Throughout Scotland, there is an abundance of breath-taking sights to explore and terrain to walk. From the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders, to the dramatic coastlines of the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the mountain ranges of the Cairngorms and the sweeping, pristine white sands of Highlands beaches – Scotland is one giant adventure playground. And it’s not just humans who are mesmerised by the jaw-dropping beauty. If there’s a species which revels in the prospect of limitless open space and new sights, sounds and scents around every corner, it’s man’s best friend.
There are few more idyllic destinations to choose for a family getaway – members with two and four legs inclusive – than Scotland. To cap it off, the Scottish tourism industry is as excited about the prospect of doggy holiday-makers as we are, with restaurants, pubs, cafes and even attractions across the country going out of their way to accommodate canine companions.
You’ll never be far from a pub or tearoom with a freshly filled water bowl, or a waiter lurking with a handful of treats, plus plenty of bins around country parks and even taps to clean muddy and sandy paws at Scotland’s gorgeous beaches – some of which have been voted among the best not only in the UK but Europe too. Move over Costa del Sol.
What’s more, whether you’re looking to stay in a city centre hotel, a self-catering cottage, luxury lodge or perhaps a unique getaway in a lighthouse or fairy tale castle, there’s no shortage of fantastic pet-friendly accommodation options which welcome dogs with open paws.
So really, there’s no excuse not to pack your bags (treats and tennis ball aplenty, of course) and head to spectacular Scotland for your next UK escape. The only question is, where? Rich in culture, Glasgow is a fantastic city break in its own right, plus it’s also a gateway to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, the Isle of Arran, Stirlingshire and beyond, all of which boast a wealth of outdoor adventures which dogs will love. Or what about historic capital Edinburgh, where you and your canine companion can admire the view from the top of Arthur’s Seat.
Elsewhere, royal Aberdeenshire is a glorious mix of city and beach break, plus just a short hop from the rugged beauty of the Cairngorms. The Highlands barely need an introduction, with its stunning beaches (remember we mentioned the best in Europe?), majestic wildlife, glittering lochs and imposing mountains, while to the west Lochaber – home to Ben Nevis and Glen Coe – is said to be the outdoor capital of the UK (also known as ‘doggy heaven’). All that, and we’ve not even mentioned the numerous archipelagos nestled off Scotland’s coast, including the Orkneys, the Shetlands and the Inner and Outer Hebrides, all of which offer their own unique opportunities.
Below, we guide you through different regions throughout Scotland and the outstanding adventures they offer you and your dog, as well as the best dog-friendly accommodation Scotland has to offer.
The historic council area of Aberdeenshire, bestowed with an abundance of royal connections, is a picturesque area of Scotland to explore with four-legged friends. From the rugged terrain of the Cairngorms, to the sweeping beaches stretching along the country’s gorgeous east coast, it’s among the most dog-friendly areas of Scotland. Loch Muick in the south-east of Cairngorms National Park is a true beauty spot for both humans and canines, while Aden Country Park might be a friendly location for dogs who are up for a challenge, with a designated dog agility and exercise area. Even if you’re exploring the city of Aberdeen itself, you’ll be treated to fantastic walking sites such as Donmouth Local Nature Reserve, Aberdeen Beach and North Donmouth Beach.
Within easy reach of Glasgow, Argyll and Bute makes for a great getaway retreat for the whole family – four-legged members included. Even the most energetic of dogs will struggle to avoid taking some time out from fetching sticks, mesmerised by the breath-taking beauty on offer throughout Argyll and Bute. Nestled in the south-west of Scotland, the area encompasses the western edge of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, and islands of the Inner Hebrides including Mull, Islay and Jura. Whichever part you choose to visit, you’ll find the perfect spot for you and your pooch, from the stunning Ostel Bay to Carrick Castle on the banks of Loch Goil.
