Top dog-friendly places to visit in the Lake District

Pet friendly

Posted by Elianne Reed on 2nd June 2021

Choosing a place to take your dog on holiday isn’t difficult with the wonderful selection of beautiful parks, glacial lakes and fascinating forests that we have at our fingertips here in the UK. However, there are some places that are extra special, destinations that have an almost magical quality about them and draw visitors back year after year.

One of these is the breathtaking Lake District, one of the most popular walking destinations in the UK. England’s largest National Park, it’s awash with scenic dog walks and there's a host of places to visit in the Lake District with dogs: from gentle lakeside strolls and forays through forests to more adventurous climbs up impressive mountains. 

Relaxation time is also taken care of, as the Lake District is full of dog-friendly attractions and eateries, perfect for canines who want to enjoy the complete holiday experience. Find your ideal cottage escape in our collection or read on to discover a few of our favourite dog-friendly places in the Lake District. 

Pet-friendly Lake District cottages



Enjoy Lake District days out with your dog in the pretty market town of Keswick and follow the 8-mile walk around the lake. Here, dogs can dip a paw in the water or stop with their owners for a lakeside picnic. 

The area is known for being extremely dog-friendly and dogs can be let off the lead, although as always, it's important to be wildlife aware. 

The walks here have a wonderful tranquillity about them and there are various lengths of route on well-maintained tracks, from short ambles to long hikes. The views, as with all the lakes, are stunning, both of the expanse of water and of the surrounding hills and mountains.

For more fantastic watery locations throughout this beautiful region, read through our guide to all the Lake District lakes

Top 3 things for dogs to do in and around Derwentwater:

  • Hop aboard the Keswick Launch for a 50-minute trip around the lake.
  • Take a trip on a rowing boat - just make sure your dog has a life jacket on and is water-savvy!
  • Stop at Podgy Paws in the town to treat your favourite family member to something new and sparkly.

All Derwentwater cottages

Ullswater Steamers

Ullswater Steamers

The Ullswater Way is the perfect place for a long afternoon stroll with your dog - you can walk it in any direction but the Pooley Bridge to Glenridding route is a popular one for dog walkers. 

It's a 10-mile route to Glenridding but if that distance has tired you out, break up the walk by jumping aboard a cruise on the Ullswater Steamer boat back to Pooley Bridge.

Dogs on leads are welcome on board for a small charge as well as in the pier houses where you can grab a quick bite to eat. There is also a 7-mile lakeshore walk between Howtown and Glenridding and a family-friendly footpath between the National Trust's Aira Force waterfall and Glenridding - a great choice if you have children with you.

Top 3 things for dogs to do in and around Ullswater:

  • Hop on a leisurely cruise around the lake to see the sights from the comfort of a steamer.
  • Take fit and strong dogs to scale the third-highest Lake District peak of Helvellyn.
  • Walk around the delightful Aira Force trail and come back for something to eat in the dog-friendly café.

All Ullswater cottages


The Buttermere Valley

This tranquil area of fells, farm and woodland, has three beautiful lakes to explore on dog-friendly days out in the Lake District. Drink in the breathtaking views on the gentle circular walk around Buttermere Lake, or take the slightly more difficult Buttermere to Rannerdale walk and peek into the secret valley of Rannerdale on the way. 

All three lakes in Buttermere Valley are cared for by the National Trust, with a NT car park for the lake and village just outside the hamlet. From here, you can walk to two of the lakes - Crummock Water or Buttermere. 

Don't forget the beautiful waterfalls that crash dramatically onto the wet rocks below - make sure you go after a rainy day when they are truly magical.

Top 3 things for dogs to do in and around Buttermere:

  • Bring your own boat and take water-loving hounds around the lakes - you'll need a boating permit from the car park machine.
  • Stop and rest tired paws with lunch at The Bridge Hotel - the terrace views are out of this world.
  • Discover the wild and secluded beaches on a dramatic clifftop walk above Whitehaven's historic 17th-century harbour.

All Buttermere cottages

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

When you’re tired of walking, hop aboard this narrow-gauge steam railway which stretches 7 miles from Ravenglass to Dalegarth. A small charge will allow Rover to board, and water bowls await them at the stations en-route. 

Known locally as La'al Ratty, this miniature railway is a great way to see the sights of the Lake District without too much effort, and there are several request stops along the way if you fancy getting off to stretch your legs. 

