16 November 2016 13:06
Absolute Escapes' favourite pet friendly attractions for your visit to the Lakes.
Let’s face it, your dog’s a part of your family. And it would be cruel to leave a family member out of your holiday plans (moody teenagers aside, only joking!).
Fortunately, you have plenty of options if you’re looking to take your pet with you. But there’s nowhere better than the rolling hills and sumptuous countryside of the Lake District.
In fact, it’s so good for dogs it regularly picks up prizes at the Be Dog Friendly Awards. In 2015, Lake District gem and picturesque market town, Keswick received the most dog friendly town or city award. The Lake District itself picked up the Great Outdoors award. Voters called it “A great place to take your dog on holiday” with “all the space you could ask for”.
The Be Dog Friendly Awards are voted for by the dog-owning public. So you can be sure they know what they’re talking about.
Despite the Lakes being such a good place for dogs, it’s not always clear which attractions are pet friendly. Even then, there’s so much to do. How do you make the most of your time?
With our help, of course. We’ve lovingly put together a short list of our favourite dog friendly attractions the Lake District has to offer.
Ullswater is often called England’s most beautiful lake. It’s difficult to argue with that statement once you see it. Ullswater is a ribbon lake, framed by fells and forest. On the west shore of the lake you can even see the very daffodils that inspired Wordsworth.
On an Ullswater Steamer you get to take in all the scenery from the lake itself. You’ll see breathtaking Helvellyn looming over the lake’s South-western edge. And so will your pooch!
Whether you’re after something quick, or a more extensive tour of the lake, you’re covered. Steamer rides vary from 20 minutes to 140. You can also get off at any of the stops en route. If you so choose you can explore the quaint settlements of Glenridding, Howtown and Pooley Bridge. As of 2015, you’re also able to depart the steamer at Aira Force and take in the enchanting waterfall up close.
You'll be able to get your dog onto an Ullswater Steamer for a small charge on top of your own ticket.
This 7-mile rail journey lets you step back in time. It’s one of the UK’s oldest and longest narrow gauge railways. La’al Ratty - old Cumbrian for ‘little railway’ - takes you via steam train to the heart of the Lakes. It stretches from Ravenglass, the Lake District’s only coastal town, to Dalegarth. Leaving you a stone’s throw away from Scafell Pike.
As well as taking you to the foot of England’s highest mountains, you’re placed just round the corner from Wast Water. In 2007 an ITV programme named the lake ‘Britain’s Favourite View’.. The 40 minute journey also takes you through the striking forests and fells of the Eskdale Valley. So you have plenty of time to appreciate the scenery. And keep an eye out for red squirrels, buzzards and other exciting wildlife.
There are seven stops en route from Ravenglass to Dalegarth. You can get off wherever you choose to explore at your own pace. Your four-legged friend can join you on board the steam train for just £1.50. They’ll also be greeted with a Welcome Dog Treat Bag when they arrive at the ticket office.
The 24km² expanse of Grizedale Forest allows you and your beloved pet to take in the outdoors and some culture at the same time. Unlike most forests, Grizedale is populated with sculptures as well as trees.
Since 1977 international artists have been making sculptures to place among the trees. New pieces are added regularly and the forest boasts around 40 sculptures at any one time.
As well as artwork to appreciate, there are miles and miles of walks for you and your dog to enjoy. There’s also a dog friendly cafe for a bit of rest and refreshment.
The Lakeland Motor Museum at Newby Bridge boasts 30,000 exhibits and 140 classic cars and motorbikes. You can immerse yourself in history with detailed scenes from WWII, America’s Prohibition era and more.
There are nods to the Lake District’s history too. An exhibit dedicated to Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell charts their land and water speed records, including the tragic attempt on Coniston water.
Your dog’s free to come along and absorb some motoring history too. For free. They’re not permitted into the museum’s cafe. Though there is an outside seating area they can use.
Scenery in the Lake District is dramatic. Surrounded by England’s highest mountains and ancient forests, you’re bound to feel like you’re on an adventure in a near-mythical place. So why not do something adventurous to match the setting?
West Lakes Adventure, in the Eskdale Valley - near Wast Water, provides a unique opportunity. You can take part in rock climbing, archery, ghyll scrambling and much more. But what sets it apart from other activity providers is the fact that you can do many of these with your dog too.
The team at West Lakes Adventure are accompanied by Patterdale Terrier, Buddy. So they understand the importance of involving the whole family. Maybe most exciting of all, with the safety of a buoyancy aid, you can actually canoe with your dog!
Of course there are many other dog friendly attractions in the Lakes. These are just some of our favourites.
If you’ve been to any of them, we’d love to hear what you (and your pooch) thought. If you feel we've missed something out that really needs to be on the list; let us know in the comments.
Shirley Thomson is the owner and director of Absolute Escapes Lettings and has been for over ten years. Her passion is for the Lake District, so she established Absolute Escapes to offer a personal service to those wanting to stay in the Lakes. She deals with every part of the business herself from finding cottages and managing bookings. If you’re looking for a Lake District cottage or an Eden Valley cottage, Shirley’s the woman for you.