Holiday inspiration & travel tips

Dog friendly days out in the UK

20 dog friendly days out in the Lake District

The Lake District is known for its beautiful walks and breathtaking views, with people flocking from all over the world to enjoy a relaxing day out immersed in some of Britain’s best-loved scenery. 

The resplendent backdrop of the Lakes has inspired some of Britain’s greatest romantic poets. Arguably the most famous of them all, William Wordsworth, dubbed the area ‘the loveliest spot that man hath found’, and who are we to disagree?!

Whether walking, hiking or taking a leisurely stroll, the Lake District is the ideal place to go and spend bonding time with your beloved doggy and paws for thought. 

The Lake District has been voted as the best holiday destination for dog lovers and almost all attractions in the area are seeking to be more attentive at catering to the demands of the growing number of dog owners within the UK. 

The following list showcases 20 of our current favourite destinations suitable for all four-legged friends and their owners on dog-friendly days out, weekend breaks or holidays! 

Windermere Lake Cruises

Windermere Lake Cruises

Everyone wants to enjoy the Windermere Lake to its full potential, which often includes a boat and experiencing it from on the water itself. However, having a four-legged friend with you can sometimes get in the way of this sort of activity. Thankfully, the Windermere Lake Cruises allow dogs on all scheduled cruises, making it a fun and enriching experience for the whole family. The major thing is that you know your own dog and act accordingly – for instance, on the Summer Evening Buffet Cruise, there is loud music so if your dogs are prone to fear or excessive barking at loud music, then this might not be best suited to them. The only areas dogs aren’t allowed in are the lakes Aquarium (… think of the fish…) or the Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats. But they are allowed in the cafés, such as Boatmans Cafe on the Bowness side and The Pier Cafe Bar on Ambleside, and will be happily provided with fresh water and scratches from fellow dog-lovers who are out for the day. 

Visiting with dogs:

Well behaved dogs travel for free on all of our cruises.

Website: Windermere Lake Cruises

Windermere Lake Cruises

Lowther Castle and Gardens

Lowther Castle and Gardens

There is so much to see in the Lake District, but when you’ve got your family pet there with you, it can sometimes feel like your only options are to take long walks along Haverigg Beach in Millom, or traverse the majestic greenery and babbling brooks in Cumbrian forests. While these are hardly consolation prizes, it’s important to know that you can also get your cultural fix from the area even with dogs in tow. Head to Lowther Castle and Gardens and get a taste for the area’s renowned natural beauty as well as gawking at this 19th century castle and beacon of countryside history. There are limitations on where dogs are allowed, like in the café or inside the castle – but the gardens and surrounding areas make up for that. Dogs must stay on their leads. A word of caution: in the wet-weather, there is not much for dogs to enjoy, so plan your visit accordingly. 

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs on leads welcome all year round.

Website: Lowther Castle and Gardens

Lowther Castle and Gardens

Address: Lowther Castle, Penrith, Cumbria CA10 2HH

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

A ride through the Lake District via the Haverthwaite Railway is an excellent way to enjoy not only the views and scenes of 3.2 miles of countryside far quicker than you could on foot, but it is also a fun heritage-focused, locomotive experience in itself. You ride from Haverthwaite Station to Lakeside, which is on the southern tip of Lake Windermere – meaning that partaking in a Windermere Lake Cruise can happen on the same day. It’s also possible to get a combined ticket, if that sounds like the perfect day for you, your kids and your fur-kids. Dogs are welcome on both the trains and the boats and they also ride for free. 

Visiting with dogs:

Well behaved dogs are welcome, who can travel for free, but not on seats!

Website: The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Address: Haverthwaite Station, Nr Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 8AL

Muncaster Castle and Gardens

Muncaster Castle and Gardens

Muncaster Castle, located in the town of Ravenglass along Cumbria’s west coast, is a National Heritage property for England, a designated Grade I listed building and, in short, a cracking day out for families with dogs. Though dogs are not allowed in Hawk & Owl Centre or the castle, the property is surrounded by historically significant gardens that date centuries back and are worth perusing as well as a spectacular view of the River Esk. All in all, it gets a bit of everything – the culture, the history, the view, the scenery and a family-friendly disposition. If the numerous paths around the gardens of exotic plants don’t get your pup well and truly walked, then the 70-acres of woodland ought to hit the spot. 

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs welcome but some restrictions apply, please see the website for full details.

Website: Muncaster Castle and Gardens

Muncaster Castle and Gardens

Address: Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass, Cumbria CA18 1RD

Lakeland Motor Museum

Lakeland Motor Museum

The Lakeland Motor Museum is a special place to visit, what with its impressive collections and over 30,000 exhibits showcasing the timeline of motorised vehicles throughout the twentieth century. But the thing that dog-lovers write home about is the fact that dogs are not just welcome, but they are welcome everywhere – café included! The motorcycles on display will leave you pining for an alternate universe in which you’re Steve McQueen with a nobly pawed sidekick. The café sits waterside, with views of the rolling hills and a great cake selection. As if you needed another reason to make a day of this, it is also included in packages for Windermere Cruises and the Haverthwaite Railway. 

