Guide to best dog walks in Scotland holiday cottages

Guide to best dog walks in Scotland

Jemima 18 April 2024

If you are a dog owner, everyday walks are part of the daily routine - which generally means you do a select number of walks on rotation, if not the same route. However, when on holiday with more time off, one can be a little more adventurous and plan longer routes to explore with a four-legged friend. With dramatic scenery, endless woodland and plentiful beaches, Scotland has it all and is a total haven for dogs and their owners alike.

With so many dog-friendly holiday homes on our books, it only made sense to highlight some routes which we consider to be some of the best dog walks in Scotland.

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Central Scotland

Cairndow, Loch Fyne, Argyll and Bute

A rocky shoreline of a loch in Scotland surrounded by trees

At the head of Loch Fyne sits the beautiful village of Cairndow and this is the perfect starting point for walks around the loch. You can explore around the Lochside, taking in all the views and admiring the surrounding nature, but you can also visit the Ardkinglas Woodland Gardens which is a private garden welcoming dogs (just keep them on a lead). This would be a nice place to rest the legs for a while.

Good to know

  • How to get there: The village sits south of Loch Fyne. Whether travelling north or south, take the turning off the A82 at Tarbet. Then take the right turning onto the A83 passing Loch Long Hotel. Continue on that road until you reach Cairndow.
  • Nearest grub: Fyne Ales Brewery, a unique beer bar that loves inviting the dogs in.
  • Stay close by: Rhumhor House (sleeps 9) is a stunning period holiday home overlooking nearby Loch Goil. 2 dogs welcome.


Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder, River Tummel

View up river towards the Pitlochry Dam on the River Tummel.

If you haven’t heard of the ‘Fish Ladder’ it needs to be on your dog-walk list. The circular walk takes you from the Port-na-Craig bridge to the top of the dam and then on to Loch Faskally. If you go in the spring, you can often see salmon swimming upstream which is really fascinating. The ladder as it is known is 310 metres in length and has 34 pools, three of which are resting pools. There are two viewing windows, side by side looking into two pools; these enable you and pup to observe the salmon using the ladder!

Good to know

  • How to get there: Follow directions to Armoury Road, PH16 5AP
  • Nearest grub: The Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre has a nice café and shop where you can enjoy a light bite with great views over the dam.
  • Stay close by: 4 Viewbank Gardens (sleeps 3) is a charming Edwardian cottage within half a mile of all of Pitlochry’s shops and attractions. 2 dogs welcome.

East Lothian

Tyninghame Bay, East Linton, East Lothian

A dog digging into golden sands with its head out of view with the sea in the background

This is a lovely mixture of woodland walking and beach fun! Start at the Tyninghame Links car park and follow the path through the woodland until you reach the sand dunes which will quickly turn into a doggie playground. The beauty of this beach is that it is usually quiet, unlike its neighbour North Berwick, so you can relax and let your pups off the lead so they can fully blow off some steam before returning to the car.

Good to know

  • How to get there: Turn left off the A1 onto A198, then turn right onto Limetree Walk. Carry on until you come to a farmhouse and soon after you will see a car park. It’s a 15-minute walk to the beach.
  • Nearest grub: The Crown & Kitchen is minutes away from the beach and has a garden and bar area where the dogs are welcome, so make sure you pop there for a tasty meal after a good walk.
  • Stay close by: Robbers Cottage (sleeps 4) would be a nice option as it is located on a 300-acre country estate. It's also close to the coast so you can explore all the beaches in the area. 2 dogs welcome.


Balnakeil Beach, Durness, Sutherland

A wide angle view of Balnakeil Beach in Durness showing a golden beach and the sea.

Located in Scotland’s far north, this beach is one of the best for dog walks with its wide expanse of sand to run on and clear blue waters to splash in. Being a relatively quiet beach all year round, it lends itself well to lots of off-the-lead playtime as it’s bordered with lots of sand dunes and there will be plenty of sticks to find. The sandy bay is crescent shaped and is very clean, so there is little chance of pup eating something he shouldn’t!

Good to know

  • How to get there: Take the minor road running west out of Durness. When you come to a church ruin, you will find the car park next to that. Nearest postcode: Durness, IV27 4PX.
  • Nearest grub: Sango Sands Oasis Restaurant serves a good range of food from salmon dishes to burgers. Durness, IV27 4PZ.
  • Stay close by: The Wee Housey (sleeps 4) - welcomes 2 dogs, is close to Balnakeil Beach as well as many other beautiful West Coast beaches.


Linn Park, southside of Glasgow

A variety of dog breeds bounding in a park on green grass

Whilst many like the idea of getting out into the more remote places, others enjoy the sociable elements of dog walking. So here is one of our favourite parks. Linn Park consists of 200 acres of woodland, waterfalls and grasslands and many owners come to walk their furry friends here. Playing with other pooches is a great way for yours to burn off some energy!

Good to know

  • How to get there: Follow directions to Glasgow G44 5TA.
  • Nearest grub: Old Smiddy – a pub serving yummy hot food and a variety of beers and ales. This dog-friendly establishment will help everyone refuel.
  • Stay close by: Argyll View (sleeps 2) is in an incredible location with fantastic views on the outskirts of Glasgow so you can be close to the city yet surrounded by peace and serenity. 1 dog welcome. 


Alastrean Circuit, Aberdeen

A footpath in a forest surrounded by ferns at ground level and different tree species

This peaceful walk leads you through picturesque woodland and fields, with vast amounts of flat land that will have your dog running for hours on end. There are areas where it is advised you clip the lead on for a bit, so remember to pack it. Despite this, you’re sure to enjoy this quiet country walk! You might also want to take a few balls as this area is great for games of fetch!

Good to know

  • How to get there: Start your walk in the square in Tarland, Aboyne AB34 4ZL. There is a town map that highlights different routes and starting points.
  • Nearest grub: The Commercial Hotel Restaurant has a welcoming pub area which offers refreshing drinks and warming meals. Eat before or after your healthy stroll.
  • Stay close by: Ferneyhowe Croft (sleeps 6) is located very close to Tarland in the Cairngorms National Park which is a haven for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts. 2 dogs welcome. 

Isle of Skye

Dunscaith Castle, Tokavaig

A scenic wide angle view of the Isle of Skye with mountains in the background and the sea in the foreground.

Most locations on the Isle of Skye suit our four-legged friends but this route stands out as one of the best dog walks. Located just 2 miles from Ord is a walk to the ruins of Dunscaith Castle. Enjoy a gentle stroll past a deserted croft and take in great views out to the Small Isles and the Cuillins. Dramatic scenery and fresh air will make for a content and tired pooch. Read our guide to the Isle of Skye today to find out more about this great location.

Good to know

  • How to get there: Follow directions to Tokavaig on the A851 and follow the path to the castle ruin.
  • Nearest grub: Café 1925 is an independent coffee shop located in Ardvasar, South Skye, offering coffee, tea, light bites and delicious baking.
  • Stay close by: Cnoc an Theine (sleeps 6) is a stylish and modern holiday home with views out over the sea. 2 dogs welcome. 

Plan a holiday with the dog and visit Scotland

Two dogs running both holding the same stick

Hopefully, this list has shown you a variety of areas and that this country is brimming with dog-friendly walks. Make sure you check out our guide to dog-friendly beaches in Scotland as that will give you some more ideas and if you are looking for accommodation keep our range of dog-friendly holiday homes in mind.

For more ideas and inspiration take a read of our ultimate guide to dog-friendly holidays in Scotland. 

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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