:00–18:00. Situated on the edge of Loch Lomond the complex comprises a shopping mall which has a variety of shops (including the prestigious Jenners department store), along with cafes and a restaurant. Lomond shores also a woodland path with several pieces of modern art on show, seasonal amusements, children's play park and Sea Life Loch Lomond Aquarium.
- 2 Lomond Galleries, Alexandria Main Street G83 0UG. Small shopping centre with a slightly tired selection of discount shops, but in an interesting building, the former Argyll Motor Works. This ornate sandstone factory was built in 1906 as the largest car factory in Europe at the time, but the company declined soon after the factory opened. It then became a torpedo factory, followed by an electronics factory, then was empty for a long period before the shopping centre opened in 1997.
There are several places to eat out in Balloch.
- Corries, 50 Balloch Road, ☏ . A large menu and friendly staff.
- Loch Lomond Shores. This shopping centre has The Kilted Skirlie Restaurant for traditional Scottish sit down meals, the popular but expensive Café Zest at Jenners, Queen of the Loch Hotel & Restaurant for pub food, Lomond Pirates Play Zone & Cafe and Caffé at the Shores for cakes and sandwiches
- The Maid of the Loch. Café on the paddle steamer (see above). Serves standard fare, but is a very nice setting.
Scottish and traditionalEdit
- 1 The Tullie Inn, Balloch Road, G83 8SW, ☏ . One of Balloch's most popular places to eat. It has a varied menu and large portions although is slightly pricey.
- The Balloch House, Balloch Road, G83 8LQ, ☏ . Offers more in the way of seafood and fish dishes along with some 'pub grub'.
- The Kilted Skirlie, Loch Lomond Shores, G83 8QL. A varied menu offering many Scottish favourites, and although slightly pricey it has a lovely view looking towards Ben Lomond.
- The Stables, Carrochan Road. In neighbouring Jamestown. Although expensive, the Stables has a large menu and offers very good food.
- Palombos of Balloch, 40 Balloch Road, G83 8LE. A fish restaurant adjacent to the chip shop.
- 2 Balloch House, Balloch Road, ☏ .
- Gowanlea Guest House, Gowanlea, Drymen Road, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Walkers and cyclists welcome.
- Sheildaig Farm B&B, Upper Stoneymollan Road, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Walkers and cyclists welcome.
- 3 Lomond Woods Holiday Park, Old Luss Road (17 miles northeast of Glasgow, just off the A82. From the South follow the M8 Glasgow airport signs and also Loch Lomond signs as you approach the city. Continue on the motorway past the airport and follow the Erskine Bridge signs. Cross the Erskine Bridge and take the A82 Crianlarich road to Balloch. There are signs on all the main approaches to Balloch on the A811. Turn left at the roundabout at McDonald's and take the first exit off the next Loch Lomond Shores roundabout. The park is 50 yards on your left.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 4pm, check-out: 10am. Site for caravans and motorhomes (not tents). Touring Caravan Pitches from £22 per night.
- 4 Cameron House, G83 8QZ (On A82; about 3 km northwest from the centre of Balloch), ☏ . Scottish baronial mansion on the banks of Loch Lomond, with an 18-hole championship golf course and a spa. The resort has four restaurants: the Cameron Grill serving local beef and salmon, the lochside Boat House with seafood from Loch Fyne and the relaxed Claret Jug in the golf clubhouse. The hotel was extensively damaged by fire in December 2017, and will be closed until autumn 2019, but the Boat House and Claret Jug restaurants remain open.