Located in a magnificent setting, guests today can expect a five-star experience surrounded by some of Scotland’s finest scenery. But long before Cameron House became a luxury resort destination on Loch Lomond, the beautiful views and luxurious lifestyle were off limits to all but the owners of the Baronial mansion and their guests.
Cameron House has played host to a wealth of characters from royalty, towering political figures, titans of industry, literary and musical icons and stars of the stage and screen. At one time there were even over 30 bears roaming the estate’s 400 acres.
The crooked strip of land juts out into Loch Lomond like a nose upon a face. In Celtic times it was called 'Cam Sron', or crooked nose, and from this comes the name Cameron which it has born ever since.
There was never a Cameron family living here. The names of the earliest inhabitants are now lost in the mists of time, and by around the 14th century there was a fortified stone keep with curved ceilings on the site now occupied by Cameron House. Those were warlike times, when it was prudent to guard one’s home against attack. The builders of the keep constructed two secret tunnels as escape routes from the cellar, one to landward and one to the loch, allowing flight in either direction.
By the mid-16th century the old keep had become a small square house that would be bought and sold by various families for the next 100 years, before the Smollett family made it their home in 1763.
"I HAVE SEEN LAKE GARDA, ALBANA, DE VISCO, BOLSETTA AND GENEVA. UPON MY HONOUR, I PREFER LOCH LOMOND TO THEM ALL" - TOBIAS SMOLLETT
Eventually Cameron House would become home to Tobias Smollett, once described by George Orwell as “Scotland’s best novelist”. Tobias spent much of his later life travelling through France and Italy, yet, the vision of his Scottish home was never lost as he was once quoted;
"I have seen Lake Garda, Albana, De Visco, Bolsetta and Geneva.
Upon my honour, I prefer Loch Lomond to them all.”
We have to say, we wholeheartedly agree.
We’re not short on history, myths, legends and folklore in Scotland. So, it should come as no surprise that Loch Lomond and The Trossachs has played host to some larger than life characters throughout time. Included in these are Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots and, most famously Rob Roy MacGregor.
As well as these important historical figures, legend has it that since the beginning of time, Scottish faeries have called the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond home. Here they live in harmony with nature among the woodlands that surround the loch. The Vikings also once visited the area. It’s said they brought fearsome trolls with them that escaped to roam the highlands.
In 1972, Patrick Telfer Smollett, inspired by his great love of animals, decided to diversify the estate’s offering by opening the grounds to some truly grizzly guests. For almost 20 years, the Loch Lomond Bear Park was a popular tourist attraction. At its height, the park had thirty two varieties of bears, along with American Bison, Tibetan Yak Highland Cattle and Donkeys. The first bear cub born on the estate was, very fittingly, named Patrick and he is featured in the above photograph.
In 1990 the estate was transformed into a five-star hotel. Being only 25 miles from Glasgow, it's a popular choice for music icons and celebrities travelling to Scotland. Their names join previous illustrious figures and noteworthy guests such as Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Princess Margaret and Empress Eugenie of France.
Cameron House Hotel will be reopening its doors in April 2021, with a stunning new extension, perfect for conferences, events and weddings opening in November 2021. Complemented with fully restored bedrooms & suites, a state-of-the-art leisure club and luxury lodges, there truly is something for everyone.