The Lake District’s largest lake, Windermere, is a tempting destination for humans and dogs alike. With an endless list of walking routes, fabulous lake and mountain views, excellent eateries and a wide choice of dog-friendly holiday cottages, it’s the perfect place to set up home for a few days of adventure.
When you’re not out walking with your pup, there are many other activities and attractions to fill your holiday itinerary. Dog-friendly Windermere is a delight for the four-pawed visitor, and you’ll be surprised by the amount of places they can explore by your side.
At 10.5 miles long and 219 feet deep, there’s a lot of Lake Windermere to discover, so it’s just as well that there are lots of options when it comes to getting out on the lake, and neighbouring Coniston Water.
Choose from several Windermere dog-friendly boat trips, including Windermere Lake Cruises who welcome four-legged friends on all of their services to destinations along the lake, as well as on board their self-drive boats and rowing boats for visitors who prefer to go it alone. Bowness Bay Marina also have dog-friendly boats available for hire on Lake Windermere, as do Windermere Quays Electric Boat Hire.
Running parallel to Windermere, to the east, is Coniston Water, where dogs are welcome to join you for a novel excursion on the National Trust’s Steam Yacht Gondola, or for a peaceful cruise with Coniston Launch.
If you’re looking for dog-friendly places in Windermere that don’t involve leaving dry land, a visit to Brockhole on Windermere is a must. Dogs on leads are allowed to accompany you in the gardens and grounds, shop, exhibition area, main café and terrace and there are plenty of dog bins dotted throughout the grounds.
The gardens, which are the brainchild of iconic garden designer Thomas Mawson, are beautifully landscaped across a series of south and west facing terraces, a particular highlight being the Kitchen Garden. There is a small woodland that comes alive with snowdrops in winter and bluebells in spring – the perfect backdrop for a picturesque dog walk.
No problem if the weather takes a turn for the worse – pop into the Lake District Story Exhibition to learn about the area’s history and landscape.
If you’re visiting as a family, there are lots of activities to get involved in, including Tree Top Nets, an Adventure Playground, Mini Golf and a Woodland Faerie Trail. Please note dogs are not allowed to join you on these activities, but there’s sure to be someone in the family who doesn’t mind sitting out for a peaceful few hours in the dog-friendly café…
Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway
Offering a unique way to enjoy the picturesque scenery of the Leven Valley, the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway lies a few miles south of the southernmost tip of Lake Windermere. The railway is dog friendly, so book your place and hop on board one of the historic steam locomotives that run between Haverthwaite and Lakeside stations.
There’s a gift shop at Haverthwaite to pick up a memento from your trip, and a woodland playground for little ones to burn off some steam (excuse the pun!).
Lakeland Motor Museum
Car and history buffs will be pleased to discover that the Lakeland Motor Museum is dog friendly, so head on down to discover more than 30,000 road-transport related exhibits. From polished classic cars to curious and comical automobilia, this is far from a stuffy museum. Learn about speed kings Sir Malcolm and his son Donald, admire the glimmering collection of Vincent Motorcycles and be intrigued by the fascinating collection of motoring memorabilia.
What’s more, dogs are welcome in the café too, so once you’ve had a look around, you can pitch up for a coffee and a bite to eat while enjoying views of the River Leven.
Stott Park Bobbin Mill
The English Heritage’s Stott Park Bobbin Mill once had an important job in the Lancashire weaving industry, producing a quarter of a million wooden bobbins a week. The mill is still in action, and you can watch the transformation from tree to bobbin by the original machinery.
A hit with families, there’s dressing up for the children and plenty to watch and learn from. Dogs are welcome on leads, although the machinery is fairly noisy so it may not be a good choice for timid pups.
If you’re looking for dog walks near Windermere with a bit of historic interest too, pop the postcode for the National Trust’s Allan Bank into the sat nav. Unusually for National Trust properties, dogs are welcome in the house, as well as the grounds. The ground floor is open to visitors, where you can imagine what it would be like to live with those glorious views, and marvel at the Three Big Heads installation – large, charcoal portraits of former residents Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor-Coleridge, drawn straight onto the walls.
Outside, there’s plenty more to enjoy with your pup, who is welcome to picnic with you on the lawn, enjoy a woodland walk, or take a stroll along the lakeshore, as long as they are kept on a lead at all times.
Other dog-friendly places in Windermere
In addition to the wonderful countryside walks around Windermere, there is a whole host of stately homes and castles that welcome our loyal companions into their grounds. Some have restrictions on where you are allowed to roam with your pet, and some require you to keep them on their lead, but all offer gorgeous natural surroundings to enjoy together. Here are some of the other dog-friendly places to visit close to Lake Windermere:
Dog-friendly accommodation in Lake Windermere
If you’ve been tempted by all of the dog-friendly places to visit in Windermere and are looking for a dog-friendly place to stay while you explore with your pet, here at Sally’s Cottages we’ve got a fantastic choice. From cosy little hideaways for two, to grand family houses with lake views, you and your pup will feel right at home in our dog-friendly cottages in Windermere.