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The great outdoors: Wildlife to watch, gardens to delight, and dragons to race at beautiful Balloch

© Shutterstock / CappaPhotoAerial view of Loch Lomond and mountains in the distance
Aerial view of Loch Lomond and mountains in the distance

The acres of lush lawns, walled gardens and hidden trails make Balloch Castle Country Park the jewel in the crown of the historic village of Balloch.

With plenty to see and do against an awe-inspiring backdrop of Loch Lomond, this park is an understandably popular picnic spot.

The park’s magic begins as soon as you enter, says Mary-Anne Collis, a countryside ranger at West Dunbartonshire Council.

“If you enter via the main gates across from Balloch Bus Station you are greeted by the main tree avenue,” she says. “Stop to listen, and you’ll hear and see all sorts of birds – or you might even be lucky enough to see a red squirrel bound across the path.”

At the end of the tree-lined avenue you’ll find Balloch Castle, rebuilt in 1809 on the ruins of the original structure dating from the 13th Century.

Although visitors can’t go into the castle itself, its Chinese garden and walled garden are great to explore.

The Chinese garden is home to two fantastic monkey puzzle trees and a tulip tree, which were all planted in the mid-19th Century.

“There’s usually something going on in the park,” says Mary-Anne. “The famous Kiltwalk starts in Glasgow and finishes on its doorstep. There are fun runs, dragon boat racing and the Loch Lomond Highland Games, and smaller events such as family nature sessions.”

As well as there being plenty for every visitor to enjoy at the park throughout the year, the views are always spectacular.

“Up the hill at the castle there are fantastic views out over Loch Lomond and north towards the Arrochar Alps, and along the loch shore walk you can catch glimpses of Ben Lomond,” says Mary-Anne.

With fun and amazing green space in the heart of one of Scotland’s most picturesque areas, a day at Balloch Castle Country Park will offer fun and adventure to everyone who steps through the gates.


When: Open all year round

How much: Free

Where: Balloch Country Park, Drymen Road, Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, G83 8LX