The Canine guide to the Lake District holiday cottages


The Canine guide to the Lake District

Elianne Reed 04 March 2021

Set in the county of Cumbria in the North West, the Lake District is one of the UK's most dog-friendly destinations and the place to go for some of the most scenic walkies in the country. Tranquil lakes including the enchanting Windermere, glorious countryside and stretches of remote beach make this the perfect place for holidaying hounds.

Woman and dog resting on dog walk

You may just think it's all lakes - in fairness, a large part of it is - 16 lakes, bodies of water and meres are the backdrop to a huge variety of walks. But you'll most likely want to do more than lakeside walks while you're there, so we've hunted out the best things to do with your pup in the dog-friendly Lake District: attractions where you are all welcome to take part, beaches to scamper along, places to stop for a bite to eat, and cosy cottages where you can wind down at the end of the day.

What have we got to get tails wagging?

Click to fetch the Lake District's...
🐾 Top walkies
🏖️ Top beaches
🐶 Top days out 
🍴 Top dining spots 
🏡 Top places to stay

Or find out more about these doggy destinations...

The best W-A-L-K-I-E-S in the Lake District

Dog walk in Lake District

Regardless of why you have come to the Lake District, the only thing on your dog's mind is - and we'll spell it out in case you are reading aloud - W-A-L-K-I-E-S. Attractions and eating out are all good fun, but pups have packed their suitcases for one thing, and one thing only. 

Here are three fabulous dog walks from our guide that will be sure to get tails wagging:

For hounds that like variety on their walk: Watendlath Valley

Watendlath Valley Lake District

A village with a dog-friendly pub owned by the National Trust, pups will be able to sniff their way through ancient woodland, run beside the river and scamper through a hidden valley.

Best for those canines who like a bit of solitude: Mickleden

Dog on rocks
From Instagram: @frankie_the_sausage


When your four-legged friend is having a bit of a Greta Garbo moment and wants to be alone (not excluding their favourite humans naturally), this uninhabited wilderness will do just the trick.

For pups who like something a bit different on their daily walk: Aira Force and Ullswater

Aira Force and Ullswater

Lots of different trails for all types of dog, you'll uncover lakeside walks and a glistening waterfall. Fancy a cream tea afterwards? This is your place.

These walks and 7 more are ready for you to discover in our guide to the best dog walks with a view in the Lake District. Lakeside strolls, mountainside hikes, wanders through bluebell-filled woodland, walks with romantic castles as a backdrop ... it's all here for you in our top 10 guide.

Ulti-mutt dog-friendly beaches in and around the Lake District

dog sitting on sandy beach

Remote, unspoilt stretches of sand and shingle along the Cumbrian coastline are sure to get your sandcastle-bomber in the holiday mood - just pack their frisbee and off you go.

Choose from our list of the best dog-friendly beaches - here are three to tempt you:

Adventure hounds will love this one: Silecroft Beach 

Silecroft Beach
Image: Cumbria Tourism


Dominated by the brooding Black Combe Fell, this beach is one for adventurers who like great climbs and splashing about in the waves with their water sport-loving humans.

Best beach for canine explorers: St Bees

St Bees Beach Lake District

This long glorious sweep of coastline has red sands and rock pools to discover as well as a great clifftop walk to the RSPB sea bird reserve.

If you can't make the Tropics, this will come a close second: Walney Island Beach

Walney Island Beach
Image: Cumbria Tourism


If it's not possible for Fido to board his own plane to the Maldives, try this 11-mile stretch of sand dunes where white sands lead down to tranquil azure waters... it's a great second best!

If you want to uncover these beaches and more, have a flick through our guide to the best dog-friendly beaches in the Lake District and Cumbria. You won't find touristy hotspots in this area, just tranquillity and peace. Bliss.

Sniff out the best attractions in the Lake District

doggy day out in car
From Instagram: @laskaadventuresuk


When paws are tired and you've seen all the scenery you can manage, you'll want something a little different. We've dug out the best dog-friendly attractions in the Lake District for dogs and their families, whether they've got kids in tow, love a bit of history or want to look for their favourite rabbit.

Intrigued? Here are just three of the best pup-friendly attractions we've found for your gang:

Best attraction for historic hounds: Holker Hall and Gardens

Holker Hall and Gardens
Image: Cumbria Tourism


Bring a picnic bursting with lovely Cumbrian produce to these gorgeous gardens, woodland and deer park. A great opportunity for making holiday chums, just make sure you pack a biscuit or two that they can share with their new pals.

