Dog-Friendly Manchester: Visiting Manchester with a Dog

Once an industrial powerhouse in northwestern England, in recent years Manchester has been better known for its football and music scene. Find out more about visiting this city with your dog, from what to do with your pup to catching public transport.

Dog-Friendly Manchester

Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Manchester

Manchester is home to many free museums, perfect for spending your days visiting the city when the weather is cold or rainy. With these museums off-limits to pet dogs, it’s necessary to be more creative to find fun dog-friendly things to do around Manchester…

#1 Take a Free Walking Tour

Like many cities throughout the world, Manchester is home to free walking tours, where you just provide a donation at the end of the tour in line with your appreciation of the tour and your budget.

While not all walking tours allow pet dogs on them, the Free Manchester Walking Tours are very welcoming, with dogs more than welcome, as well as people of all ages and abilities. The 3-hour tours run daily starting at 11am. See the website for meeting details.

If you’ve never been to Manchester before, a walking tour is a great way to explore the city and get your bearings.

#2 Explore Historic Castlefield

Manchester is a patchwork of new and old, and one of the most interesting areas I explored on my most recent visit to Manchester was Castlefield, a conservation area located in the southwest of the city centre.

Castlefield is full of history. The area is home to the oldest surviving passenger railway station in the world, the Liverpool Road Railway Station. The station is now part of the Science and Industry Museum (off limits to dogs), although the exterior is visible from the street.

Canals in Manchester
New and old at Castlefield Basin

As well as railway lines, the area is criss-crossed with canals. The terminus of the Bridgewater Canal, the world’s first industrial canal, is located here. Head down to the Castlefield Basin to view both historic remains and modern canal boats. Take your time following the canals.

The oldest remains in the area though date back to the Roman era. I was surprised to find a partially rebuilt Roman fort and fort walls in the area. It was here that the Roman Fort called Mamucium, the source of the name Manchester, was built. It’s free to wander around the remains and read the various signs, with your dog by your side.

Roman Fort Reconstruction Manchester
The partially rebuilt Roman Fort in Castlefield

Unfortunately, the Castlefield Viaduct just above, recently reopened as a “sky garden” with tours run by the National Trust, is only accessible to assistance animals.

#3 Go Shopping at Afflecks

On the opposite side of the Manchester is the Northern Quarter, known for its independent shops, quirky bars and street art. One of the best places to go shopping here with your dog is Afflecks.

Afflecks Manchester
Street art on the exterior of Afflecks

Dating back to the early 1980s, this indoor marketplace taking up a whole city block is home to over 60 independent shops, mainly alternative clothing boutiques, record stores and retro homeware stores, as well as cafes. Best of all, well-behaved dogs with responsible owners are welcome inside – they “woof” dogs!

Inside Afflecks Manchester
The maze of shops inside Afflecks

It’s a great spot to go shopping with your dog by your side (unlike the Arndale Shopping Centre), especially when the weather is otherwise wet or gloomy outside.

#4 Enjoy a Meal at Mackie Mayor

The Northern Quarter is also home to Mackie Mayor, a delightful food hall located in a heritage listed former market building. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to late, it’s the perfect spot to head to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner, or just a coffee or a beer.

Dogs are welcome to join you inside Mackie Mayor at the large communal tables. It’s also child friendly with a play area. I also love the many skylights that fill the space with light, even when it’s overcast outside.

Mackie Mayor Food Hall Manchester
Inside the dog-friendly Mackie Mayor

Choose from the multiple vendors that operate inside, including Honest Crust Pizza, Pico’s Tacos and Eagle Street Coffee. Tucked away in an alcove is Jack in the Box, a terrific bar serving up Blackjack Beers and a range of other craft beers, including several hand pumped real ales.

Craft Beer in Mackie Mayor Manchester
Jack in the Box inside Mackie Mayor

#5 Explore Heaton Park

It’s just a short Metrolink tram ride north of the Manchester City Centre to the edge of Heaton Park, a sprawling green park that is also home to the historic Heaton Hall.

The biggest park in Greater Manchester, in fact the largest municipal park in Europe, there’s no shortage of paths and green fields to explore with your dog by your side, whether past the ornamental lake or through rows of cherry blossom trees.

Dog at Heaton Park
Enjoy a walk with your dog at Heaton Park

This three mile long sightseeing walk covers most of the key landmarks of the park, including the Grade I listed neoclassical Heaton Hall at its centre, that was built in the 18th century. Dogs are allowed off-leash throughout most of the park, although they need to be leashed around the cafes and are not permitted inside the Animal Centre.

Heaton Hall Manchester
Don’t miss viewing the historic Heaton Hall

The park is also home to the Heaton Park Tramway, that operates vintage tram rides inside the park with very reasonable ticket prices. Well-behaved dogs are allowed to join you on the lower deck of the tramcars for free. Check the website for the latest operational details – in 2024 the tramway will be relaunching on 15th June.

#6 Go Tenpin Bowling

Now, one dog-friendly attraction I never thought I’d come across is a dog-friendly tenpin bowling alley. However, the suitably named Dog Bowl near Oxford Road Station allows dogs inside, as long as dogs stay leashed at all times. Dog water bowls are even provided on request.

Carefully consider whether your dog would find the noise and lights of a tenpin bowling alley a comfortable environment. An over 18s policy applies after 7pm, so perhaps also visit during the quieter daytime opening hours with your pup. There’s also food courtesy of Smash and Dash, a cocktail bar and arcade machines.

#7 Go Hiking in the Peak District

Manchester is just a short drive or train ride from the Peak District National Park, so one of the best dog-friendly day trips from Manchester is enjoying a hike with your dog in the Peak District.