Just south of Glasgow, awe-inspiring Ayrshire is a wonderful escape. With an abundance of dog-friendly accommodation, Scotland as a whole won’t leave you or your pooch disappointed. If you’re looking for great dog walks in Ayrshire, there’s no shortage of choice. Skirt around Glasgow Prestwick Airport, not only for great views of the airfield but also coastal scenery if you wander down to Prestwick Beach or follow Pow Burn all the way to Troon Beach. Alternatively, make the trip over to the beautiful Isle of Arran to take in the picturesque Glenashdale Wood, where you can see landmarks such as Giants’ Graves and Eas a’Chrannaig.
Dogs and their humans alike will be in their element exploring all the spectacular scenery and wondrous walks available across Cairngorms National Park. Sprawling across the heart of Scotland, the whole region was almost made with dogs and their owners in mind, as can be seen with some of the best pet-friendly accommodation Scotland has to offer. In fact, there’s probably no better way to experience the spectacular, rugged Cairngorms landscape than with man’s best friend in tow – or leading the way! Craigellachie is a lovely spot for a stroll, with wonderful mountain views, or for something really wild, try the Cairngorms Hill Tracks.
Nestled right up in the far-flung reaches of northern Scotland, Caithness covers a relatively small area, taking in Thurso, Halkirk, John o’Groats and Wick. As such, it’s a lovely area to explore with four-legged family members and, even better, many of the beautiful beaches in Caithness are dog-friendly, including Brora Beach, Crakaig Beach and Sandside Bay Beach. Traverse the coastal paths towards the Castle of Old Wick, or head into Rumster Forest. You can even explore Caithness and beyond via the North Coast 500 – the ultimate 516-mile road trip around the spectacular north coast of Scotland.
Not only is Dumfries and Galloway awash with spectacular natural landscapes, it also boasts an abundance of dog-friendly cottages and is even home to a vast number of pubs who welcome four-legged patrons with open arms. Known affectionately as ‘Scotland in miniature’, the south-west region of the country offers a little taster of all Scotland’s natural wonders – hills, forests, coast, farmland and lochs. Many of Dumfries and Galloway’s historic sites also welcome dogs too, allowing the whole family to explore places like Galloway Forest Park, Drumlanrig Castle and Threave Gardens and Estate.
Dundee and Angus, located on Scotland’s spectacular east coast, is a dreamy location for you and your dog to get out and about, exploring the wonderful array of countryside Scotland has to offer. Monikie Country Park and Camperdown Country Park are lovely places to start, while Lunan Bay Beach – not far from the ancient remains of Red Castle – is breath-taking. The people of Dundee and Angus are so keen to be dog-friendly, they have even set up a Facebook group to promote dog-friendly places to visit and support for people wanting to make their establishments as welcoming as possible for four-legged visitors.
Scotland’s capital city and number one tourist destination is rich in history and culture and a haven not only for wonderful city breaks and spectacular scenery, but also for adventures with your dog by your side. From a climb up the iconic Arthur’s Seat, to a run along nearby Cramond Beach, or exploring Tantallon Castle in East Lothian, the region boasts an abundance of glorious walking spots. On top of that, Edinburgh is awash with fantastic pubs and restaurants, many of which love a visit from four-legged patrons as much as their two-legged counterparts.
With a plethora of woodland trails, coastal retreats and historic sites to visit, Fife is a wonderful, dog-friendly place to visit in Scotland. For starters, there’s no less than 117 miles of the Fife Coastal Path to explore, not to mention the staggeringly beautiful Lochore Meadows Country Park, Blairadam Forest or, for a little of everything, you and your pooch can head to Tentsmuir Forest where you can also enjoy a paddle at the neighbouring Kinshaldy Beach. Among Fife’s attractions which welcome dogs are the ruins of Balmerino Abbey, Craigtoun Park and many cafes, teahouses and some of the best pet-friendly accommodation Scotland has to offer.
For visitors to Scotland, the country’s cultural hub of Glasgow is one of the best places to visit, with a wealth of fantastic things to see and do. But holidays shouldn’t always mean one family member gets routinely left behind and luckily, Glasgow is as brilliant a city for dogs as it is for their owners. Clyde Murishiel Regional Park, just west of the city, is Scotland’s largest regional park and boasts plenty of dog-friendly trails. Closer to the heart of Glasgow, Pollok Country Park is a great place for dogs and humans, while Kelvingrove Park is another urban oasis.
