Dog-Friendly Peak District: Visiting with a Dog

In 1951, the Peak District was declared the first national park in England. This Midlands region is a delightful spot for hiking and exploring with your pup by your side, across the region’s valleys, ridges and moorlands. But it’s also home to some charming towns and historic houses. Take your pick from the following when visiting the Peak District with your dog.

Dog-Friendly Peak District

Dog-Friendly Hiking in the Peak District

Top of the list when visiting the Peak District with your dog is going for a hike. There are countless public footpaths that criss cross the region with dogs welcome on them – one of the hardest things is choosing which path to follow!

Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails

These are some great dog-friendly day walks in the Peak District to consider, mainly ranging in length from 3 miles to 5 miles. One of the top starting points for hikes is Edale in the windswept Hope Valley, also conveniently accessible by train (see more below). Let me know what’s your favourite Peak District walk with your dog!

Peak District Public Footpaths Sign
The Peak District is criss-crossed by public footpaths

Pennine Way: Edale and the Peak District is the starting point of the 268 mile long Pennine Way, that continues all the way north to Kirk Yetholm, just across the Scottish border. The route is just as popular with day-walkers as long-distance walkers, with plenty of access points along the way – take your pick for a day walk along this legendary route.

Pennine Way Sign
The start of the Pennine Way in Edale

Edale Stride: Instead of taking the Pennine Way up onto the Kinder Scout plateau from Edale, take the gentler but still rough at times Edale Stride route up through farmland and woodland to the Halfway House boulders. Following alongside Grinds Brook, the 3 mile (5km) return path offers great views of the plateau.

Mam Tor: The 510m-high peak of Mam Tor is a popular destination for hikers, thanks to its panoramic views (when it’s not covered in mist like the day I visited) and ease of access. There is a carpark not far below it’s summit, just outside of Castleton. Alternatively I hiked this 5 mile (7.8km) round route from Edale Station up to Mam Tor and Back Tor. Just note the final section is alongside the road.

Mam Tor with Dog in Mist
A misty day on Mam Tor
Track Along Great Ridge Peak District
The path leading down Back Tor

Chee Dale Walk: Another walk that I considered on my recent visit to the Peak District is the Chee Dale Walk from Miller Dale, but it’s easiest if you have your own transport. This 5 mile walk initially follows the Monsal Trail and includes a fun set of stepping stones. Be warned it is often muddy – it’s most fun on warmer days with water loving dogs!

Dog Etiquette in the Peak District

Despite the temptation to allow your dog off-leash when hiking, note that the the Peak District National Park requests that dogs are kept on a short lead at all times (even when this is not a legal requirement). It is noted that this is 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 – not a surprise given the many lambs I saw.

Dogs on Leash Sign in Peak District
A sign requesting dogs to be on leash during lambing time
Sheep in Peak District
There were plenty of lambs around during my visit in early May

Make sure you also clean up after your dog when hiking, even outside towns. Carry your own bags and keep them until you find a bin (consider double bagging) – don’t just leave them on the side of the trails.

More Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in the Peak District

In addition to going hiking with your dog, there’s plenty more things to see and do on a visit to the Peak District, even if you are visiting with a dog. Check out these highlights…

#1 Explore Lyme Park

On the western edge of the Peak District lies Lyme Park, near the town of Disley. Run by the National Trust, this large mansion house surrounded by formal gardens, moorland and a deer park was one of the settings for the 1995 BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice.

House at Lyme Park
Lyme House on the edge of the Peak District

It’s a wonderful spot to spend the day, including with your dog. While only assistance dogs are allowed inside the house, pet dogs are welcome nearly everywhere else throughout the estate. It’s possible to buy a cheaper Park & Gardens ticket.

I recommend starting with a walk around the lake and through the formal gardens, with many gorgeous vistas of the house. Then choose between the other paths that criss-cross the estate, leading across moors and through woods, to various buildings and viewpoints.

Lyme Park Signs
Explore the estate on foot with your dog

Look out for the signs advising when you can let your dog off leash (but still under close control), but keep your dog leashed around livestock and wildlife (including herds of highland cattle, red deer and sheep). Dog waste bins are provided at various spots.

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” that solo dog owners can use to order. Best of all, there’s a terrific indoor “muddy paws seating area”, complete with water bowls and snooze areas.

Lyme Park Muddy Paws Seating Area
Dine at the Muddy Paws Seating Area in the Timber Yard

#2 Check out Chatsworth House

On the eastern side of the Peak District is the equally grand Chatsworth House. Standing on the eastern bank of the River Derwent, the 16th-century mansion is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and has also appeared in countless TV shows and movies.

Like at Lyme, dogs are welcome throughout the 105-acre Chatsworth Garden around the mansion and the surrounding park, although not inside the farmyard and playground area. Dogs are requested to stay leashed at all times, due to the wildlife and livestock.

The self-service Carriage House Cafe has a dog-friendly seating area inside, while the other food outlets have outdoor seating nearby. There are multiple dog drink bowls at various locations – ask staff if you need help locating one.

