Best Festive Days Out with the Dog

Fancy getting festive on your winter break with the dog? Here’s our pick of dog-friendly days out where families and their furry friends can get into the Christmas spirit.

Mousehole Harbour Lights, Cornwall

Mousehole Christmas lights

The Mousehole Christmas lights are one of Cornwall’s most famous festive spectacles, so making a trip to this picture-postcard village a must if you’re planning a coastal Christmas getaway. Between 12 December and 06 January, the harbour comes to life with twinkling lights in the shapes of boats, sea creatures and Christmas characters – making it the perfect location to end a scenic walk along the South West Coast Path. Once you’ve taken a twirl around the water’s edge, paws to warm your cockles over a pint of local ale and a slice of Mousehole‘s Stargazey pie at the pet-friendly Ship Inn. 

North Pole Express, Foxfield Railway, Staffordshire

Hop aboard with Santa and his friends on an award-winning railway for families, rail enthusiasts and their dogs. Steam through stunning Staffordshire countryside and tuck into mince pies and Christmas tipples, while the children are entertained by Jack Frost, meet Santa and receive a gift. The North Pole Express runs from the last weekend in November to Christmas Eve. 

Christmas at Powderham Castle, Devon

Powderham Christmas
Photo Courtesy of Powderham Castle

Experience a magical family day out, exploring a 600 year-old castle in Devon where imaginations can run wild and your four-legged friends can join in your adventures. A visit to Powderham is a treat at any time of year, but at Christmas it’s extra special, with a Christmas Trail around the grounds, the castle adorned in Christmas decorations, and a Christmas barn serving festive food. You can also hop aboard the Exmouth Miniature Railway, take an evening light walk and book a slot at Santa’s Grotto. Dogs must be on leads and are not permitted in the Walled Garden and Deer Park. Entry is £1 per dog.

Christmas Shopping, Liverpool

Who says you can’t do your Christmas shopping with the dog? There’s nowhere more dog-friendly for a festive shopping trip than Liverpool, where dogs are welcome on the Merseyrail Loop line around the city and are also permitted in over half of the stores in the world-class Liverpool One shopping centre. When you need to take a break, there are plenty of dog-friendly eateries, including Brew Dog – where you can even host a Christmas party for Fido and his friends. 

Windermere Lake Cruises, Lake District

Windermere lake cruise dog
Photo courtesy of Windermere Lake Cruises

What better way to experience the natural winter majesty of the Lake District than aboard a boat cruise? Choose from a number of cruises setting sail from Bowness, Ambleside or Lakeside, soaking up the mountain scenery and secluded bays, and hopping off to enjoy woodland rambles and visit dog-friendly attractions such as Wray Castle on route. When you’ve had your fill of the landscapes, find festive-themed seasonal fare at the Boatman’s Café in Bowness or The Pier Cafe Bar in Ambleside. 

Ingleborough Cave and Grotto, Yorkshire Dales

Wend your way along the Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail in the Yorkshire Dales, through a steep river valley, tunnelling your way through beautiful woodland to Ingleborough Cave. Tread in the footsteps of early Victorian explorers as you journey into the spectacular geology of the cave – a truly magical location to find Santa’s grotto. At the entrance to the trail, The Old Sawmill Café will be serving a big Christmas barbecue, and you can also paws to post your letter to Santa at his Post Office. 

Bath Christmas Market, Somerset

Bath christmas market
Photo courtesy of Bath Christmas Market

Another city we love for Christmas shopping with the dog is Bath. For 25 days the cobbled streets are transformed into a magical festive shopping wonderland, where you can soak up the sights and scents of Christmas. Take a stroll with the dog from Bath Abbey to the Roman Baths, experiencing the festivities, filling your bags with goodies from the twinkling chalets and paw-sing to enjoy festive food and drink. All whilst surrounded by some of Britain’s most iconic architecture. 

Ready to enjoy some festive fun with your dog at your heels? 

Check out our collection of dog-friendly cottages in stunning locations around the UK and find the perfect base for your Christmas break. 

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