Off the leash: From parks to parades, the best days out for dogs to get tails wagging (2022)

MAKE no bones about it: Scotland is a nation of dog lovers. Testament to this pet-loving culture is the soaring number of dedicated events and activities to treat, pamper and spend quality time with our canine companions.

Here, we pick the best dog-friendly days out, from easy strolls and colourful walking trails to cosy cafes and epic road trips.

Paws at the Palace, Scone Palace, Perthshire

If you enjoy spoiling your dog (guilty!) then Paws at the Palace looks set to be a top day out. The event, from 10am to 4.30pm on September 4, will feature agility classes, parades, demonstrations, food stalls, cool-down areas and plenty of treats.

The Old Kitchen Coffee Shop at Scone Palace is a perfect pit stop to refuel after a walk. When it comes to exploring the wider area, Perth and Kinross has newly topped the rankings as Scotland’s most pet-friendly holiday destination according to Petplan and


Tour the City Centre Mural Trail, Glasgow

For an urban adventure with your pooch, exploring the mural trail around Glasgow city centre promises a fun-filled and photogenic stroll against a backdrop of work by world-class street artists, such as Smug, Rogue-one and James Klinge.

Keep your eyes peeled for a modern-day St Mungo; a balloon-clad floating taxi; a clowder of playful kittens; a cheeky nod to the traffic cone-wearing Duke of Wellington statue; urban wildlife; a vibrant garden; and a windblown Sir Billy Connolly (a reproduction of the famed Jack Vettriano painting).

The best bit? New murals are being added all the time. If you fancy stretching your legs, check out the clutch of recently completed creations around Partick, which include a cheery tribute to Scottish cartoonist Bud Neill’s much-beloved diminutive sheriff Lobey Dosser.

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Visit a distillery

Whatever your tipple, there’s a clutch of great distilleries and breweries around Scotland that roll out the red carpet for dog lovers.

Lindores Abbey Distillery, near Newburgh, Fife, offers a glimpse into the wonders of whisky production with daily tours open to “well-behaved dog owners along with their four-legged friends”.

Stirling Gin Distillery also welcomes dogs – they can even join their human companions at the tasting tables. At Fyne Ales, near Cairndow, Argyll, your pup can enjoy the full experience of a brewery tour with the reward of doggy beer, ice cream and biscuits afterwards.


Ahoy, salty seadogs

Does having four paws make for better sea legs? Day-trip boat excursions that allow dogs on board include the Maid of the Forth, sailing from Hawes Pier in South Queensferry. Explore the historic island of Inchcolm, cruise under the three Forth Bridges or go wildlife-spotting on a seafari.

Head to Loch Katrine and soak up the spectacular Trossachs scenery, with regular sailings on either Lady of the Lake or Rob Roy III. Options range from a 45-minute circular to a two-hour route calling at Stronachlachar. Dogs travel for £2.

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Park life

For those seeking a secure space to allow their dog to run free, Unleashed Dog Adventure Park at Pencaitland, East Lothian, is well-worth checking out. The facilities are ideal for those nervous about letting their dog off the lead in public spaces or who perhaps have pets with weaker recall skills.

The 1.2 miles (2km) of 6ft-high (1.9m) deer fencing installed around the perimeter is designed to keep high jumpers enclosed, with a netted base to prevent any would-be tunnellers. Bookable sessions last 50 minutes and cost £15, for up to three dogs.

There is a sister site at Cousland Park Farm, Midlothian. Both locations have agility apparatus aimed at boosting balance and strength, sandpits for digging, as well as sensory gardens packed with textures and smells to help reduce anxiety and stimulate the senses.


Off the leash: From parks to parades, the best days out for dogs to get tails wagging (1)Unleashed Dog Adventure Park in East Lothian

Beatson Paw Walk, Glasgow Green

As part of National Dog Week, the Beatson Paw Walk returns from September 19 to 25. Participants can pop along to a dedicated event being hosted by the dog-friendly West Brewery at Glasgow Green from 11am to 3pm on September 24 and 25 – or join in virtually at a time to suit their diary.

Entry costs £10 (adult and dog sign-up; one T-shirt and one dog treat) or £15 (adult and dog sign-up; one T-shirt and one tartan dog bandana). The charity is running a competition to choose an Ambassadog to be the face of its fundraising activities for the year ahead.

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Cafe culture

There is no ambiguity about whether dogs are VIP customers at the Cafe@Canada Wood in Falkirk thanks to the huge board on the wall proudly displaying photographs of four-legged visitors.

The delightful spot, as the name suggests, is on the Canada Wood and Falkirk Wheel Circular, close to excellent walking, cycling and running trails. Call ahead to reserve one of the dog-friendly tables.

History buffs might enjoy a wander to peruse one of Scotland’s most significant battlegrounds nearby. The Battle of Falkirk Muir – where the Jacobites were victorious over government forces – took place on January 17, 1746.

The Heron Farm Shop and Kitchen, near Strathaven, Lanarkshire, has a dedicated indoor dining section for canine customers, as well as covered outdoor dog pods ideal for al fresco brunching.

On the menu for good pups: Jude's dog ice cream, Arran Dog Bakery biscuits and Drookit Dug deer antler chews. There is space on site to run off the lead, as well as plenty of dog-friendly walks at Whitelee Windfarm.

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Off the leash: From parks to parades, the best days out for dogs to get tails wagging (2)Heron Farm Shop and Kitchen, near Strathaven, Lanarkshire

DogFest Edinburgh, Dalkeith Country Park, Midlothian

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TV presenter Michaela Strachan is among the celebrity guests in the line-up for DogFest Edinburgh. Professional dog trainer Lucy Heath – a Britain’s Got Talent finalist in 2016 with her border collie Trip Hazard – will be giving a masterclass in canine dance moves and tricks.

The two-day event, running from September 3-4, will feature have-a-go activities, from dog diving to agility, as well as displays, food and drink, training tips, breed meetups and the Big Dog Walk, with the choice of a 2km (1.2 miles) or 4km (2.5 miles) amble through the picturesque grounds.

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Woodland walks

The Dunnet Forest Circular, Caithness, is a must-visit gem for anyone traversing the North Coast 500 with their dog in tow.

As the A836 heads east towards John O'Groats, it passes Dunnet Bay with its majestic horseshoe-shaped golden sandy beach. Dunnet Forest can be found on this same stretch, home to an abundance of wildlife, fascinating history and quirky sculptures.

Mauldslie Woods, near Dalserf, Lanarkshire, a former royal hunting forest, is another wonderful spot for a weekend saunter.

A tranquil riverside path – part of the meandering Clyde Walkway stretching from Glasgow city centre to New Lanark – leads to the woods. The terrain is mainly flat and even, although there are some steeper sections up through the trees.

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Take a road trip

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An almost 400-mile route from Edinburgh to Kirkwall – via Aberdeen and Inverness – was ranked as Scotland’s most dog-friendly road trip in a recent survey by, based on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, walking trails and amenities at each stopping point along the way.

Also making the list were the Royal Deeside Tourist Route, Heart 200 – which weaves its way through Perth, Stirling, the Trossachs and Highland Perthshire – as well as Inverness to Elgin, the North East 250 and the Argyll Coastal Route.



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