Incorporating some of the most spectacular islands around the United Kingdom, including Skye, Mull and Islay, there are a huge number of options for fantastic getaways with your pooch throughout the Inner Hebrides. With plenty of dog-friendly accommodation, Scotland’s islands offer stays in cottages, on camp sites and in hotels. The Inner Hebrides are also blessed with some of the most breath-taking scenery anywhere in the UK. You and your dog can enjoy the views from Kilt Rock on Skye, before heading down to An Corran Beach, or ambling through the Fairy Glen, while on Mull, you can tackle the trails of Ben More or simply sit as the world passes by at Loch Ba.
The historic county of Inverness-shire in the Highlands boasts a number of fantastic places for you and your dog to enjoy a Scottish getaway. Whether you’re looking for a city break, coastal retreat or escape among gorgeous rural landscapes, you won’t be left disappointed. Amble around the banks of spectacular Loch Alsh, play frisbee on the shore at Beach-haven or, if you’re in Inverness itself – perhaps preparing to start the North Coast 500 drive – the Ness Islands are always a favourite among dogs and their owners.
Within easy reach of Glasgow, nestled in the Firth of Clyde, the picturesque Isle of Arran is awash with some of the best selection of dog-friendly cottages Scotland has to offer, plus no shortage of dog-friendly beaches, walks and attractions too. As an added bonus, Arran is a culinary delight with a fascinating heritage too. Explore the island with your pooch in tow by tackling the tricky terrain of Goat Fell, or the more leisurely walk around the Machrie Moor stone circles. The grounds at Brodick Castle also welcome dogs while there’s no shortage of awe-inspiring beaches, including Silver Sands and Whiting Bay Beach.
With an abundance of glorious scenery, great walks, beautiful wildlife and dog-friendly accommodation, Scotland’s spectacular Isle of Skye is the perfect place for the whole family. You and your dog can explore incredible natural features such as the Old Man of Storr, the Fairy Pools at the foot of the Black Cuillins and the Quiraing, part of the Trotternish ridge. Once you’ve tackled the tricky, rugged stuff and been rewarded with stunning views, you’ll have earnt a trip to the beach and Skye has plenty on offer. Dogs and humans alike will love Coral Beach, Talisker Bay Beach and the truly breath-taking Point of Sleat.
The Outer Hebrides are known as being among the most scenic and stunning areas of the UK and as the largest island in the archipelago, the Isle of Lewis has an abundance of beautiful sights to offer. Welcoming many two and four-legged visitors each year, plenty of establishments on Lewis are incredibly dog-friendly, plus there are loads of great walks to explore too. Visit Calanais Stones – dating back to the Neolithic era – and the breath-taking Mangersta Beach are must-visits for both dogs and their humans.
Running through the heart of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park in the west of Scotland, Loch Lomond is a beautiful spot to enjoy a family getaway – furry, four-legged members included. Sadly, dogs aren’t permitted in the water itself (or on a rental boat), but there are so many stunning walking trails around the Loch and the surrounding areas, they won’t be short of opportunities to explore. With plenty of pet-friendly cottages, Scotland should be top of any dog’s holiday bucket-list.
Said to be the outdoor capital of the UK, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a more exciting and attractive holiday destination for you and your dog. Located in the Scottish West Highlands, the Lochaber region takes in natural features such as Ben Nevis, Glen Coe and Loch Eil, alongside the energetic Fort William, where activity and adventure is never far away and Fort Augustus, on the southern banks of Loch Ness. Unsurprisingly, Lochaber isn’t short of pet-friendly accommodation and so Scotland adventure awaits.
Coastal retreats, mountain ranges and outdoor adventure all await in Scotland’s beautiful region of Morayshire. Nestled between Inverness and Aberdeen in the north of the country, Morayshire incorporates a slice of the spectacular Cairngorms National Park, the incredible Bow Fiddle Rock and Covesea Caves, alongside the city of Elgin, where you can visit Elgin Cathedral. Dogs will also love being let loose on the sandy stretches of Cullen Beach and Hopeman East Beach, where they can run free to their heart’s content.
