Inverness is the most northerly city in the United Kingdom. A popular spot with tourists from all over the world, it’s an ideal base for those looking to explore the natural beauty of the Highlands. Naturally, that means plenty of fun for dogs too!
Our visit with Chase and Lewis included plenty of fun. Keep reading to find out the best dog-friendly activities and businesses in the Highland Capital.
Getting to Inverness
Inverness is easily reached by train. Services run approximately every two hours from Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh (journey times of approximately 3hrs 30 minutes from either), combining to give a service every hour from Perth (journey times of about 2 hours 20 minutes). There’s also a two hourly service from Aberdeen (journey time of 2 hrs 15 minutes).
The train ride from Glasgow is very scenic. You’ll enjoy views of rolling hills, tiny stations and dense woodland. The long journey seems to slip past quickly while you take in the views.
Note that in summer, trains into Inverness can be very busy, so it may be worth considering paying the extra to travel in First Class – the supplement costs £15 per person on ScotRail services on this route.
Around Inverness With Dogs
Inverness is one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe. Still, it is a relatively small and peaceful place. When it does get busy, this is likely to be because of a large influx of tourists.
Take your time while walking around Inverness. The broad streets are lined with all kinds of interesting buildings, many of which date back hundreds of years and represent varying architectural styles. The old buildings and bustling riverfront remind me of Perth.
Inverness Castle provides a good backdrop for photos. Perched high on a cliff, this 17th-century structure overlooks the riverfront. The grounds are currently closed to the public but are expected to reopen in 2025.
Spare a minute to look at the Inverness Town House. This historic municipal building looks like a Disney Castle and is well worth a photo. Walking tours are sometimes available, although these are suspended at the time of writing.
Inverness Cathedral is worth a look too. Although dogs aren’t allowed inside, you can walk around the outside and enjoy the stunning façade. If you have someone to take care of your pets and you want to take a look inside, there is a requested £2 donation.
A walk along the riverfront is pleasant too. Bridges cross the water, allowing you to get excellent views of the River Ness and the surrounding cityscape.
During the warmer months, the city is packed with tourists. We encountered lots of Americans and Australians who were keen to come and meet the lads!
If you’re in Inverness during the summer, why not visit the local Highland Games? The annual event is held in July at The Northern Meeting Park, a purpose-built stadium just next to the Cathedral. Along with traditional events like the hammer throw and backhold wrestling, you may catch fun dog shows and other pet events. Dogs are permitted inside the venue but should be kept on leads to avoid interfering with the games.
Places to Eat With Dogs in Inverness
Ready for a bite to eat? You won’t have far to look for an establishment willing to welcome your dogs. If arriving by train, you’ll spot your first option before you even leave the station. Ness & Thistle is a popular bar, also offering food from Wednesday to Sunday from 12-7pm.
Inverness’s famed Victorian Market is located just around the corner from the station. Although it’s not obvious from the outside, this beautiful shopping arcade is very welcoming to doggy visitors. The main corridor is lined with cafes, many of which allow dogs inside.
Proceed to the end of the market and you’ll enter the food hall. With stalls offering foods from around the world, including great vegetarian and vegan options, you’re sure to find something you’ll like.
The riverfront is a great place to find restaurants. Some good options in the area include:
- Wild Pancakes, the ideal place for sweet treats
- Black Isle Bar & Rooms, offering craft beer and wood-fired pizza
- The Snow Goose, a traditional pub with Sunday roasts, burgers, pizzas and lots more
Even late in the evening, you’ll find lots of cafes and restaurants are still open for business. Walk along the riverfront and you’ll notice a lively atmosphere with happy tourists engaging in a little bar-hopping.
Loch Ness With Dogs!
Inverness is famous for its proximity to Loch Ness. So, if you’re looking to enjoy beautiful nature and get the chance to spot a rare beat, this is the place for you. Various beaches along the loch can be reached with just a short drive from Inverness. Take a walk beside the water and you’ll find many alluring paths, along with welcoming dog-friendly pubs and cafes.
If you’re travelling by public transport, there are lots of buses able to take you to the loch. Bus number 17 from Inverness Bus Station travels to the village of Drumnadrochit on the loch’s west coast three times a day. This is a great base for exploring the loch, although it can become busy in the summer.
There are lots of dog-friendly cruises on the loch too. Loch Ness Jacobite welcomes a maximum of five dogs on board per trip. Pets go free but need to be booked in advance.
Places to Stay With Pets
Staying a few extra nights in Inverness could be well worth it, especially since there is so much to enjoy and see in the surrounding areas. Plenty of local hotels are dog-friendly. If you’re staying on a budget, opt for the local Travelodge, located in the city centre a few minutes away from the castle.
Some more luxurious options include:
- The Royal Highland Hotel, located close to the station and Victorian Market
- The Corriegarth, a pub and hotel close to the city centre
- Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa, a luxurious establishment with views of the river
If you’re looking for something a little less urban, there are lots of caravan parks and campsites located just outside the city.
Highland Hound Heaven!
Inverness is often talked about as a gateway to other attractions. But the city itself has so much to enjoy, especially for those travelling with dogs. Inverness is peaceful and has great attractions, so it’s ideal for all kinds of pet owners.
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