To get you feeling inspired to step outside on these chilly winter days (it can be tough to pry yourself away from the fireplace!), we have hand-picked our top 5 spots in London to enjoy the great outdoors with your dog – as well as some nearby dog-friendly pubs for a well deserved post-walk tipple.
1. Abney Park, Stoke Newington
The extraordinary, if not slight spooky Abney Park in Stoke Newington is a mysterious gem right in heart of North East London. This historic 18th century parkland became a non-denominational cemetery in 1840 and was once one one of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven Garden Cemeteries’. The park is now a maze of decaying headstones, crumbling statues and overgrown ivy, making it the perfect place to explore with your hound.
Must See: Abney Park Chapel – The centrepiece of the cemetery which was the first non-denominational Chapel in Europe.
Winter Tipple: Reward yourself with a drink at dog-friendly pub – The Prince, 59 Kynaston Road, London, N16 0EB.
2. Hampstead Heath, North London
The swimming ponds might be reserved for the super-brave (or super-silly) in the winter months, but Hampstead Heath is the ultimate escape from London’s hustle and butstle for human and hound. Only a short hop from central London, the Heath boats over 970 acres of rolling meadows, sweeping glades and ancient woodlands to chase, sniff and play to your heart’s content.
Must See: Head up to Parliament Hill for a breathtaking view across London on a clear day.
Winter Tipple: Give cold paws a rest at the dog-friendly Wells, 30 Well Walk, London, NW3 1BX, www.thewellshampstead.co.uk
3. Sydenham Hill Woods, South East London
Nestled between Sydenham Hill and Dulwich Common, this unique wood in South East London is a nature-lovers delight. As a nature reserve, the wood is home to over 200 species of trees and plants as well as a whole host of woodland birds including the greater spotted woodpecker and tawny owl, and mammals including bats and wood mice.
Must See: The Wood’s inhabitants. Keep an eye out for the little critters all around you.
Winter Tipple: The Dulwich Woodhouse, 39 Sydenham Hill, London, Greater London SE26 6RS, www.dulwichwoodhouse.com
4. The Thames Path – Barnes Bridge to Chelsea, West London
Follow London’s famous river as it winds through the picturesque scenery of West London from Barnes Bridge, into Hammersmith and on to Fulham and Chelsea. If you’re super-keen, trot all the way into Embankment and beyond.
Must See: Hammersmith Bridge – The first ever suspension bridge to be built over the Thames, and rather pretty if we do say so ourselves.
Winter Tipple: The Black Lion, a pretty little dog-friendly pub with a roaring fireplace, 2 South Black Lion Lane, Hammersmith, London W6 9TJ, theblacklion-hammersmith.co.uk
5. Victoria Park, East London
London’s oldest public park, Victoria “Vicky” Park is where the trendy hounds trot. Stretching across Tower Hamlets and over to Hackney, Victoria Park has had a rather fancy makeover for the London 2012 Olympics and is now looking shinier than ever . Wander down its leafy paths, sit by the lake and watch the fountain, then make your way up to the buzzing Victoria Park Village for a well-deseved beverage.
Must See: The lake and fountain near the Crown Gate West entrance are a little slice of inner city serenity.
Winter Tipple: Pop into the Royal Inn on the Park for a warming beverage with you pooch in tow, 111 Lauriston Road, Hackney, London E9 7JH www.royalinnonthepark.com
To keep your hound warm and looking the part – check out our favourite designer dog coats and sweaters here.
Now wrap up and get out there!