Winter walks with your dog holiday cottages


Winter walks with your dog

Ed Roberts 09 September 2021

Where are the best places in the UK to take your dog for a walk during the winter? Well, we have some great suggestions for where to visit with your dogs this winter whenever you call ‘walkies’! 

If you and your dog are hardy enough to go adventuring when the temperatures drop, and the hours of daylight dwindle, discover with us some awesome places to go for a wander. 

Some of us are lucky enough to have a big shaggy winter coat already without having to head down to the sales at Harvey Nichols each January, but still, it’s best to make sure that it’s not too cold outside for your pup. We've also got some top tips on keeping your pup comfortable as the mercury plummets. 

What have we got to set their tails wagging?

Winter walking tips for dogs

Winter walking tips for dogs

We have compiled a short list of cold weather tips and precautions for when you are walking your dogs. We think your dogs will love being with you in the UK’s winter wonderland but sometimes our unpredictable weather can be a little too much for them.

When is it too cold to walk your dog?

Typically, -4° is too cold for dogs with short hair and -9° for dogs with long coats; it’s rare for temperatures to plummet this far in most of the more southerly regions of the UK. First of all, when it's winter, allow your dog’s hair to grow to bulk out its natural coat. For short hair breeds, buy them a jacket. For some dogs, this will take some persuasion with treats and training if they are unused to wearing a coat. If you are going out for a long walk, keep moving and stay active to ensure the cold doesn’t overcome your dogs.

Walking dogs in the snow

When there has been heavy snowfall, keep your dogs on the lead as snow can conceal dangers. Once you are home, wipe your four-legged chum’s legs, paws, and bellies, as the damp and pavement grit can cause skin irritation.

Winter walking tips for dogs

Walking in the winter evening

With fewer hours of daylight to take your dog out for a winter walk, make sure they are visible in the darkness with reflective high-vis collars and leads, or flashing lights. Also, have you microchipped your pet? We've covered all the dog walking essentials you might need during your walkies, whatever the season.

Keeping your dog active during the winter 

It’s not always possible to go outside during the winter, so you can play games and exercise inside the home and out in your garden instead. Maybe embark on some scent training games at home. Dogs love this kind of engagement, and they can burn some pent-up energy at the same time, seeking out the snacks you have hidden around your house.

The best dog walks in the UK this winter

Read on for the best dog-friendly places for a W-A-L-K throughout the UK this winter. If you have been inspired by this guide, browse our collection of dog-friendly holiday cottages by clicking the button below.

Winter dog walks in the South West

Cornwall | St Agnes Beacon, St Agnes

Cornwall | St Agnes Beacon, St Agnes

Pull your boots on and your goose down winter coat; this dog walk is one of the best on the North Cornwall coast for wide sea views. From the summit of St Agnes Beacon, you can see the Atlantic Ocean, up and down the coast from Holywell Bay to Godrevy, and the heather-clad slopes all around. This is the Cornwall of infamous giant legends like Bolster and Ralph; don’t worry, your dog will protect you from them. 

Why your dog will love it: A climb to the top will ensure your four-legged friend is one of the highest up in the county. The views are unforgettable – afterwards, walk down to Chapelporth Café (open weekends only in the winter) via Wheal Coates for a welcome winter warmer.

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in Cornwall.

Devon | Tarka Trail, Bideford and Great Torrington

Devon | Tarka Trail, Bideford and Great Torrington

For dog-friendly days out in North Devon this winter, try out the Tarka Trail. It is 180 miles long in total, but we’re not suggesting that you and your pooch take on a death march this winter. The most popular stretches are the 30-mile section between Braunton in the north to Meeth in the south. For fans of Henry Williamson’s Tarka the Otter, the very best part of the trail to visit with your doggy is the stretch between The Puffing Billy in Great Torrington and Bideford as it runs through diverse landscapes such as saltmarshes, deep river valleys and wooded ridges, and you’ll even see the bridge that Tarka the Otter was born beneath (in the story). 

Why your dog will love it: The Tarka Trail is a level trail for pups and old dogs; there’s lots of interesting scents for them to pick up on as this path cuts through some very wild parts of North Devon.

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in Devon.

Winter dog walks on the South Coast

Dorset | Sea Air Trail, Lymington

Hampshire | Sea Air Trail, Lymington

The dog-friendly Sea Air Trail is 5.5 miles and makes for a bracing walk of almost cinematic beauty along this coastal stretch near the New Forest. Beginning close to Lymington Marina in the centre of town, follow signposts for the Solent Way to begin with. These take you the fantastic Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve along the seawall. Pick up a coffee at The Haven near the boatyard to keep you extra toasty. On clear winter days, you can see impressive views across The Solent to the Isle of Wight and Hurst Castle peninsula. Enjoy lunch at the Gun Inn in Keyhaven before looping back. A bus from Milford Haven is also an option when it’s very cold. 

