DINING AROUND THE TROSSACHS
The Trossachs have made a name for themselves in foodie circles, with amazing produce – venison, lamb, Highland wagyu beef, award-winning yoghurts and cheeses – and some really fabulous cafes and restaurants. Here are some of our favourite places for a taste of the Trossachs, all within about a half-hour drive of Lochend Chalets.
Cafes and chippies, pubs and restaurants – the best places to eat around the Trossachs
MHOR Bread, Callander
This fab, wee artisan bakery (cafe hasn't yet reopened) has a touch of Glasgow’s West End about it, run by the same infectiously upbeat Lewis clan who run the cracking MHOR Fish upmarket chippy just along the high street. Fantastic flat whites, notorious giant meringues, stonking haggis pies.
Deli Ecosse, Callander
This cracking super-friendly deli is in a lovely airy, converted 19th century church hall, with great coffee, dangerously delicious cakes, a lovely wood-burning stove, and daily homemade breakfast and lunch.
Courtyard Cafe, Fintry
A gorgeous cafe in a beautiful converted stone farmhouse high up in the Fintry hills, the Courtyard Cafe is run by award-winning dairy queen, Katy Rodger. “Our pastures, our herd, our milk, our dairy, naturally…” runs the tagline for her line of stunning yoghurts, crème fraiche, crowdie and ice creams – no wonder they won Scotland Food & Drink’s Product of the Year in 2012. Luckily the landscaped lawns of Culcreuch Castle are right next door to help you walk it all off, with breathtaking views over the Trossachs.
Woodhouse Cafe, Kippen
Hugely popular, this light, airy cafe is excellently run, serving just-right breakfasts, lunches, cakes and coffees, plus occasional dinners - check out facebook page for those. Nice outdoor decking for sunny days, fab quiches and tarts, with a great deli and gift shop attached.
Brig o’ Turk Tearoom, Brig o’ Turk
Run by various people over the years, the fabulously unique tearoom in a 1920's shed keeps on going. It's a popular meeting point for Glasgow's cyclists who hit these quiet backroads at the weekend. Great atmosphere, cute, original, bothy-chic interior, and homemade cakes and teas galore. We hear pizzas are now being served, too.
The Cross Keys, Kippen
Run by our good mate, Brian, this cosy country pub has a just-right level of buzz, drawing a good gang of locals with its roaring fire, excellent real ales, panoramic beer garden, and its excellent food. The only pub mentioned in the Sunday Times Travel Section’s Hot 100 hotels list in 2015, it was also winner of the Scottish Bar & Pub Awards’ Gastro Pub of 2015.
Lion & Unicorn, Thornhill
Good honest pub grub (steaks are notoriously good), rotating real ales, friendly staff – The Lion & Unicorn is a great place to meet locals, especially if you like shouting at the football on the big screen.
Black Bull, Gartmore
Any excuse to visit this lovely hilltop village is OK by us. There are easy forest walks here, and the Black Bull – run by the villagers as a community enterprise - is a friendly place for a blether with the locals and for reasonably priced food and drink.
Nick's at Port of Menteith
Nick Nairn has his flagship restaurant, Nick's at Port of Menteith, right on our doorstep here at Lochend.
The restaurant is open Thursday - Sunday year-round, with extra service April-October on Wednesday evenings, 5pm - 10pm.
Expect simple food done well, with all the Nick Nairn classics and Paul's infamous pizzas!
Nick's recommends booking to avoid disappointment - you can do so at nicknairn.com.
Lake of Menteith Hotel, Port of Menteith
A lovely 25-minute stroll along the lake from our log cabins and chalets, the Lake of Menteith Hotel has an amazing setting (nearly as good as ours!) with fantastic views over the water from the bar, conservatory dining room and lawns. Start with drinks on the lawn watching ospreys dive for trout; before heading in to eat, where those trout may also be on the menu, along with many other delights.
Venachar Lochside, Loch Venachar
All but dipping a toe in Loch Venachar, this panoramic cafe has vast picture windows out over the water. A great menu full of Scottish produce – or just come for tea and cake on picnic tables beside the loch.
MHOR 84 & Monachyle MHOR, Balquhidder
Both are utterly brilliant, mixing great food with upbeat, informal service in quirky, West End Glasgow-meets-country house hotel surrounds. Both restaurants are run by the Lewises, mates from way back, who also run MHOR Bread artisan bakery/cafe and MHOR Fish chippy in Callander. Four miles from Rob Roy’s grave up a beautiful, big-mountain glen with red deer and Highland cows, Monachyle MHOR is the outstanding foodie choice in the Trossachs, but we love the mismatched, boutique decor at MHOR 84 – and amazing eggs Benedict brunch if you’re up here for a walk or a cycle from Callander on National Route 7.
Roman Camp, Callander
A beautiful traditional country house hotel with fine-dining by the banks of the River Teith, Roman Camp – so-called because of the earthworks in the meadows south of the gardens, thought to be Roman remains – is where we’ve gone for many a family celebration.
