Dog-Friendly York, UK: Visiting York with a Dog

The small city of York in northern England is renowned for its medieval heritage. Unfortunately though, many of its most popular attractions are off limits to pet dogs. Find out what you can do when visiting York with a dog.

Dog-Friendly York

Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in York

While many of the most popular sights in York in the UK are out of bounds for dogs, fill your time by ticking off these dog-friendly attractions.

#1 Wander Through the Lanes

One of the most popular things to do in York is simply wander through its narrow atmospheric lanes, lined with historic shops and houses, and luckily this is something that you can still do with your dog by your side.

One of the most famous laneways in York is The Shambles, originally named after the Saxon word for “slaughterhouse” due to the many butcher shops lining the street. These days it’s home to The Shop That Must Not Be Named, a must-visit for Harry Potter fans, and is usually packed with selfie-taking tourists.

The Shambles York
The narrow laneway of The Shambles

York is a great place for shopping – I discovered many delightful boutiques lining its streets. Ask whether your pup can join you inside, or just take inspiration from window shopping.

York Shop Windows
Window shopping in York

#2 Join a Guided Tour

To fully appreciate the city of York, consider taking a guided tour. You’ll learn a lot more about the history of this fascinating city in just a short period of time.

The Association of Voluntary Guides to the City of York run free walking tours. The two-hour tours depart twice daily. While they are free of charge, it’s best to book in advance, due to limited numbers.

Your dog is welcome to join you on their free walking tours. Note however that a section of the tour ascends onto the Walls, where dogs are not permitted, so you’ll need to take an alternative route and rejoin the group.

York Street Scene
Take a walking tour around the streets of York

#3 Board a Sightseeing Cruise

To see a different perspective of York, enjoy a cruise along the Ouse River. The city was founded by the Romans on the banks of the Ouse River, close to its confluence with the Foss River, and for many years the city was an important inland port.

City Experiences operates multiple cruises in York including Daytime Sightseeing Cruises. The 45 minute cruises operate multiple times per day, departing from both the King’s Staith Landing and Lendal Bridge Landing. Advance bookings are not required.

River Ouse York
Cruise along the Ouse River

Well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome to join you on the daytime sightseeing cruises, plus the Self Drive Boats and the River Bus Service, at no additional cost. Just note that only guide or hearing dogs are permitted onboard the Dining Cruises and some special cruises.

#4 Stroll Through the York Museum Gardens

While pets are not surprisingly not allowed inside the Yorkshire Museum and York City Art Gallery, the gardens that surround both these museums, the York Museum Gardens welcomes leashed pet dogs.

This beautiful, tranquil gardens are great for a leashed stroll with your dog or to enjoy a picnic. Don’t miss exploring the many ruins in the gardens, including the remains of St Mary’s Abbey and the Multangular Tower, once a corner of York’s Roman fortress. The gardens are open daily from 9am to 6pm.

#5 Take a Day Trip to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden

To explore more spectacular gardens and ruins nearby, I recommend taking a day trip to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, about a 45 minute drive northwest of York.

Fountains Abbey dates back to the 12th century, but fell into ruins following the Dissolution. Then during the 18th century, the gorgeous landscape and water gardens of the Studley Royal estate were built adjacent to the ruins. These days the property is Unesco World Heritage listed, as a superb example of an English landscape garden.

Studley Panorama
The water gardens of Studley Royal

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens are a National Trust property, one of their most popular paid properties. Dogs are welcome to join you at the property, which is a great spot for long strolls with your dog through the gardens and around the ruins of the abbey.

Dog-friendly things to do in England
Exploring the ruins of Fountains Abbey

Note that you should keep your dog on a short leash, plus dogs are not allowed inside Fountains Hall, Porters Lodge or the Studley tearoom. (I also recommend being cautious around the geese outside the tearoom!) They are however welcome in the visitor centre and its restaurant.

