Dog-friendly Lake District Weekend Planner

Dog-friendly Lake District Weekend Planner

I am very excited to say that we are planning a dog-friendly visit to the Lake District this year. I say planning because who knows what’s going to happen with the pandemic! To help plan this trip we sought recommendations from friends who regularly visit the area. In this post you will find information about the main areas of the Lake District and a schedule for the best dog-friendly weekend trip. Make sure that you share this post with friends on Pinterest and subscribe for all future posts!

About the Lake District

The Lake District is the most visited national park in the UK. William Wordsworth said that it is “sort of national property in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy”. The area is known for having the highest mountain in England, spectacular scenery and stunning starry skies (thanks to the lack of light pollution).

There are numerous cities, towns and villages in and around the Lake District National Park that are worth exploring. Too many to cover in a weekend and this post! Below the map you can find a list of the towns and villages highlighted by the more official tourist sites.

The Lake District is an attraction itself and you could spend weeks enjoying all that it has to offer. Our aim is to detail dog-friendly weekends, but you could take our activity-packed weekend itineraries and spread them out over a long-weekend or a week. It is also a great stop on a long-drive/road trip to Scotland. We stopped here briefly on our way to Edinburgh and later Inverness and the Isle of Skye.

Take care of your dog

Before we go any further, please note that we recommend some long walks (over 10 miles) involving some hills and off-lead running opportunities for your pooch. 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. Make sure that you check local guidance if attempting any hiking in the fells – Safety | Lake District & Cumbria | Fells | Coast | Lakes (visitcumbria.com).

We are big fans of AllTrails where you will be able to find lots of different routes in most of the places that we cover below. 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.

Dog-friendly Lake District Rambling Weekends

These weekend trips (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) exclude cities, as they’re usually worth a full visit, and include places within one hour’s drive of the base. We will recommend dog-friendly places to eat, but please remember that this is a difficult time for the hospitality industry and so we cannot promise that these places will still be open once the restrictions are lifted. Double check before you travel. 

Choosing a base

A base is the place where you stay. Of course you could travel and stay in different places, but I find that using one base for both nights saves time with backing and unpacking. Plus it’s more settling for your dog. While we usually prefer a base that has some hustle and bustle, in this post we will use the major lakes as the base. It is why people visit after all.

The largest lakes are:

  1. Windermere (5.75 sq. miles)
  2. Ullswater (3.5 sq. miles)
  3. Derwentwater (2 sq. miles)

Our trip

Dog-friendly Lake District Weekend Plan 1

Base

Watermillock – Peaceful village on the edge of the beautiful Ullswater Lake.

Included locations

Following the recommendations of our Lake District loving friends, we will be visiting Windermere, Grasmere, Ambleside, Langdale, Rydal and Kewsick.

Friday

Arrive, unpack and explore Watermillock. Despite what we said in the ‘choosing a base’ section, we have chosen to stay at a dog-friendly hotel in the quiet and peaceful village of Watermillock that sits on the edge of Ullswater Lake. On this trip we want to truly escape and relax.

Saturday

Have breakfast at your hotel/accommodation and drive to Grasmere (Stock Lane car park) for a 7.9 mile walk around Grasmere and Rydal. Including the two of William Wordsworth’s houses. Or an alternative 5.4 mile circular walk between Grasmere & Rydal.

Next, drive to Ambleside for lunch – try one of these dog-friendly eateries.

After lunch, drive to Langdale for a leisurely stroll around the beautiful valley. “…the loveliest rock scenery, chased with silver waterfalls, that I ever set foot or heart upon” (John Ruskin)

When ready, drive to Windermere for a sun set dinner abroad an evening lake cruise (75 minutes in duration). If you have spare time before the cruise, check out Tarn Hows and Coniston.

Sunday

Get up early and drive to Keswick. Take the Keswick Launch to Hawks End to walk up the Cat Bells. This post has some great guidance: “If you get a hop-on-hop-off walker’s ticket, then you can get the launch to your start point at Hawes End. This is the most walked route up Cat Bells, and then head down to re-join the boat at High Brandel how and enjoy the boat trip around Derwent water and back to Keswick.”

Although some say that Skiddaw has the most beautiful views and so you could decide to hike that instead.

When ready, drive home!

Dog-friendly Lake District Trip 2

Dog-friendly Lake District Weekend Plan 2

Base

Ambleside – Bustling town on the edge of Lake Windermere (the largest natural lake in England!)

Included locations

Bowness-on-Windermere, Grasmere & Rydal, Troutbeck and Windermere Village

Friday

Arrive, unpack and explore Ambleside. Depending on the time that you arrive, try and visit Wray Castle before settling down for dinner in one of Ambleside’s dog-friendly eateries.