Visiting with dogs:

Well behaved dogs are welcome in all areas of the museum and Café Ambio.

Website: Lakeland Motor Museum

Lakeland Motor Museum


Brantwood House & Estate

Idyllically located on the banks of Coniston Water, the estate comprises 250 acres with stunning views of the tranquil waters from several vantage points. Brantwood was once home to John Ruskin, the noted 19th-century thinker and social reformer, and the house, museum and gardens pay homage to his love of the arts and botany. 

Brantwood has a broad mix of landscapes with a vast quantity of woodland as well as eight unique and beautifully landscaped gardens. There is also an exhibition centre where you can view a rich collection of mineral specimens and geology.

Dogs are permitted to enter the garden and all of the eight gardens as well as the tended woodland, however, they are not allowed within the house. 

Be sure to stop off at the Coffee House which happily provides water bowls and outdoor seating with a spectacular panoramic view for you and your hound to admire…

Visiting with dogs:

Well behaved dogs are welcome in the gardens on a lead, unfortunately not in the historic house

Website: Brantwood House

Brantwood Estate

Address: Brantwood, East of Lake, Coniston, LA21 8AD

Mirehouse & Gardens


Located a stone’s throw away from Keswick against the stunning backdrop of Bassenthwaite Lake, Mirehouse is a picturesque 17th-century country house. 

To the bibliophiles out there, the house includes manuscripts from Francis Bacon and letters from illustrious names such as Constable, Tennyson and Wordsworth. The once-forgotten garden has been restored to its former glory with Scots Pines planted in 1784 lining the drive, a bee garden and a wildflower meadow amongst the glorious sights. Kids will love the heather maze!

The estate has a great variety of walks of all distances and dogs are welcomed here as long as they are on a lead. It also goes without saying that you must remain vigilant when passing farmer’s livestock. The estate is open between April and October. 

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs are welcome in the grounds on a short lead at all times.

Website: Mirehouse & Gardens

Mirehouse & Gardens

Address: Mirehouse & Gardens, Lake District, Keswick. Cumbria CA12 4QE

Brougham Castle

Just a couple of miles from Penrith lies Brougham Castle; an English Heritage managed 13th-century property and historic site. Like most English Heritage properties there are numerous doggy water stations and treats available from the welcoming staff. 

The original stone keep, although ruined, allows access for dogs on a lead. 

Walking through history as you explore the spiral staircase and complex of ruined passages is a splendid way to take in the afternoon. 

Other than the private lands around the River Eamont, dogs are welcomed everywhere; provided they are on a lead.

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs on leads are welcome. Please note that they are not allowed on the private land by the river.

Website: Brougham Castle

English Heritage

Address: Moor Lane , Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2AA

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

The ruins of this abbey just outside Barrow in Furness are one of the finest examples of a ruined monastery in the whole UK. The site itself is substantial and one can only imagine the grandeur and majesty of the sandstone abbey in its heyday. 

While there’s no café here, Furness has a picnic area and gift shop stocked with all manner of delicacies and souvenirs. Dogs on a lead are welcomed and the area has all manner of varied trails, which have great scenery and ambience. 

One thing to note is that some of the trails and features of the ruins are inaccessible or certainly challenging with pushchairs or wheelchairs. However, given the scale of the ruins and gardens as well as the interesting collection of effigies and artefacts in the small museum, the abbey is still well worth a visit. 

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs on lead allowed, assistance dogs welcome.

Website: Furness Abbey

English Heritage

Address: Manor Road, Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, LA13 0PJ

Allan Bank and Grasmere

Allan Bank

Allan Bank is managed by the National Trust and allows dogs both inside the house and within the grounds, making the destination a superb place to take your four-legged friend. The woods here are a perfect romping ground with your furry friend as you try and spot some of the red squirrels that inhabit the forest. 

Once home to Wordsworth, the house itself is not the most spectacular on this list having been ravaged by fire in 2011 but do not let this put you off visiting. The landscape and view of Grasmere are what attracts repeat visitors, whether dog walkers, artists, nature lovers or just those seeking a retreat from the bustle of modern life.  

With numerous routes available sampling sights such as Helm Crag and Rydal Water, we are sure there is a route to satisfy all visitors and canines, whether a leisurely saunter or a challenging up-tempo hike! 

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead to protect red squirrels and sheep.

