Dog-friendly holidays in the Lake District

The Lake District needs little introduction. This stunning national park encompasses much of Cumbria, boasting glacial lakes, rolling hillsides and a whole host of pretty towns and villages. It makes a wonderful base for a walking holiday with your pooch or to simply get away from the everyday bustle, so it’s no wonder it has become such a popular UK staycation destination.

From the many wonderful pet-friendly eateries to scenic walks that are sure to get tails wagging, let's get stuck into our comprehensive guide to dog-friendly holidays in the Lake District:

Pet-friendly lodges with hot tubs in the Lake District

  • Lake Lodge Studio


    From: £339

    For a 3 night stay
    Sleeps: 2VIEW PROPERTY
  • Cottage in Cumbria


    From: £544

    For a 3 night stay
    Sleeps: 2VIEW PROPERTY
  • Lovies Place - Crossgate Luxury Glamping


    From: £575

    For a 3 night stay
    Sleeps: 4VIEW PROPERTY
  • Cottage in the Hill


    From: £760

    For a 3 night stay
    Sleeps: 2VIEW PROPERTY
  • Moore Cottage


    From: £516

    For a 3 night stay
    Sleeps: 4VIEW PROPERTY
  • Stickle Ghyll Lodge


    From: £598

    For a 3 night stay
    Sleeps: 4VIEW PROPERTY
  • Yew Tree Cottage


    From: £591

    For a 3 night stay
    Sleeps: 2VIEW PROPERTY
  • Oakwood Lodge


    From: £590

    For a 3 night stay
    Sleeps: 4VIEW PROPERTY
  • Maison On Windermere


    From: £1520

    For a 3 night stay
    Sleeps: 6VIEW PROPERTY

Best dog-friendly attractions in the Lake District

Allan Bank and Grasmere

Location: Ambleside

Type: Historical landmark

Why dogs love it: Dogs are welcome to explore the beautiful grounds (on a lead)

Allan Bank and Grasmere is a beautiful Georgian villa, set just outside the quaint village of Grasmere. It was once the home of famed poet, William Wordsworth, who quickly became enchanted by the Lake District. There is a fabulous art project taking place in the house over the next few years - 'A Letter to the Earth from Beatrix' by Hideyuki Sobue.

Dogs are also allowed inside the house while on a lead, while visitors are encouraged to make themselves a cup of tea or coffee and they are welcome to sit anywhere they like!

“For the next few years, we are running a new art project by Hideyuki Sobue called 'A Letter to the Earth from Beatrix'. The artist will begin by painting a nature scene in the main hallway, up the stairs and around the walls. He will also be painting a portrait of Beatrix Potter.”

- The Allan Bank Team

Steam Yacht Gondola

Location: Coniston

Type: Boat tour

Why dogs love it: Well-behaved pooches can enjoy a snooze on the outside deck while their owners soak up the lakeside views

The Steam Yacht Gondola is a Victorian steam-powered yacht offering tours on the peaceful lake of Coniston Water. Once a luxury pastime reserved for the wealthy, visitors can now enjoy a unique sailing experience as they take in the gorgeous scenery. Along the way, the crew gives an interesting commentary on the history of the area and all of its famous connections. It’s a great way to get to know the region!

Path to Adventure

Location: Kirkby-in-Furness

Type: Outdoor activities

Why dogs love it: Dogs can join in the adventure with a guided walking tour to the top of Scafell Pike

Path to Adventure offers a range of exciting outdoor activities across the Lake District. Whether you’d like to experience the thrill of scrambling on one of the park’s rocky mountain ghylls or canoeing on the stunning Lake Windermere, there’s something for everyone to try out.

Their dog-friendly activities include rock climbing, canoeing and mountain walks. You’re encouraged to contact the team before booking if you’d like to bring your dog along.

“Our dog-friendly activities (depending on each pooch of course) include: rock climbing, canoeing and mountain walks. People just need to contact us before booking if they'd like to bring their dog along.”

