In this dog friendly guide to the Lake District, we bring you our hand-picked selection of the the very best pet friendly hotels and accommodation, pubs and restaurants where your pooch will be welcome, as well as stunning walks and dog friendly attractions to enjoy with your canine companion.
With sweeping scenery, unspoiled landscape, and Instagram-ready views of water and sky, the Lake District is a popular choice for outdoorsy types and a natural destination for dog lovers.
The national park has 16 lakes in total which draw around 18 million visitors every year, who come for the area’s mix of mountain hiking, boating and literary history (the Romantics of the 18th and 19th century were particularly enamoured with the region’s rugged charm).
There’s plenty to attract dog owners, with many pubs and hotels in the area happy to welcome pooches, particularly in Keswick which was voted most dog-friendly town for four years running.
WHERE TO STAY
If you’re keen to stay close to the water, this hotel on the shores of England’s second largest lake is sure to tick a few boxes. The beautiful Georgian building sits in 18 acres of secluded parkland, giving you, and your pooch, plenty of room to stretch your legs. Once you’re done with a full day of walking and water sports – including sailing and stand-up paddle boarding – you can recline on antique furniture, and enjoy dinner made from Another Place’s own vegetable patch. Dogs are welcomed to The Living Space restaurant and terrace, and the hotel offers 10 dog-friendly rooms as well as pet-friendly cottages for bigger parties.
Live out your country house dreams at this imposing 18th century home, which offers perfectly manicured gardens as well as the craggy landscapes the Lake District is known for. There’s 18 acres of parkland to be explored with your pooch – who stays for free – before retiring to a hot bath in one of Overwater Hall’s double-ended tubs, and enjoying sweeping views over the nearby fells. Your canine companion is welcome to wait in the lounge while you enjoy dinner at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant.
Regularly hailed as one of the most dog-friendly locations in the lakes, Keswick is full of pubs, shops and cafes that are open to canine visitors. The Royal Oak is set in the heart of the action, and offers a cosy place to curl up by the fireside and enjoy some home-cooked food, sourced from local suppliers. The former coaching inn is also within an easy distance of England’s three tallest mountains, for dogs and humans that are keen hikers.
Stay lakeside at Lodore Falls, which is situated on the shores of Derwentwater and a short drive from the dog-friendly market town of Keswick. Pooches are welcome in most of the rooms at this hotel, which dates back over 200 years. Canines can enjoy long walks on the Lakeland fells, and literary-minded owners can make the trek to the nearby waterfall of the same name – once popular with Victorian tourists and poets.
If the name isn’t enough to tempt die-hard Game of Thrones dog owners, the secluded surroundings of this luxury dog friendly lake house in Windermere will be. There’s woodland and walled gardens to be explored, as well as six acres of grounds filled with wildlife. For guests looking for more relaxation, there’s also cruises on the nearby lake. If you’re visiting during summer days, you can enjoy al fresco dining on balmy evenings, while the colder nights are an excuse to toast marshmallows over the fire pit.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
Ensconce yourself in this 17th century inn for the evening, and enjoy ales and locally sourced food with a side of lakeside views. Dogs are welcomed into certain parts of the bar, making it the perfect end to a long ramble over the fells and through the valleys.
With a menu offering everything from pork belly and bao buns to roasted cauliflower and falafel, there’s something at the Drunken Duck for everyone. Dogs are welcomed in the bar and at select tables in the restaurant, so be sure to mention your pet when booking.
Head to The Lingholm Kitchen for lunch, brunch, or afternoon tea to enjoy local foods and homemade baked goods, before strolling in its octagonal walled garden – located on the same spot Beatrix Potter supposedly based Mr McGregor’s Garden on.
Well-stuffed sandwiches, freshly baked goods and homemade soup are the order of the day at this former mill, which offers waterside dining that’s especially suited for summery days.
Nestled into a Grade II-listed barn, this cobble-floored and wood-panelled cafe retains much of its rustic charm. It’s a good place for tea and cake, and serves pizzas hot from its outdoor oven on summer days.
THE BEST DOG WALKS
There’s plenty of landscape to be enjoyed in the Lakes, and also no shortage of variety. Whether it’s mountains, lakes, forests or beaches you’re looking for, there’s miles of walks to choose from. Just keep an eye on local livestock, as some trails go through farmland.
Drigg Beach, Barrow-in-Furness
If it’s solitude you want, this dog-friendly beach offers seclusion in spades, with dogs and humans often walking for miles without encountering another soul.
Grizedale Forest, Hawskhead
Get lost in the woods between Windermere and Coniston, and enjoy a network of trails dotted with sculptures – before finishing up at a pooch-friendly cafe for a cup of tea and a sit down.
Rydal Water, near Rydal
Trail around the shores of Rydal – which was a favourite haunt of Wordsworth’s – and take in water and woodland along the way. This one’s just a mile long, so it’s perfect for pooches that don’t need too much exercise.
Walla Crag, near Keswick
If you’ve got a lot of energy to burn, this 6-mile walk starts at the very dog-friendly town of Keswick and journeys up the fell, giving you the chance to take in views over Derwentwater along the way.
Grasmere Village, Grasmere
Enjoy village life, as well a a wander around one of the area’s smallest lakes, which includes a pebbly beach and a small island where William and Dorothy Wordsworth once picnicked.
DOG FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS
Immerse yourself in history at this 13th century castle, which isn’t just pet-friendly – it also offers panoramic views of Eden Valley.
Having a dog with you doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the water, and these boats are happy to accept your dog – as long as it has its own ticket.
If boats don’t do it for you, then these steam trains might. Not only do dogs travel free, but they can enjoy valley views along the way.
The historical house of Brantwood was once inhabited by Ruskin, and is still filled with many of his personal treasures. While the home itself isn’t open to curious canines the gardens are, although pooches must be kept on-lead.
Stephen, former King of England, founded this abbey, which has left behind some impressively ornate ruins – open for dogs and humans alike to wander through.
WHAT TO PACK
As with much of England, the Lake District is subject to unpredictable weather and can be rainy even during the summer seasons (Allerdale’s Seathwaite is the wettest inhabited place in the country). Its craggy countryside and abundance of lakes and woods also means sturdy walking boots are essential, as well as a reliable waterproof. Don’t forget jumpers if you’re planning on heading up the fells, where the temperature drops the further you climb.
Pack suncream, as British sun can be deceptively strong even on clear wintry days. Evenings can get chilly, so carry some backup layers, even in spring and summer months.
WHEN TO GO
June, July and August are the warmer months, but also the busiest – with peak season running from April to October, and several major outdoor events also taking place at the same time. Some of the smaller villagers, such as Grasmere, can become particularly overrun with tourists during these months. For Wordsworth’s daffodils come in March, and beat the April rush, but for autumn leaves, and cooler temperatures, make the journey in October. Winter can be crisp, with the snowy fells posing a challenge for adventurous pups and owners.
Have you been on a dog friendly holiday to the Lake District? Where did you stay and what did you do? Tell us in the comments below!