By Craig Neil
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Table of Contents
- Tourist information
- Things to do
- Tourist map of Scotland
- Frequently asked questions
Luss is an attractive conservation village situated on the shores of Loch Lomond in The Trossachs National Park.
The village has a long history dating back to the early 6th century but it wasn’t until the 1980s that it became a major tourist destination when the popular Scottish TV drama Take The High Road was filmed there.
There are 24 listed buildings in the village, the majority of which are 19th-century cottages on Pier Road. The village is also a departure point for a waterbus and pleasure cruises around Loch Lomond.
|Opening Hours:||Luss is accessible 24/7, 365 days a year.|
|Parking:||There are two paid car parks in Luss.
Luss Visitor Centre (postcode G83 8PG) and Luss South (postcode G83 8NY).
|Facilities:||Luss has public toilets, cafes and restaurants, pubs, hotels, a petrol station, a campsite, a visitor centre, and convenience stores.|
1: Luss is one of the prettiest villages in Scotland and the fact that it’s situated in a prime position overlooking the beautiful Loch Lomond is the icing on the cake. This village is a must-do for anyone visiting The Trossachs National Park.
2: There are several places to take a cruise around Loch Lomond, but Luss is probably the pick of the bunch. Having done a couple of boat tours myself I thoroughly recommend taking the circular cruise from Luss which sails around the islands of Inchconnachan and Inchtavannach.
3: Believe it or not, Luss has a rather nice beach. You’ll find it on the northern side of Luss Pier where it stretches 1/3 mile around a crescent-shaped bay. The beach has stunning views across the loch towards Ben Lomond and it’s a great place to head out onto the water in a canoe.
1: Although the beach is inviting, it’s not recommended to head too far out into the loch for a swim. The temperature of Loch Lomond is very cold even in the height of summer which means shock and muscle cramps can set in quickly.
Coupled with currents and sudden changes in water depth, a swim in Loch Lomond can be fatal.
2: A wee hidden gem in Luss is the parish church which was built in 1875 but has roots dating back over 1,500 years due to Luss being a site of Christian pilgrimage.
You’ll find this beautiful building south of Luss Pier a few hundred feet from the water’s edge. While there, keep your eyes open for the unusual Hogs Back Stone – an unusual gravestone that’s believed to date from the time of the Vikings.
3: If you’re hungry, I recommend visiting Colquhoun’s Restaurant on the beach’s northern end. This eatery is a wee bit expensive but the food is fantastic and the view over Loch Lomond from the panoramic window is astounding.
If you’d prefer a cheaper bite to eat then you might like to grab a sandwich from the village shop or the visitor centre located at either end of the north car park.
The Trossachs National Park in the southwest region of Scotland is one of the prettiest and most-visited areas in the country.
Not only is there the stunning Loch Lomond to enjoy (Scotland’s largest loch by surface area) but there are mountains-galore including Ben Lomond and the nearby Arrochar Alps, as well as dozens of picturesque villages.
Of these wee hamlets, Luss is arguably the most famous, primarily because it was the filming location of the Scottish TV drama Take the High Road and also because it offers access to Loch Lomond’s many islands.
Getting to Luss is easy thanks to the A82 which provides a route from Glasgow city centre that takes just 45 minutes by car, although this ease of access is both a blessing and a curse for the 200 permanent residents that live in Luss.
Although the money brought in by tourists is a welcome addition to the local economy, numbers have now increased to around 750,000 visitors each year, meaning crowds are inevitable at all times – especially in summer.
That being said, the facilities in Luss are pretty good with two large (paid) car parks to the north and south, a visitor centre, public toilets, gift shops, cafes, and everything else that a popular attraction needs.
The village’s rapid growth as a tourist destination has been fuelled in part by the number of activities that are available and visitors can take their pick from operators that offer everything from speed boat cruises to 4×4 off-road driving experiences and quad bike tours.
The main focus though, is the village itself which is (crowds aside) one of the most attractive in Scotland.
Pier Road leads to the pier (no surprises there…) and is home to rows of quaint stone cottages that were originally built to house workers for the nearby stone quarry, but are now famous for their summertime floral displays.
Once at the end of the road visitors will find themselves at the pier which is in constant by cruise boats heading off to sail around Loch Lomond as well as a long golden beach that curves its way north.
The opposite direction, meanwhile, leads to the parish church which was built in 1875 but is believed to sit on top of a much earlier church that’s well over 1,500 years old.
This church is dedicated to Saint Kessog, an Irish missionary who settled on one of the nearby islands in Loch Lomond and was subsequently buried there.
After Kessog was made a saint, Luss became an important site of pilgrimage for Christians and the church became the final destination of their journey.
It’s certainly worth visiting the church today as the interior has an elaborate ceiling made from Scots Pine and the graveyard has one of the most unusual gravestones in Scotland, known as the Hogback Grave which is actually Viking in origin.
Other attractions in Luss include a fairy trail that takes children on an adventure through a mystical woodland, a number of walks along riverside paths and into the surrounding Luss Hills, and a heritage centre dedicated to Clan Colquhoun who ruled the lands around Loch Lomond from the 15th to 18th centuries.
From the A82, visitors enter the village on a B road that immediately passes the first and largest car park. This car park has lots of facilities including public toilets, a visitor centre, a self-service petrol station, a shop, and a cafe.
An alternative car park is located 1/3 mile further down the road which also has public toilets and temporary snacks vans and is positioned next door to the Loch Lomond Arms Hotel.