Dog-Friendly Peak District
Go hiking in the Peak District with your dog

There are countless hikes to choose from to explore the area’s valleys, ridges and moorlands. If you’re heading to the area by train, this list of walks starting from train stations is a great starting point.

I took a train from Manchester Piccadilly to Edale Station, just a 40 minute trip that runs every hour. If you’re taking multiple trains or buses, consider purchasing a Wayfarer ticket. I then hiked up to Mam Tor from Edale, following this route. Edale is also starting point of the 268 mile long Pennine Way.

Mam Tor with Dog in Mist
A misty day on top of Mam Tor

Note that the national park requests that dogs are kept on a short lead at all times (despite this not being a legal requirement), as well as mess cleaned up, to assist with the enjoyment of all visitors and the protection of wildlife and livestock.

In particular, the law states that dogs need to be on a lead of no more than 2 metres on Open Access land and at all times around livestock from 1st March to 31st July each year. During my visit in early May, there were many signs requesting dogs to be leashed.

Check out my full guide to the dog-friendly Peak District.

#8 Visit Lyme Park

A delightful spot to visit on the edge of the Peak District is Lyme Park, a 40 minute drive away. A large mansion house surrounded by formal gardens, moorland and a deer park, Lyme Park has been featured in many movies and TV shows, including the 1995 BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice.

House at Lyme Park
The grand mansion house at Lyme Park

I recommend buying a Park & Gardens tickets, as naturally pet dogs are not allowed inside the house. However, pet dogs are welcome in virtually all of the rest of the estate, including walking through the formal gardens surrounding the house.

Dog at Lyme Park
A dog enjoying a walk around Lyme Park

If you have plenty of time, also head off on a walk across the rest of the park, up onto the moorlands. Dogs are allowed off leash outside of the central park of the estate, but keep them under close control.

Walking at Lyme Park
Walking through Lyme Park to The Cage

The best place to enjoy a meal at Lyme Park with your dog is the Timber Yard Cafe. While dogs other than assistance dogs are not allowed to join you inside the cafe to order, there is a “doggy doorbell” for solo dog owners to order, plus an indoor “muddy paws seating area” and plenty of water bowls for pups.

Pets on Public Transport in Manchester

Up until recently, pet dogs were sadly not permitted on the excellent new Metrolink tram network in Manchester. But since a successful trial in 2022, pet dogs are now permanently allowed on the trams, with some rules. Dogs need to be well-behaved and on a leash, with a maximum of two per passenger, but get to ride for free.

Manchester Tramlink
Dogs are now allowed on the Metrolink trams in Manchester

Dogs are also allowed on buses operating as part of the Bee Network free of charge. Dogs must be on a lead, with drivers having the discretion to refuse animals that could pose a danger or nuisance. Also double check with individual bus companies for any other rules.

Humans also get to ride for free on two free bus routes in the centre of Manchester. Check out the routes and timetables of these handy buses that you can ride for free with your dog.

Manchester Bus
One of the free buses in Manchester

There are some bus companies that may charge dogs to ride on buses in Manchester. Stagecoach in Greater Manchester charges £1 for dogs for unlimited all-day travel. I had also read reports of First Bus charging for dogs, but they have recently become part of the Bee Network so this should no longer apply.

Dog-Friendly Cafes in Manchester

An excellent dog-friendly cafe to visit in Manchester is Pot Kettle Black in the Barton Arcade. While dogs are not allowed in the main interior of the cafe, there are plenty of dog-friendly tables and seats lining the arcade outside.

Pot Kettle Black Barton Arcade Manchester
Pot Kettle Black in the Barton Arcade

The cafe specialises in serving an all-day brunch menu, inspired by the Antipodean cafe scene, as well as a long list of signature brews. Ask whether they can make a puppacino for your pup!

Dog-Friendly Pubs in Manchester

Manchester is home to plenty of dog-friendly pubs, the perfect spot to head for a meal or just a pint, no matter what the weather.

One of the most popular pubs with visitors is the distinctive Old Wellington next to the central Exchange Square. This half-timbered building is the oldest building of its kind in Manchester, dating back to 1552. Dogs are welcome to join you in the large outdoor area, but not inside.

The Old Wellington Manchester

In the hip Northern Quarter, check out the highly rate Port Street Beer House and its extensive range of craft beers and real ales. Dogs are welcome inside their cosy interior. There’s also a small heated beer garden at the rear.

Port St Beer House Manchester
Dogs are welcome in the Port Street Beer House

In the Castlefield area, a dog-friendly pub that I noticed but didn’t get a chance to check inside is the Oxnoble. This gastropub is open from 7:30am daily, serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner. Children are also welcome until 8pm or 9pm if dining.

Cask & Craft Manchester
Head to the Oxnoble in Castlefield

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Manchester

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive commission if you make a purchase using the links. See my full disclaimer.

For a special stay, make a booking at the DogHouse Manchester, one of three hotels operated by the BrewDog chain. Its 18 rooms feature bespoke touches such as in-room beer taps and shower beers (for an extra fee). Completely dog-friendly, your pup will be spoilt with their own bed, bowl and treats – add on the complimentary pooch pack when booking.

For more dog-friendly hotels in Manchester, check out the three locations of Motel One, a German chain of affordable design hotels. Dogs are welcome at all three locations – choose between the Piccadilly, St Peter’s Square or Royal Exchange Motel One hotels. An additional fee of £15 per dog per night applies, plus advise the hotel in advance that you will be bringing a dog.

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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