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The best dog-friendly breaks in Argyll and the Isles

The best dog-friendly breaks in Argyll and the Isles
Argyll and the Isles could have been created for dog lovers. With walks galore, as well as plenty of dog-friendly accommodation and pubs and cafés that welcome dogs, it’s the ideal destination for a dog-friendly break in Scotland.

What greater pleasure in life than to see your dog sprinting along a wide open beach, ears flapping and tongue lolling? And there truly are some huge and spectacular beaches in Argyll and the Isles. There are also thousands of miles of walks and trails over moorland and through forests that dogs – and their owners – will love. If you want a long-distance walking challenge that will see both you and Rover getting fitter, why not take a look one of Argyll’s Great Trails? Follow the Cowal Way, the Kintyre Way or the Three Lochs Way to discover hidden coves, deserted beaches, woods and forests, castles and fishing villages on an epic multi-day dog walk. Just make sure you keep your dogs under control and be aware of breeding birds and livestock, particularly in lambing season.

Whether you’ve ranged over countless miles of open ground on a day-long hike or simply pottered along the beach, you’ll be pleased to find that there are countless cafés and pubs in Argyll that will positively welcome your four-legged companion. Many will offer your dog a bowl of water and a treat too!

And being the kind of region that attracts dog-owning outdoor people, you’ll also find no shortage of dog-friendly holiday accommodation in Argyll. Be it a hotel, guest house, bed and breakfast or holiday cottage, you’re bound to find the perfect dog-friendly place to stay.

The historic George Hotel in Inveraray is perhaps typical of the pet-friendly hotels in Argyll and the Isles. Dogs are allowed in the rooms and many a pooch will have curled up next to one of the four roaring log- and peat-fuelled fireplaces on the smooth flagstones of the hugely atmospheric cocktail bar.

Alternatively try the Wellpark Hotel in Tighnabruaich. The house was built in 1861 when the local doctor was to build ‘a good and substantial home’ with the intention of using it as a hydropathical centre. Current owners Colin and Anne have been welcoming guests and their dogs since they turned it back into a hotel in 2010. Incidentally, the similarly named Wellpark House guest house in Oban also gets a thumbs up from dog owners.

If self-catering is more your thing then Portavadie has the perfect solution for dog owners in the form of five comfortable cottages, fronted by an extensive grassy area on the shore of Loch Fyne. There are fantastic dog walks aplenty right on your doorstep, with the nearby Glenan Woods, just a couple of minutes’ walk away, being a favourite for many.

Over on Kintyre, Torrisdale Castle has a range of self-catering properties providing accommodation for groups of between two and six people and positively welcomes dogs, though certain conditions do apply. West Loch Shores is also dog friendly. With lodges and cottages at four stunning locations - Brenfield near Ardrishaig, West Loch Shores near Tarbert, Beachmore on Kintyre and Bellochantuy Beach - you’ll never be short of a places to walk your dog. On Islay there’s plenty of dog-friendly self-catering accommodation to choose from. Ardtalla Schoolhouse is a fabulous option, located in the fifteen thousand acre Ardtalla Estate in the south east corner of the island.

For families with dogs, camping can offer a great way to enjoy a holiday that’s short on formality but long on fresh air and fun. Muasdale Holiday Park on the west coast of Kintyre sits right next to a beach with uninterrupted views over the Atlantic. It has a fantastic range of options from traditional camping, to glamping, to pitches for campervans and touring caravans and self catering apartments. And what better place to take your dog than within, literally, a chewed-up tennis ball’s throw of the beach? Another pet-friendly glamping option is Islay Pods, which are set in Lagavulin Bay, right next door to the famous whisky distilleries of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.

Mull is a paradise for dogs and their owners. It has it all. There are walks for all abilities, including Aros Park outside Tobermory and Calgary Beach. There are dog-friendly accommodation options all round Mull and Iona, including the Isle of Mull Hotel, Bellachroy Hotel in Dervaig, Tobermory Hotel and Western Isles Hotel. Tobermory Campsite and Fidden Farm Campsite both welcome dogs as do many of the island’s self catering cottages. To top it off, Mull has it's own dog trainer, Paws By The Loch, who is happy to work with visiting dogs on all sorts of courses. Choose from a variety of locations and activities including forest forays, beach combing, fun agility or flyball.

Whatever your preference for activities and accommodation, you’ll find Argyll and the Isles is an idyllic place in which to spend time with your canine companion. So this year, don’t ‘paws’ for thought – book a dog-friendly break in Argyll.

Most bus, train and ferry operators in Argyll will happily let your dog travel with you.

See the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers’ Paws for a Break campaign for more information about dog-friendly self-catering accommodation in Argyll.

Header photo by Janet West.
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