Dog friendly Edinburgh experience

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Updated on 21 November 2019

Edinburgh is a worthy contender for the title of Britain’s most-dog friendly city.

I’ve wanted to visit Scotland’s capital for quite a while but I had never found time to organise a trip until this November.

Departing Euston Station in London at 23:50 on a cold Friday night, my wife and I had tickets on the Caledonian Sleeper.

Alaskan Klee Kai Skye next to the Caledonian Sleeper (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

Alaskan Klee Kai Skye next to the Caledonian Sleeper (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

Our two dogs, Copper and Skye, joined us in the twin cabin.

We had never been on an overnight train – and it was certainly an experience falling asleep on the outskirts of London and waking up at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station at 07:00.

My Alaskan Klee Kai dogs were greeted with a warm welcome by staff on either end of the journey. It felt like a good start to our weekend getaway in the Scottish city.

We stayed at Princes Street Suites, who provide dog-friendly accommodation. Again, the receptionist was thrilled to see our dogs, which immediately put us at ease.

Our hotel was located next to Calton Hill so we scurried up the many steps to catch the sunrise over Edinburgh. It was magical to see the city come to life. It was a perfect location to take snaps of the dogs – too.

Honestly, we were a little apprehensive about exploring the city with Copper and Skye, we were unable if we would be able to find a lot of dog-friendly bars, pubs or restaurants. We had done some research but we wanted to leave some room for spontaneity.

With a quick trip to get some hot chocolate to warm us up on the crisp morning, we walked through Princes Street Gardens, which sits in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. We slowly made our way up to the landmark.

We were able to enter into the courtyard and check out the views it had to offer of the Scottish capital. The tourists were more interested in Copper and Skye then the castle.

The city is very accessible by foot. We walked a short distance to the Royal Mile, Heart of Midlothian and the Elephant Cafe (where JK Rowling wrote her Harry Potter books).

Our first stop to eat was the Queen’s Arms on Frederick Street. It’s located just off the main street, and crucially, it’s dog friendly.

We were able to find a booth that had a little door so we could actually let the dogs relax with a slack leash. They were shielded from the noises and sounds, so much so that they fell asleep!

Within minutes of sitting down, a member of staff had already brought water for the dogs, which was a nice touch. Our food was excellent, too. Overall, we were very impressed by their dog-friendly approach.

Alaskan Klee Kai relax in hotel room (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

Alaskan Klee Kai relax in hotel room (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

By this stage it was time for a nap. We ventured out from our apartment a few hours later to check out the Christmas Market. The lights were beautiful with an energetic atmosphere.

We were able to get some food but it was crowded and noisy, so we didn’t stay too long as we didn’t want the dogs to become disorientated or stressed out by the sounds.

Sunday morning started at a slower pace after the previous day’s adventures. We didn’t set out on day two of our weekend trip to Edinburgh until midday.

We decided to go through Old Town in Edinburgh and make our way around some of the quieter streets. We stumbled across a dog friendly pub called The Red Squirrel on Lothian Road.

Upon entry, we spotted two other dogs – a Pomeranian and a Spaniel. Our waitress brought dog treats and water for Skye and Copper. It was clear all of the staff were at ease with dogs.

If you’ve got dogs who can be agitated around other canines, this is a good location as there’s a lot of space and some booths so you can keep your dog at a distance.

As we walked around the city, we got a lot of questions about Skye and Copper, which tends to happen when you own Alaskan Klee Kai! Most people were polite and asked permission before saying hello to our dogs.

In the evening, we went to the Holyroad 9A, which was a pub with lots of craft beers. We were very impressed when a member of staff could tell Skye and Copper were Alaskan Klee Kai. The beer and food was excellent, while the pub had a warm and cosy atmosphere.

Of all the dog-friendly places we visited, the Holyroad 9A was our favourite spot. It’s located in Edinburgh’s Old Town and there’s lot of drink and food options for dog parents.

Alaskan Klee Kai Skye next to the Caledonian Sleeper (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

Alaskan Klee Kai Skye next to the Caledonian Sleeper (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

We caught the Caledonian Express back to London at 23:15 and arrived back in the English capital by 7am on Monday morning.

It was the perfect dog-friendly weekend getaway in a beautiful city.

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