This post is part of a paid partnership with Be Our Guest Scotland to showcase the diverse range of bed and breakfast and guest house options around Scotland.
Staying at Straigona B&B in Orkney
When your B&B is recommended in a Rick Steves guide, you know you are doing something right and Straigona owners, Julie and Mike, have worked hard on perfecting their offering over the years as I recently found out.
Julie is part Orcadian and spent her life visiting the Orkney Islands before a long term dream of moving to Orkney came to fruition in 2011. After buying an already established B&B with her husband Mike, they both revamped the accommodation, putting their own stamp on it and gathered up lots of little extras to ensure their guests are well catered for.
Over 10 years later Straigona is still going strong, with many returning guests and a steady stream of new visitors choosing it as their home from home during their Orkney vacation. And as I found out, it is very homely and welcoming, you are made to feel like one of the family as soon as you walk through the door which is exactly how a bed and breakfast should be and it is what makes this type of accommodation unique to the other options out there.
Located just a 5 minute drive from Kirkwall, Straigona benefits from a quiet rural setting while still being conveniently close to town. The whole house is a homage to Orkney with mugs and placemats featuring Orkney scenes, and local photographs and artwork adorning the walls.
I stayed in 'Inganess', one of three guest bedrooms. A family sized room, it was very spacious with a double and a single bed, a sitting area by the window and a desk which was perfect for me as I needed to catch up on some work while I was there.
Although there is a TV, I spent most of my time enjoying the view across fields to the sea and the small runway of Kirkwall Airport. After Julie mentioned an owl was using the adjacent field as a hunting ground, I also made use of the room binoculars to regularly scan the landscape but didn't manage to spot it on this occasion.
If there was an award for the best equipped guest rooms in a B&B, I'm pretty confident Straigona would win, it is certainly the best equipped bed and breakfast I've ever stayed at! From suntan lotion to insect repellent and hairspray to hot water bottles, Julie has gone above and beyond in supplying little extras. Of course, the standard inclusions like a hairdryer, kettle and well-stocked hospitality tray are all included too. For those heading out on a ramble there are walking poles, hats, scarves, gloves and binoculars available and even a guest mobile phone you can borrow.
Most importantly, at the end of a long day, I was glad of a super comfy bed as feeling rested in the morning is essential when you have more exploring planned. The spotless modern bathroom with a walk-in shower and supplied toiletries left me feeling revitalised in the morning.
I love sourcing unusual places to stay on my travels around Scotland and I know I'm not alone. The glamping sector has boomed in recent years as more and more people seek out unique accommodation that is a bit more memorable than a homogenous hotel.
Over the years I've stayed in some amazing places - curling up beside a cosy log burner in an eco structure straight out of The Hobbit, sleeping under twinkling fairy lights in a pretty yurt, waving at passing trains from a converted railway signal box and having the most beautiful garden on the doorstep of a shepherd's hut. Every one of them was cheaper than an average nightly hotel stay, yet the experience was priceless.
What surprises many people is that most of the quirky places I've stayed at in Scotland have also been dog friendly. This is no coincidence, as booking dog friendly accommodation is often necessary for me as Willow regularly joins me on my trips. As many of you have asked about dog friendly glamping options in Scotland, I thought I would share some of my recommendations, I hope this blog post gives you and your furry buddy some inspiration.
Of course, it isn't necessary to have a pet to stay at any of these places which means anyone looking for unique accommodation in Scotland will find this blog post useful too. To make your planning easier, I have included a map at the bottom of the post with the location of each place mentioned.
I'm always on the lookout for unusual places to stay in Scotland so I hope to add to this guide as I discover more great glamping options around the country.
My recommended glamping & unique dog friendly places to stay in Scotland
BORIS THE MILITARY POD - KYLERHEA, ISLE OF SKYE
On our way toUist last year we stopped off in Skye and as it was just after Mr Adventure Around Scotland's birthday, I decided to book a night at this converted military pod as a wee treat for him as he had been eyeing it up for a while.
A former army radio repair workshop, Boris the Military Pod has been transformed into a fun, spacious and comfortable dog friendly glamping stop on the Isle of Skye. Inside there is everything you need for a cosy stay including a small kitchen, en-suite shower room and some homely touches including a DVD player, coffee pod machine and heating/air con so you will feel comfortable inside no matter what the weather is doing.
Owners Sam and Lynne are very friendly and we were welcomed with a cup of tea and a chat. We also got a quick tour of their croft and introduced to the pigs which was a highlight for me. They also left us some thoughtful extras including basic supplies, a bottle of wine and a bar of Skye chocolate - perfect for some birthday celebrations.
The pod is located in the Kylerhea area of Skye which is close to the crossing point of the Glenelg turntable ferry - my favourite way to travel to the island. It is a quiet part of Skye and there is a lovely short walk from the pod that takes you down to the water. We spent a fantastic evening sat on the rocks watching the local seals swimming just off shore.
We only stayed for one night but could easily have stayed for longer and if you want to base yourself away from the Skye tourist crowds and stay somewhere unique, this ticks the boxes. If you want to explore more of the island on a private tour, Sam and Lynne also run Skye Jeep Tours.
You might also like to read -
Top things to do in Skye's Sleat Peninsula
THE TALL PINES YURT - HELMSDALE, SUTHERLAND
I've stayed at the The Tall Pines Yurt a couple of times and found it a really wonderful place to chill out. During the day you can sit outside in the little private garden which boasts a fantastic sea view thanks to its hillside position and at night you can fire up the log burner and sip on a glass of wine under the twinkling fairy lights.
