The Canine guide to Scotland holiday cottages


The Canine guide to Scotland

Ed Roberts 19 April 2023

Scotland is a lovely, beautiful land beyond the borderlands of northern England. With culture, beauty spots and unspoiled coastline to discover, it’s an outdoor lovers’ wonderland. From mountain ranges to deep forests and lochs, it’s an exceptionally attractive and bonny holiday destination for dog owners and those that love to embrace nature to the maximum.

Our guide introduces you to the very best dog-friendly places all across Scotland from beaches, places to enjoy a stroll, places to eat and more. You can also read more in-depth guides too if this guide whets your appetite for more information. Scotland has an endless choice of beaches, many are remote and pristine, unspoiled by developments and human interference. It’s refreshing to find huge areas of the Scottish coast without restriction zones for your dog. There’s nothing else like a clear beach for you and your dog to play on unhindered by crowds or artificial limits is there?

Why not stay in a holiday cottage during your visit to Scotland? We have holiday homes of all sizes with dog-friendly features galore for you to uncover.

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Or discover these top dog-friendly destinations:

Ulti-mutt dog-friendly beaches in Scotland

Sandwood Bay

Sandwood Bay

Why your dog will love it: Sandwood Bay is lovely and remote, far from civilisation which makes it an attractively wild proposition for a doggy day trip. Sea views are wide and bold and apt for photo opportunities galore. This beach is a few miles away from the closest car park and there are no facilities on location. Be sure to plan ahead and pack well for your trip.

Saltcoats Beach


Why your dog will love it:  Saltcoats Beach is situated close to Ayr and Ardrossan. You can enjoy views of the ruins of the striking Ardrossan Castle on the hill at the head of the beach; it was sacked by Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers in 1648 during the English Civil War. Dogs love Saltcoats’ open beach with views across to Mull and across the sea. Older dogs will love padding along the prom and paddling in the shallows.

Kingsbarn Beach

Kingsbarn Beach

Why your dog will love it: Lovers of wide sandy beaches and a big blue-sky panorama should venture out to Kingsbarn Beach in Fife. Just 8 miles south of the wonderful seaside resort of St Andrews, this is a superb spot for you to exercise the pooch. Or they can exercise themselves and you just watch! Also, head to Kingsbarn Beach for the ultimate sunrise on a summer’s morning, it’s just magical. This is a lovely clean beach and has won awards for its upkeep in the recent past too.

For more beaches to scamper down with your doggy, visit our ‘guide to dog-friendly beaches in Scotland’. Our roving dog reporters have done the hard work in seeking out the best beaches far and wide for you!

Dine like a top dog at these pet-friendly places to eat in Scotland

Dog gourmet

Food is important to humans: to dogs it’s everything. Scotland has more interesting food than England that’s for sure, so we’ve compiled a great guide to differentiating your haggis from your rumbledethumps as well as recommending a selection of good pubs, restaurants, and takeaways the length and breadth of the country. Dining with dogs can be tricky, but more and more pubs and restaurants are inviting pets to dine than ever before. Here are a few to try out on your trip:

The Rockpool in Cullen


Cullen is a small village in Morayshire, and it’s the home of the ‘world’s finest fish soup’ the Cullen skink. The Rockpool is a great place to take your hungry hound, and after a spot of lunch, it’s right at the heart of Cullen so you can enjoy a lovely walk around to burn off the calories. A Cullen skink is a great winter warmer and popular with visiting foodies who will often go out their way to try a bowl in the village of its origin.

The Ship Inn in Elie


Enjoy a delicious cooked full Scottish breakfast, with Lorne sausages (square-shaped!) at the Ship Inn in Elie. Enjoying village views close to the Firth of Fife and the beautiful coastal villages of Anstruther and Pittenweem. Dogs can sprawl under the table in the hope that they will get some tasty leftovers – they can live in hope! A traditional seaside pub, The Ship Inn is decked out with a nautical theme and is a friendly place to spend some time if you are walking the coast path through Elie.

Bertie’s in Edinburgh

Bertie's Fish & Chips - Edinburgh

If you are in Edinburgh, try out Bertie’s Proper Fish and Chips. They don’t just batter fish, they batter anything. Dogs don’t eat deep-fried chocolate – which is a speciality, but there’s plenty of items on the menu that shouldn’t cause them a problem. Battered pizza anybody?

Uncover even more places to eat and drink with your doggy in our guide to filling your faces with quirky Scottish food.

