10 of the Best Dog-Friendly Attractions in the Lake District

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The Lake District is one of the best places in the UK to take your dog, thanks to its wide range of open spaces and pet-friendly attractions, eateries and accommodation.

Whether you have one little handbag dog or a pack of large hounds, we have holiday cottages that can welcome up to four pups at a time!

We’ve also put together a list of some of the best pet-friendly attractions across the Lake District and Cumbria so that your whole party can enjoy the delights of the national park together.

1. Windermere Lake Cruises

Windermere lake cruiser in the Lake DistrictNo Lake District holiday is complete without getting onto the water at some point! With Windermere Lake Cruises you can enjoy a gentle cruise around the whole of England’s longest lake or else hop on and off at one of the pet-friendly attractions around the shore! Dogs are welcome on cruises free of charge, and you may even be able to get some doggy ice cream at one of the jetties. Delicious!

Browse our holiday cottages around Windermere or take a look at other dog-friendly attractions near Windermere.

2. The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Steam train on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in the Lake District
La'al Ratty
, as it's known locally, is a miniature steam railway running between Ravenglass and Eskdale in the south west Lake District. It’s a fabulously fun alternative to the car and a great way to get between the start and end points of the many linear walks throughout Eskdale. Or you can just head 'there and back again' and take in the beautiful scenery, feel the wind in your hair (covered and open carriages are available), and hear the tooting of the train as it passes through the countryside.

Dogs are welcome on board for a small charge, which includes a doggy welcome pack and water bowls at both ends of the line. Dogs are also allowed in the gift shop at Ravenglass and downstairs at Dalegarth station in Eskdale.

Take a look at our pet-friendly cottages in Eskdale and our guide to the best walks from the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway stations.

3. Lowther Castle and Gardens

Lowther Castle in CumbriaLowther Castle near Penrith is a dramatic ruin that stands in 130 acres of hidden gardens and tranquil woodland. Built in 1806, it was almost entirely demolished in 1957, leaving only the roofless outer shell of the building. A huge amount of work went into restoring the gardens after their abandonment and they are now a fascinating delight with lawns, shrubberies, summerhouses, rock pools, and even an adventure playground – perfect for a family trip out!

Dogs on leads are welcome for free throughout the grounds (excluding the adventure playground).

Find your perfect pooch-friendly pad around Penrith.

4. The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

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!

Take a look at our dog-friendly cottages in the South East Lake District.

5. Ullswater 'Steamers'

Ullswater Steamer in the Lake DistrictUllswater's 'Steamers' have been in service on the lake since 1859 and take in what is arguably some of the Lake District's most dramatic scenery. With interesting piers to explore - including one at Aira Force waterfall – and plenty of options for linear and circular walks, you and your pet can easily spend the full day amongst the beautiful scenery of Ullswater.

Dogs are welcome on board for a small charge.

Hop onto a cruise from one of our dog-friendly cottages around Ullswater.

6. The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden

Rabbit eating plantsThe Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden in Portinscale, on the northwestern shore of Derwentwater, is a fabulous place for some special, home-cooked meals made with local produce. 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’s light and airy café looks over the 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.

We have lots of pet-friendly holiday homes near Portinscale.

7. Coniston Launch and Steam Yacht Gondola

Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston WaterWe 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! 

You can choose from a number of short or longer cruise options on board a Coniston Launch, as well as a special 'Swallows and Amazons' or 'Campbells on Coniston' cruises. Alternatively, the National Trust's Steam Yacht Gondola is an amazing rebuilt Victorian cruiser that offers full-length lake cruises or shorter options to explore the north or south ends of Coniston Water.

Dogs are welcome on the outer decks of the Steam Yacht Gondola, while the Coniston Launch welcomes dogs for a small charge. Or, if your pooch is a Flatcoated Retriever, they travel free in honour of the founders' dogs!

The Gondolas and Coniston Launch both stop at Brantwood on the eastern shore of Coniston Water, where dogs on leads are also welcomed in the grounds and café.

Browse our pet-friendly cottages near Coniston.

8. Muncaster Castle Gardens

Muncaster Castle in the Lake District
Set in an elevated position in the south west 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 with dogs not allowed in the house or, as you would expect, inside the Hawk and Owl Centre. 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.

Water bowls are placed at the three cafes in the grounds to help keep your pooch refreshed.

Take a look through our dog-friendly cottages in the South West Lake District.

9. Keswick Launch

Derwentwater Launch in the Lake DistrictIf 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. Dogs are welcome on board for free.

Take a look at our dog-friendly holiday homes in Keswick.

10. Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests

Sculpture in Grizedale Forest in the Lake DistrictThe 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.

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.

There are lots of animals such as deer and squirrels in the forests - and Alpaca treks! - so your dog should either be kept on a lead or have good recall. The visitor centre at Grizedale is also dog-friendly, as is the cafe at Whinlatter.

Dog in Eskdale in the Lake DistrictWe hope that these ideas will inspire you when planning which dog-friendly days out in the Lake District! We have 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 all of our pet-friendly cottages, or view our budget and luxury cottages that welcome dogs.

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