Did you know that it is paw-sible to 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 your human 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 (woofed?) 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 speak 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.

Malcolm at Craigmillar Castle

Malcolm the Golden Retriever is one of the bestest boys around. Of course, he’s always smiling. But he had an extra big smile on his day out to Craigmillar Castle.


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Pepper at Dunstaffnage Castle

This fiery wee cocker spaniel just loves exploring Dunstaffnage Castle. Close to the coast, she can enjoy the sea breeze in her fur. She enjoyed hearing the story of Flora MacDonald, who was held prisoner at Dunstaffnage in 1746 before being sent to the Tower of London for aiding Bonnie Prince Charlie’s escape. A trip to this mighty furtress is her paws down favourite!

The Antonine Wall: the ulti-mutt day out

If you enjoy going Roman with your pooch, look no further than a walk along the Antonine Wall. This UNESCO World Heritage site was built under the Roman Emperor, Antoninus Pius. Building began in AD 142 and the completed wall stretched from Old Kilpatrick on the west coast to near Bo’ness in the east. It’s still paws-ible to explore sections of the remains of the wall. These remnants provide an intriguing glimpse of this former frontier.

two husky dogs in a rural landscape

Teeko and Luna soaking up the sights at Rrrrrrruff Castle.

Rough Castle might be the second-smallest fort on the wall, but it’s in the best state of preservation!

Climbing to Clackmannan Tower

Just as well Elsie enjoys a scramble! Clackmannan Tower occupies a commanding position on top of King’s Seat Hill and stands on a site rich with royal connections. The tower was built by descendants of Robert the Bruce and remained in the family until the late 1700s.

This might sound far-fetched, but Rabbie Burns once enjoyed a day out here too!

a border terrier dog climbs a hill with a tower on top

Tam and Billy at Dirleton Castle

This grey-garious pair are bast pals. In between zoomies and monopolising the family sofas, they love to get a-hound and do some history hunting. Although there is currently no visitor access to the castle at Dirleton, the beautiful formal gardens are still a greyt day out.
a woman with two greyhounds on leads in a formal garden.

Reggie goes to Huntingtower

This aristocratic pup likes to flaunt his regal connections. The long and the short of it is that Reggie the Highland Dachshund had a great time at Huntingtower Castle where Mary Queen of Scots and her new husband Lord Darnley stayed during the Chaseabout Raid.

Noseying around the Novantae

Around 2,000 years ago, this corner of Dumfries and Galloway was inhabited by a tribe known by the Roman occupiers as the Novantae.

Barsalloch Fort was probably a well-protected farmstead which was likely home to a minor chief.

a terrier dog on top of a crag with a view out to sea behind

Elsie was disappointed to discover that there are no longer guard dog services required at this former high security compound.

Just along the road at Rispain Camp you can find another fortified farmstead of the Novantae people.

a lurcher dog lying in the grass beside an interpretation panel

Bramble is pretty sure there used to be some roundhouses here.

Going for a dook at Doune Castle

Meet Bonnie. This wee pupper has been learning to swim in the Ardoch Burn at Doune Castle. Although Bonnie isn’t able to visit the castle itself (sorry Bonnie!), there’s loads for her to do around and about. She can find lots to explore on the woodland walk, take a dip in the burn, enjoy a good sniff around the site of a Roman fort and scamper across the new pedestrian bridge.

A spaniel dog sits on a bridge

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 one 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!

Note: This blog was refreshed with new content on 26 August 2022.


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!