Wherever you choose to park you’ll eventually make your way to Pier Road which is the focal point of the village and the location of the attractive cottages that Luss is so famous for.
Having been there both in summer and winter I definitely recommend visiting in the warmer months as the cottage owners go to great lengths to bedeck their homes in dazzling displays of flowers.
If there’s a more photogenic village in Scotland I’ve yet to find it.
After admiring the cottages, the next stop on the list is the pier which is the departure point for cruises around Loch Lomond. This isn’t the only pier for cruises by any means (there are others at Tarbet and Balloch), but it’s the closest to the majority of the loch’s 22 islands and islets.
For me, taking a boat trip is the highlight of a visit to Luss and is a must-do, especially with family tickets coming in at just £50. There are two options to see the islands – the Luss Circular and the Island Explorer – but only the latter lets you disembark on one of them.
The island of Inchcailloch is a wonderful place to explore and is famous for its carpet of bluebells, as well as the hill in the middle which has been described as having the best views in Scotland.
If the boat trip doesn’t appeal then visitors can always sit on the golden beach that runs along the shoreline north of the pier.
This beach is almost always busy in summer but out of season it’s a great place to sit and relax or dip your toes into the water. However, it is not advisable to head out into the open water as Loch Lomond is renowned for its freezing temperatures, sudden drops, and currents that can catch unwary swimmers off guard.
An alternative way to enjoy the water is to hire a rowing boat from Loch Lomond Leisure (based in Luss) or take your own canoe. Personally, I pack a collapsible canoe in the car anytime I head anywhere near water as they’re easy to set up and don’t take up much space in the boot.
The model below is the one I have and I’ve nothing but praise for it. Click the image to view the price on Amazon.
Things to do
1: Loch Lomond Faerie Trail. Address: School Rd, Luss, Alexandria, G83 8PA. Distance: 0 miles.
The faerie trail is a woodland in Luss that’s home to fairies and trolls. Kids can go wild on the 1-mile trail as they search for the houses of these mythical creatures – and they might find a few surprises along the way too.
2: 4×4 Adventures Scotland. Address: Loch Lomond Adventures, Luss, Alexandria, G83 8PA. Distance: 0 miles.
Scotland’s largest body of water is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of mountains and woodlands, all of which are begging to be explored.
Off-road adventurers can give their feet a rest and sit behind the wheel of a powerful 4×4 off-road vehicle thanks to 4×4 Adventures Scotland who have a fleet of vehicles and expert drivers ready to take you around the area’s beautiful hillsides and glens.
3: Cruise Loch Lomond. Address: Luss Pier, Luss, Alexandria, G83 8NN. Distance: 0 miles.
There are several departure points for cruises around Loch Lomond but the pier at Luss is one of the best thanks to the ease of access it offers for tours of Inchconnachan and Inchtavannach islands.
The tour boat operator Cruise Loch Lomond will take visitors on a 90-minute circular cruise while providing a commentary about the history of the loch and its wildlife.
4: Loch Lomond Leisure. Address: Luss, Alexandria, G83 8NZ. Distance: 0 miles.
Loch Lomond Leisure – based in Luss – specializes in boat tours and equipment hire.
The company offers speedboat trips around the loch as well as boat hire which includes rowing, pedal, sailing, and fishing boats. In addition, Loch Lomond Leisure operates watersports packages including water skis, wakeboards, banana boats and wake surfing.
5: Loch Lomond Quads. Address: Doune of Glendouglas, Luss, Alexandria, G83 8PD. Distance: 0 miles.
An exciting addition to off-road driving around Luss is taking a quad bike into the beautiful farmland that surrounds the area.
Quad bikes are easy to drive and are suitable for children as well as adults. Loch Lomond Quads offers intrepid visitors the chance to tackle the muddy tracks of Doune Farm on guided tours that last around one hour.
Tourist map of Scotland
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Explore this area with a detailed paper map from Ordnance Survey:
Loch Lomond South – OL38 Explorer.
Loch Lomond & Inveraray – 56 Landranger.
OS Explorer Maps: Best for walking, mountain biking, and finding footpaths. 1:25,000 scale (4cm = 1km in real world). Buy OS Explorer maps direct from Ordnance Survey.
OS Landranger Maps: Best for road cycling, touring by car, and finding attractions. 1:50 000 scale (2 cm = 1 km in real world). Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey.
Frequently asked questions
Is Luss car park free?
Luss car parks are not free to use.
The two car parks on the northern and southern sides of Luss have payment machines with prices (as of 2022) of around £1 per hour.
Parking within Luss is for permit holders only and fines for illegal parking are heavily enforced.
Can you walk from Balloch to Luss?
It’s possible to walk or cycle from Balloch to Luss on the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path which runs alongside the A82 for the majority of the route.
Once past the Loch Lomond golf club there is no footpath so walkers must walk along the B road.
Why is Luss called Luss?
Luss derives its name from the Gaelic word ‘Lus’, which means ‘herb’ in English.
The name supposedly originates from the legend that when Saint Kessog (who settled on nearby Inchtavannach island) died, his grave was covered in herbs.
Prior to this, the village had the name ‘Clachan Dhu’ or Dark Village which is in reference to the hills that surround it.
How old is Luss?
There is no exact date for when Luss was founded. However, Luss is believed to be at least 1,500 years old and is likely much older than that. Records state that Saint Kessog settled near Luss in the 6th century and the village was already well established by then.