Beautiful, wild, extraordinary Scotland. With an abundance of impressive mountains, stunning lochs and miles upon miles of untouched wilderness, Scotland is canine heaven. But it’s quite simply not something that can be explored from just one spot! At a distance of around 875 miles from top to bottom, to really get under the skin of this incredible country, you’re going to need a car. Here are our top dog-friendly Scottish road trips…
1. Edinburgh to Kirkwall
A popular spot to start a trip, Edinburgh itself is a fantastic city with its imposing castle, ancient streets and plenty of shops and restaurants.
Travelling the full distance from bottom to top, and taking in the beautiful scenery as you go on the legendary A9 route – we’re talking a hefty distance of 310 miles (around seven to eight hours). To fully appreciate all the spectacular sights on offer, and stretch those legs and paws, you’ll want to break that journey up over a few days.
Along the way you’ll pass Pitlochry fish ladder, several whisky distilleries, Blair castle, Loch Ness, Culloden battlefield and finally the Ring of Brodgar.
2. Royal Deeside Tourist Route
From Perth to Aberdeen, this charming route takes you via Cairngorms National Park and the fruit-growing farmland of Blairgowrie. Visit the Black Watch castle, Crathes castle and Drum castle, Scone Palace and the Muir of Dinnet national reserve. Take in the stunning scenery along the way with your dog by your side.
3. Heart 200
Named the Heart 200 for a reason, explore the very heart of Scotland along a 200 mile route through Perth, Stirling, the Trussochs and Highland Perthshire.
As you and your dog enjoy the incredible scenery, take the time to stop off at some fascinating spots: the beheading stone, Wallace monument and castle in Stirling, the cathedral and Comrie Croft in Dunblane, Tummel bridge and the very instagrammable falls of Dochart.
4. Inverness to Elgin
If you’re looking for a shorter Scottish road trip with your dog, this is for you. At around one hour by car, the drive from Inverness to Elgin takes you past Culloden, Cawdor castle and plenty of dog friendly beaches such as Nairn beach, Cullen beach and Hopeman beach.
5. North East 250
Discover the breathtaking changing scenery of Scotland as you travel the North East 250. Visit whisky distilleries along the way as well as Cairngorms National Park, the famous castles of Royal Deeside, Aberdeen, the North Sea coastline and the picturesque seaside villages of the Moray Firth Coast.
This route also offers an array of glorious dog friendly beaches to dash through the sand and splash about on, including Newburgh seal beach (pop your pooch on a lead here), Sandend beach and Cruden bay.
6. The Argyll Coastal Route & Loch Ness
No trip to Scotland is complete without experiencing the breathtaking lochs! This route takes you from Loch Lomond, past Loch Fyne and on to Loch Ness. If your dog doesn’t fancy a dip with the Loch Ness monster, pay a visit to some of the other sites like the 19th Century Inveraray Jail, McCaig’s Tower and, of course, famous Ben Nevis.
7. The Argyll Coastal Route & Loch Ness
The trip of a lifetime, starting in Inverness, take the meandering coastal roads along the northernmost mainland of Scotland. This is a great road trip for the dogs and for you, with dog friendly beaches along the way to blow away the cobwebs.
See Ardvreck castle, Dunrobin castle, beautiful Balnakeil beach, Smoo cave, Chanonry Point (and maybe spot a dolphin!) and Brims Ness.
At 516 miles, this drive is most certainly going to take more than a day so make sure you’ve pre booked some dog friendly accommodation en route.
8. Road to the Isles
Explore the West Highlands from Fort William to the port of Mallaig. This quiet, 43 mile route through wild landscapes and on to white sandy beaches gives you a real taste of what Scotland is all about, without having to travel the full length and breadth of the country.
For history buffs, see Jacobean sites of significance or, for Harry Potter fans, visit some of the film locations. You will also find the deepest loch, Loch Morar where you might spot a glimpse of Nessie’s cousin, Morag.
9. South West Coastal 300
The scenic 300 mile route through Scotland’s south west takes you past some special attractions. The Southerness lighthouse is the second oldest in Scotland and a sight to behold. Pass through the highest village in Scotland, paddle at the dog friendly beach of Sandyhills Bay, wander the streets of the quirky harbour town of Kirkcudbright and see Caerlaverock castle.
10. Outer Hebrides
Discover some of the finest beaches of Scotland on an island hopping trip through the outer hebrides. You’ll need to use a ferry to cross the remote seas which is entirely worth it for you and your dog to witness miles of white sandy beaches, crystal clear water and rolling hills – a really special experience!
This trip will take a few days so we would recommend booking dog friendly accommodation ahead of time.
Whether you already live in Scotland, or are visiting on holiday, gather up the whole family, humans and furry, and let Pack Holidays take you through a whistle stop tour of the best places to see and visit in wonderful Scotland – all with dogs in mind!