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Dog-friendly attractions in Scotland holiday cottages

Days out

Dog-friendly attractions in Scotland

Scotland is vast. Choosing a place to go on a dog-friendly holiday in Scotland is a task with infinite positive outcomes. A country so open, wild and bold is a veritable playground for dogs and humans alike; choosing highlights is a tall order as every bend of the coastline reveals a new bay or beach, each Munro peak reveals even more glorious hill ranges, verdant forest woodlands conceal natural delights, and each turn in the road is a new page in your holiday story. Our guide is a very light steer towards a small collection of some of our favourite places to take your trusty hound, hopefully, it leads you to your own special places as there are so many. Read on to feel inspired.

black dog

We have many dog-friendly cottages all across Scotland from the Highlands to the islands. Our dog-friendly cottages are great places for canine lovers to enjoy a holiday in because they have special features to enrich the experience for you. For instance, some properties have special places for the dogs to sleep, an enclosed garden, superb locations close to dog-friendly beaches, parks, and pubs. For extra lucky hounds, many of our holiday homes have surprise welcome packs full of chews and other goodies! Visit our collection of properties to find out more about our Scotland portfolio.

Scotland Cottages

Dog-friendly family attractions in Scotland

If you are holidaying with kids PLUS the dog, then you will be keen to find places to go that welcome both strains of troublemaker. Put a smile on the faces of your pack of wonderful lunatics by taking them for a day out to remember at one (or more) of these great visitor attractions designed to give you and yours a fun time to treasure.

Firth of Forth Boat Trips

forth bridges

Dogs, kids, and boats: what a combination! But if you love the open water and happen to be staying near Edinburgh then a boat trip aboard the Maid of the Forth should be at the top of your list for bracing family days out with the doggy in tow. You can pick the boat up from the pier at South Queensferry with its fantastic views of the Forth Bridges. Tours include a sail over to the 12th-century abbey on Inchcolm Abbey, the ‘Iona of the East’. Managed by Historic Scotland, it’s a superb good bet for a fun day of sightseeing and scrambling around.

Why your dog will love this: Dogs traditionally have good sea legs. It’s true.

Best for:  The views of the Forth Bridges from the water are some of the best man-made sights in the country.

Stay at: The Cooperage | Sleeps 1 dog and 2 humans

Boat Trips to Staffa 

dog in a lifejacket

OK, you may be wondering why we’re recommending Scotland, then sending you off in a boat with your dog. Well, Scotland is characterised by its wild rivers, seas, and lochs. With its myriad islands, it’s hard to avoid a boat journey if you are serious about seeing the real Scotland beyond the cities. So, here’s another boat trip for you to consider and it’s a great one too. Consider a boat trip to Fingal’s Cave, on the uninhabited island of Staffa, in the Inner Hebrides. The destination is an impressive sea cave with basalt columns, famous for its natural acoustics. Staffa Tours in particular welcome sea-faring dogs on their boat trips. Staffa and Lunga are well-known for their puffins and diversity of sea birds, so keep your hound under control – this small requisite won’t stop you enjoying the beauty of this special site.

Why your dog will love this: Dogs and children will love being out in the open sea and seeing new land forms.

Best for: Fresh air, weird geology, and sea bird watching.

Stay at: Puffer Cottage | Sleeps 1 dog and 2 humans

Dog-friendly walkies in Scotland

Anagach Woods – Grantown on Spey

Anagach Woods

In the Speyside area of the Cairngorms National Park is this doggy treasure. Anagach Woods is a natural Scots pinewood, full of verdure and forest flowers. It is also the haunt of the capercaillie, a black woodland grouse. There are waymarked trails around the woods; the route is about 7.25 miles long. 

Why your dog will love this: If your dog is a good responder then it’s a great place to let it scamper and dart through the trees unhindered.

