Poppy the beagle in the Lakes
Poppy the beagle exploring the Lake District

Five Lake District attractions you can visit with your dog

We’re lucky enough to live in Cumbria’s Lake District. It’s a great place to have adventures with your dog. In fact, part of the reason we moved here was so we could get a dog! It’s a great place for interesting walkies, with plenty of open spaces to explore. However, it’s not just the fells and lakes that you can visit with your pooch. There are plenty of fun attractions and heritage spots you can visit too.

Here’s five we’ve already checked out with Poppy the beagle:

Claife Viewing Station

This wonderful little gem sits on the edge of Lake Windermere. And I’ve put it first on the list because we’ve visited it many times, but also because it’s close to many of the other popular spots in the Lake District. Plus, it’s great to include as part of a longer dog (or human) walk.

If you’re staying in Bowness, then you can jump on the ferry across to Far Sawry and head up to Claife Heights via the viewing station. Or you could pop to the delightful village of Near Sawry or simply take a stroll along the lake shore. If you fancy a longer walk, you can trek over to the lovely village of Hawkshead. The Little Ice Cream Shop in Hawkshead usually does human and dog ice cream, so that’s a win!

The viewing station was built for taking in the Lakeland scenery. It’s recently been restored with steps up to the viewing platform where you can see the landscape through coloured glass. At the bottom of the hill there’s a little dog-friendly cafe with outside seating and doggy drinking bowls!

Claife Viewing Station by Windermere in the Lake District, photo by Michael Schofield on Unsplash
Claife Viewing Station nestled in the trees by Windermere Lake, photo by Michael Schofield on Unsplash

Cathedral Quarry

This is something a bit different, and a great way of seeing some of the industrial heritage of the lakes without too much strain! You generally think of this area as a natural beauty, and in some ways it is. But much of it is characterised by farming, and old mining and quarrying industries too. So, Cathedral Quarry is a great little place to explore. It’s in the beautiful Little Langdale area, which is littered with old quarries. Cathedral Quarry is an atmospheric cavern, hence its name. There’s lots of bits to explore here and plenty of good sniffs too. There is a pool of water inside the cavern, so be careful not to step too close to the edge!

You can visit this old quarry as part of a circular walk from Hodge Close, taking in the nearby Three Shires pub for refreshments. This is a popular route, so you may need to start early to find a parking space during peak times.

Cathedral Quarry Pillar by Philip Male via Wikimedia Commons
Inside the atmospheric the cavern of Cathedral Quarry, photo by Philip Male

Ullswater Steamers and Aira Force

Ullswater is another lovely scenic spot. Here you can combine a day out on the steamers and explore the pretty waterfalls. Ullswater Steamers are the heritage boats that take you across the Ullswater, which is a peaceful lake to spend time on. And yes, you can take your dog. If you get peckish, Pooley Bridge is the idyllic village to stop off for refuelling. We’ve often taken Poppy to Granny Dowbekin’s Tea Room, although she does like to hoover up other people’s cake crumbs.

Close by is the National Trust’s Aira Force. This is another popular tourist attraction, so it can be busy. It’s definitely a good place to take some holiday snaps, especially of the little stone bridge that crosses the falls. But if you want to stretch your legs more and get away from the crowds, there are footpaths that take you further out over the fells. Something your pooch is sure to appreciate.

Poppy the beagle on the Ullswater Steamers, photo by Good Doggy Guide
Poppy the beagle on the Ullswater Steamers, photo by Good Doggy Guide

Lowther Castle

Lowther’s gardens and estate provide a good day out for humans and a ridiculous amount of exploring and sniffing for dogs. Poppy loved it here. Although, she did roll in some cow pats, which we didn’t love so much!

Dogs do need to be kept on leads and you may find the odd little pig running around, so do heed that advice. And they’re not allowed in the adventure playground (for obvious reasons). But there’s loads of meadows and trees to wander through on the estate trail. They often hold events too, so keep an eye out for those.

Good Doggy Guide at Lowther Castle in Cumbria
Poppy chilling outside Lowther Castle during a craft fair and exploring the grounds.

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

If you’re over in the Western Lakes, this little train ride is great for all the family, including your pooch. There is a small charge for dogs, but it’s not much and it’s totally worth it to be able to take your furry friend with you. Poppy loves train rides, almost as much as we do. I think it’s all the smells going by, rather than the scenery though!

The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway train approaches Dalegarth. Photo by Peter Trimming
The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway train approaches Dalegarth. Photo by Peter Trimming

We often go for a walk from Dalegarth Station. There’re plenty of good walks around the local woods and Stanley Ghyll waterfall. Plus, it’s nowhere near as busy as the waterfalls at Aira Force. There’s a lovely little chapel by the river and stepping stones for the brave! And the Boot Inn is a dog-friendly pub that serves up decent meals and local beer. So, it’s another winner for Lake District walkies!

What to take with you on Lake District dog walks

If it’s your first time exploring the Lake District with your dog, then you’re in for a treat! But you will need to be prepared before you head out for the day.

Firstly, please make sure you’ve got a good supply of poo bags. And be prepared to carry your mess. Not every place has handy litter bins, including some car parks and attractions. You could get yourself a bag like this one for carrying the mess.

Secondly, you may need to carry water for your pooch, especially when it’s hot. We have a collapsible drinking bowl, which is fab because it’s small and light. Often you may find a stream or drinking bowls, but it’s not a given. If you’re going to areas with long grass and ferns, I would also take some tick tweezers as between spring and autumn there’s a healthy population lurking in the undergrowth. You can read more about it in this post.

There are lots more places you can take your dog with you on a day out or holiday in the Lake District, and in the wider Cumbrian area. I’ll be adding more of these to Good Doggy Guide over the next few months, which I hope will inspire you to get out and explore with your dog!