Located off Scotland’s north coast, the Orkney Islands are among the most peaceful and remote areas of the UK – making them the ideal destination for outdoors-loving dogs and their humans. With plenty of pet-friendly cottages and hotels to choose from, Scotland’s off-shore islands are open for all to explore, whether on two legs or four. Expansive moorland and sandy beaches are just two in an array of fantastic natural landscapes where the whole family can thrive. Take a walk along the awe-inspiring Skaill Beach, follow the Crantit Trail or enjoy a paddle at Waulkmill Bay.
The gorgeous islands of Lewis, Harris, Ulst, St Kilda and Barra, plus as number of smaller islands, make up the archipelago known at the Outer Hebrides, off the coast of western Scotland. With spectacular scenery, wondrous wildlife and no shortage of history and culture to explore, the Outer Hebrides are a fantastic choice of holiday destination to explore with your dog by your side. Trek the Hebridean Way, uncover the mystery of the Neolithic Calanais stone circle or hit West Beach on Berneray – voted one of the top 20 beaches in Europe by Lonely Planet.
Labelled as the dog-friendly capital of Scotland, a visit to picturesque Perthshire is a must if you’re looking to holiday with your pooch. With breath-taking scenery to explore with eyes, feet, paws and noses, there’s a wealth of things to see and do across the region. The town of Pitlochry offers numerous fantastic walks, with places like Faskally Forest and Ben Vrackie, while historic sites such as Scone Palace even welcome four-legged visitors throughout the grounds and host events such as Paws at the Palace. You’ll also find some of the best dog-friendly cottages Scotland has to offer throughout Perthshire.
In Scotland’s rugged and rural north-west corner, the beautiful region of Ross and Cromarty awaits visitors and their humans. Mountain ranges and rolling hills are perfectly complemented by the tranquil lochs and moors, perfect for exploring on two legs or four. You and your canine companion can traverse through Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve, tackle the trails of Beinn Dearg, or see if you can spot some dolphins jovially playing in Moray Firth, from vantage points in North Kessock or Cromarty.
Nestled between Edinburgh and England, the Scottish Borders provides a gorgeous gateway into this spectacular country, with everything you could want to enjoy an outdoors escape with man’s best friend. Melrose – said to be the burial site of Robert the Bruce – is a great place to begin exploring, with Melrose Abbey welcoming dogs on leads. Four-legged visitors can also sniff their way around the grounds of Floors Castle – Scotland’s largest inhabited castle, while they’re also invited to enjoy Kailzie Gardens too. In terms of natural scenery, the Scottish Borders comes into its own and dogs will love the freedom of Berwickshire Coastal Path.
Scotland’s Shetland Islands are so dog-friendly, they even have their own breed – the Shetland Sheepdog. But if you want to bring your own dog along, rather than just admire the natives’, you’re more than welcome too. Dogs can board the ferry to the Shetlands, either in a pet-friendly cabin, in your own vehicle or in the ferry’s kennels then, when you arrive, there’s a wealth of dog-friendly activities to enjoy. The sweeping white sand of Meal Beach is doggy-heaven, while the walking paths around the Knab and the Loch of Clickimin are perfect for exploring.
Just north of Glasgow, Stirlingshire boasts an abundance of fantastic places to explore with your canine companion. From the medieval city of Stirling to the natural beauty of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, plus numerous country parks, forests, woods and canalside walks, Stirlingshire is one big adventure playground for dogs and their owners alike. You’ll also find some of the best pet-friendly accommodation Scotland has to offer, as well as pubs and restaurants which welcome dogs with open paws.
One of the northernmost and sparsely populated regions of mainland Scotland, Sutherland unsurprisingly has a wealth of glorious and diverse scenery to offer visitors and their dogs. Amble around tranquil, glittering lochs, tackle rocky mountain trails, traverse through ravines or simply soak in the spectacular vistas at some of the most incredible beaches in Europe – Sutherland has the lot. The region is bordered by a significant portion of the North Coast 500 route, so it’s guaranteed to have more fantastic sights than your dog can shake a stick at. Brora Beach, Oldshoremore Beach and Dornoch Beach are simply breath-taking places for a game of fetch, while Stac Pollaidh, Cairn Liath and Eas a’ Chual Aluinn – Britain’s highest waterfall – can all be found along the North Coast 500 in Sutherland.