Website: Allan Bank & Grasmere

National Trust

Address: Allan Bank, Grasmere, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9QB

Wray Castle

Wray Castle

Wray Castle proudly stands on the shores of Lake Windermere. It’s not quite as old as many would believe and was designed as a Victorian neo-gothic private house complete with turrets, towers and battlements and casts a striking visual spectacle.  

Dogs are welcome only in the grounds and wider estate, and must always be on a lead. The castle boasts an impressive gatehouse and several eye-catching boathouses. One way for you and your dog to arrive in style is by boat, with Windermere Lake Cruises offering dog-friendly passage from Ambleside, with no extra cost for well-behaved dogs between March and October!

The area has a myriad of beautiful, unique and exotic trees with many great places to stop for a picnic. Joey’s Café in the original kitchen courtyard caters for dogs and is a great place to stop for a bite. 

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs (on leads) welcome in grounds and wider estate; assistance dogs only inside.

Website: Wray Castle

National Trust

Address: Low Wray, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0JA

Brockhole on Windermere

Located between Ambleside and Windermere, Brockhole is a not-for-profit run by the Lake District National Park Authority. Fun for all the family, the attraction has adventure parks, boat hire, archery and a beautiful 19th-century country house and gardens which serve as the focal point of the attraction.

Dogs are more than welcome here, but must always be on a lead and well behaved. Other than a handful of areas such as the Gaddum Restaurant and the play areas, dogs are allowed access across the estate and the site has numerous doggy water bowls and attentive staff who provide free dog treats and waste bags. 

Again, arriving by boat with your dog can be arranged from Ambleside and certain routes stop at both Brockhole and Wray Castle allowing for both attractions to be visited in a single day… provided you and your pooch have the stamina for a big day out together! 

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs on leads welcome in the gardens and grounds.

Website: Brockhole on Windermere


Address: Brockhole on Windermere, Windermere, Cumbria LA23 1LJ

Hill Top – Beatrix Potter House

Once owned by famed children’s writer Beatrix Potter. Hill Top is a 17th-century building that served as her studio and ‘artistic retreat’ from 1905 all the way to her death in 1943. The house is often described as being like a doll’s house, and has references to some of her most famous works in almost all the rooms. 

There is a pop-up cafe where you can get to munch your favourite delicacies and refreshments and the gift shop is not to be missed for any fan of Beatrix Potter’s writing. Iconic characters such as Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-duck, Jeremy Fisher and all of her other beloved creations feature prominently.

Dogs are permitted here but not within the house. A walk around the garden, awash with wildflowers, herbs, vegetables and all other flora will be a wondrous experience for your best friend though.

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs are welcome on leads in the garden.

Website: Beatrix Potter House

National Trust

Address: Near Sawrey, Hawkshead, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0LF

Whinlatter Forest

Located just a few miles outside Keswick, the forest has a visitor centre, cycle trails, running trails, a play park, walking trails and all manner of outdoor pursuits available. 

Whinlatter is England’s only mountain forest and there are 3 cycle paths of varying degrees of difficulty and 9 walking routes with bike hire and segways available for those looking for a different perspective of the landscape. 

Dogs on a lead are permitted here. If your furry friend enjoys the stimulation of a long and winding walk, the superbly named ‘Lord’s Seat and Barf’ walk is 5 miles of breathtaking views of Bassenthwaite lakes and the surrounding area. 

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs allowed in Whinlatter Forest

Website: Whinatter Forest

Forestry England

Address: Whinlatter Pass, Keswick, CA12 5TW

Stott Park Bobbin Mill

Stott Park is a 19th-century bobbin mill located on the shores of Windermere. It was the first purpose-built bobbin mill and was vital in providing bobbins to the famous Lancashire weaving industry and is situated within four acres of land. 

For lovers of England’s fine industrial heritage, you’ll get to see the electric motor used in powering the mill at scheduled demonstrations. There is also a vending machine where you can get a coffee and a shop where you can get a resupply. The picnic area is a perfect spot to recharge with your four-legged friends. 

Dogs on a lead are permitted here and are even allowed inside on the tour although be aware that the machinery can be loud when being operated so those with easily started dogs or those averse to loud noises may be best avoiding this part of the visit.

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs on a lead are permitted

Website: Stott Park Bobbin Mill

English Heritage

Address: Finsthwaite, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 8AX

Holker Hall & Garden

Holker Hall is one of the best-loved stately homes in Britain. Commanding 25 acres of land, the hall remains the home of Lord Cavendish and has remained in the family for over 400 years! 

The art and antique furniture within the house are an impressive sight for all the guests but the pleasure gardens are perhaps even more remarkable and much acclaimed. The gardens contain water features such as a limestone cascade and the national collection of styracaceae, seasonal rhododendrons and the 17th century ‘Great Holker Lime’. 

Dogs on a lead are permitted in the gardens, parkland and cafe. However, dogs are not permitted in the hall except assistance dogs. There is also a water tap and bowls available within the cafe. A visit here with your dogs will almost certainly keep their tails wagging!

