10 of the best dog-friendly attractions in the Lake District


The Lake District has to be one of the best places in the UK to take your pet pooch on holiday. Don't take our word for it - the Kennel Club awarded the area top prize in the Great Outdoors category of its 'Be Dog Friendly Awards' in both 2014 and 2015, as voted for by the nation!

Here at Sally's Cottages, a large number of our properties are dog-friendly (many accepting at least one dog and, in some cases, up to four), so we've put together a handy guide to some of the Lake District's favourite attractions where both you and your four-legged friend(s) will be sure to receive a warm welcome!

The La'al Ratty

1. The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

La'al Ratty, as it's known locally, is a narrow gauge steam railway in the south-western corner of the Lake District, and is a really fun alternative to using the car! Stretching seven miles from Ravenglass to Dalegarth, the railway has several request stops along the way, and connects a number of picturesque walks and places of interest. Dogs are welcome on board for a small charge (£1.50 at the time of writing) and, although they're not permitted in the main cafés at the stations, there are water bowls ready to greet them just outside! 01229 717171, ravenglass-railway.co.uk

Windermere from Glebe Road

2. Windermere Lake Cruises

No Lake District holiday is complete without a lake cruise of some description, and with Windermere Lake Cruises you can enjoy a tour of the lake on one of its main 'steamers', Swan, Teal, or Tern, or travel on one of its smaller vessels to selected destinations. Dogs are welcome free of charge! 015394 43360, windermere-lakecruises.co.uk

Haverthwaite Railway

3. The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

The southern tip of Windermere is home to the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, where you can take a ride on a steam locomotive, complete with 1950s carriages, as it makes its way along 3.5 miles of the former Furness Railway branch line. As Windermere Lake Cruises and the railway connect at Lakeside, consider buying a combined ticket to travel by both boat and rail - dogs travel free of charge on the railway too! 015395 31594, lakesiderailway.co.uk

Ullswater Steamer

4. Ullswater 'Steamers'

Ullswater's 'steamers' take in what is arguably some of the Lake District's most dramatic scenery, and have been in service on the lake since 1859! A brand new pier was opened at Aira Force in 2015, and in 2016 the new Ullswater Way was unveiled, making it even easier to access the walks around Ullswater and combine them with a journey by boat. Dogs are welcome on board for a small charge (just £1 at the time of writing) and in the main pier houses. 017684 82229, ullswater-steamers.co.uk

Coniston Gondola

5. Coniston Launch and the National Trust's Steam Yacht Gondola (outer decks only)

We love a cruise on Coniston Water, which is where you can see the landscape that inspired Arthur Ransome to write his popular Swallows and Amazons series of novels! Coniston is also famously the stretch of water on which Donald Campbell sadly lost his life during his ill-fated world water speed record attempt in 1967. You can choose from a number of short or longer cruise options on board a Coniston Launch or the National Trust's Steam Yacht Gondola (dogs allowed on the outer decks but not inside the saloons), and Coniston Launch offers special 'Swallows and Amazons' and 'Campbells on Coniston' cruises too. Gondola and Coniston Launch both stop at Brantwood on the eastern shore of Coniston Water, where dogs on leads are also welcomed in the grounds (requires a ticket purchase) and café too. 017687 75753, conistonlaunch.co.uk and 015394 32733, nationaltrust.org.uk/steam-yacht-gondola

Derwentwater in the Lake District

6. Keswick Launch, Derwentwater

If you're planning to stay in Keswick, we think that taking a Keswick Launch is a fantastic way to explore the many beautiful areas surrounding Derwentwater - it allows the driver to have a day off too, as parking can be difficult in some places! You could take a full 50-minute cruise of the lake, or stop off at one of Derwentwater's many jetties to enjoy a scenic walk or picnic! You can even buy a 7 Day Explorer Ticket from the ticket office at Lakeside, giving you unlimited travel during your stay! 017687 72263, keswick-launch.co.uk

Lingholm Walled Garden

7. The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden, Portinscale

One of the Lake District's newest and most exciting additions is the Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden at Portinscale on the north-western shore of Derwentwater. Beatrix Potter and her family stayed at Lingholm for a number of their annual summer holidays, and the original kitchen garden was the inspiration behind Mr McGregor's garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit! Lingholm serves great locally sourced lunches and afternoon teas, and its light and airy café looks over the newly-created octagonal kitchen garden towards Skiddaw. Dogs are welcome on leads, and you can make your way over to Lingholm's very own jetty on board the Keswick Launch service. 017687 71206, thelingholmestate.co.uk

Whinlatter Forest

8. Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests

The Forestry Commission's Grizedale Forest is a great place to walk with your dog, and has several waymarked trails for all tastes and abilities. The forest is most famous for its outdoor sculptures, with around 40 artworks to be found along its network of pathways. Dogs are also welcome inside Grizedale's café. 0300 067 4495, forestry.gov.uk/grizedale

Further north near Keswick, Whinlatter Forest has views across Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwentwater and Keswick, and also has a number of waymarked walking trails suitable to explore with your companion. Although dogs aren't allowed inside the forest's Siskins Café itself, there is plenty of undercover seating outside. 017687 78469, forestry.gov.uk/whinlatter

Muncaster Castle

9. Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass

In the south-western corner of the Lake District, Muncaster Castle welcomes dogs on leads free of charge throughout its 70 acres of woodland gardens and grounds. There are a few restrictions and, as you would expect, dogs are not allowed in the house or inside the Hawk and Owl Centre and Old Rose Garden arena. There is a special viewing area from which you and your pooch can safely watch the afternoon 'Sky Hunters' bird of prey display, and you can also visit Muncaster's daily Wild Heron Feed. Dogs are welcome outside at Muncaster's main café, and indoors at the Owl Garden Tea Room - for more information visit Muncaster's website. 01229 717 614, muncaster.co.uk

Lother Castle

10. Lowther Castle and Gardens, near Penrith

Lowther Castle is a fascinating sandstone shell standing in 130 acres of hidden gardens and tranquil woodland. The current castle was built in 1806 and de-roofed in 1957, and its once grand gardens are now undergoing significant renovation after years of abandonment when they were allowed to return to their natural state. Dogs on leads are welcome throughout the grounds and at selected tables in the café, but are not allowed on the Lost Castle. The Lost Castle, which opened this summer, is one of the country's biggest adventure playgrounds - perfect if you're on holiday with children, although once they've found it, they may not want to leave! 01931 712192, lowthercastle.org

We hope that these ideas will inspire you when planning which dog-friendly days out to add to your Lake District wish list! Sally's Cottages has a fantastic range of pet-friendly properties to choose from, accommodating one, two, three, or even four dogs, so we're sure to have something to meet your needs! Take a look at our pet-friendly cottage guide, or you can search for your perfect property using our online search facility.

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