Dunfermline is a gem of a city. But tucked away just north of Edinburgh, it often falls under the shadow of its better-known neighbour.
But it’s well worth taking the time to visit this ancient city. Those travelling to Dunfermline with dogs can get the best out of the city too. We visited with Chase and Lewis to get the measure of Scotland’s newest city.
Getting to Dunfermline
We took the train from Glasgow Queen Street to Dunfermline City station via Edinburgh Haymarket. The ride is an interesting one, as you’ll get an excellent view of the Forth Bridge as you leave Edinburgh.
The Dunfermline City train station lies immediately next to Dunfermline Public Park. It’s a pleasant place to be, with a pavilion and lots of grassy space. If the weather is good, you may see a lot of off-lead dogs here.
Dunfermline was only recently given city status as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. But it seems well-deserving of the status, since this is a relatively large settlement in Scottish terms.
We walked through Dunfermline High Street, a pedestrianised area with a good range of shops and pubs. The street is lined with a few old churches and it’s a fairly pleasant place. But there’s no real need to stick here for too long, as you’ll find most of the best attractions in the city are just off the main area.
Things to Do With Dogs in Dunfermline
One of Dunfermline’s key advantages for those travelling with dogs is the fact that its two main attractions are dog-friendly.
Dunfermline Abbey is a must-visit. This ancient Abbey has a long and storied history. It’s also an excellent example of Scoto-Norman monastic architecture. That doesn’t mean much to us but the Abbey looks beautiful even if you’re not a fan of architecture!
Although dogs aren’t allowed inside the abbey itself, they are allowed inside the grounds. We enjoyed looking at the architecture and reading the information boards. You can admire the detailing on the exterior of the church and look down into the remains of a refectory.
When you visit the Abbey, stop and take a look around. You are standing on the grounds of an ancient and venerable institution. This is the place where Charles I was born. It has also received more of Scotland’s royal dead than any other site on the Scottish mainland.
Directly opposite the Abbey is another of Dunfermline’s great attractions. Pittencrieff Park stretches over 76 acres and is packed with pleasant trails and historic sites. You’ll see temples, greenhouses, old bridges, and waterfalls.
Most of the paths were easily walkable, and we looped around the park in about half an hour. It seemed there were lots of paths available, so there were plenty of opportunities to explore.
On the way back to the station, we passed another of the city’s most famous attractions, the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie. This house and museum is not a dog-friendly destination and it was not open on the day we visited anyway. But it may be of interest to those who wish to learn more about Andrew Carnegie, a famed Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist.
Lunchtime in Dunfermline!
We ate lunch at Café Fresh on Kirkgate. It’s a pleasant, dog-friendly café with a good menu including vegan options. There are two floors, or you can choose to sit outside if the weather is good. We had Full English breakfasts (one vegetarian, one regular) and carrot cakes for dessert.
This was one of several dog-friendly establishments in the city. They were happy to welcome Chase and Lewis inside, although a waitress did ask “so, what are they?” on spotting the two large hounds. Everyone made us welcome and gave Chase and Lewis lots of attention.
Several city centre pubs including The Glen Tavern and The Elizabethan are said to welcome dogs too.
Dunfermline is a truly underrated city. We recommend visiting to anyone in Scotland, or anyone spending time in Edinburgh. With its pleasant surroundings, excellent attractions, and dog-friendly status, visiting Dunfermline with dogs is highly recommended.
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