Cromlix House, Dunblane
Andy Murray’s country house hotel has a modern, hip conservatory dining room overseen by an excellent head chef, Darin Campbell, who previously headed up Andrew Fairlie’s restaurant at Gleneagles. Called Chez Roux as the restuarant is overseen, mostly from afar, by Michel Roux Jnr. Fantastic food, and they used to do a very well-priced set lunch - phone to check.
The Kailyard by Nick Nairn, Dunblane
Fine-dining at Dunblane Hydro hotel, with our brother Nick’s stamp – delicate, unfussy fare, letting the produce speak for itself – all over it.
Andrew Fairlie’s, Gleneagles
OK, it’s a wee bit more than 30 minutes from Lochend, probably more like 40, but so worth the extra 10 minutes to eat at Scotland’s only two-Michelin-star restaurant. Amazing, magical dining room in the Gleneagles resort, taster menu with perfect wine pairings. A very special treat.
MORE ACTIVITIES AROUND THE TROSSACHS
EXTREME SPORTS AROUND THE TROSSACHSHigh-ropes adventure course & zip-wire, AberfoyleHidden away among the towering pines at The Lodge in Aberfoyle, Scotland’s first ever Go Ape is also its most spectacular, with two of Britain’s longest zip wires, both over 400m long and 150ft high, whizzing thrillseekers aged 10+ over a beautiful 90ft waterfall. This is…
CYCLING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThe Trossachs are criss-crossed by an endless network of cycle routes, from gentle, lochside trundles to full-on Danny MacAskill type single-track descents. Running right through the heart of the Trossachs and its lochs, National Cycle Route 7 passes through Aberfoyle and Callander, our two closest hubs, and can be picked up anywhere…
TROSSACHS DISTILLERIES There are two excellent distilleries within a half hour of Lochend, however, one of the best whisky experiences lies only a 20-minute walk from the chalets. With several local whiskies in its cosy Port Bar, and a Malt Vault with more than 35 single malts from the Highlands & Islands (everything from a £4.50…
TROSSACHS FAMILY ACTIVITIESWe have our own wee play park right here beside the lake, right in front of the log cabins. And in many ways Lochend is one giant play park, with trees to climb, a lake to paddle in, our drive to pedal around. However, if you’re here with children, there is tonnes of…
Forest Visitor Centre
THE LODGE TROSSACHS VISITOR CENTRE IN THE QUEEN ELIZABETH FOREST PARK Less than 15 minutes from Lochend, The Lodge is the Forestry Commission’s flagship Trossachs visitor centre, and a place we’ve been going to as a family for years. It’s somewhere our guests really love.Cafe, gift shop, GoApe adventure course and walks galoreThe Lodge visitor centre itself…
GOLFING AROUND THE TROSSACHSGolf was invented in Scotland, so it’s little wonder we’ve got so many great golf courses within a pitching wedge of Lochend Chalets. Being so centrally located means that St Andrew’s, Troon, Muirfield and Turnberry are all easily reached from Lochend, but here are a half-dozen or so really excellent courses closer…
PONY TREKKING IN THE TROSSACHSCastle Rednock Trekking Centre, Port of MenteithWe’re really lucky to have this excellent Trossachs horse riding stables only 5 minutes from Lochend. Catering for riders of all abilities aged 4+, this friendly riding centre offers pony-trekking, Segway-treks, orienteering and quad pods, where children as young as three can be towed around…
Shops & Galleries
TROSSACHS SHOPS & GALLERIES Home to fantastic foodie produce and a burgeoning arts scene, the Trossachs is full of great wee delis, craft shops and galleries. It would be impossible to list them all, but here are some of our favourite Trossachs shops and galleries, all within a 20-minute drive of Lochend. I’ve also listed a few…
SIGHTSEEING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThe Trossachs form the heart of Rob Roy’s old stomping ground, and the glens and bens beyond Lochend are absolutely packed with historical interest. It would take too long to list all the castles and monuments, historic villages and boat trips in the area, but we’ve picked out a few favourites for…
SCENIC DRIVES AROUND THE TROSSACHSIf the Trossachs are God’s own hiking and biking country, they’re also where He’d take a Sunday drive! Our own lake road (B8034 from Port of Menteith) is one of the most beautiful, twisting and turning along the Lake of Menteith, with roe deer often seen nibbling the banks beside the…
BEST TROSSACHS WALKSThere are so many fantastic Trosscahs walks right on our doorstep (the excellent walkhighlands.co.uk website has route descriptions and maps for more than 90 walks in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park alone) it’s almost impossible to pick out a few, but here goes:Trossachs walks for all levelsEASY The Lodge: various lengthsLess than…
DINING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThe Trossachs have made a name for themselves in foodie circles, with amazing produce – venison, lamb, Highland wagyu beef, award-winning yoghurts and cheeses – and some really fabulous cafes and restaurants. Here are some of our favourite places for a taste of the Trossachs, all within about a half-hour drive of…