Everybody needs a holiday at some point throughout the year, and dogs are no exception. With its unspoilt countryside, mysterious forests and panoramic coastlines, Scotland is the perfect destination if you’re looking to holiday with your four-legged friend.
More people than ever are now taking their dogs on holiday, so we’ve taken a look at some of the best dog friendly activities around our holiday parks in Scotland, so the whole family really can have a tail-wagging good time.
The historic town of Dornoch is a haven for dogs. Boasting a tranquil location with spectacular scenery, there are plenty of places where your furry friend can relax or play.
The beaches in Dornoch are a particular favourite with dogs. There are miles of golden sands for them to explore – and if they like to splash along the shore, then they’re in for a treat. There’s Dornoch, Embo and Golspie Beach to enjoy, and not only are they dog friendly, but they’ve all been awarded a Keep Scotland Beautiful Beach Award, which recognises excellence in beach management.
If your pooch isn’t a fan of the water, then don’t worry, there’s plenty more to do in Dornoch. Camore Woods and Skelbo Woods are perfect locations if your dog fancies a good run around. Skelbo Woods has a brilliant circular route, which takes you through the mysterious woodland, across flowing streams and past historic ruins. Camore Woods is home to some beautiful views and is surrounded by stunning countryside and breathtaking coastlines.
If all that walking has tired you and your pup out, you can take a break at the Dornoch Inn. Overlooking the cathedral, castle and transformed jail, the Inn serves tasty food, hosts regular live music events and is a great place to take your dog for a well-earned rest.
If you’re holidaying in the tourist hot-spot of Inverness, you’ll be happy to know that your four-legged friend can come along too. Inverness’ fantastic location next to the River Ness means that there are lots of rugged areas for your dog to sniff around.
From the Ness Islands to Fairy Glen, there are plenty of trails for your pup to discover. If your dog wants a break from walking, you can take them with you on a cruise – exploring the waters of Loch Ness up close. Jacobite Cruises welcome dogs, so you can uncover some of Scotland’s history and search for Nessie together!
If your dog isn’t a fan of boats, perhaps they’ll enjoy a city sightseeing tour. You and your pup can take an open-top bus tour around the city, hopping on and off the bus as you explore the beautiful sights and historic attractions that Inverness has to offer.
To make Inverness even more appealing to your four-legged friend, in 2014, a local pub, The Clachnaharry, was awarded the title of Britain’s Most Dog-Friendly Pub – providing towels, biscuits, and even Christmas presents to their canine visitors.
Dumfries and Galloway
Shortly after you cross the border into Scotland, you’ll be greeted by the beautiful Dumfries and Galloway. Renowned for its rocky coastline and green countryside, it’s the ideal place for a relaxing family break. The gentle hills and stunning valleys make it a haven for dogs.
Galloway Forest Park is one of the region’s most well-known charms. At over 300 square miles, it’s Britain’s largest forest park – and there’s plenty of wild wonders for you and your pooch to explore. The Loch Trool circular walk is highly recommended for dogs, it’s a great length and is surrounded by beautiful scenery.
If you want to try something a little bit different then why not take your dog to Cream o’ Galloway near Castle Douglas. This perfect family attraction will give you the chance to take a tour of the working dairy farm, and there are rides and nature trails available too. Your four-legged friend is welcome in some areas inside, as well as in the visitors centre. There’s also an enclosed dog walking area in the seven acres of surrounding woodland, so your pup can have a good run around.
Dumfries and Galloway boasts many magnificent beaches, and dogs are allowed on lots of them. One beach which dogs are allowed on all year round is Southerness Beach, which is surrounded by rocks and has stunning views overlooking the Solway Firth.
If your four-legged friend loves the beach, then Ayrshire is the place to go. The South West Coast of Scotland is full of beautiful beaches, many of which are dog friendly.
Curved into a peaceful bay, Troon Beach is a popular place for both dogs and their owners. There are endless stretches of sand for your pooch to explore, and the views looking out to the Isle of Arran are hard to beat. If you’re looking for a quieter spot then Heads of Ayr Beach also has no dog restrictions. This small and peaceful beach backs onto a huge grassy area that is dominated by towering cliffs, making it the perfect place for your pooch to unearth new sights and smells.
Ayrshire is also home to the River Ayr, which is perfect for those looking to explore the beautiful landscape, wild moorland and rocky gorges. If you’re taking a stroll along the River Ayr, there are plenty of dog friendly pubs and cafes along the way to take a break and relax in. The Failford Inn is a cosy pub located on the bank of the river, where dogs are welcome in the bar and garden. Here, you can enjoy real ale whilst taking in the views of the river, giving you and your dog a well-deserved rest.
The small village of Wemyss Bay on the Firth of Clyde is the perfect place for a holiday with your pooch. With its castles, gardens and rocky beach, there are plenty of areas for the whole family to explore.
If you’re wanting to uncover something exciting, then a trip to Kelburn Castle is a must. Dating back to the 13th century, with an estate covering over 3,500 acres, Kelburn Castle is home to exotic gardens, famous trees, and fantastic historical features. The Kelburn Glen is regarded as one of Scotland’s most beautiful woodland areas, as its waterfalls and gorges lead to spectacular views over the islands of the Firth of Clyde. Dogs are welcome to enjoy some of the site’s amazing features, such as the famous graffiti mural, walks and waterfalls – along with the Secret Forest; a maze of paths and secret passageways.
If you’re a nature lover, then you’re in luck. Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, Scotland’s largest Regional Park, is just beside Wemyss Bay – meaning you’ll never be stuck for something to do. Whether you like walking paths, cycling routes, or wildlife watching spots, there are plenty of activities to keep you and your dog entertained.
Nestled amongst the stunning scenery of Highland Perthshire, Pitlochry is a dog’s paradise. The area is home to a number of walking trails, where you and your pup will pass vast mountains, lochs, glens and ancient castles, making it one of Scotland’s most beautiful and vibrant places to visit.
Pitlochry and the surrounding area is home to some of the most remarkable woodlands, where many paths and trails lead you into a mysterious wilderness. From Allean Forest and Faskally Woods to the most iconic panoramic view of Scotland, the Queen’s View, there are plenty of wooded areas for your dog to explore.
If you’re a lover of history, then a visit to Blair Castle is a must. Here you can see Scottish history through the lives of the Atholl family, and there are over 30 rooms to uncover. Although dogs aren’t allowed in the actual castle, they can roam the stunning grounds and gardens – where both of you can take a look at the historic landscapes, as well as Hercules Garden and Diana’s Grove.
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