Best day out for poetic pups: Allan Bank

dog sleeping in front of fire

A walk around Allan Banks with amazing views? A dog-friendly attraction that welcomes dogs inside for a snooze by the fire? All of this at the former home of one of our favourite romantic poets? Take us there!

Best attraction for those who like to put their paws up: The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Dog aboard railway
From Instagram: @pippadippajug


Let canines chug their way around the Lakes aboard a vintage steam locomotive clutching their very own rail ticket. They can hop on and off at the various stations to discover new fun walkie spots before heading home.

Want to know all the best places to take your hounds? You may even find you discover hobbies you never knew you had... read our guide to the most fabulous dog-friendly attractions in the Lake District to find out why shiny vintage vehicles may be your next big interest.

Let Fido take the lead to the best places to eat in the Lake District

dog waiting at pub

Those four legs will have been working twice as hard during the endless mountain and lakeside hikes you've been subjecting your faithful canine to. To compensate, stop off at a welcoming pub, café or restaurant where muddy paws are invited in with a friendly smile and a crunchy biscuit or two. When we say muddy...

There are so many places to stop at for a bite to eat - check out these three to stop empty tummies rumbling:

When you've got more than one set of paws with you: Sticklebarn, Ambleside

From Instagram: @thistle_girl


Remember that National Trust pub in The Langdales we were talking about earlier? This is it and it's gorgeous. You can bring all your four-legged family members here and nobody will bat an eyelid. You may have to beg for a place in front of the log fire though as it does get busy...

When you've got little ones and dogs (you'll need the carbs): Luigi's, Ambleside

kids eating at pasta restaurant

Did you ever think we'd find you somewhere with a special room for doggy diners? Where waiters will actually bring a dog bed to your table so they can eat with you? A place where kids can come too? You're welcome.

When it's just you and them: Old Dungeon Ghyll, Ambleside

one man and his dog

Solitary walks require a friendly pub where you can stop for a chat when you need a bit of company. You'll be looking for a traditional welcoming inn with great ales and some decent pub grub to keep you going - this one in Ambleside fits the bill perfectly.

We know we've spoilt you with the dog bed restaurant, but there are lots of other fabulous places to eat in the Lake District who will welcome four-legged family members too. Cafes where you can indulge in the stickiest cakes, pubs with shady beer gardens for sunny days and restaurants with roaring log fires, just perfect for a post-walk snooze - check them out in our guide to the most welcoming dog-friendly pubs and places to eat in the Lake District.

Sit, stay and lie down in the Lake District's most dog-friendly cottages

dog sleeping with owner on sofa

With all that exploring to do, you'll need somewhere superb where you can start and end the day. Set yourself up for the day ahead with a hearty breakfast and a sniff about the garden (dogs) and a welcoming space to get ready (humans). Our cottages love dogs so why not check out some of our pet-friendly pads for all the family?

Put your best paw forward at these three doggy delights: 

Best property for celebrations: Ullock Mains, Cockermouth

Celebrations will sparkle at this gorgeous country house in the east of the Lakes. A stylish country dining room adds a touch of elegance and there's a lovely warm Aga for cold pups to sit beside on chilly winter days. 

Best cottage for humans to enjoy themselves: Wheelhouse Cottage, Cartmel

Wheelhouse Cottage

Situated next to a babbling stream, this prettiest of cottages also boasts a hot tub in its very own walled garden. Perfect for a relaxing glass of wine under the starry Cumbrian night sky.

We have so many more superb cottages for you and your mutts - a traditional stone cottage with the cutest walled garden near Lake Windermere, a heritage barn with a cute-as-a-button shepherd's hut in the grounds, a contemporary apartment in a grand Arts and Crafts hall with its own private woodland... have a peek at 8 of our favourites in our guide to the most gorgeous dog-friendly cottages in the Lake District for inspiration.

Come and stay with us in the Lake District!

Now that you've had a taster of what the Lake District has to offer you and your holidaying hounds, you may want to head there for yourself. Visit the Lakes, fill up on mouthwatering local produce at the welcoming pubs and book some great days out at paw-friendly attractions. Whether you are one man (or woman) with a dog at foot, a large family or a couple plus pup looking for a romantic bolthole, we have a property that will welcome you and your canine guests.

Have a look through all of our dog-friendly cottages in the Lake District to find the perfect property.

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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