The 7 Best Dog-Friendly National Parks in the UK

Created in conjunction with Canine Cottages.

Windswept walks across heather-strewn moorlands, finding the biggest sticks in atmospheric oak woodlands, scaling the snowy peaks of towering mountain ranges and bounding across endless golden beaches; the UK’s national parks are among the best places to explore with your dog. Staggeringly beautiful and a haven for lovers of the great outdoors, you can enjoy these natural playgrounds with your canine as energetically or leisurely as you like.

Your four-legged best friend is all in when it comes to any adventure, so imagine the tail wagging in store if you exchanged your usual jaunts for the vast open countryside and pristine coastline of the 15 national parks in the UK. Reward your faithful companion with one of Canine Cottages’ dog-friendly cottages and take them somewhere extra special this year for their holiday.

Here are seven of the best dog-friendly national parks in the United Kingdom for some inspiration…

Dog-friendly national parks in the UK: The Lake District

Lake District National Park

Unrivalled routes for walkies encompassing emerald hills and deep sapphire lakes coupled with dog-friendly country pubs where paws can be warmed by log fires; the Lake District National Park is a tail-wagging treat for a pet-friendly holiday in the UK.

One of England’s best-loved national parks, dogs are sure to enjoy leisurely wanders along the shores of Lake Windermere or perhaps a dog-friendly cruise aboard boats such as the Ullswater Steamers.

Lake District National Park with dog

If you would like to see the sights from a different perspective, treat your hound to a ride onboard a steam locomotive on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. Grizedale and Whinlatter Forest offer a wealth of adventure for energetic pups, while Penrith Castle, Furness Abbey and Brougham Castle all welcome canines who share a love of history.

Northumberland National Park

Featuring 640 square miles of rolling hills, enchanting forests and meandering rivers, the Northumberland National Park in northern England is a must-visit for anyone with four legs. Let happy hounds feel the wind in their fur on a breath-taking hike among the beautiful Cheviot and Simonside Hills or let them sniff out the best sticks in the Kielder Forest and Water Park.

The World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall offers 84 miles of picture-postcard scenery to explore together and after a refuel in one of Northumberland’s many pet-friendly pubs, enjoy an evening gazing at the stars in Europe’s largest area of protected night sky.

Hadrian's Wall with dog

Snowdonia National Park

If you and Fido fancy a challenge, then the mountainous landscapes of the Snowdonia National Park await with a host of dog-friendly walking trails and outdoor activities. Journey through a vast and varied terrain of wooded valleys, rolling hills, dazzling waterfalls and a coastline of fine, sandy beaches.

Climb to the top of North Wales’ highest peak, Mount Snowdon, which impressively stands at 1085m. Dogs are welcome on a lead if fitness permits, and you will be rewarded with some of the most spectacular, far-reaching views that the UK has to offer.

Snowdonia National Park

Alternatively, experience the colourful floral displays of the paw-friendly National Trust Bodnant Garden together, or delve underground and explore the winding tunnels and magnificent caverns of the Sygun Copper Mine.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

For a dog-friendly coastal holiday, you can’t beat the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. There are over 50 beaches in Pembrokeshire which welcome dogs to feel the sand between their paws and splash about in the sea, including South Broad Haven, Barafundle Bay, Poppit Sands and Freshwater Beaches.

Dog-friendly Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Pet-friendly boat rides are available to visit some of the outlying islands, home to puffins, seals and dolphins. Or if you prefer to keep your feet and paws firmly on solid ground, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path offers 186 miles of walking trails along cliff tops, harbours and hidden coves.

Seaside towns such as Tenby and Saundersfoot offer a selection of dog-friendly pubs, and if you want to visit one of the finest castles in Wales with your four-legged friend, head to Pembroke Castle.

North York Moors National Park

Why choose between the countryside and the coast when you can have the best of both worlds in the North York Moors National Park? Wide open moorland swathed in purple heather offers an endless playground for furry frolics, discovering ancient abbeys, tumbling streams and timeless villages along the way.

UK countryside

Kilburn Woods and an array of dog-friendly heritage sites such as Helmsley Castle are also sure to keep tails wagging.

For a bucket-and-spade day at the beach, head to one of the Yorkshire Coast’s pet-friendly beaches including Robin Hood’s Bay, Runswick Bay and Flamborough where doggy-paddles can be enjoyed year-round. English Heritage-owned Whitby Abbey is also a must visit where dogs are welcome on leads.

Peak District National Park

There’s no end to canine adventures in the Peak District National Park. A contrasting landscape made up of remote moors, limestone valleys, imposing mountains and a tangle of picturesque villages, this national park in the UK is perfect dog-walking country.

Take the Mam Tor circular route for incredible views over the Edale Valley, Kinder Scout and the Derwent Moors, or embark on the Monsal Trail between Chee Dale and Bakewell.

Dog-friendly Peak District national park

Days out for dogs include Chatsworth House, Hardwick Hall, Peveril Castle and Treak Cliff Cavern, or for a special treat, you can let them show off their skills at the much-revered Bakewell Show. And with more than 100 dog-friendly pubs in the national park, there is no better way to conclude your adventure than with a refreshing beverage and a dog biscuit by a roaring log fire.

Dartmoor National Park

An abundance of off-lead excitement awaits in the Dartmoor National Park, with windswept open moorlands, iconic granite tors, gentle rivers and ancient monuments to navigate.

The perfect place for a pup of any age, this national park makes a great alternative to a Devon beach holiday, and nothing beats the magic of seeing wild Dartmoor Ponies galloping across the landscape with your faithful dog by your side.

There are a wealth of pubs, cafes and tearooms in Dartmoor which offer a warm welcome to pets and their humans after a bracing hike on the moor, and there are also some dog-friendly attractions in the Dartmoor National Park to enjoy together such as the Dartmoor Prison Museum, House of Marbles and Castle Drogo.

Dog-friendly Holiday Cottages in the UK’s National Parks

You and your loyal hound can enjoy a memorable stay in the heart of the UK’s National Parks with self-catering accommodation provider Canine Cottages. Whether climbing the mountains of Snowdonia, visiting stately homes in the Peak District or cruising along the waters of the Lake District, a wonderful selection of dog-friendly cottages awaits your return.

Dog sleeping on sofa

Warming wood burners, bubbling hot tubs and safely enclosed gardens are just a few of the treats on offer to ensure both dogs and their humans have an amazing holiday.

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