The best dog walks in the Lake District holiday cottages

The best dog walks in the Lake District

Hannah Jury 18 March 2021

It's no secret that we love dogs here at Sally's Cottages! Lots of us in the office are dog owners, and we love nothing more than exploring the countryside with our four-legged friends. With over 280 pet-friendly self-catering cottages in the Lake District, we're always happy to share our knowledge of the best dog-friendly walks.

Here, we've put together a list of our favourite stile-free walks in the Lake District. With routes for all energy levels and plenty of opportunity for a sniff and a swim, you definitely will be man's best friend!

Don't forget to take a look at all our dog-friendly holiday cottages to find the perfect pad for you and your pooch!

1. Derwentwater Circuit, Keswick - 10 miles

Cocker spaniel dog at Derwentwater in the Lake District

Map: OL4

Start: National Trust Shop, Derwentwater Lakeshore

Finish: Portinscale village

This scenic walk takes you along the shoreline of Derwentwater, a lake in the bustling tourist town of Keswick. At 10 miles, it's by no means short, but the mostly flat terrain means it's perfect for humans and canines of all abilities.

The route intermittently follows both the shoreline and ancient woodlands, which is great for spotting wildlife. There are lots of places to stop for a picnic or, alternatively, you can try one of the many cafés en-route. If you prefer to make the walk shorter, there are several landing stages located around the lake, allowing you to enjoy a scenic ride on the launch, which is also pet-friendly.

Keswick is one of the most dog-friendly places to stay in the UK! Check out our wide range of pet-friendly cottages in the area.

2. Dodd Wood and Dodd Fell – 5 miles

Bassenthwaite lake from Dodd Fell in the Lake District

Map: OL4

Start/Finish: Dodd Wood Car Park

Dodd Fell is one of the highest Lake District fells that can be accessed with a pushchair, so is an excellent choice for energetic young families as well as dogs. This walk takes you through the magical Dodd Wood. A wildlife hotspot, it’s plays home to red squirrels, as well as offering dedicated viewpoints for the Bassenthwaite ospreys.

While this route has some steep inclines towards the summit, the path is easy to follow, with rewarding panoramic views of Bassenthwaite, Derwentwater and the surrounding fells. Bring a camera!

Browse through our pet-friendly cottages in the North West Lake District.

3. Ennerdale Water – 7.5 miles

Ennerdale Water from the lake shore

Map: OL4

Start/Finish: Bleach Green Car Park

For dogs (and humans) who like a lengthier walk, Ennerdale Water is a good choice. Set in the picturesque Ennerdale valley, it's slightly more wild and rugged than the other lakes in the national park, but no less stunning.

The lake offers a lovely bit of tranquillity, with the absence of a road alongside the shore meaning enhanced quiet and fewer visitors. The full circuit is next to the lake on a clear track, so it’s relatively easy terrain, though there is a bit of scrambling along the south shore. Bring your camera for special snaps of your dog with the backdrop of Great Gable, Green Gable and High Crag.

Please note: you may encounter cattle in some sections of this walk, so please exercise caution and keep your dog on a lead around livestock.

Have a look at our cottages in the secluded paradise of Ennerdale.

4. Patterdale to Silver Point - 7 miles

Patterdale village on the water's edge

Map: 0L5

Start/Finish: White Lion pub in Patterdale

Patterdale is a small village located south of Ullswater, which provides a hub for walkers gearing up to take on the famous Helvellyn range. And, (if you hadn't already guessed!) this is where the first Patterdale Terriers originated from back in the early 20th century.

This is a moderately easy walk, taking you through woodlands and along the southern shoreline of Lake Ullswater. Enjoy a picnic on the shore before heading towards Silver Point for unbeatable panoramic views of the valley and the water. To appreciate this huge lake in all its glory, you can take a ride on one of the dog-friendly Ullswater Steamers, which operate all year round.  

Fancy staying in the scenic countryside or villages around Ullswater? Browse all our pet-friendly cottages in the area.

