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Heritage & History

Explore Scotland’s Past

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Edinburgh Castle in winter with snowThe Waverly steam boatRenee Mackintosh's Hill House in Helensburgh

Loch Lomond History

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Historical Places to Visit Near Loch Lomond

Ballat Smithy Cottage sits only a short drive from many historical attractions in the area. They all make for a great day out and some superb photographs. Here are a few of our favourite historical places to visit near Loch Lomond to give you a taste of our history.

Our Local History

Central Scotland has a rich and vibrant story to tell. Ballat Smithy Cottage is ideally located for day trips to discover everything from iconic sites such as the great castles of Edinburgh and Stirling to the wonderfully atmospheric Dunadd Fort in Argyll and hidden gems like St Mary’s Episcopal Church in Aberfoyle, built in their spare time by the men of the local slate quarry.

Our Local Heritage

If your interest is history then you will enjoy the area’s wealth of museums, from the great National Museum of Scotland, to Glasgow’s vibrant Riverside Museum and the small marvel of the Hamilton Toy Collection in Callander.

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Scotland’s Heritage

Discover Scotland’s place in the world

Dumbarton Castle on its rock with a calm River Clyde in the foregroundThe KelpiesThe Wallace Monument in Stirling

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Scotland, Rich in Culture

For a small country, Scotland has punched well above its weight in the world, and Ballat Smithy Cottage sits in the centre of a wealth of heritage and achievement. Shipbuilding on the Clyde produced many legendary vessels, and you can discover their story at the Scottish Maritime Museum, a short drive away in Dumbarton. Scottish agriculture has been at the forefront of innovation for 200 years, and a visit to the National Museum of Rural Life is a fascinating day out.

From architecture to art, and poetry to prehistoric places, a stay here will be richly rewarded as you discover that life in Scotland has never been dull!

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Stirling Castle

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Distance from the cottage: 20 miles

Stirling Castle is one of the largest castles in Scotland, and for hundreds of years was residence to Kings and Queens of Scotland. Furthermore, it was where Mary, Queen of Scots was crowned. Sitting high above Stirling on a rocky outcrop, it dominates the surrounding scenery. This castle was often at the very centre of Scottish history.

Stirling Castle is open all year, apart from Christmas and Boxing Day. So make sure you book your ticket in advance, as it can get busy during the school holidays. You can also book a space in the car park when buying your ticket online.

Whilst visiting Stirling Castle, you must also see the site of the Battle of Bannockburn and the Robert the Bruce statue. Not to forget, climb the epic Wallace Monument.

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Stirling Castle lit up at night timeRobert the Bruce Statue in Stirling with the Wallace monument in the distanceThe site of the battle of Bannockburn
The Wallace Monument in Stirling

Wallace Monument

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Distance from the cottage: 20 miles

Nearby to Stirling Castle is a tall monument that sits on another rocky outcrop. This tower is the Wallace Monument, dedicated to Scotland’s most famous freedom fighter, Sir William Wallace. Opened in 1869 and known locally as “The Wally”, it offers breathtaking views from the top. However, there are 246 steps to get there – some quite narrow – so is unfortunately unsuitable for those with limited mobility.

Amongst the artefacts available to see include Wallace’s own longsword, which is a whopping 1.63m long! Make sure you book your tickets in advance to avoid being turned away during busy periods.

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Doune Castle

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Distance from the cottage: 18 miles

When you arrive at Doune Castle, you might have a sense of deja vu, or that you have seen it somewhere before. Chances are that if you are a keen TV fan and moviegoer, you have! This medieval building has been seen in the likes of Ivanhoe, Outlander, Outlaw King and even Game of Thrones. And for fans of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this is where many scenes were filmed, including the one with the launched cow!

Explore the castle and its ground year-round, apart from Christmas and Boxing Day, and the 1st and 2nd January. Make sure you book your tickets in advance.

