Dotted throughout the UK are an abundance of castles of all different shapes and sizes, from towering stone giants rising out of inky black moats, to romantic clifftop ruins. These stalwarts of history, once symbols of wealth and defence, are now paw-inspiring attractions to visit with your pooch.
With copious nooks and crannies for discerning hounds to sniff around, they provide the perfect dog-friendly day out to please both you and your four-legged friend.
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We’ve rounded up our favourite dog-friendly castles in the UK with no restrictions. The following castles welcome well-behaved canine companions inside and out; some ask that your pet is kept on a lead.
This list is correct at the time of writing, please check castle websites for up-to-date information for visitors with dogs.
Dog-friendly castles in England
There are a vast number of castles dotted throughout England and happily for our furry friends, many of them welcome dogs in all areas. Some are dog-friendly but have restrictions such as dogs being allowed in the grounds only – skip forward to our section on dog-friendly castles with some restrictions for more ideas.
Beeston, Cheshire, CW6 9TX
Set atop a rocky crag with far-reaching countryside views, Beeston Castle is steeped in 4,000 years of history. Surrounded by a 40-acre woodland park, there’s plenty of space for walkies, and much to discover, including the replica bronze-age roundhouse in the grounds.
🐾 Dogs on a lead allowed. Assistance dogs welcome. Café with outdoor seating.
⭐ Climb to the top and look down into the dizzying darkness of one of the deepest castle wells in England.
Eastnor, Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 1RL
This magnificent fairy-tale castle prides itself on being super dog friendly. Not only are dogs welcome into Eastnor Castle itself, but there is also a dedicated ‘Dogs-Off-Leads Area’ and dog-waste bags are offered to owners at the entrance. Inside the castle, experienced guides share their knowledge on the opulent state rooms, while outside, the beautiful grounds encompass an arboretum and sparkling lake.
🐾 Dogs on a lead allowed. Dedicated off-lead area. Dog refreshment stops throughout the grounds.
⭐ Lose yourselves in the mind-boggling labyrinth of the Knight’s Maze.
Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 1NG
This dog-friendly castle is now a beautifully preserved set of ruins, where you can climb the tower and admire the views once seen by Elizabeth I and feel the astonishing presence of the foreboding Norman Keep. Dogs will enjoy exploring the colourful Elizabethan Garden, with all its smells and neat pathways.
🐾 Dogs on a lead allowed.
⭐ Don’t miss the castle exhibition in the Tudor Stables with heaps of family-friendly displays, including a dressing up box.
Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 1AY
The atmospheric ruins of dog-friendly Ludlow Castle are self-proclaimed some of the finest in England. Having started as a Norman Fortress, the castle became a fortified Royal Palace and is now the centre for all of Ludlow’s major annual festivals.
🐾 Dogs on a lead allowed. Dog-friendly tea rooms. Bowls of water available around the castle.
⭐ Check the Ludlow Castle website for exciting events which are planned throughout the year.
Exeter, Devon, EX6 8JQ
Unbelievably, Powderham Castle is actually now a beautiful family home, with centuries of interesting history to share. The castle is extremely dog friendly, your pooch is even allowed to accompany you on a guided tour of the stunning interior. The gardens are vast, and while dogs aren’t allowed in the Deer Park or the Walled Garden, they are free to enjoy walks in all other areas, including the picturesque Rose Garden and the American Garden.
🐾 Dogs on a lead allowed everywhere except for the Deer Park and the Walled Garden. Dog admission is £1 (guide dogs are free).
⭐ Choose from a selection of guided tours to discover more about the castle and its inhabitants.
Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1AW
Astonishingly well-preserved for a 900-year-old building, Skipton Castle stood strong through a 3-year siege during the Civil War. Nowadays, dogs and their owners can enjoy a peaceful exploration of the castle’s interior and exterior (except for the gift shop and restaurant), including the grand banqueting hall, the kitchen and interestingly the bedchamber and privy!
🐾 Dogs allowed, except for in the shop or tea room.