#6 Explore Castle Howard’s Gardens

Another great historic property that welcomes dogs close to York is Castle Howard House and Gardens. Made famous as the fictional “Brideshead”, this stately home is just a 20 minute drive northeast of York.

While dogs are not allowed join you in tours of the house, they are welcome to join you in the gardens, which are open daily. The extensive parklands feature lakes, fountains, woodland, temples and follies, changing from season to season. Note that an entry fee applies and dogs should be kept on a leash.

Are Dogs Allowed on the York Walls?

Two of the most famous attractions of York are the York Minster and its Walls, the best remaining in all of England. Not surprisingly, dogs aren’t allowed to join you in the York Minster, so you’ll need to view it from the outside. But what about on the York Walls?

York Minster
York Minster from the outside

Unfortunately dogs are not permitted on the City Walls and its walkways, only assistance dogs. These rules are sometimes ignored, but please follow them and skip taking your dog up on the walls.

If you’d like to walk on the historic walls with your dog, I recommend investigating Chester and it’s dog-friendly walks.

Are Dogs Allowed at Clifford’s Tower?

On the southern side of York is Clifford’s Tower, all the remains of York Castle. While there isn’t much to see inside the tower, it offers great views across the city.

Cliffords Tower York
Clifford’s Tower in York

Despite this, dogs are still not allowed inside the tower. I recommend skipping it during your visit to York with your dog.

Dog-Friendly Dining in York

York is full of atmospheric pubs, with many welcoming dogs in part of the premises, particularly if there is a beer garden outside. Don’t miss enjoying at least a pint, if not a meal.

One of the most well-regarded dog-friendly restaurants is the suitably named Whippet Inn, just across the river from the city centre. Four-legged guests are welcome in the Front Dining Room. As the space is small, it’s best to make an advance booking.

During the day, I recommend popping into The Perky Peacock. Located in a medieval toll tower near the York Museum Gardens, it’s a welcoming spot for pups. I’ve even heard reports of doggie ice cream being available!

Another spot that welcomes dogs is the Shambles Market, including the Shambles Food Court. Located where the Shambles joins Pavement, there’s a diverse range of street food vendors with picnic tables in the outdoor area.

Dogs on Public Transport in York

One of the easiest ways to get around York is by public bus, including to and from the multiple Park & Ride car parks on the outskirts of the city. Dogs are allowed on Park & Ride buses as long as they are quiet, well-behaved and kept off the seats.

The other bus routes are operated by multiple operators, including FirstBus York. On FirstBus buses, dogs and other small animals are allowed on board at the discretion of the driver. There is a maximum of two dogs per person (except with permission from the driver). No charge applies for pets.

Dogs are also welcome onboard the trains that travel to York. Up to two dogs can travel per passenger for free, with a charge for additional pets. Small dogs should travel in a carrier, while larger dogs need to be leashed.

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in York

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

During our visit to York, we stayed in a welcoming Airbnb just outside of the city centre, close enough to walk to the city but with on-street parking. Keep in mind that parking can be tricky in some parts of the city, before deciding where to stay.

If you’d like to stay in the city centre, check out the Galtres Lodge Hotel. Located in an historic Georgian manor, breakfast is included. Pet dogs are welcome in most rooms for an additional charge of £15 per dog – just request a dog-friendly room in advance. In return, dogs are provided with a bed, blanket, bowl and treat. Dogs are also allowed in the back half of the onsite restaurant.

The Hotel Du Vin & Bistro is situated outside of the city centre in the Mount area. The four-star hotel features elegant rooms in a Grade II listed building from the 19th century. A range of dog-friendly rooms are available, with dog beds and bowls able to be supplied. There is an additional charge of £10 per dog per night. Note that pets are not allowed in the restaurant.

For somewhere more modern, consider Moxy York. Just a short walk from the city centre, rooms are sleek and there is an onsite bar. Dogs up to 35kg are welcome to stay with you. There is an additional pet fee of £15 per dog per night, plus a deposit will be charged upon arrival.

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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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