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Doune Castle near Stirling in Scotland
Balloch Castle in Balloch in Scotland

Balloch Castle

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Distance from the cottage: 11 miles

Of all the castles near Loch Lomond, Balloch Castle is definitely worth a visit. On the south-west corner of Loch Lomond, the castle sits within well-maintained grounds that are used for events throughout the year. The castle is actually a 19th-century house, but with origins dating back to the 1200s. It’s a popular destination for walkers and those wishing to relax in beautiful surroundings. It’s also a great place to bring the kids to play!

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Dumbarton Castle

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Distance from the cottage: 16 miles

Of the many castles near Loch Lomond, Dumbarton Castle is worth a trip to see. The site of the castle has been used by humans as far back as the Iron Age. This tiny building is packed full of Scottish history. It has even been suggested that the famous wizard, Merlin, once stayed here. Perhaps if Ballat Smithy Cottage was open then, he would have chosen a self-catering holiday instead…

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Dumbarton Castle on its rock with a calm River Clyde in the foreground
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Museums and historical attractions near Loch Lomond

Hamilton Toy Collection

Distance from the cottage: 17 miles

Situated in the pretty town of Callander, the Hamilton Toy Collection is as unique a museum as you will find. It showcases 175 years of the Hamilton family’s toy collection. It’s a fascinating look into the history of toys from the area – the sort of things our grandparents and great grandparents might have played with. From Edwardian dolls to Thunderbird toys, this is a step back in time to your childhood.

The museum closes for the winter, so make sure to check their website before visiting.

Scottish Maritime Museum

Distance from the cottage: 15 miles

If you have a fascination with historic ships and shipbuilding tools, then the Scottish Maritime Museum in Dumbarton is a must-see. Located on the site of a former shipyard, it has for display vessels dating as far back as the 1800s. There’s also plenty of boating artefacts, including an eighty-year-old bottle of whisky from the famous ‘Whisky Galore!’ shipwreck.

Tickets should be booked in advance online before visiting and is a great place to bring the kids. Children under three go free!

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Inchmahome Priory

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Distance from the cottage: 11 miles

Sat on an island on Lake of Menteith, Inchmahome Priory is where Mary, Queen of Scots found solace at four years old. The origins of the site can be traced back to 1238, and you get a good view of the area as you cross over to it on a boat. Crossings are made on demand by a small boat – find out how to board it here. And interestingly, the Lake of Menteith is the only lake in Scotland!

The priory is closed 1 November to 31 March, and you should book in advance to guarantee entry.

Explore Scottish history places to visit near Loch Lomond

There is so much history and historical monuments around Loch Lomond that this has only scratched the surface. You don’t need to go far from the cottage to find more! Some are ancient, like Kilmartin Glen. Others are a lot more modern, like the imposing Kelpies.

When you stay at Ballat Smithy Cottage, make sure you get out and about to explore the history of the land. There’s plenty of Loch Lomond history to keep you busy!

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Reviews

‘The cottage is perfectly situated for easy access to The Trossachs and Loch Lomond (especially the more beautiful but less accessible eastern side). It is also only an hour from the bright lights of Glasgow. The cottage has a large parking space and inside is immaculately clean and has everything one could reasonably want or expect. I often have trouble sleeping but had no problem doing so in the large double bedroom at the back which was perfectly quiet. The twin room at the front is also spacious and well laid out. The owner, Anne, and her family were most friendly and helpful. I couldn’t fault this place. Definitely on my list for a return visit.’

– Ballat Smithy Cottage Tripadvisor Review

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Watch Our Video Below

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And See Ballat Smithy Cottage

Watch our video below and see our gorgeous cottage for yourself. Plus, get a taster of some of the wonderful attractions and activities nearby, including Loch Lomond. We are sure you will love all we have to offer so get booking today and enjoy a relaxing stay with us here at Ballat Smithy Cottage.

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Explore more below…

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Walking

Find out more about walks around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs here……
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Cycling

Explore where you can cycle around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs……
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Golf

Find out about golf courses nearby to us at Ballat Smithy Cottage……
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Family Activities

Explore our local family activities here……
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Heritage & History

Explore our local historical attractions here……
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Food & Drink

Explore our local eateries here……
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