The sleepy village of Aberfoyle suddenly bursts into life in the summer with the arrival of hordes of tourists. It lies on the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and, along with Callander to the east, is one of the main tourist centres for the Trossachs.
It makes an ideal base for walking and cycling as the surrounding hills provides tremendous scope for that. There's plentiful accommodation, though you'll have to book early to avoid disappointment during the busy summer season.
Phone code: +44 (0)1877
Aberfoyle enjoys a very convenient locale, right in the heart of the Trossachs area. The Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and the Loch Ard forest are the chief attractions in the area. While nightlife and entertainment can turn out to be a bit disappointing, Aberfoyle scores when it comes to a healthy blast of the outdoors.
Local Sights & Activities for AberfoyleSightseeing
Three miles east of Aberfoyle is the Lake of Menteith, the only lake in Scotland (as opposed to loch). On Inchmahome island in the middle of the lake are the beautiful and substantial ruins of Inchmahome Priory T01877-385294 (HS), the 13th-century Augustinian priory where the four-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots was sent in 1547, safe from the clutches of Henry VIII. A ferry takes visitors over to the island from Port of Menteith. Apr-Sep Mon-Sun 0930-1830. The lake is also a popular spot for fly-fishing and you can rent boats from Lake of Menteith Fisheries, T01877-385664, Apr-Oct.
To the north of Aberfoyle is Doon Hill, better known as the Fairy Knowe. The tree at the top is said to be the home of the 'People of Quietness', and in 1692 a local minister was less than discreet in telling the world of their secrets. As punishment he was taken away to fairyland, and his spirit has languished there ever since. If you go round the tree seven times, your wish will be granted, but go round it backwards and… well, we won't be held responsible. It's about an hour up and back (The best time for this short walk will probably be dusk when it is at its most atmospheric). Cross the bridge over the Forth and head past the cemetery, then follow the signs.
Aberfoyle Hotels & Accommodation
The best place to stay in the area is the Lake of Menteith Hotel, in Port of Menteith, situated on the lakeshore overlooking Inchmahome, Tel. 385258. It's stylish, comfortable, very romantic and boasts a fine restaurant (lunch mid-range; dinner expensive).
A few miles away along the Kinlochard road and overlooking the loch is the elegant Forest Hills Hotel, with a good restaurant (though not cheap)and revamped leisure and spa facilities.
On the outskirts of Aberfoyle is the Rob Roy Hotel.
There are dozens of B&Bs in and around Aberfoyle, including The Barns of Shannochill, by Aberfoyle, Tel. 382878, a barn annexe in the country; and the lovely Creag-Ard House in Milton, 2 miles west of Aberfoyle overlooking Loch Ard, Tel. 382297, with fishing and boat hire available.
Camping In Aberfoyle
Camping is available at Cobeland Campsite, Tel. 382392, open Apr-Oct, 2 miles south of Aberfoyle on the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park; and the excellent Trossachs Holiday Park, Tel. 382614, open Mar-Oct, set in 40 acres and with mountain bike hire.
There are several decent eating places in the village. The Forth Inn Hotel, Tel. 382372, and The Coach House, Tel. 382822, both on Main St, serve good pub food. The best place to eat is the excellent and very popular Braeval Old Mill, Tel. 382711, a few miles east on the A873 to Port of Menteith.
Travel Directions to Aberfoyle
There are regular buses to and from Stirling,Tel. 0870-6082608. There are also daily services from Glasgow, via Balfron. There's a postbus service, Tel. 01752-494527, from Aberfoyle to Inversnaid on Loch Lomond. The Tourist Information Centre is on the main street. Apr-Jun, Sep and Oct daily 1000-1700; Jul and Aug 0930-1900, weekends only Nov-Mar (hours subject to change). Tel. 382352.
Aberfoyle to Callander
The A821 route north from Aberfoyle, through the spectacular Duke's Pass, and then east past Loch Achray and Loch Vennachar, is one of the most beautiful routes in the country and not to be missed. There are a couple of worthwhile diversions along the way. About five miles north of Aberfoyle, a track branches to the right and runs through Achray Forest and along the shores of Loch Drunkie, before rejoining the A821 further north. A few miles further on, a road turns left to Trossachs Pier on the eastern shore of Loch Katrine. This is the departure point for cruises (April to October)on the Sir Walter Scott, Tel. 376316. At 1100 daily (£7.50 return)it sails to the remote settlement of Stronachlachar on the far western shores of the loch and back. In the afternoons (£6.25)it only sails around the loch for an hour.
There's a road and cycle path around the loch as far as Stronachlachar, and you could take the morning cruise there and then cycle back to the pier. Cycle hire from Trossachs Cycle Hire, Tel. 382614,
The road then swings east along the northern shores of luscious Loch Achray and Loch Venachar, past Brig o' Turk. Just past the village, on the A821, is the wonderful Byre, Tel. 01877-376292, a cosy bar serving good ales and hearty food (mid-range), ideally placed for walkers and cylists.