We’re spoilt for choice for great places to grab a cuppa and slice of something nice or a light lunch if you’re planning to venture out around Gartmore. Remember, we also have a restaurant here on site too! Here are our Top 10 cafés to try around Gartmore (no particular order really – they are all good!) … They are all great places to sit down and relax – whether you’re chilling out in the Scottish sunshine or warming up in the cooler months.
1. MacMillan’s Kitchen @ Ben View Garden Centre, Ward Toll
This lovely and welcoming café is found just 5 minutes from Gartmore, at the friendly Ben View Garden Centre. Enjoy sweeping views to the Trossachs as you tuck into some delicious, fresh, home-made fare – their gourmet burgers are legendary and you’ll be spoilt for choice with their delicious cakes and great coffee. The team there are super friendly and lovely – nothing is too much trouble. If you fancy something a bit more traditional, then try their yummy Cullen Skink – a flavour-packed fish stew/soup which you lap up with crusty bread… nommmm.
2. The Wee Blether Tea Room, Kinlochard
Take a scenic 20-mins drive out to this hidden gem of a café – you head through Aberfoyle, then along the water’s edge of Loch Ard to picturesque Kinlochard where you’ll find the Wee Blether Tea Room – situated overlooking the loch, there’s an amazing array of sweet treats to tempt you, or for a hearty lunch try a jacket tattie, toastie or sandwich, or bowl of steaming hot soup. In the summer it’s pure delight to sit outside and drink in the views and tranquillity. Walk or cycle-off those calories on one of the forest trails after, or gently doze off listening to the wind in the reeds surrounding the loch. Bliss.
**UPDATE** Sadly the Wee Blether has now closed its doors. The drive out to Kinlochard is still well worth-while, and you can book for afternoon tea or just grab a coffee at nearby Forest Hills Hotel.
3. The Pier Café, Stronachlachar
A real favourite is this wee café at Stronachlachar Pier at the western end of Loch Katrine – well worth the winding, stunning drive to get here! You’re venturing into true Rob Roy country – wild and mysterious – with incredible vistas you’ll feel totally remote and then stumble upon this wonderful rest stop, with a panoramic glass conservatory overlooking the loch. Vegans will be very happy with the delicious cake choices on offer daily. The food is delicious and the staff are super friendly. The Pier Café is reached either by road (heading towards Aberfoyle then on via Kinlochard to Stronachlachar), or you can drive over the Duke’s Pass then take the steamer from the Loch Katrine Pier to Stronachlachar Pier, or from the Loch Katrine Pier take the breathtaking 14 mile lochside cycle path to the café (then either cycle or take the steamer back….). Check the steamer timetable at https://www.lochkatrine.com/cruises/book-a-cruise/
4. The Coffee Kiln @ The Pottery Shop, Buchlyvie
Just over a 10 mins drive away you’ll come to the Stirling village of Buchlyvie, where you’ll find the Coffee Kiln and Pottery Shop, on the main street through the village. Filled with stunning ceramics, it’s the ideal cosy spot to stop off and grab a slice of cake and hot drink, whilst also being tempted by the surrounding shelves full of cups, saucers, and host of other delightful pottery on offer. The pottery is created in the workshop just out the back (there’s a wee hatch you can peer through and that’s also where you purchase any goodies).
5. The Woodhouse, Kippen
If you’re headed towards Stirling, this is a perfect pitstop, just off the A811 ( 20 mins drive from Gartmore) and close to Flanders Moss National Nature Reserve. Their breakfast/brunches are outstanding – with Eggs Benedict choices to boggle the brain, and changing specials such as cheese soufflé and haggis toasties. What’s more, the farmshop is foodie heaven, with a huge array of goodies – from Scottish cheeses to artisan breads, fruit wines and even bottled beer from Kippen’s Fallen Brewery. With views of the majestic Gargunnock Hills, what’s not to love?
6. Brig o’ Turk Tea Room, Brig o’Turk
If you take the spectacular drive up over the Duke’s Pass (just past Aberfoyle) in half an hour you’ll come across this 1920s tea room, now run by Hungarian owners, resulting in a wonderful melange of Scottish and eastern European food. Expect more than your usual café – dishes are beautifully presented and deliver in spades on taste. The pared-back and authentic interior is reminiscent of a traditional Scottish bothy. Highly recommended.
7. Three Sisters Bake, Killearn
Head south towards Glasgow and just a short diversion off the A81 you’ll find the pretty village of Killearn, and the delightful Three Sisters Bake Craft Café (15 mins drive). Run by three sisters (and Glasgow gals), Nichola, Lindsey and Gillian, the café offers distant views to Loch Lomond and is a popular spot for a family lunch. If you’ve a bit more time on your hands then the spectacular Afternoon Tea (book 48 hrs in advance) is a real treat. Pick up a copy of their cookbook to drool over at home, where you can create a mess trying to replicate their delicious cakes and tarts.
8. Liz MacGregor’s Coffee Shop, Aberfoyle
One of Aberfoyle’s long-established cafés, you can expect fabulous home-made cakes and scones as well as tasty hot food at Liz’s place. It’s a popular spot with walkers and cyclists that flock to the ‘Gateway to the Trossachs’. In fine weather grab a table on the pavement and watch the world go by. Just a 5 mins drive from Gartmore House.
9. The Scottish Wool Centre, Aberfoyle
As well as offering a great shopping opportunity, The Scottish Wool Centre at Aberfoyle (5 mins drive) has a nice coffee shop to stop and ‘wet your whistle’. During the summer season you can also watch collie dogs herding Indian runner ducs through an obstacle course in the paddock! There are a variety of sheep on show in the surrounding paddocks too.
10. The Station, Aberfoyle
A relative new-comer to Aberfoyle, having opened in July 2019 (and a 5 mins drive away) and located in the old station, the interior offers a chilled, rustic vibe, or you can take a pew outside on the veranda. Run by the Fraser family, who also run the popular Oak Tree Inn and St Mocha Café at Balmaha, the Station Café is a welcome addition to the village. Toasties, sausage and bacon rolls are washed down with mugs of freshly-ground coffee from their very own Loch Lomond Coffee Company. At the last glance, the cake cabinet boasted 5 types of vegan treats! Yum!
The Black Bull Community Hub and Pub is also opening in September 2019 in the village – so you’ll be able to grab a coffee and slice of something nice there.
Do you have any recommendations of cafés to visit around Gartmore? Please let us know if so!