To find out more about visiting Chatsworth House with a dog, including suggested dog walks, check out this page.

#3 Head Underground

The Peak District is dotted with multiple caves, many that are open to the public. One publicly accessible cave that also recently started to allow dogs to visit is Poole’s Cavern.

Located on the edge of Buxton, the limestone stalagmites and stalactites of Poole’s Cavern can be viewed daily on 45-minute guided tours, plus self-guided walkthroughs during the summer season. It’s best to book in advance on the website.

Dogs are welcome on both the guided and self-guided tours, except for the once daily No Dog Tour and some special event tours. Dogs of course need to be kept on a short lead inside the cavern and a £1 fee applies to non-carer dogs.

Dogs are also welcome in the visitor centre and in the cafe, plus in the surrounding woodland and the country park. There’s a popular walk up to Solomon’s Temple. Note that the cavern is a constant 7C, so make sure both you and your dog rug up.

Another dog-friendly cave is Treak Cliff Cavern, just outside of Castleton. Famous for its deposits of Blue John stone, explore the caves on a self-guided tour. Well-behaved dogs on a short lead are welcome to join you, both in the cavern and the visitors area. Advance bookings are recommended.

#4 Explore Cromford Mills

On my first visit to the Peak District, I explored the Derwent Valley Mills. This series of 18th- and 19th-century cotton mills and the surrounding industrial landscape have been a World Heritage site since 2001.

One of the most interesting spots to visit with your dog is the Cromford Mills. The birthplace of the modern factory system, the historic mills were rescued from ruin in the 1970s, and can these days be explored with a self-guided audio tour (along with the surrounding village) or on regular guided tours. Or just go for a wander through the site for free.

Cromford Mills
The historic Cromford Mills

Well-behaved dogs are welcome to join you onsite, including in all cafes, although check with individual shops about entry for dogs. Beyond the mill walls, explore the new wooden sculpture trail or walk alongside Cromford Canal. It’s recommended that dogs head to the meadow alongside the river outside the walls for doing their “business”.

#5 Browse at a Market

Many of the towns in the Peak District have long held traditional weekly markets, that are still being held today. They’re a great spot for a browse with your pup by your side.

The award-winning Bakewell Monday Market has been held since 1330. The traditional market is held from 9am to 4pm on Market Street and Granby Street in the town centre, with around 140 stalls featuring everything from bread and cheese, through to clothes, books and fresh flowers.

The Buxton Markets are England’s highest markets, held every Tuesday and Saturday from 9am to 4pm, in the centre of town. There are also two special markets held monthly. On the first Saturday of each month, there are extra craft, quirky and vintage stalls, while on the third Saturday of each month there is a special food and drink market.

Pets on the Public Transport in the Peak District

If you don’t have your own transport, it’s still relatively easy to get around the Peak District using public transport, depending on where you’re going.

There are regular trains to many towns, including along the Hope Valley Line that passes through the national park connecting Manchester and Sheffield – Edale is one popular station on the line. On the other hand, some bus routes are quite infrequent.

Edale Station
Edale Station is a handy access point from Manchester or Sheffield

Dogs are allowed on the trains throughout the Peak District, just like on other trains throughout the United Kingdom. The rules for dogs on buses can vary slightly between bus companies. Double check in advance, particularly if you have multiple dogs.

If you’re planning on taking multiple trains or buses, it may be worthwhile purchasing a Wayfarer ticket. The Greater Manchester Wayfarer ticket covers trains and buses across most of the Peak District, during off-peak times. The Derbyshire Wayfarer has both bus and train or bus only options.

Check out this guide to great walks accessible from train stations in the region.

Dog-Friendly Cafes in the Peak District

There’s plenty of dog-friendly cafes located across the Peak District, just the thing for when the weather has turned and you need a break somewhere dry and warm inside.

A handy dog-friendly cafe close to Edale Station is the Penny Pot Cafe. In addition to a great dog bowl with refill station outside, dogs are also welcome inside. The friendly cafe is very accommodating to hikers and a great spot to wait until the next train.

Penny Pot Cafe Edale
Penny Pot Cafe in Edale

Dog-Friendly Pubs in the Peak District

Cafes aren’t the only option for enjoying a break in the Peak District. There’s also countless dog-friendly pubs to choose from, to cap off a day of hiking.

During my visit to the area I dropped into The Old Nags Head in Edale. This traditional country inn is situated in a building dating to 1577 and is the “official” start or end point of the Pennine Way. Dogs and muddy boots are both welcome inside, with a walk-in service for their menu of hearty meals.

The Old Nags Head Edale
The Old Nags Head in Edale
Inside the Old Nags Head Edale
The snug interior of the Old Nags Head

Edale is also home to a second pub, closer to the train station, The Rambler Inn. A highlight of this inn is it’s large sprawling beer garden, a great spot to relax with a beer on sunny afternoons with your pup by your side.

The Rambler Inn Edale
The Rambler Inn is also in Edale

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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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