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs are welcome in the Gardens, parkland, café and outside areas, as long as they are kept on a short lead. 

Website: Holker Hall & Gardens

Holker Hall & Gardens

Address: Holker Estate, Cark-in-Cartmel, Nr Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria LA11 7PL

Scafell Pike

England’s highest mountain takes around 3-4 hours to scale but the area also has numerous less challenging routes for those, whether canine or human, that aren’t looking for a challenge of such magnitude!

Dogs are allowed here off the lead. They must however be on a lead when they’re around grazing livestock. V

For those brave enough to reach the summit the views are naturally breathtaking and are a fitting reward for the investment of time required to reach the peak. We applaud all who accomplish the feat whether human or hound!

Visiting with dogs:

Well-behaved dogs are welcome. If your dog is not used to the fells then it is perhaps worth trying a few lower, introductory fells before trying Scafell Pike.

Website: Scafell Pike

National Trust

Address: Scafell Pike, Seascale CA20 1EX

Aira Force And Ullswater

The Aira Force waterfall is close to the northern part of Ullswater. It has an array of woodlands suitable for walking with your best furry friend at your heel and is the most popular waterfall within the Lake District. 

As well as a lovely picnic area, you can add a well-deserved break on your outing by visiting the tea room where you can get a coffee and a variety of freshly-baked treats. Dogs on a lead are welcome here. There are also water bowls for your dog at various points of the visit. 

Nature lovers will enjoy the challenge of spotting the elusive red squirrel and deer amongst the ancient woodland and views of the serene waters of Ullswater Lake.

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs on a lead are welcome here

Website: Aira Force & Ullswater

National Trust

Address: Watermillock, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 0JS

Muncaster Castle, Gardens Hawk & Owl Centre

Muncaster is a mediaeval castle located in the coastal town of Ravenglass. The castle boasts 77 acres of garden which contains a playground, gift shops, cafe, maze and plant centre. The castle has a prominent position overlooking the dazzlingly picturesque Esk Valley. 

The Hawk & Owl centre contains a fascinating variety of birds of prey. Dogs on a lead are permitted in the garden, providing that you scoop their poop. However, dogs are not permitted to enter the castle or the owl centre. This is quite understandable due to the risk of unsettling the birds on display. 

Water bowls are liberally placed around the attraction and can be found at the Main Gate, the Owl Garden Tearoom and in the Stable Yard by the main café. The castle prides itself on being a dog-friendly attraction.

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs on a lead are permitted in the garden.

Website: Muncaster Castle

Muncaster Castle

Address: Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass, Cumbria CA18 1RD


Located at the very northeast edge of the Lake District, Hutton-in-the-Forest is a historic house and garden which has been in possession of the Fletcher-Vane family from 1605; and the present Lord and Lady Inglewood live there to this day. It has beautiful architecture, gardens, and woodlands and a splendidly varied collection of English furniture. 

The walled garden has a wild collection of herbal plants and the woodlands feature several specimen trees. The attraction is truly dog friendly, and dogs on a lead are allowed in the garden (but must be well behaved). The entrance cabin generously bestows a gravy bone upon all arriving dogs. 

The tea room is notably decadent despite being priced reasonably and is situated beneath the renowned Long Gallery. It has a rich selection of cakes, scones and beverages to savour. 

Visiting with dogs:

Dogs on leads are allowed in the garden

Website: Hutton-in-the-Forest

Hutton in the Forest

Address: Hutton-in-the-Forest, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 9TH

The Lake District is indeed an excellent spot for a family and dog day-out – but don’t be fooled into thinking that’d just because of all the open walking space (though of course that’s right up there on the list of reasons). Instead, keep in mind all these activity-based days out and you’ll find yourself regularly craving a stint by the Lakes. 

We’ve taken you through 20 dog-friendly days out in the Lake District. It’s easy to see why so many dog owners frequent the region every year with the variety of attractions and sheer magnificence of the place’s natural beauty. 

We guarantee your dog will have even more spring in its step after visiting this lovely area and that the bond between owner and canine will be stronger than ever. 

Cottages in the Lake District

Moody House Farm Moody House Farm Moody House Farm is set in the Lancashire countryside and…
Fell Foot Fell Foot Fell Foot in High Newton occupies a quiet and elevated…
Lords Leap Cottage Lords Leap Cottage Lord’s Leap is a first floor apartment within a lovely…
Bassicks Cottage Driveway Bassicks Cottage Bassicks is a traditional stone-built Victorian cottage with the opportunity…
Valley View House Valley View House Valley View House is a grand dog friendly Victorian villa…
Loweswater Loweswater This beautiful stone cottages is close to Esthwaite Water in…

View all our dog friendly cottages in the Lake District