15 Purfect Dog-Friendly Edinburgh Activities

Green grass and trees at The Meadows in Edinburgh with husky German shepherd dog

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Searching for dog-friendly Edinburgh activities? Whether you are a local looking for fresh dog walking routes, a new pup parent wondering what pubs allow pets so you can have a well deserved pint or a visitor planning a trip to Scotland’s capital with your best fur pal, this handy guide has pugging good solutions. 

That will be the last of the dog puns, I pawmise. 

You may also like our guide to dog-friendly hotels.

Things to do in Edinburgh with a Dog

Parks & Gardens in Edinburgh 

Regardless of what area of Edinburgh you are in, you will find plenty of green spaces and most of them allow dogs.

Princes Street Garden

In the City Centre is Edinburgh’s most famous nature spot, Princes Street Gardens.

This is where you will find the iconic Scott Monument, the elegant Ross Fountain and Edinburgh Christmas Market in winter.

Dogs are allowed to enter the garden which sits in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle but they must be on a lead. 

Just as well as this is a popular lunch spot for workers in the city! 

As you wander through the gardens, look out for Bum the Dog.

Bum dog statue

West Regent Gardens 

A secret location with stunning views over Edinburgh Old Town, the Scottish Parliament and Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park is West Regent Gardens.

Well behaved dogs run free here and there are a couple of benches for you to sit and appreciate the cityscape.

The unique Stones of Scotland monument, a ring of stones from around the country, can be found in West Regent Gardens.

Check out our guide to hidden Edinburgh for other unusual things to keep an eye out for around the city.

West Regent Park Arthur’s Seat view

Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat 

A large, flat grassy space never without an excited dog chasing a ball or a frisbee, Holyrood Park welcomes well behaved dogs for walks and picnics. 

Next to the green area is the Scottish Parliament which has landscaped ponds, a hit with kids and hot dogs on sunny days.

There is also a free drinking water fountain just outside of the Scottish Parliament. 

Arthur’s Seat, one of Edinburgh’s most popular walks, is accessible from Holyrood Park and takes around an hour to hike up. 

Be cautious of the rocky terrain at the top, it can get slippy. 

Parking is available in the park but it gets busy with Arthur’s Seat hikers so arrive early.

Check out our guide to parking in Edinburgh for more tips.

Close to Holyrood Park is Holyrood 9A, a dog-friendly bar that sells burgers.

Holyrood Park Edinburgh with hand holding asandwich

The Meadows 

On the Southside of Edinburgh is the busy Meadows which is a series of gardens separated by walkways and cycle lanes.

Expect to see everything here from couples on first dates, parents with prams, students studying, ping pong games, tennis matches, rugby training and dogs off leashes. 

Green grass and trees at The Meadows in Edinburgh with husky German shepherd dog

The Meadows is an absolute dream in spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, creating a pink cloud-like candy floss heaven. 

There are roads separating The Meadows and Bruntsfield Links so watch out for your dog near the roadside. 

Meadows Park Cherry Blossom Gemma_

Edinburgh’s most celebrated dog and the Everything Edinburgh mascot, Greyfriars Bobby’s statue is not far from The Meadows.

His nose is a little worn so in order to save the furiginal statue, we ask that you avoid rubbing it.

Greyfriars Bobby statue of dog in Edinburgh in front of old buildings

Leith Links 

Leith is a hip neighbourhood full of trendy bars, cafes and food markets.

It is also home to Leith Links which is a big, open park with a kid’s play area and football pitches.

Just watch out for flying golf balls when walking your dog as it is still used by people practising their swing

Starbank Garden in Newhaven 

Starbank is a lovely well-kept garden with views over the Firth of Forth and The Kingdom of Fife.

The gates on Starbank Road lead you up a hilly green space with benches then to the back there is a flat garden with seasonal flowers, fairy trails and a tardis-shaped free book store!

The Friends of Starbank Garden do a stellar job keeping this garden looking so inviting.

I have seen dogs off the lead here but families picnic in the back garden so I wouldn’t recommend it if your dog is partial to a sandwich as mine is! 