The yurt is incredibly spacious and feels quite homely with a proper bed and furniture. Next to the yurt is a private outhouse with a shower and compost toilet. As the accommodation is off--grid, all amenities are run by solar power including the lighting and shower. There are USB chargers if you need to charge any devices.
Although there isn't any electricity in the yurt, the log burner and a gas camping stove provide basic cooking facilities and a cool box can be used to store fresh items. This does mean meals are limited to what can be cooked on a hob or toasted in a grill. However, the nearby village of Helmsdale does have a shop and a few options for eating out if needed. Owners Jackie and Paul are on hand to make sure you have plenty of wood for the fire and basic supplies to keep you going including tea, coffee and milk. There are also plenty of cooking utensils if you do decide to eat in.
The yurt is in a peaceful location with its own private enclosed grounds and an amazing view. There is a quiet walk from the doorstep along the road for those with dogs and the location is ideal for exploring Sutherland and Caithness, or as an unusual stopping off point on the NC500.
OTTER HOBBIT HOUSE, SHEPHERD'S LOCH - FISHERIE, ABERDEENSHIRE
When I was invited to check out Shepherd's Loch eco glamping site in Aberdeenshire I jumped at the chance to stay in the cutest looking Hobbit House, just one of several dog friendly properties on the site.
I'm not going to go into too much detail as I've already written a full review of my stay which you can read here, but fun, quirky and cosy are definite themes. It is also a brilliant place for adventurers of all ages with boats, swings, zip lines, walking trails and more. Each property is totally unique and I'd love to return to check out Graham's Bothy and the ship's wheelhouse which was still a work in progress when I stayed.
Owner Jamie is quite the character and if you're lucky he will take you on a tour of his working farm during your visit. If you decide to explore a bit further, the stunning trio of coastal villages, Pennan, Crovie and Gardenstown are just a short drive away.
If you're looking for a digital detox in a place with a mellow festival vibe, you will love Shepherd's Loch.
You might also like to read -
My guide to the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail
MACBETH'S HILLOCK - BRODIE, MORAY
In my experience there are two types of glamping huts, the ones that are basically an overpriced wooden tent with nothing but a mattress inside and those that can justifiably class themselves as glamping accommodation because they provide all the home comforts you need.
Macbeth's Hillock definitely falls into the latter as each pod comes with a TV, proper kitchen, dining table and an excellent en-suite shower room. The only thing not provided as standard is bedding so we brought our own but there is an option to hire a bedding pack if you want to travel light.
This is another dog friendly glamping stay that I've already written about previously and you can read my detailed review here. In summary, this is a fantastic and economical option for anyone wanting to explore the coast and castles of Moray and you are only a 30 minute drive from Inverness if you want to add a day out in the city to your itinerary. There are a surprising amount of dog friendly things to do there.
The site itself is in a quiet country location which is alleged to be the 'blasted heath' where Shakespeare's Macbeth famously met the three witches. This is a great wee sitop for those wanting to visit a part of Scotland that is often overlooked by tourists.
You might also like to read -
Things to do in Inverness
SHEPHERD'S HUT - GLENWHAN GARDENS, DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY
When I'm in Edinburgh I find the quiet grandeur of the Georgian streets of the New Town an ideal antidote to the hustle and bustle of the Old Town which can start to feel a bit claustrophobic and overwhelming after a while.
If I'm staying in the city, this is the location I prefer to base myself as it is still handy for the main tourist attractions but offers a more local and sedate feel. When I was invited to review 34A Abercromby Street I was keen to check it out as it provides an authentic New Town experience being located in one of the beautiful Georgian terraces.
The apartment is part of The Royal Scots Club which is just a couple of doors along. Founded in 1919 as a tribute to those who fell in The Great War, it also has 27 luxury en-suite rooms in the main building which is run as both a private club and hotel.
Guests renting the apartment can book a table at the restaurant in the main building for a meal if you prefer not to self-cater. Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions during my visit, it wasn't yet open for meals but it would be a nice treat if you fancy a night off from cooking.
I'm always looking for quality Scottish accommodation options that I can recommend to my readers and include in my itinerary planning services. This is especially true for Edinburgh as it is such a popular city and I get asked for recommendations frequently.
It is also important to me that I have personal experience of the places I suggest and I'm really pleased to add 34A Abercromby Place to my list of top places to stay in Edinburgh. It is ideally situated for throwing yourself into everything Scotland's capital has to offer but provides an oasis of calm and luxury when you are ready to retreat from the crowds. It really does offer the best of both worlds which I've often struggled to find in the city centre.
Beware of fortune-telling witches at this otherwise peaceful glamping site in Forres
*I WAS HOSTED AT MACBETH'S HILLOCK IN EXCHANGE FOR THIS REVIEW *
Could this unassuming, tranquil corner of Moray really be the 'blasted heath' where Shakespeare's Macbeth famously met the three witches declaring enigmatic prophecies about his future?
It is certainly in the right part of the country and is frequented by visitors on the trail of Macbeth. Research has shown that it was known as Macbeth's Hillock on a map dating back to 1770 but the truth is we can only surmise about the connection.
However, witches do form a very real part of local history, with records of witchcraft trials and subsequent executions of those found guilty. We now know that these 'witches' were in fact mainly innocent women, and occasionally men, who were persecuted and tortured for crimes often based on superstitious beliefs and fear, rather than real evidence.
With so much history on the doorstep, Macbeth's Hillock makes for an interesting place to stay in an often overlooked part of Scotland. I can also confirm that it ticks all the boxes for a very comfortable accommodation option which is also dog friendly. So what exactly does your glamping pod come with?
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