Lochs Near Edinburgh You Need to Check Out

Explore the lovely lochs surrounding Edinburgh when you need a nature break
Explore the lovely lochs surrounding Edinburgh when you need a nature break | © Derek Croucher / Alamy Stock Photo
Tamarin Fountain

Escape the hum of the city and get closer to nature by discovering one of Edinburgh‘s nearby lochs – beautiful, scenic bodies of water. Here’s our guide to the tops lochs close to Edinburgh.

Linlithgow Loch

Jump on one of the frequently departing trains to the historic West Lothian town, where you’ll find a large loch just a short stroll from the station. Standing in the shadow of a ruined palace, its vast size of over a hundred acres (40ha) provides ample opportunity for water sports, fishing and hiking. It’s owned by Historic Scotland and home to a wide range of waterfowl, as well as the Low Port Centre for canoe and kayak hire. Follow the waterside path to circumnavigate the loch on foot in around 30 to 40 minutes.

Duddingston Loch

St Margaret’s Loch

This is the easiest loch to access close to the city, just a 10-minute amble from the Old Town. Close to Duddingston Loch, it’s within Holyrood Park, on the edge of the Meadowbank neighbourhood. A deluge of friendly swans, ducks and geese patrol the area, making it perfect for a spot of bird feeding. It also has a car park right beside the water, ideal for in-vehicle lochside picnicking on rainy days. In better weather, you can pick up a cooling treat a few minutes’ walk away at the semi-permanent ice-cream van.

Bara Loch

If you’d rather adventure off the beaten track, check out this hidden gem. It’s located in East Lothian, close to the pretty market town of Haddington, around a 30-minute drive from the city. It’s an easy one to miss and sure to be free from the hordes of tourists you may find at other popular sites. Be prepared for a short hike through the woods to reach the glistening waters. Look out for the charming stone loveseat, inscribed with the loch creator’s name and date of inception.

Loch Leven

Home to more breeding ducks than anywhere else in inland Europe, this relatively shallow loch also receives visits from ospreys, otters, kingfishers and eagles. It’s a little further afield in Kinross but provides a 13-mile (21km) traffic-free Heritage Trail. Find the RSPB visitor centre at its southerly end, and if you’re feeling brave, take a dip in its icy waters from the slate shore. Look to Loch Leven’s centre and you’ll spy the MacDonald clan’s burial island.

Town Loch

If you fancy trying your hand at waterskiing or wakeboarding, this is the place to be. As its name would suggest, this loch is found close to the town centre of Dunfermline, also a short train journey from the capital. A water sports centre operates year-round on its shores, and there’s ample convenient parking. But it’s also a favourite with walkers, especially those who prefer a manageable and flat pathway. Warm up after a winter stroll with a cuppa at the café.

Loch Lomond

No list of lochs would be complete without Lomond. Made famous by an iconic song, it sits on the outskirts of Glasgow, rather than Edinburgh. But with access to a car, the journey can be made in an hour and a half, taking in some picturesque mountain scenery – or the cultural hub of Glasgow – en route. Park up at Ballater for boat trips, great restaurants and pubs. This epic loch is part of the Trossachs National Park and a must during a lengthier stay in Scotland.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article