The UK is packed with vibrant and exciting towns and cities where you can explore historic quarters or stand at the very top of the country’s most modern buildings – often in the same city walls! And more and more of them are welcoming four-legged guests with open paws.
With dog-friendly pubs and cafes, plenty of green spaces to roam and even some cultural attractions too, there are plenty of things to do with your pup in the UK’s most dog-friendly towns and cities.
We’ve sniffed out eight of the best, so whether you’re looking for a cultural trip with your highbrow hound or a foodie weekend with Fido, you can find some inspiration for your next UK getaway with your tufty-pawed travel companion below.
Malton, North Yorkshire
Not content with being Yorkshire’s Food Capital (although it’s handy if you’ve got a hungry hound), Malton was awarded the title of the UK’s most dog-friendly town in 2018. After being assessed in categories such as paw-friendly pubs, hotels and cafes, this North York Moors town beat 1,900 nominees paws down for the title, so surely it is one of the best places to visit with dogs!
While the majority of businesses are dog friendly, if you’re visiting Malton with your faithful four-legged friend, we’d recommend sniffing out the dog grooming studio at the Animal Art Gallery, No.46 Café Bar where your dog can lounge on a dog bed while tucking into pup-friendly treats, or one of the three pet shops where you can pamper your pooch. And if you fancy working up a sweat, your dog can even join you at The Workhouse gym!
Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
This Midlands town – also well-known for its food – took the crown for the most dog-friendly town in 2017 and is still one of the best dog-friendly places to visit today. Just ask our Canine Critic Barney who visited Melton Mowbray on one of his assignments! Barney recommended visiting Off the Beaten Path for “paws-itively awesome” food, and he also enjoyed walkies around Melton Country Park.
However, you won’t find it hard to identify which Melton businesses welcome your four-legged best friend – the town launched a ‘Paw-some scheme’ where businesses put a sticker in their window to alert pups and their humans that they’re welcome to come in. Our favourite is Doggy & Gabbona, Melton’s fashionable grooming salon and accessory shop!
Brighton and Hove, East Sussex
One of the best dog-friendly cities in the UK, Brighton and Hove is rumoured to have more dog meet-up groups per population than any other city in the UK. With a huge beach and the South Downs on the doorstep, the city is great for walkies but there are plenty of dog-friendly businesses to visit too.
For example, you can follow in the pawprints of Canine Critic Penny and have a wander around the Brighton Pavilion gardens. Or you can take your pup on a seafront train ride on the 19th-century Volk’s Electric Railway, enjoy a glamorous afternoon tea at Metrodeco, or visit the Laughing Dog Café – half café, half art gallery, but 100% dog-friendly! You could also time your visit to coincide with the city’s many pup-friendly events – like Saltdean Lido Dog Swim, Paddle Dogs or the annual Pride Dog Show. A visit to Brighton and Hove with your dog will never be boring!
Newcastle, Tyne and Wear
Newcastle might have gone under the radar on your list of dog-friendly cities to visit, but you should definitely embark on an adventure there. In fact, the whole city is yours to explore with your pup, as dogs are allowed on the metro system for free! There are plenty of dog-friendly places to eat and drink, including brewery tap Wylam Brewery which is perfect for a pit stop after walkies round Exhibition Park and The Town Moor. You could shop for vintage finds at Flea Circus where dapper dogs are also welcome, or get salty toes and paws on the beaches at Tynemouth or South Shields.
On your way to Tynemouth, pop in at Doggy Delish in North Shields, a dedicated dog bakery selling handbaked treats and cakes that your pup will go mutts for! Or if your dog hasn’t got a sweet tooth, head to City Tavern where he can make friends with the pub’s four bar hounds and choose something from the gourmet dog treat menu (don’t worry, there’s food for humans on offer too).
This Midlands city is one of the best places to take dogs if they love walkies (and what dog doesn’t?) as there are plenty of open spaces you can visit together in the city centre. Nottingham Arboretum has over 800 trees and is said to have been the inspiration for J.M Barrie’s Neverland – your dog is welcome to explore it but has to be on a lead in designated areas. Or you could visit Wollaton Hall and Park, which was Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises – your can both walk around the park where there are often lots of deer, so keep your batdog on a lead!
Or if you fancy pretending you’re Shaggy and Scooby Doo, book a place on the Original Nottingham Ghost Walk, where you’ll get a free adult ticket if you dress your pup up in a spooky costume – zoinks! There are also plenty of trendy places to eat and drink with your doggo – we’d recommend the Coffee Bar underneath hairdressers Tuckwell & Co where you can tuck into vegan cake while your dog gets a big fuss from the staff, or the Crafty Cow opposite Nottingham Castle where your pup will receive water, biscuits and plenty of cuddles.
Bristol is jam-packed with paw-friendly attractions, delicious places to eat and drink with your dog and plenty of green spaces too so it’s definitely one of the best places for dogs in the UK. Your pup is welcome to explore the city on board a Bristol Insight bus tour, take to the water on a harbour trip with Bristol Ferry Boats or roam the 850 acres of land at Ashton Court Estate if city life gets a bit too much. And you can’t visit Bristol without seeing the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge!
That’s without mentioning the many delicious places to eat and drink. Bristol has a huge range of eateries to suit every taste, but we’d recommend coffee at Small Street Espresso, brunch at Bakers & Co and a pint at the Volunteer Tavern where you can hang out in the huge beer garden and make friends with the pub dog.
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
According to Sheffield City Council, Sheffield has more public parks and green spaces than most other European cities, and also has the Peak District National Park within its city boundary, making it one of the best dog-friendly cities to visit with your pup. One such area of green space is Sheffield Botanical Gardens, spanning 19 acres of Grade II-listed gardens where your dog is welcome on a lead. Or you could walk the 3-mile Norfolk Heritage Trail and learn about the city’s fascinating history.
If all that walking has worked up an appetite, head to The Coffee Kennel where you can tuck into one of its famous cheesecakes while your pup makes friends at one of the café’s social events. Or enjoy a pint at the Coach & Horses – it’s situated in front of the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC, and has free dog biscuits on the bar.
Edinburgh is an extremely dog-friendly city, where your pup can join you in exploring iconic sites such as Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat and the Royal Mile. But there are also a whole range of more unusual dog-friendly places to visit in Edinburgh too. For example, your hound can browse fine jewellery at Hamilton & Inches, catch a film at a dog-friendly showing at The Cameo, or practise their downward dog at Edinburgh Sunshine Yoga!
In fact, Edinburgh has made it even easier to identify where your four-legged best friend is allowed – just look out for the ‘Dugs Welcome’ stickers in the windows of the city’s pubs, bars, restaurants, shops and cafes. There are hundreds to choose from, making this one of the best dog-friendly cities in the UK, if not the world!
If these dog-friendly towns and cities have got your pup’s tail wagging in anticipation of your next UK break, take a look at our range of dog-friendly cottages too. From sleek apartments in city centres where you can shop ‘til you drop, to big townhouses where you can bring the whole pack, we’ve sniffed out the best UK dog-friendly accommodation. Take a look at the whole collection below.
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.