⭐ Don’t miss the dungeons – it’s dark, damp and scary down there; definitely a deterrent from doing bad deeds!
🔗 Read our guide to the best dog-friendly attractions in Yorkshire.
Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5NU
Picture a castle and it’s likely that an image of motte and bailey springs to mind, and Totnes Castle is a pristine real-life example. Climb to the top of the dog-friendly castle with your pooch and drink in the beautiful views of the town of Totnes. There are plenty of dog-friendly cafes in the town for refreshments.
🐾 Dogs on a lead allowed.
⭐ Keep your eyes peeled for the graffiti on the trees which was left by prisoners during the Second World War.
🔗 Read our guide to the best dog-friendly attractions in Devon.
Warkworth, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE65 0UJ
As dog-friendly castles in Northumberland go, this one is epic! The striking castle ruins were once the home of the Dukes of Northumberland and along with your four-legged friend you can explore the cross-shaped keep, the Hermitage (half a mile walk plus a boat trip, only open on certain days), and the Duke’s Rooms (though these have restricted public access, so check before you go).
🐾 Dogs on a lead allowed.
⭐ If it is open on the day you visit, take a walk followed by a boat trip to visit the captivating Hermitage which is hewn into the riverside rock.
Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4QW
Richmond Castle is the best-preserved Norman castle in England and its attractive ruins have been an inspiration to artists over the centuries, including JMW Turner. You and your canine pal can relax in the now peaceful surroundings of the castle walls, looking out over the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.
🐾 Dogs on a lead allowed.
⭐ Take a look at the Conscientious Objectors Exhibition which tells the story of the military unit housed here during the First World War because they refused to fight on grounds of conscience.
Dog-friendly castles in Scotland
While there are a couple of completely dog-friendly castles in Scotland, there are also many which allow dogs in the grounds only, and some where dogs are not allowed at all. We’ve picked a couple of dog-friendly castles nearby in Scotland where dogs are allowed throughout.
Lochgilphead, Argyll, PA31 8PT
Occupying a stunning location on a ridge overlooking Loch Sween, with views of Jura, Castle Sween is thought to be the oldest on the Scottish mainland. It’s not hard to picture its former inhabitants, lording it up over the romantic landscape. A bonus is that it’s free to visit!
🐾 Dogs are welcome.
⭐ Climb the wooden staircase to the latrine tower and take in the fabulous views.
Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, AB39 2TL
Set atop a rocky outcrop, the ruins of Dunnottar Castle are wild and haunting, surrounded on three sides by the sea. You’ll definitely want to remember your camera, or at least have your phone handy because it offers spectacular views. Before your visit, you may want to brush up on some films in which the castle has featured, including Victor Frankenstein (2015), Hamlet (1990) and Mary Queen of Scots (2013).
🐾 Dogs on a lead allowed. Beware of steep drops. While Dunnottar Castle is dog-friendly, note there are a large number of steps.
⭐ Enjoy looking around the Tower House which is like a mini castle within a castle. It would have provided luxurious accommodation for its important occupants.
🔗 Read our guide to the best dog-friendly attractions in Scotland.
Dog-friendly castles in Wales
There are more than 600 castles in Wales, and many of them are dog-friendly, the perfect spots to enjoy a little slice of history while admiring their often idyllic locations on the Welsh coast, within the countryside and in town settings.
Beaumaris, Anglesey, LL58 8AP
Beaumaris Castle was intended to be the piece de resistance of Edward I, but it was not to be, and as is often the case with flamboyant architectural projects, money dwindled and the build was abandoned. The resulting squat shape reflects the castle’s stunted growth, nevertheless, the dog-friendly castle is still an impressive structure, rising from its moat.
🐾 Dogs on a lead allowed on all ground floor levels.
⭐ Search out the chapel which is built into the inner wall.
🔗 Read our guide to the best dog-friendly attractions in North Wales.
