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The Canine guide to the Isle of Arran holiday cottages

Towns and cities

The Canine guide to the Isle of Arran

Ed Roberts 20 April 2021

Treat your pet to a dog-friendly holiday to the wonderful Isle of Arran, one of the most southerly of Scotland’s many islands. At 19 miles long and 10 miles wide, this island is home to a diversity of wild habitats and ancient ruins, surrounded by inspiring seascapes that roll on forever.  

There is a good number of outdoor, natural attractions for you to discover with your four-legged friend on your holiday to the Isle of Arran. Visit the majestic Machrie Moor with its standing stones, Brodick Castle, Lochranza Castle, or the Arran Distillery for a taste of the island’s finest whiskies.

Canine guide to the Isle of Arran

Arran is home to some astonishing Scottish beauty spots that provide endless, inspiring backdrops for some amazing days out with your dog; stroll around sea lochs, climb castle walls, or look out for seals out in the island’s many bays. Many people reach Arran via the mainland port of Saltcoats and catch a ferry for the 90-minute crossing to Brodick, however, you will feel like you are worlds away from home.

We have a great collection of self-catering dog-friendly cottages on the Isle of Arran for you to choose from. So, get inspired with our Canine guide to the Isle of Arran.


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Top dog-friendly days out on the Isle of Arran

Brodick Castle

Brodick Castle

Best for castle and country park fans: Managed by the National Trust for Scotland, Brodick Castle and Estate is home to Scotland’s only island country park. It is a good place to enjoy a dog-friendly day out. Your pets are allowed to accompany you for a bout of exploration in the castle’s pretty grounds (with the exception of the walled garden). Brodick Castle is located in the harbour village where the ferry from the mainland drops anchor. The present castle was built in the early 1800s and offers visitors amazing views across the Firth of Clyde. Follow trails with your trusty hound and, if you have kids with you, there is a play park called Isle Be Wild to enjoy too.

Why your dog will love it: For the joys of a Scottish country estate, this cannot be beaten.

The ruins of Lochranza Castle

The ruins of Lochranza Castle

Best for atmospheric ruins: For an interesting and atmospheric day out, head for a wander along the Lochranza Peninsula to the impressive ruins of Lochranza Castle. Situated at the northern end of the Isle of Arran, and overlooking the peaceful Loch Ranza, the ruins are a lovely place for a picnic with your dog. There are no facilities at this 1200s Scottish tower house, and that enhances the charm of this very attractive, remote Arran landmark.

Why your dog will love it: It’s a wide, open space to explore with unforgettable lochside views.

Machrie Moor Standing Stones

Machrie Moor Standing Stones

Best for ancient landscapes: Machrie Moor is a remote and striking location of prehistoric stone circles, some of which date back 4,500 years. This Neolithic site is home to stone circles, cists and burial cairns, and there is evidence of hut circles and field systems that date back as far as 3,500 BC. It’s a wonderful Isle of Arran destination for a day out with the dog as there are lots of open spaces for a long trek and some exercise. Be mindful of grazing animals nearby; please keep your dog under firm control and obey the country code.

Why your dog will love it: This historical site is bound to inspire some fun scent work!

Top dog-friendly walks on the Isle of Arran

Glen Sannox walk

Glen Sannox walk

Best dog walk for nature lovers: This 1.5-mile circular walk from Sannox and up through Glen Sannox is a beautiful, simple trail along a metalled road and stepping-stones across Sannox Burn (you may need to carry small pups across!). You will encounter jagged peaks, lush vegetation, and the remnants of baryte mining (which concluded in the late 1930s). Keep an eye out for adders on sunny days.

Why your dog will love it: For young pups and older dogs, this is a more manageable challenge, with a cool stream to drink from.

Fisherman’s Walk

Fisherman’s Walk

Best waterside walk with dogs: Another leisurely trail that is sealed for the majority of its length, you could pick the Fisherman's Trail up close to the Co-op in Brodick. Its path crosses a golf course (put your mate on a lead), before reaching the beach to a gorgeous view of Goatfell. The scenery is fantastic whether you look inland or out across the Firth of Clyde back to the mainland. It’s possible to return to Brodick via the main road or, if you want more of those impressive views, return the same way you arrived.

Why your dog will love it: There is a lovely stretch of beach for your dog to tear along on this walk.

Glen Rosa

Glen Rosa

Best for iconic Isle of Arran views: A popular walk with locals, on a sunny day Glen Rosa soars. You can find the Glen Rosa track just outside Brodick, there is a very small car park next to the origin of this well-loved local track. Following the course of a stream, the sealed path is wide enough to walk side-by-side as you head towards the glen. Some iconic views and fine opportunities for a good photograph are bound to present themselves during your day trip to Glen Rosa. It’s popular with dog walkers on weekends, so your pooch may have a chance to socialise with some island ‘dugs’.