- Heather, Path to Adventure"

Windermere Lake Cruises

Location: Windermere

Type: Boat tour

Why dogs love it: Dogs can enjoy a peaceful boat tour with their owners

A must-do while in the Lake District, Windermere Lake Cruises offers a scenic way to get around the national park. While it’s not the quickest, it’s definitely the most picturesque! If you’ve got all day, the ‘Freedom of the Lake’ cruise is well worth it, taking you across the entire length of the lake in just under three hours.

English Lakes Tours

Location: Various

Type: Outdoor activities

Why dogs love it: Dogs can join in on the scenic tours

For those who can’t wait to get out and start exploring the local area, English Lakes Tours offers a variety of scheduled and private eight-seater minivan tours across some of the most stunning landscapes in the Lake District.

From half-day to full-day tours from Windermere to Grasmere, there are plenty of options to choose from. Phil from English Lake Tours reveals that “well-behaved dogs are welcome on any private tours, but cannot be taken on scheduled tours”.

More dog-friendly attractions:

Best dog-friendly walks in the Lake District

Coniston Water

Location: Coniston

Difficulty: Moderate

Walk length: 14 miles

You can walk the entirety of Coniston Water in 14 miles, or if you don’t feel like a big hike, there’s always the option to do a small section of it. Most of the route is along a single-track road along the eastern part of the lake. One of the best places to park is Machell Coppice, just outside of Grizedale Forest (giving you even more options for scenic walks!).

Orrest Head

Location: Windermere

Difficulty: Moderate

Walk length: Just under three miles

Orrest Head is a short yet satisfying circular route that offers some of the most gorgeous views across the national park. Starting on the A591, you’ll mostly follow a well-waymarked path up to the summit. The whole walk typically takes around an hour and a half, but it’s worth pacing yourself as the way up is quite steep.

Brant Fell

Location: Bowness-on-Windermere

Difficulty: Easy

Walk length: Just over two miles

Overlooking the pretty town of Bowness-on-Windermere, Brant Fell offers a pleasant yet steep walk to its summit. From the top, you can soak up the glorious views across Lake Windermere - the perfect backdrop for a tasty picnic if the weather is good. Afterwards, you can head back down into the town to check out its lovely cafes and shops. There are some steep drops during this walk so it's essential to keep dogs on leads.

Windermere West Shore

Location: Windermere

Difficulty: Moderate

Walk length: Between four and eight miles, depending on your route

The Windermere West Shore route takes you through enchanting woodlands and parklands, with delightful views across the islands of Windermere and over to the historic Wray Castle. This is a particularly good route for families and those with dogs, as there’s always plenty to see along the way. “There is Joey’s Café located both at Claife Viewing Station and at Wray Castle (so at both ends of the walk),” says Grace from the National Trust.

Octavia Hill Walk at Brandelhow Park

Location: Derwent Water

Difficulty: Easy

Walk length: Just over three and a half miles

The Octavia Hill walk at Brandelhow Park is an easygoing lakeside stroll, starting at the Hawes End Jetty in Derwent Water. You’ll follow a lakeshore path before heading into the local woodlands and circling back - the whole route should take no longer than an hour and a half to complete, but you’ll find plenty of lovely pit stops along the way if you feel like taking your time.

The Bowness-on-Windermere Circular

Location: Bowness-on-Windermere

Difficulty: Moderate

Walk length: Just under five miles

The incredible scenic Bowness-on-Windermere Circular takes you away from the tourist hotspots and guides you through some of the lesser-known landscapes in the national park. It does pass through some farm fields, so it’s important to keep your dog on a lead through these sections.

Todd Crag

Location: Keswick

Difficulty: Easy

Walk length: Just under three miles

Starting from the town of Ambleside, this route to Todd Crag is fairly steep - but the spectacular views more than make up for it. If you’re an early riser, it’s well worth getting up and heading out before the crowds. Seeing the morning fog over the lakes below is an absolutely spectacular sight.

Wansfell Pike

Location: Ambleside

Difficulty: Moderate

Walk length: Just under five miles

This route to the summit of Wansfell Pike is a linear one, so might not be best suited to those who prefer shorter, circular paths to follow. If you do feel up for it, you’ll be rewarded with incredible sights across the surrounding hills, lakes and valleys. The terrain can get quite rocky and boggy, so be sure to wear appropriate boots - especially in the autumn and winter months.

