Ten things to DO in Dornoch: For Dogs

Susanne Arbuckle from Adventures around Scotland visited Dornoch 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) The Coach House Bar & Restaurant

The Coach House Bar & Restaurant overlooks the centre of Dornoch: the Cathedral, Castle and Jail. The bar menu includes their own Dornoch Farm Butcher burgers, Bannerman’s of Tain scampi and all day breakfast. A three-course menu is available in the upstairs restaurant. The Sunday carvery is very popular and great value with 2 courses for £12.95. 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) Mitchells 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) Ultimuttly Groomed.

Ultimuttly Groomed is a pamper parlor for your best friend, a professional dog grooming salon and spa in Dornoch.

Viki has been fully trained in all aspects of dog grooming including hand stripping, bath & brush, full grooms, puppy grooms, nail trimming, de-shedding and clipping. With only one dog being groomed at a time, Ultimuttly Groomed provides a luxury and calming experience for your VIP pooch. (The salon has now moved to 9 Brannen Terrace, IV25 3LQ)

7) Eagle Hotel, Dornoch

The Eagle is a friendly hotel in the centre of Dornoch. It welcomes non-residents to eat in its 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. (Due to staff with dog allergies, dogs are not allowed inside).

8) Historylinks Museum

Enjoy Dornoch’s very own 5* museum and leave your dog safely secured outside. Water bowls are provided.

9) Dornoch Castle Hotel

The Dornoch Castle hotel is famed for its 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 ambiance 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) Royal Golf Hotel

Dogs are allowed to join their owners inside, if the bar is not too busy, please check on arrival.

Other Dog-Friendly places:

  • Kincraig provide dog water outside their shop.
  • 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


Dog-friendly accommodation in Dornoch:


Royal Golf Hotel






The Bank House

Del Mar


Self Catering:


Knockbreck House

Green keeper’s Cottage

Wester Whinhill

Collies Lodge

Curling Pond

Blacksmith’s Cottage

The Hideaway

Balvraid Steading


2nd Green

The Coul House

Oran Mor

The Coach House
The Luxury Lodge in Embo
2 Mackay Road