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

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

Hannah 06 January 2021

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. The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Ravenglass and Eskdale RailwayImage: Dave Willis

La'al Ratty, as it's known locally, is a miniature steam railway in the south-west Lake District. It’s a fabulous fun alternative to the car and a great way to get between the start and endpoints of the many linear walks throughout Eskdale.

Stretching 7 miles from Ravenglass to Dalegarth, the railway has several request stops along the way. Dogs are welcome on board for a small charge, which includes a doggy welcome pack and water bowls at both ends of the line.

Take a look at our pet-friendly cottages in Eskdale.

2. Windermere Lake Cruises

Windermere Lake Cruises on Lake Windermere in the Lake District

No Lake District holiday is complete without getting onto the water at some point! With Windermere Lake Cruises you can enjoy a gentle cruise on 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. Browse our holiday cottages around Windermere or take a look at other dog-friendly attractions near Windermere.

3. The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway in the Lake District

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.

4. Lowther Castle and Gardens

Lowther Castle and Gardens near Penrith in the Lake District

Lowther 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 throughout the grounds (excluding the adventure playground). Find your perfect pooch-friendly pad around Penrith.

5. Ullswater 'Steamers'

Boats on Ullswater lake in the Lake District

Ullswater'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 in the North East Lake District.

6. The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden

Lingholm Walled Garden near Keswick in the Lake District

The 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 the National Trust's Steam Yacht Gondola

Coniston Launch Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water in the Lake District

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 the famous 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 onboard a Coniston Launch or the National Trust's Steam Yacht Gondola (dogs are allowed on the outer decks but not inside the saloons) and Coniston Launch offers special 'Swallows and Amazons' and 'Campbells on Coniston' cruises, too. Dogs go free with well-behaved owners! 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.

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. Dogs are welcome outside at Muncaster's main café, and indoors at the Bird Garden Tea Room.

Browse our dog-friendly cottages in the Lake District.

9. Keswick Launch

Keswick Launch cruises on Derwentwater in the Lake District

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. Dogs are welcome on board for free. Take a look at our dog-friendly holiday homes in Keswick.

10. Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests

Art sculpture in Grizedale Forest in the Lake District

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. 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.

We 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 luxury cottages that welcome dogs.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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