The UK


The UK's best dog walks

Kate W 10 February 2020

If there are two words that go together, it's dogs and walkies. Luckily, with more and more holiday cottages accepting our four-legged friends, it has never been easier to take your dog to explore all the wonderful corners of the UK. The mountains of Scotland and the Peak District, the glacial expanses of the Lake District, the flat stretches of East Anglia and the charming villages of the Cotswolds. The windswept Atlantic beaches of Devon and Cornwall, the dramatic Welsh national parks, the glorious downs of Sussex and the scenic beaches of Kent. Whichever corner of the UK you want to visit, there's always somewhere new to explore with your best pal.

Below, we take you on a tour of the UK, showcasing our favourite dog walks in each area, there's also a link to guides for each area so that you can discover your own favourite! 

Once you've decided where you'd like to go, check out our full range of dog-friendly cottages to find the perfect place to stay.

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Top walkies in the South West

Best Cornwall walk | St Agnes (Trevaunance Cove) to Wheal Coates

A fluffy white dog enjoying a clear day at Wheal Coates

Image credit: Instagram @locksadoodle

Fido can enjoy the wind in his ears and the salt in his fur on this cliff-top walk, taking in Cornwall’s iconic abandoned wheal houses. It's fairly level along a path with a gentle climb to St Agnes Beacon – however, there are steep cliff edges and hidden mineshafts so keep your pup on a lead to be on the safe side. 

We would advise taking just one dog per person, as a lead is highly necessary at some points on this walk. It’s worth it, though, for some of the most stunning views in Cornwall!

  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Stay nearby: Shorelark, Porthtowan, Cornwall | sleeps 5 and 2 dogs

Best Devon walk | Dartmoor National Park

Dog on some big rocks at Dartmoor National Park

This beautiful walk around Fernworthy Reservoir and through woodland on Dartmoor National Park is one of our favourite Devon dog walking spots. A waterside path makes for relatively easy and flat walking terrain whilst the forest can provide more obstacles making it trickier for less able doggos and their human companions, especially during bad weather. 

Look out for birdlife and Dartmoor ponies who may decide to stop by the reservoir. The Bronze Age Fernworthy Stone Circle adds historic interest to the journey and breathtaking views are offered all around.

  • Distance: Take your pick! You can enjoy a short stroll or walk for miles and miles across this impressive landscape
  • Difficulty: Much of this national park is rocky and hilly, but the Granite Way is an easy, 11-mile cycle route that's a great choice for wheelchair users and anyone with limited mobility
  • Stay nearby: Widecombe Swallows, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Dartmoor | sleeps 2 and 2 dogs

Best Somerset walk | Cheddar Gorge cliff walk

Cheddar Gorge walk in Somerset

One of Somerset’s finest landscapes and one of the best places to walk dogs, Cheddar Gorge is a truly magnificent, awe-inspiring sight. As England’s largest gorge, its grandeur is quite spectacular, and a must-see natural wonder when visiting the area. 

Take your pawfect pet on a circular walk that gives you the chance to spot the varied wildlife and flora, as the 4-mile cliff trail gives a whole new perspective of this spectacular landscape. There are so many good places to walk your dog across the Somerset countryside, especially beautiful in late summer.

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Stay nearby: Bramble Barn, Wedmore, Somerset | sleeps 2 and 1 dog

Best Dorset walk | Old Harry Rocks

A happy dog posing for a photo at Old Harry Rocks

Image credit: Instagram @jessie_and_the_kitties

If your dog is top of his obedience class, this is a great walk for him – he can enjoy the sea breeze, the steady climb and the cliff-side scents and you can rest easy, knowing he’ll come back when called. Always put even the best-behaved dogs on leads near cliff edges, however! The terrain is mostly level with a few gentle hills – just watch out for the sheer cliffs on the coast path. 

The walk is ideal for geologists – Old Harry Rocks is a fine example of a stack formation. But if you couldn’t care less about rocks, you get to take in some beautiful views and there’s a pub waiting for you at the end! 

  • Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy but with uneven ground  
  • Stay nearby: Little Steppes, Swanage, Dorset | sleeps 3 and 1 dog

Best Cotswolds walk | Cleeve Hill and Nottingham Hill circuit

A single tree surrounded by benches at sunset at Cleeve Hill

Not to be confused with the West London neighbourhood famous for its annual Caribbean carnival, Nottingham Hill is a hill close to Cleeve Hill and Bishop's Cleeve with panoramas of the Malvern Hills and the Severn Valley below. The circular walk takes in the small town of Bishop's Cleeve which has a few nice pubs, varied habitats and terrains for dogs and their human companions.

After the walk, you’re good to go for a more measured stroll on the picturesque Overbury Estate and the Bredon Hill Nature Reserve – there are many great picturesque dog walks across the Cotswolds.

