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Traveling alone with a small dog, no driving capabilities

Hi everyone, I’ve been admiring the beautiful destinations of Scotland for ages on the visitScotland website, and have finally decided I’d love to go for a short getaway by myself over Christmas with my little dog. 

I was wondering if the best way to get there from Chester in England would be to get to London and take a train? 

I’m not sure which part of Scotland I have in mind, but it would have to be a place where I could easily get to with my dog. I plan to read, have a stroll, visit castles, go to the beach, maybe crochet on my 4-5 night getaway.

Is it safe? I’m thinking Aberdeen/Perth? I would so love some advice!

Thank you!


  • VisitScotlandLiamVisitScotlandLiam Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Anything public transport related, go through @Horizons, incredible knowledge on all things public transport in Scotland!
    Lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist for The Bright SkiesSpotify, Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube.
  • FullStopNextChapterFullStopNextChapter VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭
    Not sure about the transport side of your question but I would say that you would be quite safe travelling on your own. As with being anywhere just take normal caution to stay safe.

    I stay just outside of Perth and it is a brilliant base for exploring with great rail links to Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Aviemore, Inverness. 

    There are some cracking beaches and pretty fishing villages on the Fife coastline too. 
    Plenty of dog friendly locations too. 
    Join in my new chapter over on the blog. Discovering all things that make Scotland the place everyone wants to visit. 

  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2017
    Hello @Fluffaduff, do not go to London for going up to Scotland, instead buy a ticket either to Crewe or Warrington Bank Quay (separately) and change to an Edinburgh / Glasgow Central train run by Virgin Trains. I ask you to buy the tickets separately as an end-to-end ticket from Chester to Edinburgh / Glasgow can cost a fortune compared to a flexible ticket to Crewe / Warrington and an Advance ticket to Scotland. The rail station ticket staff should help with this if you give them the text above exactly. This journey will take about 4 hours so it is fairly tiring.

    For reference, I take a trip on the VirginTrains to Scotland from Birmingham every week, I can assure you they are comfortable. Additionally, up to 2 dogs travel free! Here's the detail

    "Is it safe?" - Absolutely. The Scots are the friendliest folk I have ever met in my life (and I've travelled a fair bit around the world). Both of you will be taken care of. There are many dog-friendly accomodations in Scotland.

    "I plan to read, have a stroll, visit castles, go to the beach, maybe crochet on my 4-5 night getaway." - May I recommend Stonehaven instead of Aberdeen. It is an incredibly charming town with a beach and one of Scotland's most famous castles (Dunnottar) at its doorstep. It is on the same line as trains to Aberdeen (infact is the last major stop before Aberdeen) so any Aberdeen-bound train will take you there. Again, buy this ticket separately, this journey will add another 2.5 hours to your travel time.

    Between Perth & Aberdeen, I'd pick Perth as its closer but good beach access becomes more limited (on the flip side, easier to reach more castles by bus/train)

    My final recommendation: Travel from Chester to Crewe / Warrington Bank Quay - Virgin Trains to Edinburgh - Spend the night, walk the old town - go to Stonehaven (spend 3 nights) - Make your way back.

    My wee Stonehaven experience that made me fall in love with the town can be seen here. @Samantha_Grant should be able to fill you in on other ideas / superb dog-friendly accomodations. Please do not hesitate to ask follow-up questions!!
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • ScathachScathach Member ✭✭
    If you are coming up to Aberdeen it is safe. We have a lovely beach where you can stroll together with you dog. There are plenty of benches along the esplanade where you can sit down and read (I do that a lot). Or even better get down to the sand and sit on it and read. If you go to the northern part is way more peaceful than the area around Foootdee. 
    Unfortunately the castles around Aberdeen are mostly closed at the moment a part from Dunnottar that Horizons mentioned - perfect for sitting down inside the castle on the ruins and read with some amazing scenery in front of you. On the left of the path leading to the castle there's a lovely shore.
    Again, as Horizons mentioned Stonehaven is a wee gem of a village and a lovely promenade very dog friendly.
    We also have Crathes castle but it's only open on Saturday and Sunday at the moment.

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