Starbank Park Newhaven Edinburgh boat with plants

Inverleith Park

Inverleith is located near the upmarket Stockbridge area of Edinburgh and provides cool views of Edinburgh Castle.

However, there is a pond so if your pup likes a dip, best to keep them on the lead. 

Why not pick up some take out lunch at one of the Stocky B cafes and eat it at Inverleith Park?

You can read more about Edinburgh’s green locations in our gardens and parks guides. 

Inverleith Park framed by tree

Edinburgh’s Beaches 

We’ve written extensively about beaches in Edinburgh in this guide so here is a quick overview.

Portobello Beach

Edinburgh’s most popular beach is located in Portobello, the small seaside town with a big focus on community spirit. 

Porty has a long stretch of golden sand beach and a vintage boardwalk dotted with cafes and food trucks. 

It is common for runners, families with prams, toddlers on trikes, kids on bikes, and dog walkers to share the path which sits alongside the beach. 

As soon as temps hit high teens, the city floods to this beach so leave the car at home, as finding a space is a nightmare. 

Remember to pack a shade for your dog if visiting on hot spring or summer days. 

Note: April and May sometimes get better weather than June, July and August and we’ve had summer days slipping into September of late. 

Cramond Beach 

Cramond is a great day out for dogs because not only is there a beach, there is also a woodlands area which runs alongside Cramond Falls.

There are two options for parking.

Either use the beach car park at the Newhaven side of the beach or park at Miller & Carter (Queensferry Road) to begin the walk from Cramond Village. 

Happy to go further afield?

Check out our guide to Edinburgh beaches for Fife and East Lothian sandy shores too.

Cramond Beach Dog Cramond Island Edinburgh

Edinburgh Dog Walking Routes 

In addition to the parks, gardens and beaches, the city has more dog walking routes up hills and beside the water. 

Water of Leith Walkway 

The Water of Leith Walkway is a 12-mile walk connecting many of Edinburgh’s New Town areas whilst running alongside the Water of Leith river.

It takes you through neighbourhoods, parks, gardens and over bridges. 

While it’s unlikely you’d complete the route in a day, it’s a great walk for forcing you to explore other areas of the city that you might not bother visiting by car or public transport. 

The Walkway starts or ends in Leith and hits Bonnington, Stockbridge, Dean Village, Murrayfield, Saughton Park, Redhall, Spylaw, Currie and Baberton.

It also goes through the cool Colington Tunnel which has a huge mural. 

Be prepared to see a man in the water, that’s 6 Times by Anthony Gormley!

Expect to walk with runners, cyclists and the very occasional horse. 

Blackford Hill and The Hermitage of Braid

One of Edinburgh’s Seven Hills and part of the 7 Hills Challenge, Blackford Hill is an easy ascent with the summit providing views of Arthur’s Seat and the City Centre.

You get two for one with this dog walk as just behind Blackford Hill is The Hermitage of Braid which is a well trodden route used by families, dog walkers and school field trips. 

Jupiter Artland 

Jupiter Artland is a mind-bending art park just outside of Edinburgh.

As you enter, you receive a park map with a key identifying the art installations strategically placed around the woodlands. 

You can dine at the pink cafe, I recommend the soup and the cakes, or the outdoor food truck.

If you’d like to take your pup, apply for the Jupiter Artland Dog Membership which supports the park and gives your dog an entry ticket.

Other Dog Walking Routes

We’ve not tried the following but they come recommended by local dog owners from the egg Facebook group

Do you recommend any of the above or have new ideas? Tell us in the comments below.

Other Things to do with Dogs in Edinburgh

Unleashed Dog Park

Just outside of Edinburgh in the East Lothian region is Unleashed (Spilmersford View, Pencaitlan, EH34 5DR), a private dog park for active pups.

The field is sectioned off and surrounded by high fences so you don’t have to worry about your escape artists.

The enclosed area is filled with challenges such as tunnels and sensory activities like a wee pool. 

Pack a ball and launcher, there’s lots of space to play fetch.

Customers just drive into their designated pen where unleashed dogs are safe and free to play as soon as they get out of the car.

You can book the dog park with a friend so you can have a chat while the dogs tire themselves out. 