  • Distance: Less than a mile
  • Difficulty: Easy with flat terrain through town but a somewhat steep ascent up the hill
  • Stay nearby: Overbrook Cottage, Cheltenham (4mls NE), Cotswolds | sleeps 2 and 1 dog

Top walkies in the East of England

Best Norfolk walk | Holkham Beach

Holkham dog-friendly beach in Norfolk on a clear day

There is only one word to describe Holkham Beach and that is ‘magical’. Sand dunes stretching for miles with beautiful coloured skies above, it really is the most perfect beach for a walk. 

As one of the most important sites in the UK and looked after by Natural England, the Holkham National Nature Reserve deserves a mention – just bear in mind that there are nesting birds, so nosy canines should be kept under control! To reach the main beach, you will go down a boardwalk and encounter some mud, but persevere – what lies beyond is worth the wait.

  • Distance: 4 miles from end to end
  • Difficulty: Easy (but be prepared to get sandy!)  
  • Stay nearby: Buffers End The Sidings, Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk | sleeps 8 and 2 dogs

The UK is home to some gorgeous dog-friendly beaches – our guide will point you to some of the best.

Best Suffolk walk | National Trust Dunwich Heath

National Trust Dunwich Heath at sunset

If you’re searching for beautiful scenery and wondering where to walk the dog at the same time, this coastal heath and beach is just the place – it’s particularly lovely when the heather is in full bloom as the weather cools. 

Discover a serene place where you can get close to the natural world with your dog beside you every step of the way through this wonderful walking territory. Self-proclaimed as quiet, wild and dramatic, this sanctuary for nature is an intriguing place for dogs who will enjoy exploring a beautiful natural space.

  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy, however, there are steps and a stile to contend with so it's not entirely accessible
  • Stay nearby: Sycamore Cottage, Dunwich Heath, Suffolk | sleeps 4 and 1 dog

Best Lincolnshire walk | Binbrook and Stainton Le Vale Circular Walk

A vast rolling filed which makes for a great dog walk at Binbrook

When planning to go walking in Lincolnshire, you must begin with a ramble through the beautiful Lincolnshire Wolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with wonderful scenery and wildlife to interest both you and your four-legged friend. 

This route will lead you on a serene 5.5-mile walk across valleys and hills, with some steep slopes to negotiate, passing historical sites along the way. There are also lots of excellent scenic spots where you can stop for a picnic with your best pal – just keep an eye on the pork pies! For more Lincolnshire routes, take a look at our article 'Dog walks in Lincolnshire'.

  • Distance: 5.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy but, once again, steps and stiles mean it's not entirely accessible
  • Stay nearby: Apple Tree Cottage - Tealby, Lincolnshire | sleeps 4 and 1 dog

Top walkies on the South Coast

Best Kent walk | Dungeness, Romney Marsh

A boast sits anchored on the shingle at Dungeness Kent

If you've got a dog who is expecting blankets of sand to bounce through, then you may need to send them a few miles east to Camber Sands – the stunning beach of Dungeness is strictly for those who don't mind the feel of shingle under their paws!

Famous for being the UK's only desert, it is also a National Nature Reserve with a myriad of interesting plant species and wildlife. We warn you, it is bleak, but there is something truly ethereal about the almost deserted single road that leads down to the mighty power stations situated on the sea edge.

  • Distance: The area of Romney Marsh covers about 100 square miles offering the opportunity for long seaside rambles
  • Difficulty: There's a delightful rural walk from Brenzett to St Dunstan Church which is 2.7 miles over flat terrain, ideal for anyone who wants a gentle stroll or has limited mobility but may be tricky for wheelchair users
  • Stay nearby: Greycot, Dymchurch, Kent | sleeps 5 and 1 dog

Best Sussex walk | Hastings Country Park, Hastings, East Sussex

Horses grazing at Horses graze at Hastings Country Park in East Sussex

This huge park covering 660 acres of nature trails, wild wooded valleys, footpaths and glens covered with gorse and trees is situated to the east of the seaside town of Hastings. Spectacular sandstone cliffs protect the park from the sea and the cliff-top views are simply stunning, reaching across the English Channel with views to France on a clear day.

As you walk with your dog, you will see a variety of wildlife including peregrines which breed on the high cliffs and yellowhammers which breed on the gorse-covered hillsides. The area is so big that you can take a long solitary walk with just your dog for company, or visit one of the more popular areas where you’ll meet lots of friendly dog walkers.

Best New Forest walk | Brockenhurst walk

A couple and their dog enjoy a New Forest walk in Brockenhurst

There are plenty of delightful dog-friendly walks in Brockenhurst for you to choose from but this one has some great pub choices. Passing by interesting local landmarks like Setley Plain and the South Weirs, you’ll eventually return to the centre of Brockenhurst where there are a few inns to choose from. It’s one of the longer routes so it's bound to give your canine companion a good leg stretch – they can also relax with a peaceful nap afterwards as you try out a pint of the local ale!

