11 dog-friendly attractions in the UK to take your pooch
It’s a classic dog owner’s dilemma; you’re planning a family day out and while the kids are dreaming of visiting a particular place, it means that your canine companion will miss out. Well, we don’t believe that anyone should be left at home alone, so we’ve rounded up our favourite attractions here in the UK that your four-legged friends will love.
1. Ffestiniog Railway
Best for: A fun steam train journey through the mountains
Image credit: Ffestiniog Railway
Snowdonia National Park is an adventure playground that dogs will love. Once you’ve exhausted the park’s millions of dog walks and mountain hikes, and you’ve had your fill of Welsh charm in the many dog-friendly pubs found in Snowdonia’s slate-clad villages, why not take a day out on the wonderful Ffestiniog Railway? Chugging through lofty mountain landscapes and past flowing waterfalls, the world’s oldest narrow-gauge railway will happily carry dogs for a small fee of £3.
Dog-friendly place to stay: Dog-friendly cottages abound in Snowdonia. For something different, try the Bryn Dinas Camping Pods - complete with a kitchen, WiFi and flat-screen TV.
2. Bolton Abbey
Location: North Yorkshire
Best for: Dog walks in the ruins of a Gothic Abbey
There’s no doubt that Yorkshire, or God’s Own County, is at the top of the list when it comes to dog-friendly destinations, replete with stunning scenery and fantastic walks. Bolton Abbey is beautifully Gothic, a ruined old priory that pokes out of the traditional Yorkshire Dales landscape of green rolling hills. Walk through the ruins, cross over the River Wharfe on the iconic stepping stones and wander through the enchanting Strid Wood. Fido will be in his element.
Dog-friendly place to stay: The gorgeous Barn in North Yorkshire is the ideal family cottage, sleeping six and with countryside walks right out of the front door.
3. Lost Gardens of Heligan
Best for: Admiring the beauty of the finest gardens in England
Well behaved dogs are welcome year-round at the stunning Lost Gardens of Heligan. This giant country estate in East Cornwall was genuinely lost to nature after WWII, before being rediscovered in the ‘90s and restored to a paradise of tropical flowers, ancient woodland, English heathland and more. Heligan Tea Room is a superb pitstop for a creamy Cornish tea after you and the pooch have exhausted yourselves in the extensive gardens. Feel free to bring your dog’s water bowl as they’re more than happy to fill it up.
Dog-friendly place to stay: After a day in the outdoors, Crift Farm Cottage is a peaceful haven with a relaxing hot tub, outdoor BBQ and private garden.
4. Windermere Lake Cruises
Location: Lake District
Best for: Lakeside views of the Cumbrian fells
Dog-friendly days out are always better when they include a watery excursion. Windermere Lake Cruises in the Lake District offers dog-friendly cruises for free - and dogs are even presented with their very own ticket. The Lake District is super pet-friendly, so after your trip on the water, head to the villages of Ambleside or Grasmere and grab lunch in one of the many cafes and pubs, which welcome well-behaved pubs.
Dog-friendly place to stay: At the romantic Lake Lodge, you’ll sleep well in the four-poster bed, after a night spent watching the stars from the hot tub.
5. Cotswolds Wildlife Park
Best for: Animal lovers
The Cotswolds Wildlife Park has been dedicated to dogs since their very beginning, when they were the first zoo in the UK to allow responsible dogs within their grounds. You can roam outside freely with Fido, spotting giraffe, tapir, zebra, camel and more - these are all in large enclosures that dogs are not able to enter. Afterwards, explore gorgeous Cotswolds villages and the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Dog-friendly place to stay: Quaint Appin Cottage is a cosy rural retreat with easy access to the Cotswolds villages of Chipping Norton and Burford.
6. Smoo Cave
Location: Scottish Highlands
Best for: Cave systems and Caribbean-esque beaches
For anyone who hasn’t visited the North Coast of Scotland, drop everything and book now. With miles of turquoise waters on dog-friendly beaches that could be taken from a Caribbean island, and scenic drives through the mountain landscape of the Scottish Highlands, this is truly an adventure-lovers paradise. Dramatic Smoo Cave is just one of the highlights - one of the largest sea caves in the UK, your four-legged friend will love sniffing around the cavernous rock pools.
Dog-friendly place to stay: Get away from it all at Cottage in the Highlands, a large family house with wide open views, a library, snug and wood burning fires.
7. Chatsworth House
Location: Peak District
Best for: Visiting an iconic stately home
While your dog may not care about Chatsworth House’s status as a period drama icon, featuring famously as Mr Darcy’s home in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, Fido will surely love exploring the extensive grounds of this Peak District property. Pad through curated sculpture gardens and wild woodland, before seeking post-walkies refreshments at the Carriage House Cafe. Doggy drinking stations are available here too.
Dog-friendly place to stay: With a pretty village location, wooden beams and nearby pub, this Cottage in Derbyshire is fully equipped for a relaxing holiday.
8. Hadrian’s Wall
Best for: Long dog walks along Roman ruins
Roman history comes to life in north of England’s Northumberland, where the majestic Hadrian’s Wall spans 72 miles across the boundary of England and Scotland. You and pooch can discover rare Roman artefacts at some of the renovated historic sites that lie along the wall, from Housesteads Roman Fort to the old Roman town of Corbridge. Take a walk to Sycamore Gap, home to the famous ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’ tree, now on National Trust land.
Dog-friendly place to stay: Beautiful, stone-built Honeystone House is a stunning country house in prime countryside. Sleeping 12, it’s ideal for large families.
9. Seven Sisters Country Park
Location: East Sussex
Best for: Views of the famous chalk cliffs
Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, there’s plenty to attract you and Fido to Seven Sisters Country Park, East Sussex. Spot kingfisher, oystercatcher or swift in the wonderful wildlife habitats (dogs should be kept on leads), or take long coastal walks with magnificent views of the white chalk cliffs. For a romantic break, come in the nighttime where the Dark Sky Reserve reveals a sea of stars.
Dog-friendly place to stay: Under a mile walk from the beach, Cottage in Sussex is well situated for a family stay, and is just a stroll away from the local pub.
10. Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Location: West Yorkshire
Best for: Meandering among fantastic modern art pieces
Image credit: Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Wakefield, in Yorkshire, may be an unlikely destination for a world class art museum, but it is home to some of the UK’s most famous sculptors. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park sprawls across acres of countryside, and a visit is a real treasure hunt, with pieces by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore competing with the spectacular views. Furry friends are welcome on leads and in the outside areas. Round off your visit with tea and cake on the terrace of the park’s restaurant.
Dog-friendly place to stay: A Grade II-listed Georgian home with enormous grounds that sleeps 17, Emley Woodhouse is designed for an ultra-special stay.
11. The Eden Project
Best for: A world-class showcase of the natural world
You may be heading to Cornwall for its wonderful dog-friendly beaches, but visitors should make sure to visit the famous Eden Project before leaving. Plants from across the world - from tropical climates to the dry American Prairies - are all housed in the enormous biomes, and outdoors the gardens are a kaleidoscope of colours. Dogs are only allowed in the outdoor areas so take it in turns with your family to look after the pooch while you explore the biomes.
Dog-friendly place to stay: Sebright is an idyllic wood cabin, with sweeping sea views, an outdoor decking and hot tub - perfect for a romantic break.