The Lake District is undoubtedly one of the best places to stay in Europe for a dog-friendly holiday. Encompassing the country’s tallest mountain, largest lake, vast swathes of ancient woodland, glittering coastline and more, it boasts an incredible range of scenery just perfect for exploration with your tufted-pawed pal. Topped up with world-class eateries, the coolest and quirkiest pubs, lots of dog-friendly attractions and endless activities for all the pack, it ticks all the boxes for an un-fur-gettable escape. For some top insider info, here are some of the best places to stay in the Lake District with dogs.
Situated at the northernmost tip of Lake Windermere, the little town of Ambleside has become a magnet for dog-friendly breaks. A popular market town, its central location in the heart of the National Park and wealth of restaurants, shops and attractions make it a perfect base for exploration throughout the year. If your pup isn’t up for major hikes, then a wander over to Borrans Park or Stagshaw Garden in the town will provide lots of interesting trails to follow, scents to sniff and places to picnic. That said, if you’re both up for more of a challenge, a hike up nearby Wansfell Pike is well worth the effort for the jaw-dropping panoramas at the top.
Whether you can’t wait to explore the village, walk the shores of Coniston Water or trek up the Old Man of Coniston, the village of Coniston makes for an excellent dog-friendly destination. A picturesque village in the Lake District, the area is so captivating that it actually served as the inspiration behind Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons. The lake alongside which the village sits is also famous for being the location of the fatal attempt by Donald Campbell to beat the world’s water speed record in 1955. To get to know the area more, book onto a dog-friendly cruise and see some of the lake’s most famous sights and features, including its many islands.
Glenridding is a little village with a lot of character. Found at the southern end of Ullswater Lake, the Lake District’s second largest lake, it is the pawfect gateway to the area’s stunning hills, fells and lakes. Home to a surprisingly generous scattering of places to eat and shops to browse given its size, the village has plenty of places to mooch with your pooch. It also has access to some of the best walks and attractions in the area, including the stunning Aira Force waterfall, which will be sure to set tails wagging. For the ultimate challenge, the 20-mile Ullswater Way heads off from Glenridding and loops around the entire lake.
Nestled between the bulking frame of Skiddaw and the gentle mass of Derwentwater, Keswick is one of the top towns in the Lake District for both relaxation and recreation. In the town itself, you can find everything from tearooms to supermarkets, galleries to outdoor theatres, and clothing shops to bike and canoe rental. Meanwhile, a stone’s throw from its cobbled streets are some of the most serious walking routes in the country, including a 10-mile walk up and down Skiddaw, one of the highest mountains in the country. Of course, this is only for the most sprightly pups, and will certainly earn a chip or two in one of the local pubs afterwards!
One of the oldest villages in Cumbria, Hawkshead in the South Lake District has been a flourishing settlement since Norse times. It also happens to be where the famous poet William Wordsworth went to school. With many of its buildings dating back to the 17th century, the village is full of attractive old frontages and picturesque cottages accessed via little archways and winding cobbled lanes. Understandably, its photogenic qualities appeal to many human visitors, though its four-legged guests tend to be more enamoured with its dog-friendly eateries and proximity to the sprawling expanse of Grizedale Forest.
A list of the top places to stay in the Lake District with your dog wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the little seaside haven of Ravenglass – the park’s only coastal village. Located at the confluence of three rivers (the Esk, the Mite and the Irt), this village is famous for its long sand and shingle beach that’s perfect for games of fetch, and rows of fishermen’s cottages that overlook the water. For more local dog-friendly fun, you can visit Muncaster Castle’s gardens or hop aboard the “La’al Ratty” Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, before visiting one of the village’s dog-friendly pubs that awaits with hot food and cool drinks.
One of the Lake District National Park’s most popular towns, Windermere is a superb, year-round destinations for dog-friendly holidays. Located on the shores of Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake, this bustling hub is one of the biggest towns in the park and full of shops and eateries that welcome dogs and their well-behaved owners. Of course, being so close to the water, it also offers some wonderful lakeside walkies with lots of great view-points, as well as relaxing dog-friendly lake cruises. For the best views, we definitely recommend a hike up to Orrest Head which overlooks the town, lake and rolling fells beyond.
Book a Dog Friendly Holiday in the Lake District
With so many fantastic holiday destinations to visit with a dog, the Lake District is an amazing place for a dog-friendly break. It can get busy at peak times but you can always find your own space in the vast national park. As a popular area for family holidays, walking breaks and sightseeing trips, there is a huge number of holiday homes and traditional Lakeland cottages to choose from. A large proportion of these are dog-friendly, so your canine companion can come along too. Find your own dog-friendly cottage in the Lake District.