Loch Tay is an incredible location for a holiday in the Scottish highlands. Loch Tay stretches for 15 miles (24 km) and it's roughly 508 ft (155 m) deep. It's a narrow loch and the sixth largest loch in Scotland, located in the central highlands.
If you're looking for an exceptional holiday in a remote area in the heart of Scotland, then Loch Tay is the place to be. On the north shore, you'll see the majestic Ben Lawers mountain range, a National Nature Reserve. The mountains look unbelievable year around, but when I visited, they were covered in snow, making Loch Tay look picture-perfect.
In the summer, Loch Tay is the ideal place for sailing, kayaking and paddleboarding. There are several trails available for hiking enthusiasts and within easy driving distance to Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. It's just over 2 hours away from Edinburgh.
What most impressed me about Loch Tay is just how beautiful and pristine it looked like. We live in such a busy world, it's hard to imagine that calm and serene places like Loch Tay still exist. And what's even better, is that Loch Tay is incredibly accessible and perfect for a year round holiday.
We stayed at the Loch Tay highland lodges, a stunning holiday park known for their Scandinavian built holiday lodges located right on the shores of Loch Tay.
In this article, I want to share my honest experience and review for our stay in Loch Tay. I will talk about the lodging, the amenities, the activities, and the restaurant on site.
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What is Loch Tay famous for?
Loch Tay is renowned for its still waters, making it a popular place for water sports year round. It's also known for its Scottish crannogs.
Can you walk around Loch Tay?
There is no traffic-free walking route all around Loch Tay. There are several shorter walking trails in the area.
How long does it take to drive around Loch Tay?
It takes just under 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive around Loch Tay. There are plenty of locations to stop along the way to admire the view.
Can you swim in Loch Tay?
Yes, Loch Tay is a perfect spot for a swim in the summer.
Can you kayak on Loch Tay?
Yes, you can kayak on Loch Tay. In the summer, kayaking is an especially popular activity on Loch Tay.
Arriving at Loch Tay
I decided to spend my winter birthday in Loch Tay and honestly, nothing prepared me for the incredible landscape. I normally don't mention the drive to a destination, but on this occasion, the journey was just as astounding.
I drove up from Harrogate, and once I got onto A84, the drive became a lot more scenic. Furthermore, I drove past Doune Castle, crossed a large portion of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park before finally driving on the main A827 road which runs high above the Loch Tay.
I strongly suggest allocating an extra hour for stops as there are so many vista points which need to be photographed and admired.
Loch Tay highland lodges
I arrived at Loch Tay about an hour before check in time, which is at 3pm. Since our lodge was not ready, we went to the restaurant for a drink and lunch.
We stayed at the Waterfall Lodge, located on the north shores of Loch Tay. It's rare to see so much natural beauty all around. The lodge came with free parking, conveniently located right in front of the main door.
Our lodge was situated right by the waterfall, in a lovely forested area. The perfect place to relax with utmost privacy. The waterfall lodge has its private hot tub and sauna, as well as a stunning wooden decking area to enjoy a cup of coffee with views of the beautiful Loch Tay and its contouring glens.
Not only the lodges are located in one of the most beautiful areas in the heart of the Scottish highlands, but the interior of the accommodation was superbly appointed and designed.
The main dinning and living space features a modern window wall with stunning views of the loch and nature area. There's a log burner, a cosy and comfortable seating area, a fully equipped kitchen with dishwashers and cookers and induction hob. You have everything you could possibly need for a stress free holiday.
Our lodge featured three bedrooms, one double and two twins, ideal for a holiday with friends or for a family with kids.
The main attraction for me was the private hot tub located at the back of the lodge for extra privacy. The hot tub faces the white, frothy cascade of water falling into the rocky outcroppings below. A stunning sight, which definitely made our holiday even more special.
While we didn't travel with a dog, there are several cabins and lodges which are dog friendly.
Different types of accommodations
Loch Tay highland lodges comes with different types of accommodation to cater for all styles and budgets.
There are pods for camping and glamping. The glamping units give you a camping feel without having to pitch a tent. They feature extra amenities and facilities for a more convenient stay. Some camping domes come with hot tub and stunning countryside views.
