Dog-friendly Lake District – Ullswater Lake

Dog-friendly Ullswater Lake

“It is pure and tranquil and relatively unspoilt by the tourism and commercialism that blights many other Lake District towns.”

Ullswater Lake is the deepest and, some say, most beautiful lake in the Lake District. It was formed by a large glacier following the last ice age and is the second largest lake in the Lake District after Windermere. It’s a popular destination for tourists as there is so much to do. In this post we detail some of the best dog-friendly activities in and around Ullswater Lake.

Our trip

We stayed in a beautiful hotel in Watermillock on the edge of Ullswater Lake for a week – we couldn’t go all that way for a weekend! You can read more about our hotel here. Of course we visited lots of places around the Lake District that we will cover in other posts. This post is about all the dog-friendly things to do on and around Ullswater Lake. We had planned to do lots more walking and a mountain or two, but we visited during a heatwave and decided that it was too hot to make Sash walk any real distance.

Day one

Aria Force

Our first day of exploration was a hot one and so we decided to find somewhere with shade for Sash. Aria force is a beautiful National Trust area on the edge of Ullswater Lake with a tall waterfall and lots of interesting walks. The forest trees offer great shade on sunny days, but they also house lots of wildlife (including red squirrels) and so you need to keep your pooch under control.

Aria Force is very popular so avoid peak hours. If you’re driving, check their website before setting out for updated parking availability.

After Aria Force, we headed to Glenridding for lunch. Glenridding has some dog-friendly places to eat, which get booked up very quickly, and a lovely little green with picnic tables where people are able to sit and eat their own food. On the edge of the green over a little bridge is a little shop where you can get nibbles and ice cream. We ate our lunch on the green under the shade of a tree and Sash was able to play with other dogs.

After lunch we headed to Glencoyne Bay – in between Glenridding and Aria Force. Glencoyne Bay is a little stretch of pebble beach on the edge of Ullswater Lake where lots of people sunbathe and swim in the lake. No, Sash did not get in. Instead she stood on each stone she could find to avoid getting in the water.

There is a little car park on the edge of the road and you access the beach the other side of the road and down a little path. There is a walk that you can do from the carpark.

For dinner we headed to Penrith – a bustling town with a lovely Market Square, lots of dog-friendly pubs and restaurants. It can be very busy and so you should book ahead. For a great takeaway check out the Angel Lane fish and chip shop. It’s so popular there’s usually a queue down the street.

Day two

Our second day of exploring was spent on the lake. First up was wake surfing. Apparently, they love dogs but don’t allow dogs on the boat due to the damage a dog’s claws can do to the furniture. But we can be a little persuasive.

Happy Sash

Wake surfing is a sport that involves someone surfing the wake from a boat. They offer this and a number of different water sports on Ullswater Lake. I bought a lesson for my partner and it was an amazing morning!

You can try all sorts of waters ports at one of these places: Wake and Surf, Ullswater Paddleboarding, Ullswater Outdoor Adventures, and many more.

For lunch we headed to a great dog-friendly cafe in a little town on the edge of the lake called Pooley Bridge. Granny Dowbekin’s café offers a wide range of food and a fantastic afternoon tea with scones and cakes. It’s so popular that it’s first come first serve and there is usually a little queue to get in. For the afternoon tea it’s recommended that you call ahead – see their website for further information.

In the afternoon we took Sash rowing on a little boat in the Lake. St Patrick’s boat landing is dog-friendly and you can hire a little rowing boat for about £15.

Sash, being the water-hating dog that she is, is perfect on boats as she does everything that she can to avoid the water! We saw other dogs jumping out of boats and swimming alongside their owners. Everyone having fun. Again, highly recommended!

Dog-friendly things to do

There’s so much to do with your dog on and around Ullswater Lake:

Dog-friendly places to eat

You can find lots of sites detailing dog-friendly places to eat. Remember to check before you travel as the pandemic has been unkind to many eateries. From our trip we can recommend:

Dog-friendly accommodation

We stayed at the beautiful MacDonald Leeming House Hotel, which we highly recommend – see more here. There are lots of dog-friendly places to stay. You can find them on all the normal sites including TripAdvisor,, pet-friendly Ullswater and Dog-friendly Lakes.

Fancy a bit more?

We haven’t begun to cover all that the Lake District has to offer – it is a very big national park!

To mix it up a bit, why not:

  • Add more lakes – according to Wikipedia there are 33 to choose from!
  • Add some castles – there are some fantastic castles in the Lake District, this post includes the top 6.
  • Add some mountain hikes – this post describes the top 10 to climb.

3 thoughts on “Dog-friendly Lake District – Ullswater Lake

  1. You just cannot beat a good waterfall to start off any adventure. It makes me laugh at the lengths that Sash will go to avoid water. Jack was the same way until he realized how much fun it was. I wonder what she was thinking watching your partner wake riding?

    1. It was stunning! She cried each time he fell in, which was a lot!!! I am going to re-read your post about getting dogs to like water as Sash needs so encouragement!

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