The Canine guide to Windermere holiday cottages

Towns and cities

The Canine guide to Windermere

Kate W 25 September 2020

Escape to dog-friendly Windermere for a break you and your four-pawed pup will never forget. With fells and waterfalls to encounter as you explore, traditional pubs serving up comfort food, and stylish pet-friendly cottages where you and your canine companion can sit back and unwind, you’ll never want to leave this wonderful UK destination.

Stride out on dog walks around Windermere or hop in the car and get to know this scenic region; there are many towns and villages on the banks of Lake Windermere bursting with attractions and things to do with dogs.

Ready to discover dog-friendly Windermere? Read through this guide or head over to our collection of dog-friendly cottages in Windermere to book your Lake District getaway.

What have we got to get tails wagging?

Click to fetch the best of dog-friendly Windermere...

🐶 Top days out

🐾 Top walkies

🍴 Top dining spots

🌳 Towns and villages

🏡 Top places to stay

Things to do in Windermere with dogs  

Windermere Lake Cruises

Lake Windermere cruises

Best way to see this magnificent lake: There’s a wealth of dog-friendly places in Windermere in this outdoorsy region, but one of the top attractions, whether you’re human or canine, are the lake cruises. Windermere Lake Cruises welcomes dogs to join their owners aboard for a tour of this watery destination, taking in magnificent views all around. Where better to take in the sight of the Lake District with your dog than from one of the great lakes?

Why your dog will love it: Any water babies will be thrilled to get out on the water by your side and, if your pup is slightly older, they may be quite happy to settle down for a snooze while you enjoy your surroundings.

Stay at: The Pavilion At Applethwaite Hall, Windermere | sleeps 4 and 1 dog

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Best for taking in the landscape: Another way to discover this vast region is via railway. Hop aboard the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway and watch the world pass you by as you speed across the landscape. After completing your journey on board this marvellous old steam train, you may like to pop by the Haverthwaite Station Tea Room for a cuppa, visit the gift shop, or take the children and dogs to burn off some energy in the playground and woodland walk.

Why your dog will love it: There’s so much to see out the windows and people to meet onboard, you pup will be tail-wagglingly excited to join you. The woodland walk at the end will be the cherry on the cake!

Stay at: 1 Orchard Cottages, Haverthwaite | sleeps 6 and 2 dogs

Ambleside Roman Fort

Ambleside Roman Fort

Best for uncovering Lake District history: Dig up a little history during your dog-friendly holiday to Windermere with a stop by Ambleside’s old Roman Fort. While it’s not much more than a grassy hillside with lines of stone outlining where the old fortification once stood, you can trace these foundations to pinpoint different rooms where soldiers and mercenaries may once have converged.

Why your dog will love it: Your canine companion will simply love that there is plenty of space for a good game of fetch at this Lake District ancient spot.

Stay at: Beck Head Tarn, Ambleside | sleeps 3 and 2 dogs

Dog walks near Windermere  

Ambleside Common Wood Walk

Ambleside Common Wood Walk

Best for a tranquil stroll by the lake: This beautiful dog walk near Windermere will take you through the dappled light cast by moss-covered oak trees, revealing glimpses of Lake Windermere through the branches as you follow this well-trodden trail. It’s an easy 1.4-mile route with wide dirt paths and markers to keep you on track as you explore.

Why your dog will love it: There’s wildlife hiding throughout this beautiful common for your dog to sniff out.

Stay at: The Pavilion at Applethwaite Hall, Windermere | sleeps 1 and 4 dogs

Grizedale Forest

Grizedale Forest

Best adventure ramble: This Lake District forest walk is bursting with things to do for families and, if it’s walking you’re after, there are ten trails for you and your canine companion to choose from! From easy rambles to challenging hikes, explore this magnificent forest on two feet (or four paws) before heading to the café, taking a look at the forest sculptures, or venturing over to Go Ape where the kids can burn off energy on the high ropes.