Saturday

Get up early and drive to Bowness-on-Windermere, via Troutbeck, for breakfast. From here find the start of this trail. This 11.9 mile route involves a cruise, walking and opportunities to stop and explore around Lake Windermere. We recommend that you take your time and find somewhere to stop for lunch along the route. 

When ready, drive to Windermere for a sun set dinner abroad an evening lake cruise (75 minutes in duration). If you have spare time before the cruise, check out Tarn Hows and Coniston.

Sunday

Have breakfast at your hotel/accommodation and drive to Grasmere (Stock Lane car park) for a 7.9 mile walk around Grasmere and Rydal. Including the two of William Wordsworth’s houses. Or an alternative 5.4 mile circular walk between Grasmere & Rydal.

When ready, drive home.

Dog-friendly Lake District Trip 3

Dog-friendly Lake District Weekend Plan 3

Base

Glenridding –  a town on the edge of Ullswater Lake (the ‘most beautiful lake in England‘)

Included locations

Patterdale, Lowther and Pooley Bridge. 

Friday

Arrive, unpack and explore Glenridding. This town is popular with hikers attempting the third largest mountain in England.

Saturday

Have breakfast at your hotel/accommodation and find the start of this 13.1 mile walk around the bottom part of Ullswater Lake (including Patterdale) and use the Steamer Pier Boat to return to Glenridding. If this is too far for you and your pooch, you can take a number of other routes available from this spot. For example, this route has some gorgeous sites. 

Sunday

Have breakfast at your hotel/accommodation and drive to Pooley Bridge. Walk from Pooley to Lowther Castle using the first section of this route. Spend the morning exploring Lowther Castle (dogs must be kept on leads at all times) and then walk back. You can, if you want, continue to do more of the walk, but it’s likely that you and your dog are tired after the 13.1 mile walk on Saturday.

When ready, drive home.

Dog-friendly Lake District Trip 4

Dog-friendly Lake District Weekend Plan 4

Base

Keswick –  a vibrant town on the edge of Derwentwater Lake

Included locations

Keswick, Derwentwater Lake, Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw

Friday

Arrive, unpack and explore Keswick. Keswick has a number of dog-friendly attractions and places to eat.

Saturday

Get up early and take the Keswick Launch to Hawks End to walk up the Cat Bells. This post has some great guidance: “If you get a hop-on-hop-off walker’s ticket, then you can get the launch to your start point at Hawes End. This is the most walked route up Cat Bells, and then head down to re-join the boat at High Brandel how and enjoy the boat trip around Derwent water and back to Keswick.

Sunday

Get up early, and drive to Moot Hall in Keswick. Then follow this 10-mile route to the top of Skiddaw for, reportedly, the most beautiful views in the Lake District. You should be able to see both Bassenthwaite and Derwent Lakes.

This is a big hike. You could instead decide to visit Bassenthwaite Lake and do this 6.9 mile route.

When ready, drive home.

Fancy a bit more?

Add more lakes

According to Wikipedia there are 33 to choose from!

Add more castles

There are some fantastic castles in the Lake District, this post includes the top 6.

Add more mountains

This post describes the top 10 to climb.

