The Lake District is a sprawling national park in the northwest of England – a region home to the highest peaks and deepest lakes in the country. The kind of place you can visit year-round with your dog for a soul-reviving holiday, the Lake District is particularly magical in winter.
If you’ve never been before, you and your pup are in for a real treat. With its cosy pubs, dog-friendly attractions and breathtaking scenery that’s made all the more enchanting with a snowy throw, there are many reasons for you to visit the Lake District in winter with your dog.
If we’ve yet to convince you, read on for some of our favourite things about this magical time of year that are just simply bigger, better and more beautiful in the Lake District than anywhere else in the UK.
There’s one thing the Lake District isn’t short on, and that’s pubs. From centuries-old pubs packed with locals and overhung with drooping joists to modern gastropubs with pared-back décor and sparkling silverware, there’s something for every doggy owner and their keen-nosed pup. With the region famed for its incredible walks, you’ll find many of the Lake District’s pubs welcome muddy booters and four-pawed pals and have water bowls and stacks of dog biscuits waiting at the bar. If you visit the Lakes in the winter, these cosy pubs provide often-needed refuge from the weather or a place for rest and rejuvenation after a long trek.
Speaking of walkies, the sheer amount of walking opportunities in the Lake District are reason enough to visit. From coastal walks at Ravenglass to heart-pumping hikes up Scafell Pike, and from tranquil rambles through Grizedale Forest to leisurely saunters around Windermere, the diversity and beauty of settings for walks in the Lake District will leave you spell-bound. Made even more special with fewer crowds and more space to play this winter, your dog will be in seventh heaven.
The Lake District is rightly famous for its stunning mountain landscapes. According to famous fell-walker and author Alfred Wainwright, the region is decorated with the rise and fall of over 200 fells (hills and mountains), including four that are over 3,000 feet high: Scafell Pike, Scafell, Helvellyn and Skiddaw. While some of the higher mountains may be a little too demanding for inexperienced walkers and older pups, there are plenty of smaller options for the whole pack to enjoy.
If you’re dreaming of giving your dog a white Christmas this year, then the Lakes may offer the perfect solution. One of the best places in the UK to see snow in winter, the lower areas of the Lake District enjoy an average of 20 days of snow every year, while the higher altitude, mountainous regions experience up to 70 days of snow. Wrapped up in layers and adorned with snowshoes, there will be nothing nicer than wandering through snow-covered valleys with your canine chum.
The name may have already given it away, but the Lake District is really famous for its lakes. Daubed with the glassy streaks of glacial ribbon lakes, pools and tarns, the national park is one of the best places to visit in the world for lakeside retreats with your dog. There are 16 major lakes in the Lake District, many of which have dog-friendly walking trails around all or part of them. Windermere is the longest lake in England 10.5 miles long; while Wastwater, is the deepest lake in England at 243 feet deep. Both of these lakes have a unique beauty and are magical places to visit, whether on two legs or four.
While you can always find quiet corners of the Lake District void of crowds, winter in the area is particularly peaceful – making it all the more attractive for holidays with dogs. While the sunseekers are off chasing tropical climes, those left behind can enjoy vast open spaces with barely a soul in sight. Enjoy a wintry escape this year and treat yourself and your good boy or girl to a peaceful break in amongst some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable.
The Christmas Markets
There is something undeniably magical about Christmas markets – when strings of lights bounce multi-coloured rays along wreath-clad streets and spiced aromas float on the air. While many Christmas markets in larger cities are too busy for dogs, there are some smaller options in the Lake District, as well as local light switch-on events, that are dog-friendly. Particular favourites include Windermere Christmas Celebration, Ambleside Christmas Lights and Hawkshead Christmas Fair.
The Sunrises and Sunsets
One of the great things about later mornings and earlier nights (apart from the hibernation) is that you don’t have to get up as early or stay up as late for amazing sunrises and sunsets. Especially beautiful in the crisp, clear skies of winter in the Lake District, you and your faithful hound can enjoy the spectacular rise and fall of each day in some truly incredible locations. Whether you’re there to capture the moment on camera or simply enjoy the present, you won’t be disappointed.
There are lots of dog-friendly attractions scattered all across the Lake District National Park, many of which remain open in winter. If you are looking for things to do with your dog during your holiday in the area, then why not consider a ride with the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway or a boat trip with Windermere Lake Cruises? Other great dog-friendly attractions include Lowther Castle & Gardens, Muncaster Castle & Gardens, Lingholm Kitchen & Walled Garden and Allan Bank.
Book a Cosy Cottage in the Lake District
If you’ve been inspired to visit the Lakes for a winter break, check out our shortlist of cosy cottages the Lake District to book your stay.