Our dog-friendly guide to the Lake District
27th May, 5 minute read
Loughrigg Fell and Blea Tarn
There’s nothing like catching the sunrise over at Loughrigg Fell with Nancy and Pip. It’s a pretty easy hike with a great reward. The views from the summit in the golden early morning light are fantastic and there are some great open expanses for the dogs to run freely. Although if you prefer a gentle amble to a hike, Blea Tarn is the perfect spot for a relaxing stroll. The mountain tarn is beautiful and the views across the Lake District aren’t too bad either!
Chester’s By the River near to Ambleside is one of our favourite spots to eat in the Lake District. It’s almost completely vegan, and totally veggie, and goes far beyond being merely dog-tolerant. The girls were treated like guests in their own right (which they loved) and spoiled with biscuits and a lot of fuss. The food is off-the-scale good, but they don’t take bookings, so be prepared to wait – trust me it’s worth it! We love refuelling with the vegan full English breakfast after an early morning hike on Loughrigg Fell.
Wastwater isn’t the easiest spot to get to, but that might be part of why we like it so much. It takes about an hour and a half from Penrith, so if you want to catch a summer sunrise you have to hate sleep. For me, sunrise at Wastwater is always worth the early rise, no matter how hard it is to peel yourself out of a warm bed at stupid o’clock. Surrounded by mountains and with three miles of lake glittering in the early morning light, the views are epic.
If your dogs like to swim, Wastwater is a lovely place to take a dip together on a warm summer’s day. Although be prepared, it’s the coldest lake in the Lake District, regardless of the outside temperature, because it is the only glacial lake in the park.
It is worth noting that there are ‘free range sheep’ at Wastwater so always keep your dog on a lead when walking around the lake no matter how good the recall.
Blink and you miss Java Coffee Shop, nestled into a tiny store front on Keswick High Street. It’s my favourite coffee shop in the central Lake District area, and incredibly dog friendly. If you get there at a good time, there are some lovely squashy sofas upstairs overlooking the pretty shops and galleries on the high street. It’s the perfect place to change up gear and give the dogs a rest (especially good when it’s raining outside with a warm cup of coffee in hand). The staff don’t even mind if your dogs are presumptuous enough to help themselves to a seat on the sofa!
For a picnic spot with a view, and a break after miles of hiking, I recommend Surprise View above Derwent Water. Following a stunning winding single track road up into the fells above Derwent Water, you find yourself at a look out point with panoramic views across Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake. It’s the perfect spot to lay down a blanket and enjoy a sunset picnic (don’t forget biscuits so the dogs can enjoy a picnic too!) There are plenty of smells for the dogs to enjoy and some lovely woodland if they need to stretch their legs. My advice would be to go in the summer when the wildflowers frame the view perfectly.
All photos (c) Amelia Le Brun @amslebrun