Click here for the names of towns, villages and hamlets in the Lake District National Park
lakedistrict.com visitcumbria.com visitlakedistrict.comPossible WalksMain attractions
AmblesideAmblesideAmbleside Lots including the bustling town itself, photographic Bridge House, and the Windermere lake ferry 
 Applethwaite Explore Skiddaw | AllTrailsStarting point for a walk up Skiddaw
 Bampton  Tinklar Library full of Latin books
BassenthwaiteBassenthwaiteBassenthwaiteExplore The Osprey Viewpoint and Bassenthwaite Lake | AllTrailsBassenthwaite Lake
 Boot  Eskdale valley and the Dalegarth terminus of the Ravenglass to Eskdale Railway
 Bootle  Smallest Market Town in England and Church of St Michael and All Angels
Bowness on windermereBowness-on-WindermereWindermere & BownessBowness-on-Windermere Circular – Cumbria, England | AllTrailsThe most popular tourist destination with lots of water sports, shops and hotels
 Braithwaite   The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden
Broughton in furnessBroughton-in-Furness Explore Broughton in Furness – Broughton Mills | AllTrailsThe Georgian market square and town 
ButtermereButtermere Village Lots of options – just search Buttermere, CumbriaClose to Buttermere and Crummock Water Lakes
CaldbeckCaldbeck Explore Caldbeck Fells Circular Route | AllTrails – this is a 20.5 mile route and so not recommended, but good to use as a starting point. Great walks and pretty houses
 Calder Bridge  Calder Abbey House, Pelham House, and Sella Park
ConistonConistonConistonExplore Old Man of Coniston via Goats Water and Brim Fell | AllTrailsGreat walks and water sports
 Crackenthorpe  Crackenthorpe Hall 
 Ennerdale Bridge  Pretty village
EskdaleEskdale Green Explore Eskdale Ramble and Dalegarth Waterfalls Circular Walk | AllTrailsWalks in the Eskdale Valley
GlenriddingGlenridding Lots of options – just search Glenridding, CumbriaUllswater Lake and the Steamer boats
GosforthGosforth Explore Gosforth and Wasdale Circular | AllTrailsEskdale and Wasdale valleys
 Grange-in-Borrowdale  17th century double arched bridge over the river Derwent
GrasmereGrasmereGrasmere & RydalExplore Wordsworth’s Grasmere and Rydal | AllTrailsThe home of William Wordsworth
Greenodd   Woodlands
Grizedale  Explore Grizedale and Carron Crag | AllTrailsGrizedale forrest 
HawksheadHawksheadHawksheadExplore Hawkshead to Wray Castle | AllTrailsThe town itself and Hawkshead Court
 Hesket Newmarket  Pretty village
KeswickKeswickKeswickLots of options – just search Keswick, CumbriaKeswick Town, the Catbells, Skiddaw, Derentwater Lake and Latrigg mountain 
Langdale LangdaleLots of options – just search Langdale, CumbriaPicturesque villages in a spectacular valley and Lingmoor Fell
LortonLorton  Beautiful valley 
LoweswaterLoweswater Explore Loweswater Circular | AllTrailsAward-winning brewery
 Lowther Explore Lowther Castle Circular | AllTrailsLowether Castle and gardens
 Mungrisdale Explore Mungrisdale Round | AllTrailsCeltic fort remains on Carrock Fell
 Near & Far Sawrey Explore Near Sawrey and Windermere | AllTrailsBeatrix Potter’s farmhouse Hilltop and Lake Windermere
 Nether Wasdale Explore Nether Wasdale and Wastwater | AllTrailsVillage itself
Newby bridgeNewby Bridge  1651 five-arched bridge
 Patterdale Explore Ullswater Circular Route | AllTrailsUllswater Lake
Pooley bridgePooley Bridge Explore Pooley Bridge and Arthur’s Pike Circular | AllTrailsUllswater Lake
RavenglassRavenglass Explore Muncaster Fell and Ravenglass | AllTrailsRavenglass and Eskdale Railway, and Muncastle Castle
 Rydal Explore Wordsworth’s Grasmere and Rydal | AllTrailsRydal Water
Staveley  Explore Staveley to Ings | AllTrailsVillage itself
ThrelkeldThrelkeld Explore Threlkeld and Cumbrian Way Circular | AllTrailsThe Horse and Farrier Inn
 Thursby  St Andrews Church
 Troutbeck Explore Wansfell from Troutbeck | AllTrailsBeatrix Potter property
Ullswater UllswaterExplore Ullswater Shore Walk | AllTrailsEnglands most beautiful lake’
 Waberthwaite  Muncaster Castle & Gardens | Lake District Attraction | Family Days Out Cumbria
 Watermillock  Ullswater Lake
WindermereWindermere VillageWindermere & BownessExplore Bowness on Windermere Circular | AllTrailsWindermere Lake

4 thoughts on “Dog-friendly Lake District Weekend Planner

  1. I would love to check out that National Park, I had never heard of it before. I’m surprised Sash can handle 8-10 mile hikes, Scarlett is usually exhausted when she hits the 4-5 mile mark. She’ll get grumpy and feel stiff if we’re out past that point. I give her a good massage after her hikes, but she’s always been like that since she was little.

    1. Lucky Scarlett getting a massage!

      Sash used to walk these distances no problem, but is definitely getting more tired in her old age. She can walk 4-5 miles, but then needs to stop. So now we amble a long, take our time, have lots of breaks (picnics are great) and choose the easier routes.

      My friend and her sprocker spaniel would have no problem on the longer ones. You have to do what’s right for you and your pooch.

      1. This is one of places I would love to visit! I am a huge fan of Beatrix Potter and as an artist I love Derwent products.Smudge would have a wonderful
        time greeting every person he could and get as much attention from children as he could. Debra and Dave Rixson of the Footloose video series have one set in the Lake District that would helpful in giving people a good visual of the topography, too. Thank you for this lovely post!

Leave a Reply