Top Dog Friendly Attractions to Visit in the Lake District

Dog and owner on holiday at Windermere in the Lake District. Photo by Joseph Pearson at Unsplash

England’s largest National Park, the Lake District is a real magnet for dogs and their owners. Home to the highest mountain and the deepest lake in England, not to mention ancient forests, winding rivers and undulating fells, it calls to all those looking to revel in the park’s astounding natural beauty and enjoy its rich heritage.

With a choice of picture-postcard towns to choose from, a stay in the Lake District offers you the chance to follow in the footsteps of Wainwright and breathe new life into the poems of Wordsworth. Whether you are dining together, hiking side by side, picnicking in a forest glade or visiting one of the dog-friendly heritage attractions, there is truly something for the whole pack.

To give you and your loyal chum the best head start on an unforgettable getaway, here is our guide to must-see dog-friendly attractions in the Lake District.

Scafell Pike

At 978 meters above sea level, Scafell Pike is England’s highest mountain. One of the Southern Fells, it is one of the highlights of the Lake District National Park and one that draws hikers from near and far. Boasting a hardy, 6-mile trek (there and back) and sensational views from the top, energetic dogs and their owners will relish the chance to scale this peak together, especially with lots of snack refuels along the way.

Dog on route to Scafell Pike

Tarn Hows

For a really leisurely walk suitable for all dogs, head over to Tarn Hows and pick up the superb 2-mile circular walk there. Located between Coniston and Hawkshead in the low-level hills, this short walk is a Lake District classic and affords mind-blowing scenery whatever the weather. Once you get going, you’ll quickly see why this place has captured so many hearts over the years – including that of legendary author Beatrix Potter.

Lowther Castle and Gardens

Lowther Castle, near Penrith, is a breath-taking ruin that sits within 130 acres of manicured gardens and tranquil woodland. Constructed in 1806, it was almost entirely destroyed in 1957, leaving only its fairy-tale façade and outer walls. A dreamy destination for a day out with your pup, these days the castle features beautiful dog-friendly grounds and a superb 7.5-mile circuit, the Lowther Castle Loop, which begins and ends at Lowther Castle and forms part of the Ullswater Way.

Grizedale Forest

Nestled between the enchanting lakes of Coniston and Windermere, the magical Grizedale Forest beckons for hours of play. With plenty of waymarked trails for padded paws to follow, you can choose from a variety of paths and savour the framed views of lakes and mountains as you go. Making your walk even more intriguing, you can also keep on the lookout for the many permanent and temporary sculptures on show within the forest, created by local and leading international artists.

Muncaster Castle

To get to know more about local history, take your dog on a stroll around the 70 acres of idyllic woodland, gardens and grounds at Muncaster Castle. While your pup can’t go in the castle itself, we’re sure they’ll be more than happy sniffing out all the new scents along the miles of paths, saying hello to other four-legged friends and refuelling with a welcome pick-me-up at the onsite dog-friendly tearoom.

Windermere

A haven for painters, poets, walkers and adventurers alike, Windermere is a must-visit destination for dog-friendly holidays in the Lake District. Reaching 10.5 miles long, it is the largest natural lake in England and surrounded by a plethora of picturesque towns. For the widest choices of dog-friendly eateries and leisure activities on the lake (including self-drive motorboat hire), make sure you visit Bowness-on-Windermere on the eastern shore and Ambleside at the northern tip.

Taking in the scenery on a dog walk in the Lakes

Furness Abbey

History buffs and their loyal fluffs will love a wander around this former monastery and its beautiful parkland. Founded in the 12th century, the remains at Furness Abbey still include much of the east end and west tower of the church, the intricately decorated chapter house and the cloister buildings too. Learn about the medieval treasures discovered in the abbey and later take a spot on one of the picnic benches to lap up the sunshine and unique backdrop.

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Discover the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway with your dog and delight in a novel way to get around. Stepping aboard the railway’s vintage steam locomotive (or La’al Ratty, as it is known by locals) and gently trundle your way across 7 miles of mesmeric Lake District countryside from Ravenside to Dalegarth. To extend your journey, you can also hop off at various stations en route.

Wastwater

Situated in Wasdale Valley, the beautiful Wastwater is a sight to behold. At the foot of England’s tallest mountain (Scafell Pike), it boasts the title of the deepest lake in England at 260ft deep and is also home to one of the smallest churches in the country, St Olaf’s Church. Described by Wordsworth as “long, stern and desolate”, the lake has in fact been voted as Britain’s favourite view and is a stunning destination for doggy days out.

Aira Force Waterfall

Drawing visitors for over 300 years, Aira Force Waterfall showcases the power and beauty of nature. The most famous of the Lake District’s waterfalls, the main waterfall features a 70ft drop into Aira Beck below – the thunderous culmination of countless gallons of rainwater running down from the fells. As well as the waterfall, you and your pup are also free to enjoy the network of trails weaving to and from Aira Force, passing giant Himalayan firs and waving green ferns to the banks of Ullswater.

Find Dog Friendly Accommodation in the Lake District

If you’re planning a trip to the Lake District with your dog you will need somewhere to stay. So please check out our collection of holiday cottages, houses and lodges available within the national park. Start your search for Dog-Friendly Cottages in the Lake District >

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