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
The Shepherd's Hut at Glenwhan Gardens is up there with my favourite ever places that I've stayed at in Scotland. The hut itself is mega cute and tastefully decorated with a small kitchen area and an en-suite shower room, however it is what lies outside of the front door that is the real star of the show.
Beyond your own private seating area is one of the most stunning gardens in Scotland and when the daytime visitors leave, guests pretty much have the place to themselves. It felt like our own private oasis and I spent each evening we were there wandering around the many colourful and magical spaces. I actually celebrated my birthday with a glass of fizz in the summer house looking across the Rhins of Galloway at sunset which has set the celebration standard for all my birthdays since!
The views, the sculptures, the peacocks, the moorland walks, the unpolluted night sky and the yummy food at the on-site dog friendly café - these are just some of the reasons I love this place and I have long been meaning to return.
You can read my full review here, and even if you don't plan a stay, the gardens are a must visit if you're travelling in this part of Scotland. This is a beautiful part of the country and an excellent option for those looking to get off the usual tourist trail.
You might also like to read -
My recommended places to visit in the Rhins of Galloway
SIGNAL BOX APARTMENT - KYLE OF LOCHALSH
Many people head straight to the Isle of Skye, quickly bypassing Kyle of Lochalsh in a rush to cross the bridge. Personally, I love this area of the west coast of Scotland and although Skye is spectacular, so is much of this part of the mainland.
The converted signal box on the Kyle railway line, famed as one of the most beautiful railway journeys in Scotland, is a fun place to stay in the area if you are a looking for a dog friendly holiday with a difference.
We booked this as a convenient base to pop over to Skye but also to explore more of Wester Ross including the picturesque village of Plockton and the dramatic landscape of Torridon. It was also another memorable birthday holiday and writing this blog has made me realise how often we opt for quirky accommodation for our birthday trips.
The signal box has been converted into a small self-catering apartment with everything you need for a comfortable stay and although trains travel by a few times a day they don't pass often enough to disturb you and we found going outside to wave to the driver and passengers was one of the highlights of staying here.
The upper floor of the signal box has a miniature railway exhibition which is open to the public during the day and there is a larger display of rallwayana at Kyle Station which accommodation guests can visit for free so this is a great place for train buffs or anyone looking for a quirky Scottish vacation.
Book The Signal Box through Airbnb.
You might also like to read -
A west coast Scotland road trip
HILLSIDE CAMPING PODS - AUCKENGILL, CAITHNESS
As mentioned before, I don't classify a wooden hut as a glamping experience without some added luxuries and Hillside Camping Pods delivers on that front. I had a brilliant night's sleep in the proper bed which was dressed with pretty covers and cushions - already a level up from your average pod.
A microwave, toaster, fridge and kettle was enough for me to put a basic dinner together which I was able to eat at the little table while watching the TV. Willow was delighted with her little bag of dog treats left out by the owner which will always earn a 4 paw rating from her!
The pod is fairly small but it does manage to pack quite a bit in and although it is well insulated, there is a heater provided just in case the temperature drops. There are a few electric sockets so you can plug in your own devices too. Although it isn't en-suite, it is just a few steps to your own spacious private toilet and shower room which I didn't mind. There is plenty of outside space if the weather is nice - you can sit out on the little porch, patio set, picnic bench and communal grassed area which is shared with another pod and shepherd's hut.
Surrounded by farmland but close to the Caithness coastline, it is another really tranquil dog friendly glamping option for getting away from it all. If you fancy some exploring, Nybster Broch is a short drive away as is John O'Groats. If you venture a bit further along the coast there are crumbling castles, sweeping beaches and picturesque harbours to discover. The town of Wick is only a 15 minute drive away.
You might also like to read -
My recommended things to do in Wick
THE LOOKOUT - BRORA, SUTHERLAND
The Lookout is essentially a caravan in someone's garden, but I had such a lovely time there that I just had to include it and I promise you it is much better than I have made it sound! I have fond memories of our family caravan holidays when I was younger so I always feel nostalgic when I step inside one.
The Lookout is more like a wee house than a caravan with reclining seats, a decent size TV and pretty much everything else you need to feel at home. The owners also left a generous pack of essentials and a jar of dog biscuits - another 4 paws from Willow and the humans!
Having 2 bedrooms and a large living/dining area means it feels really spacious and I was struck by just how bright it felt inside thanks to lots of large windows. Although it is situated within the owner's garden, it is completely private, with its own enclosed deck and garden area which meant we could let Willow wander in and out.
With views out to the garden in one direction and across a field to the sea in the other, I could have happily sat back in the reclining sofa all day - I think this is one of the most relaxing places I've stayed at! However, I did manage to pull myself away long enough to potter around the pretty village of Brora which has dog friendly places to eat and shop (I recommend Cocoa Skye for lunch and The Otter's Couch for local gifts). There is also an extensive beach for dog runs.
Book The Lookout through Airbnb.
THE GARDEN HOUSE - ALNESS, ROSS & CROMARTY
The Garden House is about the size of my previous flat and feels pretty luxurious considering it is located in the owner's garden, even compared to standard holiday apartments this place is pretty high end. From the leather recliner to the huge walk-in shower and coffee pod machine, this dog friendly accommodation has everything you need and then some.
Owner Ali was also extremely generous with his welcome pack which included basic supplies and all the essentials for a proper cooked breakfast, a box of chocolates and even a small bar with a whisky decanter! I really can't fault this place and would give it 6 paws out of 4 if I was Willow.
There is a small garden area and it is only a short walk to Alness town centre where there are plenty of shops and eating options. This would make a pretty special stop if you're doing the NC500 but I recommend staying longer and using it as a base for touring the north Highlands.
Its only a 30 minute drive from Inverness and in 90 minutes you can drive across to Torridon on the west coast or spend a bit of time exploring Sutherland or Caithness. Some of the most spectacular scenery in Scotland is within easy reach so it would be a shame to not book in for a few nights, and to be honest, The Garden House is so nice that you will regret it if you don't.
Book The Garden House through Airbnb.
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