There are also interesting walks at both stations including Ravenglass Beach, St Catherine’s Church and Stanley Ghyll Force. 

Top 3 things for dogs to do in and around Ravenglass and Dalegarth:

  • Historical hounds will love a visit to Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass where they can roam 70 acres of woodland gardens and grounds.
  • Take the circular walk around Ravenglass which takes in the impressive Roman Bath House and the scenic beach.
  • Amble along the banks of the River Esk and take a waterside picnic to share with all the family.

All Ravenglass cottages

Cream Tea

The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden

On the north-western shore of Derwentwater you’ll find Beatrix Potter’s former summer residence, The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden, where she and her family holidayed for a number of years. The original kitchen garden was actually the inspiration behind Mr McGregor's garden in everybody's favourite story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. 

Canine fans of the famous rabbit and his friends are welcome on leads and will be offered a bowl of water and a biscuit while you partake in a fabulous cream tea in the café. 

If you have children with you, they will love to walk around the gardens, trying to spot the hidden rabbits and reading the boards telling the story of Beatrix Potter.

Top 3 things for dogs to do in and around Lingholm:

  • Jump aboard the Keswick Launch from Lingholm Jetty to take a trip around the lake.
  • Walk around Derwentwater Lake or take a hike up into the surrounding rugged mountains.
  • Enjoy an afternoon at Hope Park with a gentle stroll around the landscaped gardens, woodlands and stream. 

Dog-friendly Keswick cottages

Grizedale Forest

Grizedale Forest

Famous for its 40 plus artworks and outdoor sculptures along waymarked trails, Grizedale Forest is doggy heaven. 

There are ten walking trails, nine cycle trails if you feel like a cycle around with a doggy trailer and the famous Go Ape course which is a great alternative if you have children with you who want to veer off to do something themselves. 

Bear in mind that there are deer, rabbits and foxes all around so if your dog’s recall isn’t great, we would advise staying on a lead. Dogs are also welcome inside Grizedale’s Café where they can settle down with a bowl of water and a treat while you order a welcome hot chocolate and a mouthwatering slice of cake.

Top 3 things for dogs to do in and around Grizedale:

  • Head east to the most famous lake in the district, Lake Windermere, for a boat cruise around the waters.
  • Drive down to the dog-friendly Lakeland Motor Museum, where well-behaved dogs can join their owners for a spot of lunch in the Café Ambio.
  • Climb up to the summit of the Old Man of Coniston across the other side of Coniston Water - just watch out for the sheep!

All Grizedale cottages

Dog at lake

Windermere Lake Cruises

Experience the lakes from the comfort of a Windermere Lake Cruise, one of the region's most popular dog-friendly Lake District attractions. Hop on to one of the main steamers or smaller boats – dogs don’t need to pay and even get their very own ticket! 

There are beautiful walks around the surrounding landscape as the area is surrounded by mountain peaks peppered with villages, including Bowness-on-Windermere where you'll find the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction.

Sadly, World of Beatrix Potter is not dog friendly (except service dogs) but it's definitely one to visit if somebody in your party is happy to take Fido off for a walk. If you do, we would suggest a quick run along the east side of the lake or if you have more time, take the trails leading north to Orrest Head. 

Top 3 things for dogs to do in and around Windermere:

  • Visit the National Trust's Fell Foot Park at the bottom of Windermere and stroll around the lake or have a run around the park.
  • Enjoy a day out at Brockhole on Windermere where dogs are allowed in the grounds and on the café terrace.
  • Stop off at the nearby Queen’s Head Hotel for a dog-friendly supper on the way back home to your holiday cottage.

Dog-friendly Windermere cottages

Pet-friendly holidays

Pet-friendly holidays 

For more fantastic dog-friendly places across the Lake District, take a look at our guide: Discover the Lake District

When it’s time to rest tired paws, head back to one of our cosy dog-friendly cottages in the Lake District. We've taken the time to review our collection and gathered a few stand-out properties; discover the pick of our top dog-friendly cottages

Or explore our full cottage collection by clicking the button below. Whether you want to curl up together next to a roaring log burner in a wooden lodge, gaze out at the cool glacial lakes from a waterside apartment or keep your dog close to hand in our range of cottages with enclosed gardens, we have the perfect property for your trip to the Lakes.

Pet-friendly Lake District cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.