London is an exciting and vibrant city that is full of residents, tourists and commuters. There is lots to see, dog-friendly things to do and even more for your dog to smell. It is a special place unlike anywhere else in the world and we absolutely love it. In this post we detail all the things that you can do in Central London.
Let’s be honest, the UK is very dog-friendly but London is a bustling capital city with millions of tourists flocking to its sights every year. So, most of the sights, arts and music venues, and museums and galleries are not dog-friendly. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have an amazing weekend trip to the capital with your pooch. In this post we explore where you can take your dog, what sights you can see with your dog, where you can eat with your dog and where you can take your dog inside.
London is huge (607 square miles!). Greater London is made up of 32 boroughs and the City of London. You could live your whole life in our great capital city and still not see and experience all that it has to offer. So, in this post we focus on two areas: the City of London and Westminster.
Before we go any further, please note that we this planner involves lots of walking in busy areas. While you can find routes and spaces in London that are quieter and less populated, we do not recommend taking any dog to Central London that doesn’t like crowds or noise. If you do visit, you should only do the distances and the routes that are best for you and your dog, and take breaks whenever you or your dog need to. Please remember to pack appropriately for you and your pooch including water and snacks. Speak to your dog’s vet if you have any concerns.
The City of London
The City of London is the historic and business centre of London. This map shows the boundaries of the city itself. This little district (1.12 square miles) was the original City of London that sits on the foundations of the original Romans settlement that was founded in 50 AD. It contains some of the most famous and important parts of historic London, such as St Paul’s Cathedral (built in 604 AD), the Tower of London (started in 1070) and London Bridge (building started in 1176). Today these historic monuments share the ‘City’ with large modern buildings that house the headquarters of many global organisations including financial institutions and law firms.
Dog-friendly things to do
- Visit Tower Bridge (“London’s only major dog-friendly attraction”) and take your pooch inside the towers and over the glass floor!
- Take in the beautiful St Paul’s Cathedral (only assistance dogs are allowed inside)
- Pose for a picture outside the Monument and learn about it’s history (no dogs allowed inside)
- Wander around the walls of the Tower of London (only assistance dogs allowed inside, including those in training), you can include this in a tour or as part of a walk along the riverbank
- Take a picture outside The Bank of England, a beautiful large historic building built in 1734
- Walk over Millennium Bridge
- Walk around the Temple Church perimeter and take in the architecture, the church is closely linked with the Magna Carta
Places to walk your dog
One of the best ways to explore this amazing area is to take a walking tour, many of which are dog-friendly (check before you book as it can be dependent on numbers). You may remember from our previous posts that we recommend tours as a way to spice up your dog walks.
For example, the City of London Council have detailed a number of self-guided walks and tours on their website. Alternatively, you could opt to for other companies offering free walking tours (you should give a tip) that you can do with a guide or self-guided using an app, including the City of London Walking Tour that includes Roman settlements, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Dog-friendly places to eat
Below is a short list of dog-friendly places in the City of London. You don’t have to stay here, London is very well connected with buses and tubes and so you could easily pop to another borough for somewhere to eat.
The City of Westminster, one of the boroughs of London, is the home of British politics. It includes the residences of the Prime Minister and the Royal Family. It’s history is long and, like most of London, complicated. Some parts date back to the times of the Romans but most of what exists today was built from the 11th century onwards (e.g. Westminster Abbey, Palace of Westminster/Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace).
Dog-friendly things to do
Westminster has so many things for you and your dog to see and experience! It is all outside so pick a dry day.
- Take a picture outside the Palace of Westminster (aka Houses of Parliament) and Big Ben
- Walk the perimeter of the spectacular Westminster Abbey
- Take a picture outside the Queen’s residence Buckingham Palace
- Wander down one of the prettiest streets in London – Wardour Street (the entrance to China Town)
- Take a peek at the entrance to 10 downing street (the official residence of the British Prime Minister), well the security gates to the street anyway!
Places to walk your dog
Westminster has some amazing parks for you and your dog to explore:
- Hyde Park – a must see!
- St James’ Park alongside the Mall that leads to Buckingham Palace
- Green Park next to Buckingham Palace
- Take a walk down London’s China Town
- Take a walk along Westminster Bridge
As mentioned above, walking tours are a great way to explore any new place. For example, this Westminster Walking Tour includes St James’ Palace, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster), Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street and the Churchill War Rooms.
Dog-friendly places to eat
Firstly, you must have a drink at the Smith & Whistle, which has its own dog drinks menu! It’s a little pricey.
There are lots of pubs that allows dogs (see the Young’s chain dog-friendly pub list) and coffee café chains (e.g. Nero).
See the section above for links to other lists of dog-friendly places to eat.
Dog-friendly Central London Weekend
Central London is expensive. You should find a dog-friendly base that meets your budget. You can find hotels in all the usual places (e.g. booking.com, tripadvisor, expedia) or rent a property using airbnb. London’s public transport (buses and tube) is far-reaching, reliable, cheap and dog-friendly. You will not get stuck.
Arrive, unpack and explore the area you’re staying in.
Get up early and take a (circa 90 minute) self-guided tour around some of the most exciting sights in the City along the City Visitor Trail. The sights include: St Paul’s Cathedral, The Bank of England, The Monument and Tower Bridge. For the most part you will be exploring the sights from the outside apart from Tower Bridge where you can take your dog inside (you will have to pre-book).
After you’ve seen the sights head towards Soho, via Covent Garden, for lunch. You can stop for a picture on Wardour Street and China Town.
Spend the afternoon wandering around the parks next to Buckingham Palace including Green Park and St James’s Park.
Find somewhere great to have dinner (see dog-friendly places to eat links above).
Take the Westminster Walking Tour (now GPS enabled self-guided version available) that includes Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street, etc.
After you’ve seen everything there is to see, grab some lunch at one of the dog-friendly places to eat nearby.
Spend the rest of the afternoon in Hyde Park exploring all there is to see and do! Let your pooch stretch their legs before the trip home.