Dog-friendly attractions in Scotland to adore

Scotland wilderness - deer

You’ve chosen Scotland to escape to with your loveable dog, but what are the best things to do with them in tow? There’s so much to see up and down the country that allows unhindered discovery. Few restrictions exist in the wild beyond conservation and ensuring your own safety, so where do you begin?

Dog on a boat – Fingal’s Cave on Staffa

Dog on a pontoon

Take a boat trip with your erstwhile hound to Fingal's Cave on Staffa, it’s a real treat if you are on holiday in the Inner Hebrides. It’s difficult to avoid a boat trip of some description if you are in Scotland, it’s part of getting around! It’s also a wonderful opportunity to go seabird spotting, keep an eye out for puffins and razorbills. If your dog is a seafaring hound, it’s good fun. Old dogs will take a trip aboard in their stride, younger dogs might need a cuddle to reassure them that all is well!

Anagach Woods

Anagach Woods - Dog

Tree trunks and the dog – best friends. Well, the dog gets to scratch and the tree gets more nutrients and their fleeting company too. So, head out to Anagach Woods, your dog will love it. According to the lovely dog-devoted film, Dean Spanley, when a dog is sniffing another’s scent on a tree it can be compared to a scholar reading a book. If this is true, then Anagach must be like the National Library of Scotland for pups. Also, it’s a great place to appreciate wooded nature and to encounter unusual birds like the capercaillie.

Fyne Ales

Beer Dog - Fyne Ales

Take your dog out for a pint at this dog-friendly brewery, Fyne Ales has even perfected a beer for them too! In addition to this exciting news, you can also buy dog biscuits that are made from the same grain the brewers use to make the beer! Unbeatable! So, if you are in Argyll and you like fine ales, this is the destination for you and your four-legged drinking buddy.

There’s an even wider choice of places to visit with your pooch in this guide to Scotland’s best dog-friendly attractions.

Best dog walks in Scotland

If you love going for long walks with your trusty hound, Scotland is the place to be. The rolling countryside holds the potential for some thrilling treks that include forest trails, lochside wanders and coastal meanders. There are national trails all across the country from Aberdeenshire in the west, Sutherland in the northeast, Central Scotland and the country's many islands. No matter where you plan to holiday in Scotland there are some great wayfaring opportunities. Whether you have an old dog or a small dog with tiny legs to an athletic mad thing, we have covered all kinds of walks in our Guide to Scotland Walkies.

Luskentyre on the Isle of Harris


The Outer Hebrides have some lovely unspoilt beaches, and one of our favourites is wild Luskentyre on the Isle of Harris. Light sands and pink rocks roll down to glittering aquamarine sands and the trail along the beach is not to be missed. Every turn of the trail reveals more high-skied beauty and bliss. It's very rare that you'd encounter many people and other dogs along the path, so if you like feeling like the world is all yours sometimes (and the dog's), then Luskentyre is for you. Dogs love it.

Culzean Castle and Country Park, Maybole


This is a superb choice of beauty spot for a gentle amble if you have an old boy or girl, or even a smaller breed. The fantastic Culzean Castle in the Cairngorms is a great backdrop for a gentle walk. Explore the castle follies and the Swan Pond; you can also enjoy clifftop walks too. The paths are fairly level here and they are waymarked so it's very difficult to get lost. For good dogs, there's a cafe to rest up in whilst you enjoy a nice cup of tea and slice of cake, do save them a morsel!

Ben Lomond

Ben Lomond

Is your dog athletic? Then take your four-legged chum up to the peak of Ben Lomond. Not for the fainthearted, the view from the top is breathtaking and the climb makes it worth the effort. Ben Lomond is Scotland's most southerly Munro (the name for a Scottish mountain) and to climb it is a real achievement, drawing in thousands of prospective climbers each holiday season. Plan ahead and take advice on the best ways and times to attempt an ascent and descent of this magical and majestic Scottish peak. 

We have lots of holiday cottages near some great walking trails. To get even more trekking inspiration for you and your dog visit our in-depth guide.

Stay at a dog-friendly self-catering holiday cottage in Scotland

Visit our superb collection of dog-friendly self-catering holiday cottages throughout Scotland and seek out your ideal hideaway for you and your trusty pet. We have an exceptional range of comfortable and cosy dog-friendly cottages in Scotland with wood burners, romantic boltholes with hot tubs, and countryside getaways with enclosed gardens so your dog can enjoy some ‘me’ time in safety. Gilded with views, lovely locations, and special dog-friendly features, we are proud to present our collection of holiday homes that welcome dogs like they’re one of the family.

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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