Best for: Shinrin-yoku Scotland-style

Stay at: Milton-of-Dellefure | Sleeps 2 dogs and 6 humans

Loch Garten – Boat of Garten

Osprey at Loch Garten

Another lovely walk is along the shoreline of Loch Garten, near the Boat of Garten. Wide views across the Cairngorms National Park make this a must-see for you and your dog. Deep cool waters and a level track are perfect for wayfarers big and small. It’s easy not to get lost too as you are essentially walking around an enclosed loch. The loch is surrounded by the Abernathy Forest and is a wonderful spot to chance a sighting of an osprey. It’s nicknamed osprey village! As it is an RSPB nature reserve, you will have to keep your dog on the lead at certain times of the year because of nesting birds around the loch. 

Why your dog will love this: At certain times of the year your hound can splash in the loch shallows.

Best for: Spotting osprey and birdwatching.

Stay at: Dell of the Wood | Sleeps 2 dogs and 4 humans

Loch Fyne – Argyll and Bute

Loch Fyne doggy

Loch Fyne is home to many dog-friendly walks and is Scotland’s longest loch, stretching from Inveraray to the Kyles of Bute. Something of a lesser-known beauty spot, the area is known as Argyll’s secret coast. The scenery is classic and there are outdoor activities galore to get involved with like sailing, kayaking (with the dog), and fishing (as long as the canine doesn’t eat all the bait before it's hooked). You can nature watch unhindered too; it’s here that you’ll see deer and red squirrels. Look to the sky canopy for bird species like buzzards, and eagles.

Why your dog will love this: The scope for walks and runs is limitless. Wide spaces, big skies, pure beauty.

Best for: Wildlife

Stay at: Seaholme | 2 dogs and 6 humans

Dog-friendly beaches to explore in Scotland

Beaches and dogs. We won’t get political but isn’t it a shame that dogs can’t literally ‘own’ every beach in the land? In Scotland, restrictions are few and far between, and if they exist, they are in place for the benefit of other kind creatures and for honourable conservation reasons. We go to Scotland to embrace the unfettered brunt of nature in all its splendour and it's at the beach that we can celebrate this.

Sandwood Bay

Sandwood

If you don’t like being told what to do, head to Sandwood Bay. There aren’t even any signposts to tell you which way it is. Just follow your nostrils for the scent of sea air and onshore air currents. A few miles from the closest road, Sandwood Bay is as far from the sunbathing scrum at Bournemouth Beach in August as you could probably find in the British Isles. Go prepared as there are no facilities, no phone signal, no posh cafes, nothing but an unchanged view that has been this way since before any of us were even born. Dog nirvana.

Why your dog will love this: The lovely wide beach

Best for:  Views, pure peace and quiet

Stay at: The Uphouse |Sleeps: 2 dogs 4 humans

Saltcoats

Ardrossan

Ancient castle ruins peer out over the beach at Saltcoats. Located on the west coast of mainland Scotland near Ardrossan and Ayr, this beach is a top choice if you are staying relatively near to civilisation. Ardrossan Castle was sacked by Oliver Cromwell’s troops in 1648, but they left behind enough of the fortress to cast a beautiful silhouette against the colourful evening skies there. If your dog likes ghosts, unlike Scooby-Doo, you can get a chill thinking about a phantom William Wallace up there at the castle. The beach is a wonderful choice for old dogs and young families as the promenade and shallow waters offer the perfect elements for a fun day out at the beach!

Why your dog will love this: Lots of scope for eating discarded ice cream cones and chips

Best for: Older dogs and young kids

Stay at: Castle Wing | Sleeps: 2 dogs and 16 humans.

Balnakeil

Balnakeil

Along the northwest coast of mainland Scotland is Balnakeil, a legendary beach of amazing vistas and gorgeous stretches of sand beach. You can see the lighthouse at Cape Wrath on a clear day from there and you’ll know this is why you came such a long way. The dog will love tearing along the sands, it’s almost as if the beach has been carted this far north for this purpose alone.

Why your dog will love this: Freedom to run and play

Best for: It’s the escape from the every day you’ve always dreamed of.

Stay at: Inchard Barn Cottage | Sleeps 2 dogs and 2 humans

Quirky dog-friendly attractions in Scotland

Fyne Ales

Old dog

OK, this family attraction is for your adult relations, so we are stretching the definition of a ‘family’ friendly day trip destination with Fyne Ales near Loch Fyne in Argyll. It’s certainly quirky. So go there with your dog and your grown-up children or parents. Fyne Ales has dog beer and dog biscuits for sale, which are made from spent grain after it has been used to brew ale. Take a tutored tour of the brewery and then relax with a few beers while you rest your paws and feet. 

