Many of us are still opting for staycations over foreign jaunts due to travel restrictions and uncertainty caused by the continuing pandemic.
And, with a record number of households welcoming dogs into their households over lockdown, finding a break where your family pooch can come along is now a top priority for many.
With this in mind, researchers at pet food providers www.tails.com have uncovered the top dog-friendly road trips in the UK – with an epic Scottish drive topping the list.
The trip from Edinburgh to Kirkwall on the Orkney Mainland ranked highly on all five criteria – amount dog-friendly accommodation, number of vets within 2km, prevalence of dog-friendly restaurants, number of dog-friendly attractions and nearby walking trails – beating the Atlantic Highway, in south west England, into second place.
With four recommended stopping point of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Kirkwall, the route also takes in Perth, the Cairncorms National Park, Aviemore, Brora and Thurso, and includes a ferry trip to Orkney.
The route has a total of 336 dog-friendly Airbnbs, 90 vets and 72 dog-friendly restaurants, along with eight dog-friendly activities and 220 walking trails to enjoy.
Last year, Edinburgh was crowned the UK’s most dog-friendly city, and Portobello Beach is the experts’ top tip to start your road trip, perfect for a seaside stroll and to dip paws and feet in the sea.
In Aberdeen, Duthie Park has 44 acres of green space, winding paths and a river to roam, making it a great location to stop off with your four-legged friend.
In Inverness, the scenic 23 mile walk around Loch Ness is a must, while you and your pet keep an eye out for Nessie.
Then, in Kirkwall, the Harbourfront is a picturesque place to enjoy a leisurely stroll with your dog before enjoying fish and chips.
Other Scottish routes that scored highly included the Royal Deeside Tourist Route through Perth, Blairgowrie, Aboyne and Aberdeen, and the Heart 200 taking in Perth, Stirling, The Trossachs and Cairngorms National Park.
The full top 10 list for the UK was:
1) Edinburgh to Kirkwall - Score 31.7/50
2) Atlantic Highway - 30.1
3) Oxford to Wye Valley 28.3
4) plymouth to Southampton - 27.6
5) Royal Deeside Tourist Route - 25.9
6) The Cambrian Way - 25.4
7) Kendal to Keswick - 23.4
8) Heart 200 - 23.4
9) Cardiff to Tenby - 22.9
10) The Lake District Loop - 22.6
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.