Broughton Railway

Location: Broughton on Furness

Difficulty: Easy

Walk length: Just under three miles

The Broughton Railway route is one of the Lake District’s ‘Miles Without Stiles' paths, making it an ideal choice for walkers of all ages and fitness levels. It starts in the market town of Broughton in Furness, following the old Broughton Railway track for three miles. On your return, you can pop into one of the cosy pubs in this historic and often overlooked town.

Holme Fell

Location: Coniston

Difficulty: Moderate

Walk length: Two miles

For those who want to fit in more than one landmark during their walk, this particular Holme Fell route lets you take in the sights of Yew Tree Tarn,  Tarn Hows, and the Tom Gill waterfall before ascending to the top of Holme Fell. While only two miles long, parts of the walk are quite steep. It’s worth taking your time - after all, there are plenty of lovely sights to stop and enjoy along the way.

“Holme Fell is suitable for fit dogs and there's lots of nice woodland and lakeside paths around Tarn Hows too. The nearby Grizedale Forest is another good option with lots of woodland trails."

- Nick, GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Find more dog-friendly walks on the Lake District National Park page, including:

  • Wray Castle to Loanthwaite
  • Catbells
  • Dunmallard, Pooley Bridge
  • Loweswater
  • High Yewdale

Best dog-friendly places to eat and drink in the Lake District

The Flying Fleece

Location: Ambleside

Type: Pub/Restaurant

Why dogs love it: There’s a sunny beer garden for pooches to enjoy the fresh air

The Flying Fleece is a traditional British pub, nestled within the pretty town of Ambleside. Serving an excellent selection of local real ales and offering a superb menu full of comforting home-cooked food, it’s the perfect place to stop by and refuel after a good walk in the hills.

The Factory Tap

Location: Kendal

Type: Pub

Why dogs love it: Well-behaved pups can even get a tasty treat from the bar

Consider yourself a keen purveyor of real ale? Then a trip to The Factory Tap in Kendal should most definitely be on your list. This popular dog-friendly pub offers an ever-changing selection of handcrafted ales, from local suppliers and those a little further afield. Ronnie from the Factory Tap Gravy tells us "bones and water bowls are always available" for four-legged friends!

The Boathouse Bar & Restaurant

Location: Windermere

Type: Restaurant

Why dogs love it: There’s a great outdoor seating area for pooches who prefer to be outside

Whether you’re just after a quick coffee or a full three-course meal, The Boathouse Bar & Restaurant has all you need. Set on the scenic Windermere Marina, you can sit out in the warmer months and watch the boats sail past in the harbour - absolutely lovely!

The Wainwright

Location: Keswick

Type: Pub

Why dogs love it: Dogs are welcome in all areas of the pub, with free dog snacks at the bar, and a cosy fire in winter

The Wainwright is a traditional, family-owned pub in Keswick.  The pub has won a number of awards from Great Outdoors, and Trail Magazines as a walkers’ favourite, with friendly staff, and from CAMRA for their up to 8 Cumbrian real ales.

There’s a 10% discount on real ales for CAMRA and Wainwright Society membership cards.  The hearty food is locally-sourced wherever possible, and includes gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.”

- Kate Oultram, The Wainwright

The Fox Tap

Location: Keswick

Type: Pub

Why dogs love it: “Dogs love the underfloor heating in the bar!” ​​Sue, The Fox Tap

The Fox Tap is the official taproom of the Keswick Brewery, allowing visitors to sample their excellent range of cask and keg beers in a cosy pub atmosphere. If you really like one of the ales, you can even take home a keg. They offer dogs bowls of water too.

Find more dog-friendly locations:

Walking etiquette

Be aware of seasonal restrictions

Some of the Lake District’s nature reserves may have restrictions during certain times of the year to prevent local animals, such as birds and sheep, from being disturbed during their nesting and lambing seasons. Be sure to have a quick check before heading out - sometimes this information can be found online or on a noticeboard.

Keep your dog on a lead

While it’s tempting to let your dog run wild, it’s important to keep them on a lead while walking through some of the more popular locations in the Lake District. A long retractable dog lead is ideal for this scenario - you’ll be able to keep an eye on them while still letting them run ahead and lead the pack.

