The Lake District is one of the UK's most popular destinations and the place to go for some of the most scenic dog-friendly walkies in the country. Tranquil lakes including the enchanting Windermere, Ullswater and Bassenthwaite are surrounded by glorious countryside and mountains, making this wonderful dog-friendly area the ideal location for taking your hounds on holiday.
While the lakes and hills make wonderful days out, there is more to the Lake District than just walking...
...so we've put together a guide of the best things to do with your dogs while there: fun attractions which welcome all members of the family, beaches for the ultimate in playtime, pet-friendly pubs and restaurants, and welcoming cottages where you and your tired four-legged buddy can wind down at the end of the day.
DOG-FRIENDLY WALKS IN THE LAKES
We have to start with every dog's favourite holiday activity - walkies. You may be thinking of warm country pubs, local ales and hearty Cumbrian fare but Muttley will have his favourite lead in his paw, ready to tackle the best trails in the area.
Check out three of our favourite walkies in the Lakes:
1. Loweswater Circuit Walk
This is one for the dog who loves both lake and woodland. Especially delightful in autumn, when the leaves make an amber path through the woods for maximum sniffing potential, it is also a popular walk in the spring when a blanket of inky bluebells line the route. It's a relatively easy valley walk of about 3 miles in distance and takes in the beautiful Loweswater lake on the way. Eager hounds may like to do a bit of red squirrel spotting too while they are there.
Check it out here.
2. Stickle Tarn
A shorter but more challenging walk, the route around Stickle Tarn is one for those who know their stuff. While the area of Langdale has many routes for all abilities, the Stickle Tarn walk is a great walk if you have an experienced canine with you. Start at the Sticklebarn pub, follow the path up Stickle Ghyll and stop to admire the tumbling waterfalls and rock pools studded into the rock. The views are superb too!
Check it out here.
3. Derwentwater and Cat Bells
One of the most popular walks in the Lakes, we've yet to find a hound that doesn't love this one! Not only is it a great circular walk taking in the stunning Cat Bells, but it also involves a boat trip from Keswick across to Hawes End. You can actually stay on for the whole boat trip if you have a dog with you who is elderly or can't manage a full-on walk - it's less than an hour in length, so you can see the sights and get back for a quick pint in one of the local Keswick pubs.
Check it out here.
Other great dog-friendly walks:
- Rydal Water
- Blea Tarn
- Aira Force and Ullswater
- Grizedale Forest
For more great scenic walks, check out our Guide to Walking in the Lake District.
DOG-FRIENDLY BEACHES ALONG THE CUMBRIAN COASTLINE
While the Lake District doesn't have many beaches, it is near to the long beautiful and tranquil expanse of Cumbrian coastline. Remote, unspoilt stretches of sand will greet you and your hounds, where splashing in the shallows and running along the sands will burn off all that energy. It doesn't have any large traditional holiday resorts either, so if you want a dog-friendly holiday away from the crowds, this is the place for you.
Here are three great walks that will get those beach pups' tails wagging:
1. Walney Island Beach
11 miles of sand and dune leading down to aquamarine waters - this really is the life for Fido and pals as they bound along the beach, looking for adventure and new friends to play with. Located to the south of the Lake District, this gorgeous green island is accessible by crossing a bridge from Barrow-in-Furness to the northern dunes - you can also head down to the nature reserve in the south where you may spot frolicking seals if you are lucky.
2. Haverigg Beach
This is definitely one for the views as, sitting at the mouth of the Duddon Estuary, it boasts great vistas of the Lakes as well as a row of sweet pastel-coloured houses overlooking the water. The perfect beach for families with its dunes, boating lake and nearby stables, there's lots to do for those with two legs too. If you have come for the walks, hike along the beach to Silecroft or along the former sea wall to Millon, passing disused iron ore mines which have been turned into a marvellous RSPB lagoon.
3. St Bees Beach
Situated to the north of Cumbria, this glorious red-sand beach starts at the promenade and runs about a mile up to Sea Mill Lane. For dogs who love a bit of canine exploration, this beach is known for its rock pools which nestle under the sandstone cliffs. If you want the sights without the sand, stroll along the coastal path along to Fleswick Bay and onto St Bees Lighthouse, where you'll be able to explore the RSPB sea bird reserve.
Other great dog-friendly beaches:
- Haverigg Beach
- Silecroft Beach
- White Rock
DOG-FRIENDLY PUBS IN THE LAKES
Hungry hounds deserve a few biscuits after a long lakeside or mountain walk, and where better than a traditional Lakes pub to refuel, stretch out and warm paws in front of a welcoming open fire? There are some fantastic dog-friendly pub walks too in the Lakes, so ask the locals while you are waiting to be served - you never know, you may be able to find a nearby one after lunch!
Here are three of the best doggy diners around:
1. Sticklebarn, Ambleside
This popular National Trust pub attracts visitors to the Lake District almost as much as the Lakes themselves! If you are walking around the Langdales, stop off at this National Trust pub to try out a pint of the local ale and a bowl of their finest fresh water. It's full of walkers and dogs so you will be in good company.
Sticklebarn offers some great comfort food to fill hungry tums after a walk, with all meals prepared freshly on site; hungry pups may be treated to a few crumbs if they are lucky, but just in case it's too good to share, bring some tasty dog biscuits with you for Fido to enjoy at your feet.
