Last week David, Spark, and I went to Scotland for the first time. We were lucky enough to spend the weekend in Edinburgh with our friends Léonie and Thomas, and they were kind enough to do dog-friendly activities with us.
Overall, Edinburgh is quite dog-friendly—at least its businesses are. We found that Uber drivers in the city are less accommodating than their London and San Francisco counterparts, but we ended up getting everywhere we needed to with minimal issues.
Note: There’s a very handy website called Dugs n’ Pubs, which features a list of dog-friendly businesses in Scotland. Walking around Edinburgh, you will see the website’s stickers (along with those for TripAdvisor and Uber Eats) on businesses’ windows.
The restaurant scene in Edinburgh has quite a few dog-friendly options including pubs, bistros, and even a tiki bar!
Our recommendation would be to plan most of your dog-friendly meals outside of Old Town. This area is probably the least dog-friendly part of Edinburgh (and it’s also very touristy).
Old Town is definitely worth seeing, though. This is where the majority of attractions (Mary King’s Close, the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, etc.) are located—but you don’t need to eat there.
Most of the restaurants in this area are either noisy bars and pubs full of “stag” and “hen” parties (bachelor and bachelorette parties) or cute coffee shops (including a cat café!) Few of them are dog-friendly (except outside) and the overall ambiance in most of them isn’t the best either (think sports bar).
I’m actually glad that Old Town failed us, though, because this motivated us to get off the beaten path and discover two really amazing dog-friendly restaurants!
The first was The Fountain in Fountainbridge. After reserving a table there for my birthday dinner, we actually ended up returning with Léonie and Thomas on Saturday.
The Fountain is a modernized pub/restaurant with a really charming interior and serves delicious gourmet food. I had the flat iron steak on my birthday and the gnocchi with wild garlic and kale pesto on Saturday. Both were phenomenal, as were David’s surf and turf salad and homemade beef burger. The prices are reasonable, especially for the quality of food, which is much higher than expected.
The Fountain is very dog-friendly, just make sure to give them a head’s up when you make a reservation. It seems that there are specific tables for four-legged guests (but they’re just as nice as the other seating areas).
For Sunday brunch we wanted to do something special. Having already checked out of our Airbnb, Spark was also tagging along. David hit the internet and found the perfect place.
Piecebox is an absolutely adorable little brunch café across a canal from The Fountain in Merchiston. Colorful chandeliers, shabby chic decor, and an impressive cake selection make Piecebox a wonderful place to spend your Sunday morning.
Food-wise, Piecebox has a lot of options—pastries, chicken and waffles, porridge, pancakes and French toast, and even haggis. It also has tons of gluten-free and vegan options—including homemade cakes.
The food and drinks were both delicious and came quickly. On top of that, they were incredibly nice about Spark. They even brought her water and a bowl of sausages, free of charge. This thoughtful addition to the overall experience meant that Spark had a great time too—seriously, she didn’t want to leave!