Best dog walks in the Lake District - See our Top 5 Picks

Best dog walks in the Lake District - See our Top 5 Picks

If you’re looking for a UK cottage holiday that you can enjoy with your dog, you can’t go far wrong with the Lake District. In fact, the Kennel Club awarded the area it’s top prize in the Outdoors category of the 'Be Dog Friendly Awards' for two years in a row!

Of course, the thing which makes the Lake District special is the stunning countryside and landscapes, which make for some of the best walks in the world! From flawless lakes to towering mountain ranges, there’s no end to what you and your pet can discover. To get you and your furry friend started on your adventures, we’ve picked out five of our favourite walks in the lake district with dogs.

Our Hand picked dog walks in the lake district

A hiker and their dog in Grizedale Forest as the sun sets

Grizedale Forest

  • Between 1 - 10 miles
  • Up to 4 hours
  • Postcode: LA22 0QJ

Nestled between Coniston and Windermere, Grizedale forest has plenty to offer you and your four-legged friend, with plenty of woodland trails, lakes and mountains to explore, not to mention the many beautiful sculptures and views to sniff out! The forest has 10 walking trails, as well as a café and picnic areas for everyone to sit down and refuel after their adventures. The signposted walking routes span between 1 and 10 miles, so whether you and your dog are novice walkers or hardened experts, you’ll find something to suit you both.

Find more information here.

Lowther Castle & Gardens

  • Between 1 - 7 miles
  • Up to 3 hours
  • Postcode: CA10 2HH

Lowther Castle and grounds has something for everyone in the family – whether they have two legs or four! With plenty of beautiful gardens and grounds to explore, it’s an easy task to while away the hours exploring the many paths and trails of the estate. From dramatic ruins, gardens within gardens, unspoilt woodland and the biggest adventure playground you’ve ever seen – you’ll be surprised at just what you can find! The grounds are open throughout the year, from 10am to 4pm in winter and 10am to 5pm in summer. You can find entry fees and additional information here.

Please note that dogs must be kept on their leads throughout the gardens and grounds.

A panoramic view of Lowther Castle

Circular Dog Walks in the Lake District

Aira Force and Ullswater

  • 4.5 miles
  • 1.5 - 3 hours
  • Postcode: CA11 0JY

The dramatic scenery and relative underdevelopment around Ullswater give it an idyllic, secluded feel – the perfect place for a doggy adventure! Here you’ll find the spectacular Aira Force; an impressive 65-foot waterfall that’s wowed visitors for centuries.

The Aira Force Waterfall in the Lake District

Throughout the area, you and your canine companion will have your choice of beautiful walking trails, from genteel strolls to adventurous treks, winding their way from the shore of Ullswater all the way up to Gowbarrow summit. The site is looked after by the National Trust, who welcome dogs on leads throughout the year. There are also water bowls in the car park and tea rooms, so that everyone can get some much-needed refreshment on their return!   

Find the routes here.

Rydal Water

  • 5.5 miles
  • 2.5 hours
  • Postcode: LA22 9LW

This is an easy but beautiful circular walk around Rydal Water, where you and your dog can enjoy the fresh air, thick greenery and even discover several caves along the way! Once you’ve taken in the lakeside views, the route takes you into Grasmere itself. Here you and pup can make the most of a rest and a pick-me-up in one of the dog-friendly cafes or pubs!

There’s also the option of extending the way by starting in Ambleside and taking in Loughrigg Tarn and Grasmere as well as Rydal Water. There are some stunning views across the Lakeland and some very pretty landscapes, including Lily Tarn.

Find the route here

Watendlath Valley

  • 2.5 miles
  • 1.5 hours
  • Postcode: CA12 5UU

A dog paddles in Watendlath Tarn

The tiny hamlet of Watendlath is owned by the National Trust. To reach it, you and your dog can enjoy a two and a half mile walk along a narrow, walled lane, which twists its way along a hidden valley to the village.  Park your car in the car parks at Surprise View, and enjoy the stroll. You can also explore the packhorse trails, which will take you up the valley slopes, with its rocky outcrops, woodlands and medieval farmed landscape.

For the return journey, you and your pup can take the footpath on the other side of the river, although sturdy footwear is required! Return to Keswick and choose a table in one of the dog-friendly cafes for tea, cake and people-watching.

Find more information here.


And these are just the start! The Lake District is brimming with hidden and not-so-hidden gems… it’s just a question of stepping out the door and see what you can find!

Some things to remember…

Much of the land in the Lake District is used for grazing and farming, so dogs need to kept to heel and under control. There are also ground-nesting birds at certain times of year, such as curlaw, lapwing and grouse.

Local signs will tell you the requirements in individual areas, but in Open Access land dogs must be kept on short leads from March 1 to July 31, and all year round near sheep and cows. Close supervision is required on public rights of way.

A dog looking out over the Lake District

Our collection of dog-friendly cottages are perfect for discovering everything the local area has to offer, and offer a cosy home-from-home to rest your tired feet (or paws) at the end of a long day. You can also check other dog-friendly walks such as our hand-picked best dog walks in Devon.

Explore our dog-friendly properties in the Lake District.

Which? Recommended Provider for UK Holiday Cottages May 2024


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