Why your dog will love it: For hardy dogs, this is a good opportunity for a thorough winter workout on the lead.

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in the New Forest.

Sussex | Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Sussex | Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve as a dog-friendly destination is great because it offers two places to eat and drink that welcome pets. There is a pub called The William Conqueror, which is a cosy spot with a warming menu, and Bosuns Bites, a very dog-friendly café with views across the harbour to Frenchman’s Beach. The reserve itself offers miles and miles of walks that take in large bodies of water like the Long Pit and Castle Water, a Martello Tower, Camber Castle’s ruins and a visitor centre. You can also enjoy long views across Camber Sands and out to sea. 

Why your dog will love it: There are lots of scents to pick up for bold doggies who accompany you on this fantastic walk.

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in Sussex.

Kent | Dungeness

Kent | Dungeness  

Dungeness is a tiny village located on Europe’s largest shingle bank. It’s also the closest thing the UK has to a desert with its huge expanses of pebble plains. In the summer, Dungeness can get very hot for dogs as the pebbles can become scorching underfoot. In winter, in spite of its exposed beauty and long beach, there are still dog-friendly places to go to escape the worst of the weather. There are two pubs, The Britannia Inn and The Pilot, that both welcome dogs and serve hot meals to remember. At the weekends, Dungeness Station Café is open and you can catch the narrow-gauge steam train on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. This part of Kent is very dog-friendly during the wintertime.

Why your dog will love it: There are heaps of bunny rabbits to spot. Just keep your pooch on the lead!

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in Kent.

Winter dog walks in the Heart of England

Warwickshire | Stratford upon Avon walk

Warwickshire | Stratford upon Avon walk

For a historic winter’s day walk with your dog, visit this Stratford-upon-Avon riverside trail. The route on the far bank has some big open spaces for exercise and you can enjoy views of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the nearby All Saints Church. There are several walks on offer along the riverbanks of varying lengths, starting from the town centre. When the weather gets too much, there are plenty of dog-friendly pubs and cafes to choose from in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Why your dog will love it: This city walk can be ideal for old dogs and pups that have a sense of the theatrical being that they are in Shakespeare country (William Shakespaw or Wagbeth perhaps?)

The Cotswolds | Broadway Tower and Country Park

The Cotswolds | Broadway Tower and Country Park

If your dog loves open spaces and room to play, this place looks heavenly in the snow. Head to the dog-friendly Broadway Tower and Country Park in the Cotswolds for one of the best winter walks in the region. You and your pet will be able to stay warm by keeping active on the wonderful trails that the country park offers human and canine visitors alike. You can drink in some awesome winter views of the surrounding countryside that includes the famous Broadway Tower. For even more dog-friendly walks in The Cotswolds visit our guide.

Why your dog will love it: Your dog will love it because there are lots of space to make tracks in the snow.

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in the Cotswolds.

Winter dog walks in the East of England

Norfolk | Blakeney Marshes – Cley circuit

Norfolk | Blakeney Marshes – Cley circuit

Follow the pathways through the reed marshes at the North Norfolk coastal village of Blakeney. These winter dog walks that meander along the coast are very rewarding for those that like to wrap up warm and go for long strolls through unusual landscapes. Nature is all around with Blakeney Point separating the marshes from the North Sea, the Cley Bird Reserve to the east, and the villages of Blakeney and Cley-next-the-Sea in sight to the south. It’s a sealed path for the whole distance as the main route follows roads, lanes, and tracks for its duration. For even more dog-friendly inspiration in Norfolk visit our guide.

Why your dog will love it: Smaller dogs and old hounds won’t feel troubled by the level pathways. Well-behaved pups will love walking at heel in this intriguing landscape with you.

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in Norfolk.

Suffolk | Landguard Point, Felixstowe

Suffolk | Landguard Point, Felixstowe

Located just beyond the southern end of Felixstowe’s lengthy promenade is Landguard Point, a wonderful open space that’s just perfect for a peaceful dog walk by the sea. There is a vast fortress, Landguard Fort, that has defended this part of the coastline since the mid-1600s, alongside various lighthouses and jetties into the English Channel to discover. It’s a great choice for sociable dogs that love to meet other pets during a walk; many locals use Landguard Point for exercising their dogs. There is ample parking nearby at the port where you can watch gigantic cargo ships getting loaded from the John Bradfield Viewing Point. There is also a café where you can huddle inside with a coffee after your long dog-friendly walk in Suffolk. 

Why your dog will love it: It’s popular with local dog owners so they are bound to make some friends on their walk.

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in Suffolk.