There are cabin and lodges such as the waterfall lodge where we stayed. They range from 1 to 4 bedroom lodges, some pet friendly, others with private hot tubs.
The most exclusive properties are the Mill House and the Loch Tay House. These are astonishing architectural delights which can host 8 or 10 people. Expect utmost luxury with stunning bathrooms, hot tub, private garden and en-suite bedrooms.
After a quick chat with the friendly people at the reception, we learnt that accommodation tends to book pretty fast, especially during the summer. I do recommend that you book your preferred accommodation well in advance.
To make sure you have the best holiday ever, there are activities right on-site so you don't have to drive far if you don't want to. This is especially convenient for people with kids who want to experience an array of fun experiences just minutes away from the lodges.
Guests and visitors can all participate in archery, Segway trek, salmon fishing, canoeing, gorge walking, boating, fishing axe throwing, river tubing and paddleboarding.
There are others off site activities too, including Highland safaris which offer helicopter tours or 4x4 adventures or Gold Clubs for those who fancy a relaxing afternoon golfing.
Hikers have several walking trails available to them, and cyclists can take the Sustrans Cycle Route Number 7.
For those who just want to relax, I recommend heading to the loch shore to admire just how peaceful Loch Tay is. You can expect some stunning sunsets over the glassy lake as well.
The Boathouse Restaurant
As previously mentioned, we arrived a little earlier than our check-in time so we decided to try the food at The Boathouse. The Boathouse is a restaurant on site at the Loch Tay highland lodges.
This is a dog friendly restaurant with a stunning roaring fire in the centre and modern glass walls for epic views. We ordered from the lunch menu and tried their soup of the day and the traditional Scottish haggis, neeps & tatties.
We both had a gin tonic each, made to perfection. The service was very personal and friendly, and the food was absolutely fantastic.
The restaurant is not open every day and opening times vary depending on the season you visit. I do recommend that you book a table in advance. Should the restaurant not be open or too full to accept more reservations, there is a fairly large Co-op only 10 minute drive from the accommodation, in Killin area. Besides, Kilin is a lovely area where you can grab a nice souvenir from your trip to Scotland.
Lodges and cabins come with their own fully equipped kitchen, fridge, oven, microwave, and dishwasher. You do have everything you need to cook a wonderful meal. Just make sure to bring essential ingredients such as salt, pepper, oil. If you intend to use the oven, it's a good idea to pack some baking paper with you.
The bathrooms come with amenities too, including shower gels and shampoo. They are enough for a short break, but if you're staying a whole week, you might want to pack your own as well, especially if you travel in a larger group.
Upon check-in you receive a complimentary bag of logs, and any more logs can be purchased from the reception.
Please don't forget to check if your chosen accommodation comes with towels.
Camping and glamping pods visitors will have access to a modern shower and amenity block with showers, toilets, private wet room and bathroom along with a washing-up area and laundry. There is also a camper's kitchen nearby as well as BBQ facilities.
Very important: Wi-Fi is not provided on site for any of the accommodation at the Loch Tay highland lodges. If you're like me and are hoping to work while visiting, sadly, this might not be possible. You can purchase Wi-Fi for a small fee, but some lodges are not within the range, which means you won't be able to access the internet even if you pay. There is good mobile internet coverage, however, so if you have a good amount of data on your phone, you might want to use that instead.
If I am to deduct points for anything during my stay at the Waterfall Lodge, the internet will be it. I need the internet to stay on top of my company and being connected at all times it's essential. I appreciate that most people don't need this on holiday.
As a suggestion for the park, I would like it if Netflix would be included in the stay, so visitors find entertainment in the evening, especially when visiting off season.
I definitely recommend a stay in Loch Tay. The location is beautiful, the accommodation is stunning and there is so much peace and quiet, right in the heart of Scotland. We're already thinking of going back in the summer, with more friends, to enjoy Loch Tay again and try some activities on site. It's one of the best places we've stayed in the UK! Make sure to book your holiday well in advance and to make it easier to decide where to stay, have a look at the park map as well.