Dog's Own Country
We are justly a nation of dog lovers and have come to expect as a matter of course that our four-legged friends will be able to join us on holiday, pet passports at paw. There is, however, no need to travel far as the Lake District, with its rugged, jaw-dropping views and wild landscape of majestic mountains punctuated with glistening lakes, is the perfect place to take your dog. You will both be welcomed with open arms and all number of treats.
It is a prerequisite to mention and refer to the poet William Wordsworth when talking about the land around these Lakes, as he is intertwined and synonymous with the area. He penned many a verse about the fells, falls and indeed, the working dogs he witnessed during his wanderings.
His most famous ramblings extol the virtue of solitude when out and about, in order to admire the wondrous beauty of nature’s gifts to the full. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ he lamented, perhaps whilst simultaneously enjoying the hospitality of a local ale house?
You'll never walk alone
But as all dog lovers know, there’s something even better than walking (and drinking) alone and that is to have your non-judgmental and best, bow-wow buddy by your side. Whether you’re a serious hill walker or you are looking for a more leisurely stroll with your pampered pup, the region most definitely provides. With twenty peaks to choose from, some of them towering over 800m high (Scafell Pike being the tallest of them all), you are spoilt for choice.
To this end, we have selected some of the best dog-friendly pubs in the area with suggestions for beautiful walks nearby for you both to enjoy.
This 450-year-old coaching inn lies at the centre of the charming village of Cartmel. It is quaint and quintessentially English with the obligatory low-beamed ceilings and a roaring, welcoming log fire in winter. The pub dog, Ruby is a Bernese mountain dog who will be only too happy to greet you and to share her dog treats kept behind the bar.
Out and About
The area around Cartmel has many places to stay that welcome dogs and is a stone’s throw from the sea and Morecambe Bay. The central lakes of Coniston Water and Windermere are also within easy reach. A good hike around here starts at the Cartmel Racecourse and is signposted and circular at just over 6 miles long. It takes in streams, woodland, meadows, beautiful views over the Leven Estuary, the Coniston Fells and Ulvertstons Hoad Monument.
Watch out for an incorrect signpost just past Speel Bank. Ignore it and just go ahead through the waymarked gate.
This 17th-century inn with contemporary décor has arguably one of the best views to savour whilst quenching your thirst or eating in the fine restaurant, as it overlooks the vast and largest of the Southern Lakes, Lake Windermere. During warmer months there is a beer garden and canines are catered for inside and out.
Out and About
Perched on the water’s edge this inn is ideally located for a morning coffee before a leisurely stroll along the lakeshore, perhaps with a swim for your dog, and you if you are feeling brave? The town of Ambleside is in the Lake District National Park and within walking distance of Beatrix Potter’s 17th-century farmhouse, Hill Top at Near Sawrey, that is owned by the National Trust. Hawkshead and the nearby Tarn Hows is possibly the easiest walk in the lakes and yet one of the most picturesque. The route a is circuit around the lake and simple to follow.
Explore the little spurs that jut out into the water, stop for a picnic or drive around to Barngates and enjoy leisurely lunch at the Drunken Duck Inn. Dogs are allowed into the bar and are allowed at a handful of tables in the dining area. You may need to phone ahead and pre-book these as they are quite sought-after.
Also within a stone’s throw of Hill Top is this traditional and very dog-friendly inn. Many local ales line the bar and they won the Furness CAMRA Pub of the Season in Autumn last year. They also stock home-grown British wines and the garden overlooks the pretty village and fields beyond.
Out and About
Right in the heart of Beatrix Potter country, the walk starts in the village and takes you past her house. It also leads to two of the largest tarns on Claife Heights. Many of the nearby tarns are not accessible to the public, but this magnificent pair are. Moss Eccles Tarn is a pretty stretch of water with water lilies and a small wooded island. It is believed to be the inspiration behind Potter’s Jeremy Fisher story.
The second tarn, Wise Een Tarn has a varied shoreline and a backdrop of the Langdale Pikes. Scale Head Tarn, a much smaller body of water is also nearby. If you make it to Latterbarrow, this is the highest point on Claife Heights at 886 feet and offers a fine panoramic view of Langdale and Coniston Fells.
This stunning village inn combines tasteful contemporary design with rustic charm and an inglenook fireplace. Lakeland ales on tap as well as hearty food. Dogs are, of course, warmly welcomed.
Out and About
There are some wonderful walks leading straight from the pub door. The Torver Trail leads from the pub car park and continues all the way to Coniston. The A593 does cross at one point, so take care and have leads handy. The other way you can walk to Torver jetty on Coniston Water. The Old Man of Coniston itself is an interestingly linear walk with lots of industrial archaeology along the way and climbs through old quarry workings en route to the summit.
You could carry on and do a longer circuit by dropping down to the Walna Scar Road via Goats Water, but there's a danger you'll hurry too much and miss out on exploring and fun!
This family-run coaching inn has been welcoming weary travellers since the seventeenth century and sits right in the middle of the picturesque village of Coniston. Transport and clothing may have changed over the years, but the premise is the same. When the weather is good, kick back and sit outside to admire the ‘Old Man’ mountain and the nearby bubbling beck whilst enjoying a local ale or two. The Black Bull brews its own eponymous ‘Old Man Ale’ at their microbrewery and is well worth a punt.
Out and About
A similar walk to the one above starts and ends at the centre of Coniston Village. The route takes you to a tarn about 4 miles away and swings back to the village on a downhill trail. A signposted lane in the village leads up to the old Coppermines Valley passing by waterfalls, crossing over old bridges and gently rising to an increasingly more dramatic view of the surrounding fell.
At the head of the Coppermines Valley with The Old Man to your left, continue up to Levers Water; a boulder-strewn reservoir at the foot of rugged slopes of Great How, High Fell and Raven Tor and then return full circle and back to where you started; down t’pub once more!
We have some lovely dog-friendly cottages in the Lake District. Fetch them here and maybe call us on the dog and bone if you're feeling inspired to visit.