Dog-Friendly Lake District Destinations
Life is better with a dog, as they say, and The Lake District is certainly best explored with the help of a canine companion. Thankfully, we’re a region of dog-lovers, and many of our protected UNESCO World Heritage destinations and attractions embrace, accommodate and often encourage the presence of man’s best friend.
Our dog mad team here at The Lake District Pound have put together a list of dog friendly days out, paw-some eating spots and a few do’s and don’ts of pet-iquette to follow while here in The Lakes.
Dog Friendly Attractions
We’ve singled out some of our favourite dog friendly family days out in The Lake District with a top five of must-visit attractions.
If you want to rest those weary feet and paws after all of that walking, there are not many more charming ways to travel than by taking The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway.
Known locally as La’al Ratty, this narrow gauge railway line runs for seven miles, stretching from Ravenglass to Dalegarth and taking your family and furry friends through stunning scenery by the power of steam. There are tons of great walks and tourist attractions along the line, and your dog can clamber aboard for the small fee of just £1.50.
There’s no better way to explore England’s largest lake than travelling across its tranquil waters in style. Windermere Lake Cruises are certainly one of the best ways to do just this, with tours typically ranging from 45 minutes to a full 3 hours, you can board at Ambleside, Bowness or Lakeside.
One of The Lakes most popular tourist attractions, you can even spend all day on the lake or going to and from destinations with a ‘Freedom of The Lake’ ticket. Better still, your canine companions can travel onboard any of the steam vessels completely free of charge, though we recommend keeping them on the lead so they’re not tempted to take a nice cooling dip in the waters of Windermere!
Environmentally accredited and award-winning, Ullswater ‘Steamers’ have operated one of the largest fleets of heritage vessels in the world for over 160 years, 363 days a year.
The steamers are a fantastic way to navigate across and around England’s second largest lake, with the service offering a picturesque and timeless way to transit this stunning body of water, taking in the breathtaking scenery and accessing the many walks and places of interest around Ullswater. Dogs are welcome on the steamers and the main pier houses for just £1.
One of the most picturesque dog friendly days out is most certainly Muncaster Castle, nestled in the south-western corner of The Lake District near Ravenglass.
This historic castle is said to be haunted, so it’s just as well your faithful hounds are welcome on their leads free of charge for extra protection! They’re able to explore the stunning 70 acres of grounds which includes woodland gardens, as well as the main café and Owl Garden Tea Room.
The castle also boasts a Hawk and Owl Centre which of course your pooches are prohibited from entering, however, they can view the bird of prey display from a special viewing area.
- Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests
Featuring tons of serene walking trails, cycling routes, cafés, picnic and play areas, dogs are welcome across many of both the forest’s walks, with plenty of smells and spectacular scenery just waiting to be uncovered with the wag of a tail.
Dog Friendly Places to Eat
Finding a spot to eat with your pet can be problematic, many cafés and restaurants prefer not to allow dogs, be that because of potential barking interfering with ambience or hygiene concerns. Thankfully, there are plenty of places in The Lakes that do allow your dog to dine in, here are a few of our favourites:
Described as “the beating heart of the hotel”, The Swan Inn is quaint, cosy and serves some incredible food. From afternoon tea to snacks, lunch and dinner, they’re open from 10 am every day and better still - dogs are welcome inside and out!
Open every day from 10:30 am until 5 pm, The Terrace is situated in the site of Brantwood’s old coach house, in a location which enjoys stunning views of Coniston Water and the rolling fells beyond.
Here you can enjoy fresh produce and seasonal dishes, as well as cakes and baked goods and some of the best tea, coffee, cocktails and local beers around. If your dogs are well behaved, then they’re more than welcome!
Nestled between the Theatre and Derwentwater, the Lakeside Café & Restaurant is a unique and inviting eating space for families and man’s best friend alike.
Offering spectacular views of the lake and Cat Bells beyond, it’s a stress-free spot to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, or a grab quick refuel with coffee and cake. You’ll find the café open from 9 am serving breakfast until noon, while you can dine before enjoying some theatre from 5:30 pm until 8 pm in the restaurant.
Pet-iquette: Dog Walking Rules and Regulations
When walking in the country with your canine companion, there are some rules and regulations that must be observed in order to keep in line with responsible dog walking in The Lake District.
With so much livestock and wildlife around as well as potentially perilous walking routes and locations, here are a few tips to keep you, your pooch and our wildlife and landscape safe:
Sheep are notoriously jittery, and they’re likely to see dogs as an immediate threat to both themselves and their lambs if it’s the lambing season. Should a dog chase them, sheep can become so distressed that the stress may kill them or result in the death of their young.
A farmer is within their right to shoot your dog if it has caused or is causing distress or harm to their livestock. Even if the worst didn’t happen you could be hit with a hefty bill from a farmer for hurting one of their animals. This might sound dramatic, but remember it can be easily avoided by keeping your dog on a lead.
Again, it’s best to keep your dog on a lead around any livestock. However, by nature, cows are much more curious than sheep and may wander over to inspect you and your dog. Should this occur and the cow or their calves feel threatened, they may charge. In this scenario, drop the dog lead and get to safety, your dog will be much quicker on its own and can easily outrun the cow.
The Lake District is home to an abundance of wildlife, including deer; badgers, red squirrels, otters and many species of bird, including some ground-nesting birds.
You may also find adders around, especially in the long summer grasses and areas in the South Lakes. Adders are poisonous species of snake and have been known to bite dogs. If your dog is bitten, Windermere-based vets Oakhill hold anti-venom and are able to give advice on what to do.
Pay attention to signage signalling the potential presence of wildlife as well as restricted access signs.
- Cleaning up Mess
Nobody wants to trample in dog mess while out enjoying the amazing scenery that The Lake District has to offer, and so it’s incredibly important that you always carry waste bags or nappy bags around with you to dispose of any waste in one of the many bins provided along walking routes.
You should now be all set to enjoy the stunning sites, attractions, eateries and many amazing locations around The Lakes with your dog. Don’t forget to treat you and your pooch to some Lake District Pound currency, buy £90 sterling online we’ll give you LD£100!