Nestled within the Cairngorms National Park and right on the edge of the ancient Abernethy Pine Forest, the Dell is a peaceful retreat for family holidays, lifestyle retreats and unique events.
A maximum of 2 dogs are welcomed to each property with the understanding that you clear up after them and don’t allow them on the furniture, the cost is £15 per dog.
If you’re looking for luxury cabins with hot tubs, you’ve come to the right place! As you approach your wee lodge on a private, wooden board-walk through the trees, you begin the adventure. Catch a glimpse of the surrounding golf course through the leaves, or look beyond to the glistening waters of Loch Linnhe. You pass the bubbling hot tub just outside your river-side home, then open the lodge door and come inside!
Enter Byre Cottage through an original 18th Century arch from the farmyard. Ridges in the local sandstone can still be seen from the shepherds of yesteryear sharpening their hand shears. The double height kitchen with old flagstones is perfect for a family feast or party round the generous farmhouse table. There is a maximum of two dogs per cottage and an extra £20 per dog per week.
Originally an 18th Century hay-shed in the hills, the Steading has been lovingly converted with heaps of rural character & charm. The thick stone walls have seen generations come and go but still overlook the age-old sheep fold and up to the hills beyond. Wake to occasionally find the fold filled with our ewes gathered from the hill and peering into your kitchen window! Max 2 dogs per cottage and an extra £20 per dog per week. Sleeps 4.
Forter castle was built in 1560 and destroyed in 1640. It was lovingly restored in the late 1980’s.
The castle is located in the beautiful Scottish Highlands about 1.5hr drive from Edinburgh airport and on route to the Cairngorm national park. You’ll love Forter Castle because of the elegant interiors, cosiness, high ceilings, views, onsite chapel perfect for weddings and the amazing location.
Tigh Na Mara and the newly opened Hideaway offer the perfect space for rest and relaxation. The Hideaway, Portavadie’s new secluded, romantic retreat on the shores of the marina. An outdoor hot tub and wood-burning stove add to the romance. It is a truly memorable place to stay and perfect for a honeymoon, anniversary or just to escape.
Crispie House is a 7 bedroomed home with indoor swimming pool, sauna and games room. The first property on the estate, this house is the original ‘Crispie’. Nestled on the shores of Loch Fyne the house boasts private lawns, unbeatable views across to Tarbert and your own beach. It’s the perfect house for family gatherings or friendly getaways.
Nestled in the heart of the Highlands in Fort Augustus, The Lovat is a charming award-winning 4 star eco-conscious hotel with an award-winning restaurant. Having first been used as a hotel in 1869, The Lovat Loch Ness has long been a welcome comfort break for hikers and cyclists tackling the iconic 117km Great Glen Way that transcends Scotland.
Old Mill is a cool, rustic hideaway in the north Scottish Borders. The property is a 1700s water-powered grain mill which has been converted into a large open-plan space within which you can lounge, cook, bake, bathe, sleep, relax.
The property is dog-friendly with one furry friend allowed free of charge.
Self catering 3-bedroom cottage, Isle of Skye. This beautiful cottage has been recently remodelled to a very high standard and is the ideal location for exploring the wonderful Isle of Skye. Any pets you intend to take with you should be declared at the time of booking and checked and authorised via the Owner.
Williamstone Farm Steadings are set in their own four acre plot of stunning farmland on the edge of North Berwick. The three properties all share their own individual subtle luxury, a combination of traditional farm buildings complemented by modern sympathetic restoration. The Byre was once used to accommodate livestock and has now been converted into a fabulous modern accommodation with views across farmland. With vaulted ceilings, exposed beams and stone walls all the character of the original grade ‘B’ listed building has been captured.
All our self catering lodges are timber built and each sleep four people across one double bedroom and one twin bedroom. The lodges are located in a wonderfully tranquil and secluded woodland setting where complete peace and quiet as well as a truly relaxing holiday is guaranteed. Pets stay free at Ancarraig!