Amazing Dog Friendly Activities in the Lake District


In our latest blog post, we explore some of the best top dog-friendly activities in the Lake District to keep you and your four-legged friend entertained.

A sprawling National Park in North West England, the Lake District is a haven for paddy-pawed adventurers and their booted companions. A tangle of ancient forests, sunken valleys, towering fells and silvery lakes and rivers, it overflows with things to see and do. From the snow-capped depths of winter to the balmy days of summer, it has year-round appeal and is one of our favourite destinations for dog-friendly retreats.

If you’ve been considering where to stay in the Lake District with your fluffy friend and want to know some of the best activities to get up to while you’re there, we’ve got you covered. Setting our noses along the trail of all the best things to do, we’ve put together a list of some of the top dog-friendly activities in the National Park – from tail-wagging hikes to ear-flapping boat trips.


The Lake District is one of the best places in the UK for hiking and draws seasoned ramblers from across the globe looking to enjoy its mountainous realms. Naturally, for energetic dogs and their owners, the Lake District’s 900 square miles of stunning landscapes provide endless opportunities for walking, from scenic strolls to leg-pumping hikes up some of the highest mountains in the Lakes. If you’re up for the challenge, then you can follow a particularly breathtaking route (courtesy of the incline as well as the views) to the top of Scafell Pike – the highest mountain in England. Or, for incredible scenery, you and your dog can enjoy the two-mile circular route around Tarn Hows – a stunning lake shrouded in evergreen trees.

Boat Rides

Windermere Lake Cruises is a dog friendly attraction
Photo courtesy of Windermere Lake Cruises

What better way to experience the beauty of the Lake District than with a gentle boat ride with your whiskered companion? Keeping you in safe hands (and paws), the Ullswater Steamers on Ullswater Lake have been cruising since the 1800s and provide a wonderful way to soak up the scenery of one of the UK’s most beautiful lakes. Just a few miles away on Windermere, Windermere Lake Cruises allow all well-behaved dogs to hop aboard for free and provide an amazing outing for all generations. Leaving from Bowness-on-Windermere, Lakeside and Ambleside, each cruise encompasses a number of Windermere highlights, including the dog-friendly grounds of Wray Castle. 

Kayak Adventures

Dog on a kayak in the Lake District

Kayaking with your dog can be a brilliant activity for both of you, and if you have had some previous training and experience, then the Lake District is a wonderful place to do it. Home to a large number of lakes that glint in the sunlight between towering fells, it offers endless inspiration for water lovers of the human and canine variety. If you plan on going, make sure to purchase some human and doggy buoyancy aids, or go with established operators like Windermere Kayak and Canoe for the best safety tips and local knowledge. Once on the water, let the gentle lap of the water set a melodic soundtrack to your adventures, accompanied by your favourite four-legged being.

Wild Swims

wild swimming with a dog in the Lake District

If you’re more of a splash than a glide kind of duo, then the Lake District is also great for swimming too. A tad more immersive than kayaking, cold water swimming in the Lake District allows the hardy and the brave to refresh and revive in some of the most scenic locations imaginable. With all sorts of great dog-friendly swimming spots, you can take your pick of opportunities for alfresco dips. As ever, make sure you’ve sought out local safety information before you take the plunge, and if you’ve never tried cold water swimming before, “steady as she goes” is the way to do it. That said, we’re sure your canine chum will have other ideas as they bounce and play gleefully along the shoreline.

Railway Journeys

Steam train on Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
Photo courtesy of Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

A uniquely nostalgic and endlessly charming way to explore the Lake District is through a railway journey. Wending through picturesque valleys, alongside winding rivers and even trundling along some of the Lake District’s only stretch of coastline are traditional steam railways that invite dogs and their owners to enjoy the show. Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (known locally as La’al Ratty) and the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway are two of the best and offer iconic passages through jaw-dropping Lake District landscapes. “All Aboard” and relax as the rhythmic chunter of the wheels lulls you into a dreamy reverie and gorgeous scenes slowly slide past the window.

History Tours 

Castlerigg stone circle, Lake District

Some of the most amazing dog-friendly activities in the Lake District lead four and two-legged visitors on a journey through time. Scattered across rugged mountain faces and beside mirror-topped lakes, these historic gems embody hundreds and thousands of years of local history. One of the most famous, Castlerigg Stone Circle is a 3,000-year-old Neolithic monument near Keswick. One of the earliest and most dramatic of its kind in Britain, it sits at the foot of Helvellyn and High Seat and exudes intrigue. Lowther Castle in Penrith and Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass are also fantastic time capsules that have dog-friendly grounds that you can explore at your own pace. 

Dog-Friendly Eateries

Once you’ve been out and about amongst the calming balm of nature, there’s no better way to wind down than with a heaped plate of food and your favourite drink. From welcoming pubs to cosy cafés, there are many dog-friendly eateries dotted all around the Lake District, just perfect for relaxing tired legs and outstretched paws after a day of exploring. Due to the thoroughly outdoorsy nature of the National Park, many pubs in the Lake District welcome dogs; however, there are some that go the extra mile. The Queen’s Head in Troutbeck, for example, is well-known for its mouth-watering offerings, which even include a special menu of dedicated doggy dishes.

Experience These Dog Friendly Activities in the Lake District from your own Holiday Accommodation

Book a holiday cottage in the Lake District and experience these amazing dog-friendly activities and other amazing things to see and do in this beautiful part of the country that is just perfect for time away with dogs.

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