Ten things to DO in Dornoch: For Dogs

Susanne Arbuckle from Adventures around Scotland visited Dornoch in July to test out how dog friendly it is. Here is her report to add to our top ten suggestions below.

1) Dornoch and Embo Beaches

Dogs love our beaches! Miles and miles of golden sand to run on and gentle shallow water for a good swim! Both beaches are popular throughout the year. Walk up to the Dornoch point for views towards the Kyle of Sutherland or carry on north to Embo.

2) Camore and Skelbo Woods, Dornoch.

Skelbo woods have a fantastic circular route which takes you through pine woods and native deciduous woodland, over streams and past ancient ruins. It takes about an hour and is a perfect place for your dogs to have a good run!

Camore Woods has miles of well maintained forestry paths for you and your canine friend to explore. Stroll though the native pinewoods and enjoy glimpses of the surrounding countryside and coastline.  You can walk to the woods from the centre of Dornoch for a five mile loop.

3) Dornoch Inn

The Dornoch Inn overlooks the centre of Dornoch: the Cathedral, Castle and Jail. It serves a great range of homemade food including lasagne, burgers and steak & ale pie. The Sunday carvery is very popular and great value with 2 course for £11.95. Dogs are welcome in the bar area, so why not pop into one of their regular live music nights and have a dance with your pooch! 

4) Simply the Best Fair trade shop, Dornoch.

Simply the best sells a wonderful range of fairly traded, organic, ethically sourced and eco friendly gifts, clothes, jewellery and toys. Dogs are welcome to come and browse with you, and they even provide a water bowl and dog treats!

5) Mitchell’s Chemist, Dornoch.

Take your dog shopping in the chemist! Mitchell’s sell much more than you would expect a chemist to stock and are also home to the Post Office. There is a photo printing facility and they stock all beach essentials- suncream, hats and flip flops! Dogs are allowed in and there are also two dog loops outside if you would prefer to leave your dog to watch the world go by whilst you browse. Water bowl also provided.

6)  Coast Candles, Dornoch.

Coast candles are Dornoch’s very own hand poured candle shop. They are situated right in the centre of the town at Dornoch Square. The shop is filled with fantastic scents and is the perfect place to visit to get a gift to take home with you. Well behaved dogs on leads are welcomed and water/treats are provided.

7) Eagle Hotel, Dornoch

The Eagle is a friendly hotel in the centre of Dornoch. It welcomes non residents to eat in it’s cosy restaurant area.

The Eagle’s menu includes authentic home cooked food and award winning real ales. There is a lovely beer garden as well as tables outside on Castle Street. Dogs are welcome to join you outside, whilst you have a meal or a drink in the sun. Dog water bowl provided.

8) Gordon House Coffee Shop and Gallery, Dornoch.

The coffee shop at Gordon House Gallery is a small bespoke affair offering homemade soup, made to order sandwiches, toasties, ciabattas and fresh salads as well as a decadent selection of cakes from luxurious cheesecakes and giant meringues to moreish scones. There is seating outside with views of the cathedral where your furry friend is very welcome to join you. They also supply a dog water bowl.

9) Dornoch Castle Hotel

The Dornoch Castle hotel is famed for it’s Whisky bar and fantastic locally sourced menu. Whether you want that special candle-lit dinner in the Garden Restaurant which overlooks the formal walled gardens, or a more informal meal in comfortable surroundings in front of the roaring log fire in the 11ft fireplace, which was formerly the Bishop’s kitchen in the 1500s, there is an excellent choice of dishes. If you want to bring your dog with you to experience the ambience of the historic Castle Hotel, visit on a sunny day and enjoy your food in the wonderful walled garden where dogs are more than welcome to join you whilst you eat.

10) Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin is set in beautiful surrounding between woodland and the sea. The Castle itself does not allow dogs but there are plenty of places in the grounds where you can stroll with your dog during your visit. You can easily get down onto the beautiful beach below the castle and wander as far as Brora to the North or  Golspie to the South. There is also the Big Burn walk as well as Ben Braggie to climb so lots to explore in the area around the castle.


Other Dog Friendly places:

  • Kincraig provide dog water outside their shop.
  • Historylinks Museum has a pole to tie dogs to and provide water.
  • St Finnbarr’s Charity Shop has  railings outside which are ideal for dogs to be tied to whilst you browse. There is also a bowl of water provided.
  • Spend £10 at Dornoch Farm Butchers and receive a free dog bone!


Dog friendly accommodation in Dornoch:


Royal Golf Hotel






St Callan’s Manse

The Bank House

Del Mar


Self Catering:

Knockbreck House

Balloan Cottage

Green keeper’s Cottage

8 Gilchrist Square

Wester Whinhill

Golfer’s rest

Golf Cottage

Collies Lodge

Curling Pond

Blacksmith’s Cottage

The Hideaway

Achnacarry Cottage

The Coach House

Drumdivan House

2 Bridge Street

Balvraid Steading

Links Cottage


Glebe House

2nd Green