Caerphilly, CF83 1JD
If you’re looking for a dog-friendly castle in Wales, Caerphilly Castle is a fantastic choice – second only to Windsor castle in size. The castle is surrounded by lakes, and much of it has been restored over the past 100 years, making it an impressive place to visit, and one which we’re sure your pooch will like too!
🐾 Dogs on a lead allowed on all ground floor levels.
⭐ Take a look at the south-east tower, which is leaning due to attacks during the Civil War. A wooden statue of John Crichton-Stuart, the 4th Marquess of Bute, is placed as if to hold it up.
🔗 Read our guide to the best dog-friendly attractions in South Wales.
Criccieth, Gwynedd, LL52 0DP
It’s hard to decide which is more spectacular: the romantic ruins of this castle, or its inspiring coastal location. There’s a steep walk up, but if you’ve got stamina and an athletic four-legged friend, you’ll be rewarded by incredible panoramic views.
🐾 Dogs on a lead allowed on all ground floor levels. Beware of steep drops.
⭐ Spend some time in the visitor centre to learn about the castle through interactive displays.
Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, SA71 4LA
As you stand on the ramparts overlooking Milford Haven, it’s not difficult to understand why Pembroke Castle was built there, in a natural defensive position. It has some striking features, such as the circular rooms and the nearly 80-foot keep, as well as the gatehouse with its three terrifying portcullises. There are steps down to The Wogan cavern which lies beneath the castle and has numerous uses, now home to pipistrelle bats.
⭐ Take a walk across the largest map of Wales in the world, which is also the largest painting in the UK. The map shows the position of every important castle and religious landmark in Wales.
🐾 Dogs on short leads are allowed.
Additional dog-friendly castles
We couldn’t fit all of the UK’s dog-friendly castles into one article, so here’s a list of some more fantastic castles which you and your pooch can explore to your heart’s content.
Baconsthorpe Castle, Baconsthorpe, Norfolk, NR25
Bolingbrooke Castle, Spilsby, Lincolnshire, PE23 4HH
Edlingham Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 2BW
Maiden Castle, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 9PP
Middleham Castle, Middleham, North Yorkshire, DL8 4QG
Pendennis Castle, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 4LP
Restormel Castle, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, PL22 0EE
Scarborough Castle, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 1HY
Tantallon Castle, North Berwick, East Lothian, EH39 5PN
Tintagel Castle, Tintagel, Cornwall, PL34 0HE
Dog-friendly castles with some restrictions
Besides all of the above dog-friendly castles with no restrictions, there are a huge number of castles where dogs are allowed, just limited to certain areas. Some have beautiful extensive gardens – a dog’s dream day out, others welcome dogs in lower levels of the buildings, but not on upper floors. Take a look at the selection below to see if any of them suit your requirements.
Blackness Castle, Linlithgow EH49 7NH
Culzean Castle, Maybole, Carrick, Ayrshire, KA19 8LE
Dover Castle, Dover, Kent, CT16 1HU
Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway, Thornhill DG3 4AQ
Dunvegan Castle, Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, IV55 8WF
Fort George, Ardersier, Inverness, IV2 7TD
Harlech Castle, Harlech, LL46 2YH
Hedingham Castle, Halstead, Essex, CO9 3DJ
Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass, Cumbria, CA18 1RD
St Mawes Castle, St Mawes, Nr Truro, Cornwall, TR2 5DE
For more dog-friendly ideas, take a look at our guides to the best days out with dogs and dog-friendly National Trust properties.
Planning a UK holiday?
We have a fantastic array of holiday cottages across the country, and while they may not be castles, they are worthy of Kings and Queens, and that includes the canine variety! Whether you’ve got two legs or four, everyone will enjoy a stay in one of our dog-friendly holiday cottages in some of the UK’s most desirable locations.
So, whether you’re looking for a base to explore the rugged castles of Scotland, or searching for the perfect romantic getaway in Cornwall (with a four-legged gatecrasher in tow!) look no further, because we’ve got a dog-friendly cottage for you.
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.