Our itinerary for dog-friendly days out in the Scottish Highlands
If you’re looking for a holiday where you can bring the whole family along, dogs and all, then Inverness and Loch Ness is the perfect choice. This beautiful region of Scotland is great for dog-friendly days out, accommodation and walks.
Here in our Dog-Friendly Itinerary, we will show you some of the many places you can visit with your four-legged friend. From pet-friendly accommodation to ideas of places to walk and things to do with your dog.
Whether you’re planning to stay in a hotel, guest house, hostel, holiday cottage, log cabin or campsite, there is plenty of dog-friendly accommodation. Below are a few options, but you can browse all places to stay for more ideas. If a property you like doesn’t specify whether or not it allows pets, it’s always worth checking directly with them.
Day 1: Wild Highland Scenery on the South of Loch Ness
South Loch Ness is an excellent place to begin our Inverness and Loch Ness dog-friendly itinerary. With stunning scenery, diverse wildlife and great walking trails to enjoy.
Let’s start with a walk along Dores Beach. This circular walk from the Dores Inn is very picturesque with lots of wildlife to spot. Walk across the pebble beach and take in the fantastic views of Loch Ness. Then, take the woodland path along the shore line to Aldourie and around Torr Point. Returning back to your starting point at the Dores Inn, a lovely pub and restaurant, which welcomes dogs. The ideal point to stop for lunch.
South Loch Ness Drive
In the afternoon, drive along to Fort Augustus. This is only a 30-minute drive, but there is so much to see along the way, take some time to stop and enjoy the sights. For example, the Falls of Foyers, the Trail of the 7 Lochs and RSPB Loch Ruthven.
When you arrive in the village of Fort Augustus, stroll along the Caledonian Canal and see Fort Augustus Abbey. If you and your dog are up for more walking, there are two popular walks you can do from here. Or, browse the quaint little Scottish shops and woollen mill, where you can pick up some holiday souvenirs. The Richmond House Hotel is dog-friendly and offers a hearty dinner after a busy day of sight-seeing.
Day 2: East Heritage Trail and Nairn Beach
Today we are going to take in some Scottish history. It’s fine to bring your dog to all of these sites, but please keep them on a lead.
Spend the morning visiting one or all of these historic attractions, which are located within 2 miles of each other, east of Inverness. Culloden Battlefield, where the Battle of Culloden took place in 1745. A very moving place to visit, on the site of one of the most bloody and brutal battles in British history. The Clava Cairns, an ancient burial ground dating from the Bronze Age. It is extremely well-preserved and a place of huge historical significance. Finally, the Culloden Viaduct. An astonishing piece of engineering, this is the longest masonry railway viaduct in Scotland.
Then, take a 20-minute drive to Nairn, where you can let your dog off their lead for a run on the beach. Nairn is a very dog-friendly town with lots of places to eat and drink. Such as The Bandstand, a lively bar and restaurant with spectacular views across the Moray Firth. Look out for dolphins in the waters!
If you’d like to continue the history tour and you have enough time, you could also head to Fort George. This enormous military fort that was built in the wake of the Battle of Culloden is a fascinating place to explore. (Dogs are allowed here, but not in the roofed areas. You must keep them on a lead at all times and not leave them unattended.)
Day 3: Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms is a break-taking Scottish national park, which welcomes responsible dog owners. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Inverness and there are lots of great walks and pretty villages to visit here. Please read the Cairngorms Dog-Friendly guide before visiting.
The whole Cairgorms area is popular with dog owners and many of the attractions and outdoor activities allow pets to come along. So if you fancy a little adventure you could try water sports, horse riding or skiing. See a full list of pet-friendly activities.
For refreshments, try the dog-friendly Boathouse Restaurant at Loch Insh. Part of the Watersports Centre, it offers the most magnificent views of the surrounding mountains!
Day 4: Inverness, Capital of the Highlands
On your final day, enjoy the city sights in Inverness, where you’ll find easy transport links for your onward journey.
City of Inverness
Inverness is a great city to explore with dogs as there are so many lovely walks and things to see. You can meander along the River Ness, enjoy a walk in the tranquil Ness Islands and take in the historic sights of the city.
The city centre is very dog-friendly, with plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants that will accommodate you.
Now our Loch Ness and Inverness dog-friendly itinerary is over and it’s time for you and your furry friend to leave the Scottish Highlands. We hope you’ve had fun and will come back again soon!