Tips about Edinburgh – guide to a dog-friendly weekend


Edinburgh, the storied capital of Scotland, is a city steeped in history and draped in a tapestry of rich cultural heritage. Nestled in the southeastern reaches of the country, near the southern shores of the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh is a city where the past and present converge. Its landscape is a dramatic fusion of ancient crags and extinct volcanoes, which serve as the foundation for the city’s striking architecture. The city’s heart is divided into two contrasting districts: the Old Town, with its medieval fortress and labyrinthine alleys, and the New Town, a masterpiece of Georgian elegance.

Tips for Edinburgh

Edinburgh has long been a center of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, literature, the sciences, and engineering. It is home to the Scottish Parliament and the seat of the monarchy in Scotland. The city’s vibrant festivals, including the famous Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, draw visitors from around the globe, cementing its reputation as a crucible of creativity and culture. Here is the mini guide to this lovely city for a fleeting visit, along with dog bowls, dog beds, and the pup.

Edinburgh is a city full of activities for you and your furry friend, but we have narrowed it down to our top five. While there are many dog-friendly adventures, these are the most memorable ones. So, leash up and get ready to discover the best that Edinburgh has to offer, ensuring a tail-wagging good time in Scotland’s enchanting capital.

Voted the number one attraction for Edinburgh, trekking up Arthur’s Seat isn’t one to pass up. This incredible geological feature right in the middle of Scotland’s capital is a fairly easy-going hike and ticks all the pooch-friendly boxes. And, if you manage to catch a fog-free day for yourself, you will have breathtaking views from the top.

Edinburgh is known for its Harry Potter-esque cobbled streets and towering grey buildings, so exploring the old town and the Royal Mile route is a must. Even with the help of Google Maps, you can easily get lost in the Escher-like maze of bridges and underpasses, but even so, there are certainly worse ways to spend a day than getting lost in such a stunning city. You will be able to take in sights such as Edinburgh Castle, Greyfriars Cemetery, Holyrood Park, The Scottish Parliament Building and stand outside the ‘birth place of Harry Potter’; Elephant House, where J.K Rowling penned the beginnings of the popular novel series. (yeah, Potter Head alert!)

How many thousands of times have you seen this view on Instagram? Exactly! If you want to capture one of Edinburgh’s most recognized panoramas with your own eyes, DO NOT MISS this attraction. An easy walk from New Town and down Princes Street, Edinburgh’s main shopping promenade, Calton Hill, gives you this Mary Poppins-style view of the chimney pots and roofs across the city alongside a few of Edinburgh’s historical monuments.

Calton Hill in Edinburgh
View from the Calton Hill in Edinburgh (Image source: Flickr)

Whether you believe in the paranormal or refuse to think that there’s anything spooky about ectoplasm, taking a tour of Edinburgh after dark is a must. It has been said that this city is one of, if not the most haunted place in the UK, so if you are going to catch a ghoul, it’s going to be here. You can do it by yourself or by booking a ghost tour.

If you have a sunny day in Edinburgh, you can drive a few minutes out of the city towards the coast to spend some time at Portobello Beach. The area was a peaceful, traditional British seaside promenade with ice cream vans, cozy cafes, and lots and lots of dogs!

Eating and drinking are indispensable parts of travel, but not all cafes and restaurants are dog-friendly. However, Edinburgh is a dog-friendly city, so you won’t have a problem with finding dog-friendly places. Here are our favorite five dog-friendly places in Edinburgh:

The City Café is a perfect place for brunch. This American-style Diner welcomes pups and their well-behaved owners seeking bumper brakes. Your companion will get a bowl of water, so we believe he/she will be really happy in this place.

On the corner of the Royal Mile, No1 High Street is a traditional British pub with real ales on tap and a whopper of a whiskey selection (well, we are in Scotland!). They also serve great value, no fuss, pub grub including the admittedly touristy choice of a stack of (locally caught).

Zebra Coffee Company is a tiny independent place that is dog friendly and the perfect place for a rest after exploring the castle or escaping the rain.