The owners ask that you bring poo bags and pick up any mess for the next customers.

Water is provided. 

Tunnel at Unleashed dog park East Lothian

Dog Meet Ups

There is every kind of breed of dog in Edinburgh which means there’s plenty of opportunity to meet up with fellow dog owners and let your dog join the pack.

Some meet ups will be breed specific, others will be open to all types of dogs.

Websites such as Eventbrite and Meetup and also Facebook search are the best ways to find local dog communities. 

Meet Edinburgh’s Dog-Friendly Pubs

There’s plenty of opportunity to experience dog-friendly pubs in Edinburgh which is great news if you want to have a pint but have your pupper with you.

It’s really common to see ‘dogs welcome’ signs outside of venues and if the pub has an outdoor seating area, there’s a high chance your dog can join you.

Here’s a selection of dog-friendly bars in Edinburgh, most of which also serve food.

It’s always recommended to book a table to avoid disappointment. 

  • World’s End, 2-8 High Street
  • Salt Horse, 57-61 Blackfriars Street also features in our craft beer guide
  • The Holyrood 9A, 9A Holyrood Road 
  • Hey Palu, 49 Bread Street 
  • The Dog House, 18-24 Clerk Street 
  • Brewhemia, 1A Market Street 
  • Rose Street bars with outdoor seating such as the Rose Street Brewery
  • Teuchters, 26 William Street, see our guide to West End pubs fo more
  • Heads & Tails (1a Rutland St), which features in our gin guide
  • Rabble, 55A Frederick Street 
  • Woodland Creatures, 260-262 Leith Walk, see our guide to Leith pubs for more
  • St. Vincent Bar, 11 St Vincent St (Stockbridge)

Have we missed your fave dog-friendly pub? Tell us in the comments below. 

Dog-Friendly Restaurants & Cafes in Edinburgh 

When it comes to food, finding dog-friendly restaurants is a little trickier.

Same vibe as pubs, if there’s an outdoor area, there’s a better chance your dog is allowed to dine.

If there’s a dress code and/or a challenge to get booked into a restaurant, you can pretty much assume it is not suitable for furry friends. 

Here’s a selection of Edinburgh dog-friendly restaurants and cafes. 

  • Mimi’s Bakehouse, 250 Canongate
  • Nobles at Leith, outdoor seating, perfect for brunch, 44A Constitution Street 
  • Montpeliers, 159 – 161 Bruntsfield Place 
  • Pubs with outdoor seating at the Grassmarket, Rose Street, Stockbridge or Leith

Most of the bars in the section above also serve food.

Other options include buying take out and eating it at one of Edinburgh’s gardens or parks or ordering a delivery to your accommodation.

Stay in a Dog-Friendly Hotel

We already have this detailed guide to dog-friendly hotels in Edinburgh – here are a couple of options to consider. 

The Balmoral Hotel Deluxe Castle View room window and bed

Things to Know About Visiting Edinburgh with your Dog 

Your dog might find city life overwhelming.

Constant noise, traffic lights, tight gates, people wanting to pat them; Edinburgh City Centre can be especially challenging for out of town pups.

Off-lead walking is surprisingly accepted.

Edinburgh folk are known for being a little more reserved compared to Scots in Glasgow but if your dog is well behaved aka responsive to call commands, you’ll be met with lots of smiles and head nods while off lead dog walking in parks.

However, there are areas in the city that you must keep your dog on a lead,such as Princes Street Gardens.

While out for a stroll, you’ll find water bowls outside of some shops such as the St James Quarter, cafes and pubs for your hot dog to slurp.

Alternatively, pack a collapsible water bowl and fill up a bottle before leaving your accommodation to avoid getting caught out.

Essential Edinburgh Information 

Plan your trip, tips & advice
Where to stay in Edinburgh
Food & drink in Edinburgh
Best time to visit Edinburgh
Things to do in Edinburgh
How much does Edinburgh cost?
Free 7-day Scotland itinerary

Plan Your Trip To Edinburgh 

Book accommodation at Booking.com
Reserve a skip the line pass or guided tour at GetYourGuide
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