The dog-friendly guide to the Lake District holiday cottages

The dog-friendly guide to the Lake District

Julie Smith 31 August 2019

The Lake District makes the perfect (or should that be pawfect) playground for your four-legged friends. There are acres of National Park countryside to explore, miles of walking trails to try, an abundance of dog-friendly pubs to call in to and lots of Lake District holiday cottages where canine companions will be made very welcome.

Dog-friendly guide to the Lakes

If you’re planning a dog-friendly UK holiday, we think the Lake District should be a destination at the very top of your list and have put together an ultimate guide of what to do and where to stay during your visit.

Take a look at our dog-friendly guide to the Lake District!

Dog-friendly Lake District pubs

You’ll find lots of characterful country pubs in the Lake District with exposed beams, roaring log fires, real ales and a warm welcome for visitors of both the two and four-legged variety. Here are some of our top dog-friendly pubs in the Lake District:

Dog friendly Lake District

The Black Bull Inn, Coniston

A traditional Lake District coaching inn that dates back around 400 years. The Black Bull is located near the Old Man of Coniston and has an in-house microbrewery with beers including Old Man Ale.

The Ship Inn, Coniston

The Ship Inn is a Robinsons Brewery pub that looks out over the town of Coniston and is just a short stroll from the famous lake, a few miles from Tarn Hows on the path of the Cumbrian Way.    

Red Lion, Coniston

You’ll find exposed oak beams, real log fires and cask ales at the Red Lion which is a CAMRA member pub in Coniston.  The beer garden is particularly good and looks out over the beautiful scenery around the tip of Coniston Water. 

The Flying Pig, Windemere

Dogs will be welcomed warmly at The Flying Pig pub which is close to the shores of Lake Windermere. They will get complimentary treats and bowls of water while you can enjoy some classic British pub grub.

The Golden Rule, Ambleside

Four-legged friends can explore the maze of rooms at The Golden Rule pub which is tucked away off the main street in Ambleside. It’s a classic Lake District inn with a range of board games for some family-friendly offline entertainment.

The Wainwright Pub, Keswick

The Wainwright is a traditional dog-friendly Keswick pub with oak floors throughout that are perfect for muddy paws. You’ll find a great selection of real ales to choose from that all come from local Cumbrian breweries.

The White Hart Inn, Bouth

Bouth is around halfway between Coniston and Windermere making it a perfect pit stop when exploring the Lake District. The White Hart is the characterful village pub which dates back to the 17th century with an outside terrace looking out over pretty woodland.

Dog-friendly Lake District cafes and restaurants

Foodie options in the Lake District range from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants, so you won’t be short of places to stop for refreshments while exploring the lakes and mountains of the Cumbrian countryside. Whether you’re in Keswick, Coniston, Windermere or somewhere in between, you’ll find a great range of dog-friendly eateries.

The Pig and Whistle, Cartmel

A great gastropub in the pretty village of Cartmel that uses seasonal, locally sourced produce and has a variety of vegetarian options on the menu. 

The Copper Pot in Ambleside

This friendly Ambleside cafe is a good option for a lunchtime bite to eat with homemade specials, a range of sandwiches and English Lakes ice cream for dessert.

Dog-friendly Lake District Restaurants

The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden

Enjoy afternoon tea in style while looking out over the beautiful walled garden at Lingholm. The original kitchen gardens here were the inspiration for Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit story.

Francine’s in Windermere

This continental-style bistro restaurant is a firm favourite with Windermere locals and visitors alike thanks to a friendly atmosphere and some excellent seafood specials.

The Smith Cafe and Bar, Windermere

A café, wine bar and gourmet pizzeria that’s located in an old railway building near Windermere Station with views that look out over the surrounding fells.

Herdwicks Cafe & Bistro, Coniston

This family-run bistro uses locally sourced produce throughout their tasty menu with meat coming directly from the owner’s nearby farm, baked goods from a local artisan baker and coffee from Red Bank Coffee Roasters in Coniston. 

Lucy’s on a plate, Ambleside

Lucy’s is an Ambleside institution and is known for its friendly atmosphere and a daily changing evening menu which is always created from locally sourced produce. There’s a variety of dining areas at Lucy’s and dogs are very welcome in the conservatory.

Hazelmere Cafe and Bakery, Grange over Sands

All the bread and cakes at Hazelmere Cafe are homemade in the on-site bakery and well-behaved dogs will be rewarded with a special treat.

Dog-friendly boat trips

Dog-friendly boat trips

What’s a visit to the Lake District without a boat trip on one of its iconic lakes? Luckily, many Lakeland boat trips are dog friendly so doggies can take to the water too!

Steam Yacht Gondola

Well behaved dogs are welcome on the outside decks of the Steam Yacht Gondola - a restored Victorian boat that sails the full length of Coniston Water.