Why your dog will love it: This is a great walk for sociable dogs and will offer an agreeable challenge for all comers.

Top dog-friendly beaches on the Isle of Arran

Kildonan Beach

Kildonan Beach

Best dog-friendly beach for seal spotting: Whilst on holiday with your dog on the Isle of Arran, Kildonan Beach is a must-visit. It offers a sandy beach, opportunities to spot seals offshore, and superb views of neighbouring Pladda across the bay. The beach is dog-friendly and is close to Kildonan’s amenities, so you could pick up a lovely lunch or a snack with ease.

Why your dog will love it: It’s a pretty beach where they can explore and play unhindered.

Brodick Beach

Brodick Beach

Best dog-friendly beach for great views and handy facilities: Brodick Beach is a large crescent-shaped beach with play facilities for the family and access to the local shops. To the north is a quieter adjoined beach called Strabane or Duke’s Beach; to reach it, you cross Rosa Burn which flows into the Firth of Clyde. The views inland of the mountains are exceptional, and you could also combine a stroll along Fisherman’s Walk with your visit to Brodick Beach.

Why your dog will love it: Brodick Beach has hundreds of rock pools for your dog to investigate.

Other great Arran beaches

Other great Arran beaches

Being an island, Arran is surrounded by water, and where there is coastline, there are beaches. Other dog-friendly beaches to seek out on your travels include the quiet and idyllic Kilmory, Sannox Beach with its sandy stretches and proximity to Sannox Glen, and Whiting Bay which is popular with fishermen.

Why your dog will love it: You’re never far away from a beach on the Isle of Arran.

Top dog-friendly places to eat and drink on the Isle of Arran

The Corrie

The Corrie  

Best dog-friendly restaurant for an evening meal: The Corrie has a welcoming bar and lounge for adults, children and dogs. It serves honest Scottish grub to a high quality and the bar is lavishly stocked with whisky, wines and ales. It’s a comfortable spot to unwind with the dog after a long walk in the hills and glens of the Isle of Arran.

Why your dog will love it: It’s a nice warm bar to have a relaxing lie down in after a demanding walk.

The Old Pier Tearoom

The Old Pier Tearoom

Best chance of a treat at a dog-friendly cafe: The Old Pier Tearoom at Lamlash is a very friendly café that wholeheartedly welcomes dog owners to sample their tasty cakes, teas, coffees and light lunches. It has a great atmosphere and is a popular choice with visitors to this quiet part of the Isle of Arran.

Why your dog will love it: Treats are inevitably in store for them on a visit to this great café in Lamlash.

Mara Fish Bar & Deli

Mara Fish Bar & Deli

Best for crunchy fish batter to share with your dog: For diversity and quality, a takeaway grab for lunch from Corrie’s Mara Fish Bar & Deli is a bonafide hit. Specialising in fish and chips and an ocean’s worth of seafood at the deli, Mara is a truly unique combination of chippy and something extra. Corrie is a great spot, when the weather is good, to enjoy a spot of lunch on the move - and we think your dog will agree.

Why your dog will love it: All dogs love a bit of batter or the odd cool chip as a well-deserved treat.

Dog-friendly places to stay on the Isle of Arran

Poppies | Sleeps: 1 dog + 2 humans

Poppies | Sleeps: 1 dog + 2 humans

Best for a romantic escape: This is a quaint, bijou, dog-friendly property on the Isle of Arran, perfect for a romantic break. Set on the shoreline of the beautiful Kilbrannan Sound, this stone cottage is sure to provide the perfect romantic backdrop for your escape to the Scottish Islands.


The Moorings | Sleeps: 4 dogs + 4 humans

The Moorings | Sleeps: 4 dogs + 4 humans

Best for a family retreat: For an unforgettable family break to the Isle of Arran, stay at The Moorings in Lochranza. Within easy walking distance of the Isle of Arran Distillery, Lochranza Castle and the local visitor centre, you and your dog are well set for a grand holiday. This comfortable home from home is a superb choice if you are looking for a modern place to stay that retains all the flavour of Scottish island life.

Stay at a self-catering dog-friendly cottage on the Isle of Arran

Our great collection of dog-friendly holiday cottages is waiting for you. Choose from cosy, romantic cottages or large family homes. Each of our properties welcomes pets and they contain useful features to make being a holidaying dog-owner easier. Browse our holiday properties for a dog-friendly holiday on the Isle of Arran today.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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