2. The Dog and Gun, Keswick
Whether you have just got back from a ride around Derwentwater on the Keswick Launch or are popping in after an amble around the delightful shops and galleries of Keswick, a bowl of comfort food at this handsome pub will go down a treat for both dogs and their owners. There's a special doggy menu for hungry tums at the Dog & Gun too, so make sure you walk off those calories with a post-lunch stroll around the lake.
3. The Wateredge Inn, Ambleside
Right on top of everybody's favourite lake, Windermere, you can continue to enjoy the impressive scenic views while you grab a bite to eat at the Wateredge Inn. Welcoming those with four legs just as much as those with two, the pub gives you an option to relax inside by the roaring log fire or outside on the terrace overlooking the lake while you eat. If dogs are on their best behaviour, they may even get a biscuit or two from a friendly passing waiter.
Other great dog-friendly eateries:
- The Drunken Duck Inn, Ambleside
- The Cuckoo Brow Inn, Far Sawrey
- The Punch Bowl, Crosthwaite
- Kings Arms, Hawkshead
- Granny Dowbekins, Pooley Bridge
For more dog-friendly places to eat and drink in the Lake District, read our handy guide here.
DOG-FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS IN THE LAKES
As much as a walk is probably the number one activity for visiting canines, nobody will say no to a fun dog-friendly day out at a local attraction. The Lake District is packed with places that will welcome your canine, from stately homes with gardens and grounds to roam, to fun vintage railways and interesting motor museums. Holidays in the Lake District with dogs can be fun too!
Here are three great dog-friendly places to visit:
1. Holker Hall and Gardens
The best day out will be had in the wonderful gardens, woodland and deer park of Holker Hall & Gardens. Walk around and once the paws have hit their limits, sit down with a picnic to enjoy the exceptionally beautiful countryside, framed by the Lakeland Hills. Dogs on leads are also welcome in the café, so you are all catered for on winter days. The Cage Courtyard provides a water tap and water bowls for thirsty hounds.
2. The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
Jump aboard this charming vintage steam locomotive in Ravenglass and discover the lakes with the age of steam. Hop on and off for walkies at the seven different stations or stay aboard to drink in 7 miles of spectacular Lakes scenery, right to the foot of England's highest mountains at Dalegarth. The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway welcomes canine foot passengers for a small charge and they are also welcome in some of the buildings, including the gift shop.
3. Allan Bank
The National Trust's Allan Bank is a handsome Georgian villa and former home of the English poet, William Wordsworth. Standing on high ground to the west of Grasmere village in the heart of the Lake District, you couldn't pick a more wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Pups with a taste for romance will love the gorgeous scenery surrounding the house while adults will love a sit around the roaring fire, cosying up with a good book. The best thing? It is hugely dog-friendly, and unlike many historic properties, welcomes canines inside, even muddy ones!
Other great dog-friendly attractions:
- Lakeland Motor Museum
- The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden
- Claife Viewing Station
- Lowther Castle and Gardens
- Grizedale Forest
DOG-FRIENDLY COTTAGES IN THE LAKES
When it's time to head back home, there's no better place than one of our Lake District holiday cottages to sit back and enjoy lake and countryside views with a glass of something cold. With enclosed gardens for morning scampers and roaring fires for evening snoozes, you'll find the perfect Lakes retreat with one of our cosy holiday cottages.
Here are three gorgeous dog-friendly cottages for you and your four legs:
1. The one with a hot tub
Woodland Retreat, Windermere 1 mile (sleeps 6 and 2 dogs)
This cosy wooden lodge nestled in woodland and on the shores of tranquil Lake Windermere makes the perfect escape for six guests and their two faithful friends. Situated on a holiday park, you have use of the leisure facilities including an indoor heated swimming pool, spa and sauna, or why not hire a boat on the lake to discover this beautiful part of the country? If that sounds like too much hard work, hop aboard a lake steamer and cruise the full length of Windermere.
Why we love it: A private hot tub to sink into after a day of walking and climbing is the perfect end to any day.
2. The one with the lakeside views
Broad Howe, Near and Far Sawrey (sleeps 5 and 3 dogs)
Your dog will go mutts for this secluded single-storey holiday cottage with acres of grounds for optimum running possibilities. Not only that, but the property accepts four dogs, so if you are part of a multi-dog family or are coming with friends and a few dogs between you, this is the place. With a cosy and welcoming ambience, the views over Esthwaite Water are outstanding - sit in the garden in the delightful seating area with your four-legged holiday companions while children play on the old wooden swing.
Why we love it: Acres of grounds for playtime and the house is all on one level - great for wobbly dogs, children and those with limited mobility.
3. The quirky one
Bobbin Mill, Outgate and Tarn Hows (sleeps 8 and 4 dogs)
Who wouldn't want to stay in a heritage bobbin mill with an intact waterwheel? We know we would, and this gorgeous cottage set into the hillside in a secluded secret valley, just 1 mile from the beautiful village of Hawkshead, will make you fall in love with the Lakes before you even get inside. Lovely wild gardens greet you with the sounds of a stream running nearby and the cottage is warm and welcoming inside. If you have come to see Lake Windermere, it is less than a mile away from the mill.
Why we love it: Inside, a wood burner is the perfect place to settle down with a bottle of red after a day exploring the Lakes, while the pups stretch out at your feet.
Other great dog-friendly properties:
Come and stay with us in the Lake District!
If you have decided that a trip to the Lake District is the perfect getaway for you and your dog, have a look at our collection of dog-friendly accommodation in the Lake District. Whether you are looking for a romantic bolthole, a space with friends or a large property for all the family, we have a dog-friendly place to stay that will welcome you all. Check out our pet-friendly holidays today.