Windermere Lake Cruises

Travel from Ambleside, Bowness or Lakeside on a range of Windermere cruises and well-behaved dogs can come along for free. 

Dog-friendly Lake District boat trips

Ullswater Steamers

Explore Ullswater from a traditional steamer - the fleet of boats includes the Lady of the Lake, first launched in 1877 and the oldest working passenger vessel in the world. Dogs can climb aboard for a small additional charge.

Coniston Launch

The dog-friendly Coniston Launch offers a choice of two circular routes around Coniston Water with a variety of hop-on, hop-off access points.

Keswick Launch

Take to Derwentwater with a boat trip on the Keswick Launch - well-behaved canine companions are welcome on board for no additional charge. 

Dog-friendly attractions

Dog-friendly Lake District guide

Lowther Castle (grounds and gardens only)

Four-legged friends can go walkies in the gorgeous grounds and gardens of Lowther Castle and there’s an assortment of parkland and woodland trails to sniff out.

Muncaster Castle (grounds and gardens only)

The historic (and reputedly haunted) Muncaster Castle is set in 77 acres of woodland garden that doggies will love exploring over a range of paths and trails. 

Lakeland Miniature Village

Dogs on leads are welcome at this tiny village which contains miniature slate versions of around 100 Lake District buildings including houses, farms, the Bradley Clock in Windermere and even Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top. 

The Puzzling Place

You’ll find illusions aplenty at The Puzzling Place, a dog-friendly Keswick attraction which features an anti-gravity room, hologram gallery and interactive displays amongst the mysterious exhibitions.

Dog-friendly Lake District attractions

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Canine companions can hop aboard the historic carriages of the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway. It’s a wonderful way to travel through the scenic countryside around Ulverston.

Brockhole on Windemere

Brockhole offers a range of family-friendly outdoor activities ranging from mini golf to treetop treks. Well behaved dogs are welcome in the garden and grounds at this popular Lake Windermere attraction. 

Dog-friendly Lake District walks

Dog-friendly Lakes

From gentle lakeside strolls to more energetic fell walks, the Lake District has scenic routes and trails to suit dogs (and owners) of all ages. Make sure you follow the countryside code though; pick up any mess and keep dogs on a lead if there is any other wildlife around.

Grizedale Forest

The majestic Grizedale Forest is right in the heart of the Lake District, between Windermere and Coniston. There’s a choice of ten walking trails ranging from easy to strenuous and you can bring a picnic to enjoy afterwards. 

Lake Windermere West Shore

Combine a scenic walk on the western edge of Windermere with a boat trip on the lake for the ultimate dog-friendly day out. The ferry will take you to the start of the walk and you can make it as long as you want, up to around 8 miles in total.

Tarn Hows Lake District

Coniston and Tarn Hows

Tarn Hows is a well-loved Lake District beauty spot and you can take a scenic woodland walk from Coniston Water which is around 2 miles away.

Muncaster Fell 

You can combine a walk up Muncaster Fell with a trip on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway and there’s some great views along the way of both the Cumbrian coast and the Scafell range. The dog-friendly King George IV Inn in Eskdale is a good choice to call in for refreshments.


A walk around Derwentwater is suitable for all ages and abilities and you can stop at the Lakeside Cafe for refreshments. If you are feeling more energetic take a walk up to nearby Cat Bells fell for some stunning panoramic views.

Dog-friendly Lake District holiday cottages

Here are just some of the gorgeous Lake District holiday cottages available to book through Lakeland Cottage Company:

Yes Tree Cottage

Yew Tree Cottage, Bouth - sleeps 2 people and 1 dog

This cosy one-bedroom cottage comes with a patio garden, and dog-friendly pub The White Hart Inn is just a short stroll away.

The Bothy, Windermere - sleeps 2 people and 2 dogs

The Bothy is the perfect retreat for couples and solo travellers with lots of dog-friendly walking trails around Windermere to explore.

Dog-friendly lake District cottages

Ducks Haven, Cartmel - sleeps 4 people and 2 dogs

A lovely two-bedroom holiday home that’s just a mile away from the lovely village of Cartmel with gorgeous gardens that doggies will love to explore. 

Tent Lodge Cottage, Coniston - sleeps 4 people and 1 dog

One of three adjoining dog-friendly cottages that’s set on a small country estate on Coniston Water with access to a private lakeshore and jetties.

Stile End Cottage, Keswick - sleeps 8 people and 1 dog

Explore the northern lakes of Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite from this beautiful holiday home near Keswick. The property comes with a large lawned garden that four-legged friends will love.

Visit the dog-friendly Lake District

Dog Friendly guide to the Lake District

We have included just a small selection of the dog-friendly pubs, attractions and Lake District cottages that will give a warm welcome to four-legged friends. If this has inspired you to treat your canine companion to a Lake District holiday, you’ll find a range of holiday homes throughout beautiful scenic locations including Coniston, Windermere and Keswick.

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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