BrewDog’s craft beer bars are places where you can guarantee your pooch will get a “paw’some” welcome; treats are on the bar, and water bowls are offered, usually before you have had a chance to peruse the beer board yourself.

Whilst spending a morning chasing waves at Portobello Beach, there wasn’t anything better than stumbling upon Miro’s, a dog friendly beach front café with a full Scottish Breakfast on the menu. As our only sunny day we chose to stay outside with our sandy pooch, but they also welcomed worn-out dogs inside too.

Yes and no. Anywhere you are taking your dog, you are hoping for good weather for the best part, as you will want to spend a lot of time outside sightseeing, as you can guarantee that simply walking the streets with your dog is a perfectly acceptable pooch-friendly activity. Overall, Edinburgh is known for being a dog-friendly city. It boasts a wealth of green spaces like Holyrood Park, The Meadows, and The Water of Leith, where dogs can play and explore.

Holyrood park in Edinburgh
Holyrood Park in Edinburgh (Image source: Flickr)

The city also offers a variety of dog-friendly eateries and shops, ensuring that your four-legged friends are as welcome as you are. Whether you are a local or a visitor, Edinburgh provides ample opportunities for you and your dog to enjoy the city’s history, attractions, and natural beauty together.

There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t bring the dog along with you; not everywhere is dog-friendly or suitable for your pup, which limits the places you can go and things you can see. When the weather is particularly awful it can be a drag to carry a wet and unhappy pooch along with you, however, all going well travelling with your dog can be super rewarding!

The bottom line for taking your dog on your travels, whether it be an extended trip or a short weekend break, is whether your pup has the right attitude and temperament to adapt and embrace new places and people. If your dog is a nervous wreck each time you defer them away from their normal routine, isn’t comfortable around strangers, or promptly throw up in the car following a trip to the corner shop, your dog probably doesn’t share your want for adventure. If this is the case they might be happier staying with a friend or relative whilst you are off exploring.

Greyfriars Bobby statue in Edinburgh
Greyfriars Bobby statue in Edinburgh (Image source: Flickr)

On the other hand, if you have got a dog who enjoys the car like his second home, greets strangers like old friends, and, for the most part, behaves himself when he needs to, then have you thought about giving the kennels a miss and bringing your dog along for the ride? So, traveling with a dog isn’t a walk in the park… actually it essentially is, but you catch my drift (!); if you are prepared, you can find out how your pup can make your holiday even better!

  • Pack everything he needs: food, harness, coats, two leads (in case one breaks!), bowls, puppy pads, toys, doggy bags, and dog bed…. It sounds like a lot, but we managed to fit all of his bits into a standard-sized backpack.
  • When traveling in the car, remember to make regular stops for exercise, toilet breaks, and hydration.
  • When walking around, remember to pick up on the signs that your dog is tired or needs a rest, and seize the opportunity to find a dog-friendly pub!
  • Be prepared to change your plans. If you have a set itinerary and your dog is telling you ‘no,’ you are going to have to roll with it. Swap your plans around and take that hike the day after. You can’t compromise on your dog’s happiness.
  • Be mindful and respectful. Read the area; if you are in a busy city, keep your dog on a short leash or choose to pick him up and carry him if possible, then reserve the retractable lead for the parks and open spaces. When you’re in a dog-friendly pub or café, keep your dog next to you at all times and keep an eye on his behavior, making sure he’s calm and happy.
  • He’s not left alone. That’s an easy one! Dogs are loyal creatures and want to be with you 25/7, 365 days a year, so having the option to have them tag along is a no-brainer. And spending even more of your time out exploring with the tiniest member of your family if just the best!
  • It forces you to be more active. You’re going to be outside for most of the time, sightseeing by foot. You’re seeing more of the new place and keeping yourself healthier simultaneously; win win!
  • They are a talking point. Your dog is cute, and people are going to want to stop you for a chat and the opportunity to pet your pup. Conversations with locals can totally change or enrich your travel experience. They will let you know where the best places are hidden!
  • You tend to choose ‘independent’. Whether that’s gift shops, cafes, or pubs, independent places tend to be more welcoming to dogs. The big brand will send you on your way. You are going to be seeking out the very best places and not settling on a familiar name.

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