Did you know that it is paw-sible take your canine companion to most of the castles, abbeys, brochs and kirks managed by us?

Well behaved doggos are welcome to explore many of our historic sites. It’s a great way to spend your howl-idays. And, of course, assistance dogs are welcome everywhere.

We spoke to some good girls and boys to find out their favourite attractions. Turns out there’s nothing better than having a good sniff around Scotland’s historic places!

In-fur-mation about visiting with your dog

It might sound a bit ruff, but unfortunately we don’t allow dogs to visit all of our sites. When you’re on our website, look out for the “no dogs allowed” icon.

screen grab showing icons that represent the different facilities at Historic Scotland sites. The "dogs not allowed" icon is circled.

Dogs must always keep their human on a lead, but that’s not too difficult. Who knows what those odd bipeds might get up to if left free to roam?!

Even at sites where dogs are welcome, access to some areas might be cur-tailed. Places like visitor centres and roofed areas are usually out of bounds. You can download our dog policy, which includes a list of sites that aren’t suitable for dogs to visit.

If you’re planning to bring your dog to one of our sites and aren’t sure what to expect, you can always get on the old dog-and-bone to our site staff in advance of your visit. The telephone numbers for our staffed sites are on the “Getting here” tab of our property pages.

Rory at the Border Abbeys

Rory the Westie considers himself a connoisseur of medieval abbeys. He loves nothing more than getting dressed up in his tartan togs and sniffing out a flying buttress or two.

For this terrific terrier, a tour of the Border Abbeys was the ulti-mutt day out.

Visit the Border Abbeys:

Pre-book your visit to Melrose Abbey, Dryburgh Abbey and Jedburgh Abbey.

Isla at Tantallon Castle

Isla loves to feel the wind in her lovely flappy ears! That’s why she thinks Tantallon Castle is a great place to hang out.

She had a great time wiggling up and down all the stairs, and reading about the sumptuous banquets that took place in the Great Hall. She spotted at least three dogs mooching at the banqueting table on this interpretation panel. It’s nice that their contribution to the castle has been recorded for paw-sterity.

There were some rooms in the castle she couldn’t visit, but that was okay because she spent that time outside in the fresh air counting the birds on the Bass Rock.

You can pre-book Tantallon Castle tickets now.

Alfie at Caerlaverock Castle

Alfie the Weimaraner is never happier than when he’s exploring a historic site or two. He’s always hounding his humans for a historic visit. His favourite site is probably Dundonald Castle, where his human volunteers as an archaeologist with Friends of Dundonald Castle.

He’s also been to Caerlaverock Castle, Rothesay Castle, Lochranza Castle and Linlithgow Palace. His curiosity is always on show when discovering what’s around every corner, nook and cranny.

Not only is Caerlaverock Castle great for a visit, but it’s next to Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve. Just make sure to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code when you’re there.

Caerlaverock Castle is open, but remember to book your Caerlaverock Castle tickets in advance.

Winston at Aberdour Castle

Winston is a cheeky wee chap with a big personality! This might sound far-fetched, but he’s a fan of a delightful walled garden. He dragged his humans for a day out at Aberdour Castle in Fife and he wasn’t disappointed.

border terrier in front of Aberdour Castle

There were lots of new sights and sounds for Winston to explore at Aberdour Castle.

He was pretty sure that he could smell pigeons inside a funny round building. This good boy knows the rules and sent his humans in for a look while he waited outside. They reported back that there weren’t any pigeons in there anyway. Booooo-ring!

Make sure you book your Aberdour Castle tickets in advance.

Poncho at Craigmillar Castle

Poncho Rodriguez Gonzalez is a Chihuahua who loves to wear a bit of tartan! This diminutive doggo has severe epilepsy but visits to castles help him relax.

He had a lovely day out at Craigmillar Castle. His favourite part was being at the top of the tower looking out over the land. Poncho is tiny but mighty when he’s at the top of the castle tower!

Pre-book your Craigmillar Castle tickets.

Moss and Fly at Dunstaffnage Castle

Moss the Border collie told us all about the great day out she had at Dunstaffnage Castle. This brought back happy memories of good times with her best friend Fly, who has since passed away.

A typical collie, Moss loves investigating! She explores every doorway and staircase she can find and pokes her head out all the windows.

Fly had arthritis that limited her mobility, but she still loved getting out and about. Later in life, she used some wheels to get around, which always attracted attention! She couldn’t manage stairs, but she had plenty of fun wandering around the ground level.

Fly and Moss always enjoy getting to say hello to the castle stewards. It’s nice to be the centre of attention!

Dunstaffnage Castle is currently closed but you can sign up to our newsletter to find out all the latest on our reopening news.

Calvin at Holyrood Park

At just a few months old, Calvin is pretty new to exploring the big wide world. He lives with the Castle Hunter, so we’re pretty sure he’ll be visiting and reviewing lots of Scotland’s castles in future.

Calvin really enjoyed his first visit to Holyrood Park. It’s a great place to burn off that spaniel energy! Lots of exciting smells and great views. No wonder this is the number 1 favourite destination for many dogs.

Humans are allowed off the lead in the park, but there are times and places when Calvin will have to pop his humans on the lead. There will be signs alerting him to this. This is to keep them away from nesting birds and other wildlife. You know what those humans and their big feet are like!

Get your pooch pup-arazzi ready

And if you’d like to make sure your dog is on trend when you’re visiting historic sites, nip over to our shop for some fabulous tweed creations!


About Author


Julia Morrison

Julia works in our Digital Team coordinating our social media and blog content. She wishes there were more hours in the day to explore Scotland's fascinating history and heritage!