Natalie French

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Looking to holiday with your hound? Head to England’s largest National Park, The Lake District. This World Heritage Site offers endless walks, soaring mountains and breath-taking views. What’s more, the region has earned a reputation for its incredible welcome towards dogs and their owners. After a day spent romping in the fells, you can retreat to one of the (many) dog-friendly pubs-with-rooms or lakeside hotels.

Set on the south-side of Lake Windermere – the largest natural lake in England – The Lakeside Hotel & Spa offer a dog-friendly escape with style. Think: charming bedrooms, super fresh local produce and breath-taking lake views. Dogs will love exploring the ancient Great Knott Wood: over 100 acres of woodland, much of which has been planted with non-native conifers. After a day of roaming the fells, humans can escape to the light-filled 17-m pool and contemporary spa garden with firepit. Your furry friends can dine with you in the bar area and stay with you in one of the garden rooms on the ground floor.

A popular haunt with walkers – with or without dogs – The Coniston Inn is located on a stretch of the five-mile-long shores of Coniston Water. The Old Man of Coniston (one of the most popular walks in the Lake District) looms over the Western shores. The Coniston itself has a rich history, having been a hotel for over 100 years. In its early days, Victorian artist, John Ruskin was a regular, as was his friend Charles Darwin. There are designated bedrooms for those travelling with dogs and the cosy pub – with its hand pulled house and guest ales – welcomes furry companions. 

Dogs will love escaping to Cragwood Country House Hotel. Set in 20-secluded-acres of landscaped gardens and woodlands, woofers have their own playground. There’s even a drying room to store muddy wellies. Humans can enjoy the charming private house with plenty of original features – including an oak-panelled hall and lounge. Lake Windermere is on your doorstep but if you fancy venturing further afield grab a map from reception for walks to Wansfell or Troutbeck. Call ahead if you want your dog to join you for dinner in the bar or one of the cosy lounges. Or if they’re happy napping in the room you can try out the 2 AA restaurant. We recommend afternoon tea on terrace and get acquainted with the G&T menu, with over 60 gins to sample. 

The Ambleside Inn has been welcoming visitors for almost 300 years. As its name suggests, the Inn is located in the heart of the town of Ambleside, close to lots of restaurants and bars and just a 15-minute stroll to Lake Windermere. Well-behaved hounds are welcome to stay in dog friendly rooms and the Inn has a pet-friendly area, complete with complimentary treats and fresh water, while you whet the whistle with a choice of real ales from local breweries.  

Set in over an acre of private grounds, with its own jetty overlooking Lake Windermere, this idyllic inn will be loved by dogs. Direct access to the shore means morning walkies soak up the breath-taking scenery. Stretch the legs with the 6-mile undulating loop from Ambleside to Loughrigg Fell – taking in the stunning views of Windermere and Rydal Water; the latter, a small but popular lake, is home to ‘Wordsworth Seat’ – reputedly the poets favourite viewpoint. Delicious pub grub is served all day and dogs are welcome inside both the dining and bar areas so you can properly relax together. 

In a beautiful corner of Cumbria you’ll find The Angel Inn at Bowness-on-Windermere. Surrounded by stunning fell and lake walks it’s a dreamy location for dogs and just under a mile from Lake Windermere. The large pub garden is always a hit with views over the lake, Claife Heights and the Langdale Pikes and beyond. Expect dog friendly rooms, cosy real fires and a warm welcome. 

Originally built in 1823, Regency-styled Rothay Manor is just a stone’s throw from Lake Windermere and makes a great base for exploring the Lakes. Set in 2-acres of pretty landscaped gardens, there’s plenty of space for you and your hound to explore. All guests have full, free access to the Ambleside Salutation Health Club & Spa – complete with indoor pool, sauna and Canadian hot tub in the serenity garden. Dogs can dine with you in the Brathay Lounge or, if they are happy to relax in the room, you can treat yourself to a taste of Cumbria at the 3AA Rosette restaurant. 

The newly-renovated Temperance Inn can be found in the bustling town of Ambleside – an ideal spot for romping around the fells or taking a dog-friendly water cruise. Dogs get a free pass here; the Inn prides itself on offering dog-friendly rooms and the bar and restaurant are also open to four-legged guests. You’ll find freshwater bowls conveniently dotted around and there’s an outdoor shower for washing off mud-clad mutts. There’s even spare leads and pet bowls behind the bar. Post-walk, the dog-friendly pub has plenty of nooks and crannies, upcycled furniture and a flickering fire for you both to kick back and try the local nectar or a signature cocktail. 

Located close to the market towns of Cockermouth and Keswick, the newly-refurbished Pheasant Inn has an incredible setting, just a short stroll from Bassenthwaite Lake. The 17th-century coaching inn is a perfect stopover for you and the hound to explore the Lake District. Dog-friendly walks and trails are abundant here and keep an eye peeled for a pair of wild Ospreys which have nested beside the lake for two decades. Back at The Pheasant, dogs are welcome to stay and join you as you while you dine. 

Expect zoomies a plenty on this secluded twenty-acre estate of beautifully landscaped gardens, woodlands and meadow with an elevated position over Lake Windermere. Harking back to 1812, the hotel has a rich historical charm with many original features lovingly restored. Foodies will love it here; get stuck into the seven-course tasting menu in The Arboreal. You can expect lots of delicious local Lake District produce, too, including – tender Herwick lamb, spicy Cumberland sausage, freshly caught trout, Morecambe Bay potted shrimps, local asparagus and Cumbrian cheese. Furry friends are welcome to join you in the relaxed lounges.