If you are planning on getting as far away from it all as possible without hopping on a plane, then this part of the world is for you. The joy of it is that you can bring your pooch along too. Despite being remote, you will find Northern Highland dog friendly pubs in most parts, right up to the northern tip at John O Groats.
7 of the Best Dog Friendly Pubs in Northern Highlands
It is the most remote region of the British mainland and although it is a schlep to get to, the bonus is that against a majestic backdrop you and your dog can chance upon places you would never have thought existed. There are masses of things to do in this part of the highlands. You will discover wildlife in abundance and if you are a keen birdwatcher you will be in for a treat.
The heather and thistle slopes lead down to a plenitude of lochs. For a magical moment make your way up to the “Green Loch”, Lochan Uaine. Steeped in mystery, legend has it that the water is green from pixies washing their clothes in its iridescent waters.
Grand castles are on every turn and dogs are welcome in the gardens. There is Eilean Donan Castle located on a small tidal island at the meeting point of two lochs. In summer you can take a tour of the largest castle in Scotland, Dunrobin, with its majestical château-style conical spires rising up from the glen.
If your unsure of what to do, view some perfect pet friendly days out in the Northern Highlands or explore the dramatic Smoo Cave just east of Durness. Walk down and into the moss-covered main chamber where dogs are welcome and cross the wooden walkway to a platform with spectacular views. Finish the day off with a picnic with your pooch on the white sandy beach of Durness.
Wherever you end up you can be sure that there will be a Northern Highland pub that allow dogs on the way.
Our Top 7 Choices
Find below 7 of the best pet friendly pubs in Northern Highlands
1. Smoo Cave Hotel, Durness
Situated in one of the prettiest parts of the Northern Highlands with its dazzling white sands and turquoise water you can be sure of a dogs are welcome greeting here. The bar is situated within the cosy hotel, but it can hold its own with a wide selection of beer, single malt whisky and Highland distilled gin. It is a community pub good and proper so expect to mingle with the locals and their mutts. There is a jukebox and a dart board to add to the atmosphere. Order an Orkney ale with your Scotch Egg and revel with Rover in this traditional Highland boozer.
2. Halladale Inn, Melvich
It was once an old crofting house built back in 1882 but now it has found a new purpose as one of the pubs that allows dogs in the area. Expect to find it packed with regulars and their trusted companions and you and your fur baby are likely to make friends here. It is delightfully old-school where you can still pick up your North Coast 500 maps at the bar. There are always a few guest beers on tap and the inn stocks a range of gin from the nearby Dunnet Bay distillery. If you are feeling peckish then go for Halladale’s signature pub grub dish of Scrabster haddock either beer battered, breaded and grilled.
3. The Seaview, John o Groats
You can sit back and relax in this seafront bar and sample some award-winning real ale from the Highland Brewing Company in Orkney. If you have a penchant for single malts, then you are in the right place. The pub has a dizzying 130 whiskies to choose from and it has regular tasting evenings. You might want to hold back on your single malt sipping and stay compos mentis to capture the Aurora Borealis from the Seaview’s perfect vantage point. If you miss out on Nature’s Northern Lights display, there are always the stunning views across the Pentland Firth.
4. The Bay, Duneath
As bijou as this bothy might be there is always room for you and your four-legged friend here. It is one of those dog pubs where there is a cosy section for four-legged guests to chill out after a long day exploring. It is more pizza than pub grub although you can get a great plate of burger and chips and a pint to wash it down. The Romana sauce for the pizza base is made in The Bay’s kitchen, as are the burgers. There are a couple of castles in the area, including the uninhabited Duneath and the Forse Castle ruins that stand 164ft above the sea.
5. The Moulin, Pitlochry
Moulin Pub has been the most popular choice of locals in Pitlochry and Moulin for over three centuries. This gives true meaning to the term “posh pub” yet despite this it oozes atmosphere and, most importantly, it is one of the best dog friendly pubs in the area. The Moulin has its own brewhouse on site and you can enjoy a pint of their Braveheart or perhaps a half of Old Remedial. The pub has recently undergone refurbishment opening up old fireplaces and exposing stone walls that have been hidden for years. It is no wonder this dog pub keeps accumulating awards, even being voted the fifth best pub in the world by pubcrawler.com.
6. The Boot, Glencoe
There is nothing quite like this dog-friendly boozer tucked away high up in the Highlands. It is usually packed with hillwalkers, skiers, climbers and kayakers, not to mention the four-paws set. The elevated massive wood burner gives off enough heat to dry even the wettest of coats. Sense of humour abounds here from the sign “no hawkers, no Campbells” to the Boot’s bar staff banter. The ales are all cask conditioned and the long line of hand pulls are constantly changing. After a dram or two you might want to stay for the live music. For a quieter pint, slip down to the Snug Bar which was once a cellar.
7. The Bidean, Calchaig
This quintessential Highland pub was refurbished in 2015 and has become the go-to meeting point for locals. Visitors are given a hearty Highland welcome in what is one of the best pet friendly pubs in the area. It has stag heads, Monarch of the Glen-style, on the walls. There are signed photos of local luminaries such as Hamish MacInnes, proving that it is a pub proud of its community. You will find a combination of seating from snug booths to high refectory tables. The view of the mighty West Face of Aonach Dubh is omnipresent and there is a spacious children’s play area outside.
This is the most remote, sparsely populated part of the Scottish mainland, characterised by single-track roads and a starkly beautiful coastline. You can drive the renowned North Coast 500 route with its twists and turns, mountainous vistas, ruins rising high above the sea and turquoise-shored beaches. The good news is that pubs that take dogs are never too far away. In fact, there are so many of the best dog walks in the Northern Highlands and dog friendly pubs dot this imposing landscape so you and your trusted friend are in for a hearty Highland welcome. Take a trip on the wild side with your wagtail by your side for a staycation like no other in one of the wonderful dog friendly Northern Highland cottages.