With a nature reserve along the way, your dog will have the chance to enjoy a runabout or, if you bring a few snacks or a picnic, you and the pup might enjoy a pit stop in this unspoilt natural area.

  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate – mainly on level terrain with a small number of gentle gradients, can get wet and muddy underfoot. Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stay nearby: Littlewell, Brockenhurst, New Forest | sleeps 6 and 1 dog

Best Isle of Wight walk | Needles Headland

The Needles on the Isle of Wight

Commit to this invigorating walk across the downs, home to the best views on the island. Visit a Cold War rocket test site, a 19th-century fort and a monument dedicated to Victorian poet Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Do the whole figure-of-eight walk or split it up into shorter sections but definitely make sure that you do the breathtaking Needles part if you’ve never visited before – it's one of the most scenic dog walking trails on the island. Your dog will love this as it’s a long walk with a stop-off at a dog-friendly café – need we say more?

  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate with uneven terrain. All areas of the Needles Landmark Attraction site are accessible to wheelchair users with the exception of some rides and the beach, although there are steep slopes which may need careful negotiation.
  • Stay nearby: Tennyson Wing Cottage, Alum Bay, Isle of Wight | sleeps 4 and 2 dogs

Top walkies in the Heart of England

Best Peak District walk | Mam Tor circular walk

A dog turns and looks quizzical at Mam Tor

This fantastic circular is a superb choice for you and your dog. There's plenty of good stuff to sniff out and explore along this alluring Peak District trail. Taking in the lovely villages of Hope and Castleton, this circuit, with its show caverns, Lose Hill, Back Tor, Hollins Cross and the peak of Mam Tor, is an easier undertaking than our previous selection.

Looking up to the peaks when you are down in the villages, you will wonder how it's possible to scale such heights, but before you know it you will be up the 476 metres to the summit of Lose Hill. There is a trig point at the summit of Mam Tor, and the panorama from up there will take your breath away.

  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate – a stone-surfaced footpath leads from Mam Nick Car Park to the top of Mam Tor
  • Stay nearby: Eden Tree Cottage, Bradwell, Peak District | sleeps 2 and 1 dog

Top walkies in the North of England

Best Yorkshire walk | Staithes and Port Mulgrave

A view of Port Mulgrave from the clifftop

Take this circular walk from the delightful fishing village of Staithes with its harbourside cottages and cobbled streets. Follow the popular Cleveland Way National Trail for the first half of the walk, then hike across the cliffs to the little harbour of Port Mulgrave.

There are some lovely quiet lanes and paths through fields that you will pass through as well as cliff edges, so make sure your dog is on a lead. A wonderful walk with the human through a village, along a harbour, up cliffs and back through fields and woodland is definitely on most pups' wish lists!

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate with paths through fields, woodland and a steep climb up from Staithes Harbour to the cliff top
  • Stay nearby: Waverley House, Staithes, North Yorkshire | sleeps 6 and 2 dogs

Best Lancashire walk | Formby Beach and Woodland Walk

Formby dog-friendly beach near Liverpool in Lancashire

One of the only beaches on the Sefton Coast without seasonal restrictions on dog access, Formby has three self-filling water bowls, dog bags on request and woodland picnic areas to stop for a well-deserved lunch.

Make sure you take a walk through the serene woodland before you race over the dunes down onto the wide expanse of sand – in the evening, the sunset is spectacular, and you can walk for miles when the tide is out (be mindful of very fast-moving tides). Coastal pinewoods surround this lovely beach – just be aware of wildlife (including rare red squirrels) and livestock. Hounds will need to be kept under control here!

Discover more tail-wagging trails in our guide to the best dogs walks in Lancashire.

  • Distance: 1.4 miles
  • Difficulty: The woodland walk is easy with accessible trails
  • Stay nearby: The Barn At Fernlea, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire | sleeps 2 and 1 dog

Best Northumberland walk | Allen Banks and Staward Gorge

A rushing river over moss-covered stones at Allen Banks

Nope, Allen Banks isn’t someone’s name but a spectacular gorge and woodland; this walk takes you through the trees and towards the water at Moralee Tarn. Your hound can nose around the woodland, chase birds, squirrels and sticks, and generally run wild – what better on a fine autumn day, or any day come to that?

The route is mainly footpath with a few small climbs and it's an excellent place for wildlife spotting – this ancient woodland has been around since medieval times and boasts a true diversity of nature and some really nice dog walks.

  • Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate with steep sections and varied terrain
  • Stay nearby: Crawhall - Brampton, Brampton, Cumbria | sleeps 5 and 2 dogs

Best Lake District walk | Derwentwater and Cat Bells

Picturesque Derwentwater with the hills reflected in the water

Image credit: Cumbria Tourism

You'll be hard-pressed to find a favourite view in the Lakes, but this has to be one of the best. Take the boat from Keswick to Hawes End landing for the circular walk which takes you up to Cat Bells and then back to base.

You can carry on for the 50-minute trip around the lake if you don’t want to get off, but we recommend disembarking for this lovely circular dog walk. The views over Keswick are incredible; great for bonding moments with your favourite canine as you sit back on one of the hills and share a picnic together.

  • Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate with a short, steep section and minor scrambling
  • Stay nearby: Thornthwaite Elm, Keswick, Lake District | sleeps 2 and 2 dogs

Top walkies in Wales

Best North Wales walk | Llyn Padarn Circular, Llanberis

Llyn Padarn on a clear day with the clouds and mountains reflected in the water

This lakeside walk near Caernarfon is a winner for dogs that love an amble out in the open. Llyn Padarn is a glacially formed lake set against a sloping backdrop of princely scenery. The panorama takes in the astonishing features of Padarn Country Park, which includes Coed Dinorwig – an ancient woodland of rare sessile oak trees, the former Vivian Quarry and Llyn Padarn itself.

  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate with off-road paths and a steady climb
  • Stay nearby: Daffodil House, Bethesda, North Wales | sleeps 4 and 1 dog

Best South Wales walk | Pen y Fan and Corn Du circular walk, Powys

Two dogs who are happy with themselves after scaling the 886 metres to the summit of Pen y Fan

Image credit: Instagram @agoldentale

This is one of the best dog walks in South Wales for the more energetic canine adventurer. Standing proud as the tallest peak in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Pen y Fan measures 886m above sea level, closely followed by Corn Du at 873m. 

You’ll get to experience both impressive peaks on this circular walk, and on a clear day, the views of the Bristol Channel, Gower Peninsula and the Cambrian Mountains from the summit are immense, making the climb well worth the effort. What proud pup wouldn’t want to tell their furry friends that they’ve conquered southern Britain’s highest mountain? 

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate/challenging mountainous walk
  • Stay nearby: Belle Vue Cottage, Brecon, Brecon Beacons | sleeps 10 and 2 dogs

Top walkies in Scotland

Best Scotland walk | Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire

A dog posing proudly in front of a monument

The grounds of this fairy-tale castle offer a variety of easy trails, perfect for dogs of all types. You will traverse a mixture of parkland, farmland and woodland on your travels, though we suggest the two waymarked walks on the estate if you don’t know the area – they give you the most spectacular views over the surrounding countryside.

The Alton Brae Trail is a lovely easy trail of 1.5 miles – it's unsurfaced with some slopes and is about an hour in length. You will be treated to a rather impressive approach to the castle through the Broad Walk of sycamores, and in the woodland areas, you'll see a variety of wildlife including long-tailed tits.

  • Distance: Take a short wander around the grounds or head out on a longer stroll across the estate
  • Difficulty: Easy, there are paths through the estate and a delightful woodland walk
  • Stay nearby: Headhouse Farm, Clatt, Aberdeenshire | sleeps 5 and 2 dogs

Best Scottish Isles walk | Luskentyre, Isle of Harris

Luskentyre dog-friendly beach on the Isle of Harris in Scotland

This iconic, wild, unspoilt beach in the Outer Hebrides may be the closest you will get to a tropical island in the UK. Green rounded hills dotted with pink rock and creamy white sands stretching out to sparkling aquamarine seas meet golden eagles swooping down the slope of Ben Luskentyre.

You will both feel a sense of tranquillity and light as you relax away from the crowds at other beaches. Take refuge in the sand dunes where you can spot birds to photograph, including long-tailed ducks, red-breasted mergansers and oystercatchers – your dog will be kept busy with their nose down one or two of the many rabbit holes.

  • Distance: 2.75 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy/moderate with a varied terrain of sand and grassy footpath
  • Stay nearby: Sleatabhal, North Uist, Outer Hebrides | sleeps 6 and 2 dogs

Love walking but want to do something more exciting? Have a leaf through our ultimate guide to days out with your dog and discover some excellent dog-friendly places to visit all across the UK.

Come and stay with us

A dog snoozes in a hammock in the shade

Inspired by these wonderful walkies? If you are, you'll need a space to stretch out those paws after long days exploring the coast and countryside of the UK. Our collection of canine cottages offers everything you need for a holiday with the hound – we have houses with enclosed gardens for Fido and Flora to safely run off some energy with some even providing outside taps so that you can clean muddy mutts before going inside!

Other dog-friendly properties come ready with dog beds, bowls and treats – have a look through our cottages to see which one is the perfect fit for you and your four-legged friend.

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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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