Why your dog will love this: Whether you have two feet or four, who doesn’t love a drink in sweet surroundings?

Best for: Dog beer

Stay at: West Winds | Sleeps 2 dogs and 4 humans

Inveraray Jail

Inveraray

Has the pooch been chasing the wildlife? Well if they need locking up along with the kids for the day then take a day out (or inside) at Inveraray Jail. It’s one of the best-preserved examples of a 19th-century jail and courtroom compound on planet Earth. Learn what life was like for those who were tried and jailed there. The tour includes the abominable ‘Torture, Death and Damnation’ exhibition, the old prison, the county courtroom and the new prison. A horrifying experience for dogs and humans in equal measure. 

Why your dog will love this: Because they like bones.

Best for: Family fun in an interesting all-weather holiday attraction.

Stay at: Rockvale | Sleeps 4 dogs and 6 humans

Sir Walter Scott Steamship on Loch Katrine

Steamship

There are a lot of excellent dog-friendly boat tours in Scotland but this could be the quirkiest. Reasonably priced, you can see sights that inspired the novelist Sir Walter Scott aboard the eponymous 118-year-old steamer. Loch Katrine is a serene place and another place to look out for gorgeous Scottish birds on the wing and at rest on the water. The 3-hour boat trip is not to be missed, the vessel is powered by its original Matthew Paul triple expansion engine and you can see these through open engine covers.  Many of the ship's original features have been maintained so boat enthusiasts are bound to be very impressed with what they see. 

Why your dog will love this: The sights and sounds of a steamship will bewitch your dog.

Best for: Boat enthusiasts and those that love Loch Katrine

Stay at: Loch Earn Lodge | Sleeps 2 dogs and 2 humans

Historical dog-friendly attractions in Scotland

Historical attractions are great for visitors with older dogs and puppies. Not every dog is built for speed, and that goes for us humans too. So, if your natural pace is a touch more considered, then a meander around one of Scotland’s grand castles or a formal garden or two could well be perfect.

Castle Kennedy Gardens

Castle Kennedy

Surrounded by loch-side scenery on an isthmus, the ruins of Castle Kennedy and its 75-acre estate is a lovely collection of landscaped gardens for you to enjoy. Known as one of the showpieces of Galloway, it is one of the country’s loveliest collections of trees, flowers, and plants. Take in rhododendrons, championship trees, and unusual specimens. Full facilities are available on site too.

Why your dog will love this: There’s lots of trees to discover and wildlife to watch.

Best for: Landscaped garden appreciators

Stay at: Craigs Farmhouse | Sleeps 1 dog and 2 humans

Culzean Castle and Country Park

Culzean Castle

A lovely National Trust for Scotland managed estate, Culzean Castle is another exceptionally beautiful destination for the perfect doggy day out. Designed by Robert Adams in the 18th century, Culzean is perched on a clifftop and offers visitor acres upon acres of formal gardens and woodlands to while away the time in. Vainglorious to the extreme, the grounds are decorous with conifers and beech that gild miles of the coast. You will also encounter an ornate swan pond, an ice house, formal gardens and glasshouses where fruit is grown.

Why your dog will love this: Perfect for lovely ambles at heel.

Best for: Time well spent in opulent surroundings.

Stay at: Professors Cottage | Sleeps 1 dogs and 2 humans

Even more inspiration for your Scottish holiday

Before you plan your Scottish holiday itinerary, why don’t you visit our collection of dog-friendly cottages in Scotland? We welcome dogs into all our properties. You will find features that include enclosed gardens, cosy spots for them to sleep and in some cases, very lucky doggies will receive their very own basket of goodies on arrival. We have dog-friendly holiday cottages the length and breadth of Scotland for couples, large groups and young families. Book today to find your perfect escape.

 

Once you've booked, take a look at our dog-friendly guide to Scotland to find even more brilliant places to visit with your pet.

 

For even more ideas for your next dog-friendly day out, take a look at the ultimate dog-friendly attractions across the UK.

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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