Why your dog will love it: With so much to see and do, your pup won’t know whether to follow the forest scents, meet the other humans passing by or find a big stick for a game of fetch.

Stay at: The Kennels – Hawkshead, Satterthwaite and Grizedale | sleeps 5 and 2 dogs

Orrest Head Circular Walk

Orrest Head Circular Walk

Best for jaw-dropping and tail-wagging views: A dramatic dog walk overlooking Lake Windermere and the surrounding towns and villages that are clustered along its banks, this walking route offers a bit of a challenge during your Lake District holiday. It’s only 3.1 miles long and considered moderate with steep sections, as you might expect for a hill, and you’ll pass a winding river along your way. It’s a wonderful choice for soaking up this part of the UK with views of the craggy fells, birds swooping over dense, dark forests and tiny white vessels sailing across the gleaming waters of Lake Windermere.

Why your dog will love it: Your canine companion can survey their holiday territory and allow the wind to sweep through their fur from this vantage point.

Stay at: The Bolthole, Windermere | sleeps 6 and 2 dogs

Dog-friendly places to eat in Windermere  

The Flying Pig, Bowness-on-Windermere

The Flying Pig, Bowness-on-Windermere

Best dog-friendly pub near Windermere: If you’re hunting down the most dog-friendly places to eat near Windermere, this stylish gastropub is a great eatery to take a look at. Dogs are welcome inside this characterful inn, and they serve up hearty food from a crumbly pie to a classic fish and chip dinner. You could also stop by for a pint at this dog-friendly pub by Windermere after your travels, and relax by the roaring wood burner, the perfect place to warm toes and paws after long lakeside rambles.

Why your dog will love it: They have been known to serve up biscuits and bowls of fresh water to dogs, and a couple of members of staff might even come over to make a fuss, so your pup will feel more than welcome here.

Stay at: Fold Head House, Windermere | sleeps 4 and 2 dogs

Brockhole Café, Brockhole-on-Windermere

Brockhole Café, Brockhole-on-Windermere

Best dog-friendly café by Windermere: Grab a steaming mug of coffee and a sugary sweet cake at this lakeside dog-friendly cafe by Windermere where hounds can snooze at your feet while you unwind. Brockhole-on-Windermere itself is a lively activity centre with boating, mini-golf, and a Faerie Woodlands Trail on offer, but you’re welcome to just stop by the café, which boasts a delicious seasonal menu that's prepared by a head chef who used to work at the much-revered L’Enclume.

Why your dog will love it: Dogs are very welcome in the main café but there’s a wonderful covered terrace you may prefer for a bit of fresh air, which provides views of the lake and fells, and the Mawson-designed gardens where your canine companion may like an after-lunch stroll.

Stay at: Upper Thornbarrow, Windermere | sleeps 4 and 1 dog 

Luigi's, Ambleside

Luigi's, Ambleside

Best dog-friendly restaurant by Windermere: This traditional, family-run restaurant has an entire dog-friendly floor so you and your pup can dine out in style between your Lake District adventures. This Windermere dog-friendly restaurant offers tasty Italian-style cuisine the whole family will love so that everyone can enjoy an evening out in this beautiful eatery in Ambleside.

Why your dog will love it: The potential for tasty titbits dropped from the table is well worth sitting down for.

Stay at: Carr Crag Cottage, Skelwith Bridge | sleeps 6 and 2 dogs

For more tasty dishes throughout this national park, take a look at our guide to the most welcoming dog-friendly places to eat in the Lake District.

Dog-friendly towns and villages near Windermere



Best for poets and artists: Set at the head of Lake Windermere, Ambleside is lined with crooked stone houses and shops, has a river cutting through the heart of town, and towering fells all around, creating the perfect backdrop for your dog-friendly holiday to Windermere. Rydal Mount and Gardens was once the home of the poet William Wordsworth and dogs are welcome in the grounds on a lead to see the beautiful gardens, while The Bridge House in the centre of town is a whimsical 17th-century house built on a bridge over the river – it’s one of the most intriguing and smallest houses in the Lake District!  