5. Thirlmere – 5 miles

View over Thirlmere reservoir in the Lake District

Map: 0L5

Start/Finish: Legburthwaite car park

Situated just a short drive from Keswick, this peaceful valley is known for its large reservoir and magnificent views of the surrounding fells. This moderately easy, slightly steep walk is quiet in comparison to other areas in the Lake District – great for the more introverted doggy! The woodlands also provide ample opportunity for some off-lead exploration.

To access this walk, you will need to cross the main road as you leave the car park, so do take care. The route then takes you along a wide path into woodlands and along the shoreline of the reservoir. The views along the way are breathtaking, with the surrounding fells of Raven Crag, High Seat and Blencathra dramatically overlooking the valley.

6. Dalegarth to Stanley Force Ghyll, Eskdale – 2.5 miles

Stanley Force Ghyll waterfall in the Lake District

Map: OL6

Start/Finish: Dalegarth Railway Station

The Eskdale Valley is one of our favourite areas in the Lake District. As well as being picture perfect, with help from the glistening River Esk and the mighty Scafell mountain range, its vast area of green hills makes it an ideal stomping ground for dog walkers. This particular route takes in yet another Eskdale gem — Stanley Force, a dramatic, 60-foot-high waterfall.

Starting at Dalegarth Station, this moderately easy route follows a series of narrow footbridges, ghyll crossings, gorges and ancient woodland. It can be a bit slippery once you reach the waterfall, so watch your step (and keep a tight hold of that lead!).

To make the most of your day out, you can hop on the famous La'al Ratty steam train to Dalegarth station from Ravenglass. It's dog-friendly, so you can both admire the views on this scenic, 7-mile ride through the Eskdale valley.

Stay in one of our favourite places in the Lakes – have a look at some of our pet-friendly holiday cottages in Eskdale.

7. Tarn Hows – 2 miles

Tarn Hows in the Lake District

Map: OL7

Start/Finish: Tarn Hows Car Park

Located near Coniston, Tarn Hows is a popular beauty spot that's ideal for a gentle stroll or an evening walk. This is one of the easiest walks on our list, so it's perfect for older and less active dogs. Don’t let that fool you though: for a minimum effort walk, the scenery still packs a punch, as the tarn is enclosed by pretty woodlands and overlooked by the majestic Langdale Pikes.

This circular route has plenty of benches where you can stop for a picnic and the tarn itself provides a swimming opportunity for water-loving dogs. It's also an excellent spot for wildlife watching — look out for birds and red squirrels!  

Stay nearby Tarn Hows in one of our holiday cottages in Coniston.

8. Elterwater and Skelwith Force Falls – 2.5 miles

View over Elterwater in the Lake District

Map: OL7

Start/Finish: Elterwater National Trust car park

Elterwater is a small village set in the heart of the Langdale Valley. With impressive views of the Langdale Pikes and plenty of places to eat — such as the dog-friendly Britannia Inn and the Elterwater Café — it's easy to see why it remains a popular area for both locals and visitors. The area is also favoured by hikers, fell-runners and, of course, dog walkers!

From the village, this route picks up part of the Cumbria Way trail, following the River Brathay along wooden bridges, before arriving at Elterwater lake. After admiring the views of the surrounding Langdale Pikes, make your way through woodlands towards the Skelwith Bridge, where you can take in the splendour of the cascading Skelwith Force waterfalls.

Browse all of our holiday cottages in the Langdale Valley.

9. Rydal Water – 2.5 miles

Rydal Water from the lake shore

Map OL7

Start/Finish: White Moss Car Park

The famous Lakes Poet William Wordsworth once described Rydal as the "loveliest spot that man hath ever found," and it's easy to see why! Nestled between Grasmere and Ambleside, Rydal Water is one of the Lake District's prettiest areas, enjoying the scenery from surrounding fells, such as the beautifully rugged Loughrigg Fell.

This moderately easy, circular walk offers plenty for you and your dog to explore, including becks, waterfalls and woodland trails. It’s well frequented by dog walkers, so is ideal for more sociable dogs who are happy to make new friends along the way!

Stay near Rydal in one of our lovely Grasmere cottages.

There is a huge array of dog walks to explore throughout the entire Lake District, and we hope these will kick off the adventure for you and your dog. Take a look at all of our pet-friendly holiday cottages to book your perfect stay.

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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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