Winter dog walks in the North of England

Lake District National Park | Watendlath Valley

Lake District National Park | Watendlath Valley

The Lake District is a stunning dog-friendly holiday destination all year round. We bet that the only thing on your dog's mind besides food are the walking opportunities. For hounds that enjoy variety on their walk, we’d wholeheartedly recommend the trail across Watendlath Valley, near Keswick. This village is home to a dog-friendly pub owned by the National Trust, and your pooches will have no problem snuffling their way through ancient woodland, or down river and bounding through the hidden valley to keep themselves warm. For even more dog-friendly walks in the Lake District visit our guide.

Why your dog will love it: This is another popular spot for dog walkers so it would suit your hound if they fancy themselves as a bit of a social butterfly.

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in the Lake District.

Yorkshire Dales | Aysgarth Falls

Yorkshire Dales | Aysgarth Falls

Aysgarth Falls can be amazing in the winter especially after a period of prolonged rainfall. The three flights of waterfalls are a magnificent sight for you and your pup to take in. There are a few walks around Aysgarth Falls for you and your hound to discover; some walkways are sealed yet others may provide a mild challenge if it is icy or rainy. This pet-friendly Yorkshire Dales location is great for active dogs who don’t mind a climb; the total elevation to the top of the waterfalls is 215 metres. Afterwards, you can reward yourself with a pub lunch at the Wensleydale Heifer in nearby West Witton. For even more dog-friendly walks in Yorkshire visit our guide.

Why your dog will love it: The climb to the top of Aysgarth Falls is rather sheltered so it’s a good choice for mild rainy winter days.

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in Yorkshire.

North York Moors | Wellburn and Castle Howard

North York Moors | Wellburn and Castle Howard

This moderate winter trail stretches for 2 miles across the dog-friendly North York Moors farmland and woodlands past the majestic Castle Howard (as seen in Downton Abbey). Your dog will love this relatively short and clear walk to take in a welcome variety of beautiful habitats. It’s a superb way to see this part of the North York Moors in the wintertime without demanding too much of yourself or your four-legged chum.

Why your dog will love it: There’s lots to see and sniff along this farm and woodland track with a castle thrown in for good measure.

Northumberland | Dunstanburgh Castle to Craster

Northumberland | Dunstanburgh Castle to Craster

This coastal dog walk to and from one of the most dramatic ruins in the UK is for hardy souls. But the rewards are infinite if you pick a mild winter’s day for this 5-mile wander to Dunstanburgh Castle. Pick up the trail in Craster where you can refuel with a pint and hearty hot meal after your walk. The castle casts quite a spell over visitors, especially if you plan a trip in the off-season. The ghost stories that accompany the castle’s history guarantee an atmospheric day out for you and your dog on your winter holiday to Northumberland. 

Why your dog will love it: This is a great walk for when autumn gives way to winter or when winter gives way to spring. It’s a great trek on which to burn energy playing and spend quality time with you.

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in Northumberland.

A winter dog walk in Scotland

Edinburgh | Arthur’s Seat

Edinburgh | Arthur’s Seat

There are occasions when a dog-friendly winter city break is the tonic you are looking for. Pet-friendly Edinburgh is one of the best cities to visit for winter walks so we’ve singled out the path to Arthur’s Seat. This short trek will give you and your furry beast a grandstanding view of the city and the surrounding country all about. Photo opportunities abound as you can see all of Edinburgh’s major landmarks like Edinburgh Castle, the National Gallery, and Holyrood Palace. Set within Holyrood Park, the walk to this inner-city outcrop isn’t too arduous and it's close to lots of cafes and pubs to warm up inside afterwards. For even more dog-friendly ideas in Scotland  visit our guide.

Why your dog will love it: It’s a pleasant contrast from the hustle and bustle of the city below.

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in Scotland.

A winter dog walk in Wales

Barmouth | The Mawdacch Trail

Barmouth | The Mawdacch Trail

Heading inland from the coastal town of Barmouth, you can enjoy the level circular Mawdacch Trail. It follows the course of an old railway line and cuts inland following the course of the river through a wide valley to the foothills of Cadair Idris, and the pretty, historic Dolgellau. The George III Hotel in Penmaepool is a lovely dog-friendly Welsh pub to stop by for a light lunch whilst on your travels. For even more dog-friendly ideas in Wales visit our guide.

Why your dog will love it: Although this trail is 9 miles in length, it’s level with lots of warm places to stop and refuel even during the winter.

Visit our guide for even more dog-friendly walks in North Wales.

Stay in a dog-friendly self-catering holiday cottage

It can't stay winter all year long so why not visit our guide to dog walks around the UK that are perfect any time of year? Stay at one of our self-catering holiday cottages in the UK this winter. We have dog-friendly holiday properties all across the British Isles for you and your loved ones. From farm cottages to plush inner-city apartments, our pet-friendly holiday homes for winter are located near each of the walks included in this helpful guide. Where will you take your dog on your winter holidays in the UK this year?

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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