Why your dog will love it: Strolling around the Rydal Gardens offers up all kinds of interesting scents and foliage for your dog to investigate.

Stay at: Iveing View, Ambleside | sleeps 4 and 2 dogs

Windermere and Bowness-on-Windermere

Windermere and Bowness-on-Windermere

Best for families and adventurers: These bustling towns on the eastern banks of the famed lake are connected by Lake Road and complement each other with an array of pubs, shops and attractions to discover during your time here. Windermere has a train station which you can use to get out and about with your four-pawed companion, while Bowness has a golf club for keen putters, and both have visitor centres for you to pop into and get to know this region. All along the waterfront are boats for hire and cruises you can book onto with your dog to experience the magnificent lake up close.

Why your dog will love it: Your four-pawed pal will have a great time exploring the attractions of the town by your side with the occasional trip down to the water for a bit of paddling and swimming.

Stay at: The Bothy - Lake District, Windermere | sleeps 2 and 2 dogs

Near and Far Sawrey

Near and Far Sawry

Best for anyone searching for tranquillity: Two quaint hamlets scattered with charming tea rooms, chocolate-box cottages and history-infused pubs, offering a beautiful space for a day’s exploration or quiet destination to stay in on your dog-friendly holiday. Near and Far Sawrey are wonderfully central, located between the lakes of Windermere and Esthwaite Water so you can pick and choose which direction you’d like to go exploring on each day of your break.

Why your dog will love it: It’s a peaceful place for old dogs who enjoy an escape from the hustle and bustle of the cities and there’s plenty of to see on long winding walks.

Stay at: Sawrey Stables, Near and Far Sawrey | sleeps 7 and 3 dogs

Dog-friendly cottages in Windermere

Lower Thornbarrow, Windermere | sleeps 4 and 2 dogs

lower thornbarrow

Best for al fresco brunches in the garden: The grey stone house presents a beautifully stylish visage behind which white-washed walls and artfully chosen furnishings create a light and bright space to hang out. Relax outside on the decking and soak up the sun or unwind in the shade of the terrace. Bay windows open up the kitchen and sitting room, and there are two bedrooms to choose from, one of which is on the ground floor and has French doors opening straight onto the garden so you can open them up and enjoy the fresh, morning air while you’re still lounging in bed.

2 Kiln Houses, Bouth | sleeps 3 and 1 dog

2 Kiln Houses

Best for romantic breaks: Character and charm exudes from this quirky three-person retreat, the perfect place for a small family or a couple to escape it all in the Lake District. This sitting room is certainly the heart of the home in this holiday let where a wood burner and TV provide all you need for evenings snuggled up in warmth and comfort with your partner while your pup snoozes on the rug. There’s a BBQ in the garden if you fancy dinner under the warm sun or the stars, while down the road a pub offers an easy option for drinks and dinner out.

Thorphinsty Barn, Cartmel Fell | sleeps 8 and 2 dogs

Thorphinsty Barn

Best for a group getaway: This magnificent holiday retreat to the south of Lake Windermere benefits from remarkable views of a thriving forest stretching towards the horizon which is taken advantage of by long windows and French doors. Splendid beams are lit from below by the warm glow of lamps and a chandelier in the main dining room while a stylish kitchen provides a wonderful space for putting together a delicious dinner for guests or the family.

Grab the lead, the dog bed and the treats, and begin your journey to this beautiful corner of the UK where towering fells give way to glistening bodies of water studded with characterful towns and villages. If you’re still considering where in the vast and beautiful Lake District to stay with your dog, why not take a look at our dog-friendly guide to the entire national park?

Combine dog walks up Orrest Head and around Ambleside Common with a cruise across Windermere, before settling down to a dinner out with the family, dog fast asleep beneath the table. Dog-friendly Windermere is an unforgettable destination for a holiday with family, friends and your best four-pawed friend in tow. Browse our holiday cottages today to find your ideal Windermere retreat.

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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