Be respectful of other walkers

Your pooch probably loves making new friends but it’s important to remember that not everyone feels comfortable around dogs. If you do happen to let your dog off the lead, be sure to call them back and clip it back on when you see other walkers approaching.

Make sure your pooch plays nice with other dogs

Similar to the above point, some dogs aren’t interested in making friends and can quickly get snappy if approached by others. It’s best to keep your dog on a lead and let them approach any new dogs slowly, giving the other owners a chance to let you know if they’re a friendly pooch!

Remember your poop scooper!

Before setting out, make sure you have plenty of poop bags packed along with your trusty poop scooper. There are many designated dog poop bins around the Lake District’s beauty spots, so keep an eye out as you make your way around.

Essential packing list

1. A foldable water bowl for hiking trips

2. Food (and bowls)

3. Plenty of poop bags

4. Lead (and a spare, just in case the other gets lost)

5. Treats and biscuits

6. A cosy blanket or your dog’s bed for a familiar scent of home

7. Towels for drying off after a splash in the lake

8. Lots of toys

9. Identification tags on  your dog's collar

10. Life jacket, if heading out on the lake with your pooch

Frequently asked questions

Are there many dog-friendly pubs in Windermere?

Yes, you’ll find a whole host of dog-friendly pubs in the town of Windermere. Some of the best-rated include The Flying Pig Pub, The Crafty Baa Windermere, and The Albert. We’ve also listed some of our favourites a little further up.

Are there plenty of dog-friendly walking routes in the Lake District?

Absolutely tons - we’ve listed some of our favourites above, but there’s plenty more to be discovered. Whether you’re looking for an easygoing stroll or a challenging hike in the hills, this lovely region has something for everyone.

Are there any local veterinary practices in the area?

Yes, there are two veterinary practices in Windermere and Ambleside, and two more set just outside the national park. We’ve listed their details below, just in case you need them.

Do you have any recommendations for pet-friendly accommodation that allows more than one dog?

Many of our holiday cottages allow more than one pet to stay, including Craftsman Cottage in Hawkshead which allows up to two dogs, and Lake Lodge Studio in Bowness-on-Windermere allowing up to three.

Can I get to the Lake District via train?

You can - the West Coast mainline runs east of the Lake District, with connections from London and Glasgow. For those in Manchester, a direct train runs straight into Windermere. There’s also the option to travel around the area with local trains calling at Windermere, Kendal and Staveley.

Can I go wild swimming in the Lake District?

Yes, there are many lakes and rivers in the area that are perfect for taking a refreshing dip! Before you head in, it’s important to make yourself visible with a brightly-coloured swimming cap or lifejacket - boaters often pass by and it can be difficult for them to see swimmers in the water. When wild swimming, be sure to check the depth of the water and gradually move in - it can get quite chilly up in the hills!

What should I pack for a trip to the Lake District?

This depends on how you plan on spending your trip, and the time of year in which you’ll be visiting. Some of the hills and lakesides can get quite rocky and muddy so it’s worth packing your walking boots and a good set of warm clothes before heading out of the town. If you’re stopping in the autumn or winter months, it’s worth packing a waterproof dog jacket, too.

Useful resources

Lake District veterinary practice

Oakhill Veterinary Group (Windermere & Ambleside)

  • E:
  • T: 015394 88555

West Lakeland Veterinary Group

  • T: 01946 820312 (Egremont), 01946 693303 (Whitehaven)

Galemire Vets

  • E:
  • T: 01946 810295

Local pet shops

Podgy Paws of Keswick

  • E:
  • T: 017687 85407

Mabel & Mu

  • E:
  • T: 01539 444 111

Local dog groomers

Happy Tails Dog Grooming

  • E:
  • T: 07735939104

Dog Gone Fabulous Grooming Parlour

  • E:
  • T: 07790 538811

The Doghouse Kendal

  • E:
  • T: 01539 735941

Wuff Cuts N Walks – Mobile Dog Groomer

  • E:
  • T: 07850424110

Megan Sparkles Dog Grooming

  • E:
  • T: 07756320282

Just Love Dogs

  • E:
  • T: 07766555349

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