Our dogs are a part of the clan just as much as we are, so it’s only right we consider them when planning a family holiday. The UK is bursting full of incredible landscapes, meaning there are plenty of gems to explore. Whether that be sandy beaches, lush woodland or rich country parks, your pooch will adore them all. So if you’re planning your next break and want your four-legged friend to join, here are the best dog-friendly walks to accompany your trip.
1. Holkham Beach
A vast stretch of golden sand, Holkham Beach is perfect for your pet to explore in Norfolk. There are a number of dog-friendly walking routes across the beach, as well as a nearby nature reserve. Although dog owners are advised to keep their pups under control as the beach is popular with horse riders, look out for the spectacle that is The Household Cavalry. They visit each year to exercise their horses and train new recruits.
Nearest station: King’s Lynn Station
Nearest car park: Lady Anne’s Drive is open for parking from April to September (6am-9pm), October to March (6am-6pm). Cars cost £2 up to one hour and £9 all day.
Nearest dog-friendly pub: The Crown Hotel in Wells-next-the-Sea is a welcoming dog-friendly bar and restaurant. The pub offers breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner – and dogs are welcome in dog-friendly zones inside as well as outside. You may even get a special bowl of dog treats with your afternoon drinks!
Nearest dog-friendly café: Beach Café welcomes dogs inside and staff are happy to provide bedding, water bowls and biscuits, as well as sell treats and coats. Take a photo of your dog at the café and you can enter its Dog of the Month competition online!
2. The Old Course
Location: St Andrews, Scotland
The Old Course in St Andrews is considered the oldest golf course in the world – and is one of the most iconic. While thousands of golfers flock to Scotland each year, the course is also popular – rather surprisingly – with dog walkers. The course’s rolling fairways and lush greens are open to walkers and dogs on leads on Sundays when no golf is allowed.
Nearest station: Leuchars Station
Nearest car park: You can park at The Castle Course Clubhouse for free.
Nearest dog-friendly pub: St Andrews Brewing Company is a popular pit stop for pups. It has a doggie bar set up with a water dispenser, bowls and treats, as well as a selection dog beds.
Nearest dog-friendly café: The Cottage Kitchen is a popular spot for people and pooches. The café and bistro offer the best of classic, local cuisine and is very welcoming to dogs looking for a place to rest and refresh after a long walk.
3. Four Falls Trail
Location: Brecon Beacons, Wales
Four Falls Trail is a breathtaking trail which boasts the waterfalls of Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr and Sgwd-yr-Eira. The five and a half-mile circular walk in Wales lies on the southern slopes of the Fforest Fawr massif and follows the River Mellte. With steep climbs and slippery steps, it’s better suited to more agile dogs and keeping your pup on a lead at all times is wise.
Nearest station: Merthyr Tydfil Station
Nearest car park: You can park at Cwm Porth car park for £4.
Nearest dog-friendly pub: The New Inn in Bwlch is a traditional country pub that’s a favourite amongst walkers and their dogs. It offers a mouth-watering menu and welcomes pets inside throughout the year.
Nearest dog-friendly café: Sgwd Gwladys – named after the waterfall – is a charming, rustic coffee house that invites four-legged friends. Well-behaved dogs are welcome inside every day until 4pm.
4. Cat Bells and Derwentwater Lakeshore
Cat Bells and Derwentwater Lakeshore is a stunning walking route, up the fell, which offers incredible views over the water and across the hills. With some ascents and rocky terrain, it can be a tricky walk but this three and a half mile route is suitable for active dogs. It’ll be particularly popular with pooches who love the water and like an adventure!
Nearest station: Keswick Train Station
Nearest car park: You can park in Keswick at Lakeside car park and take the Launch (adult single fares cost from £2.35, dogs travel free) to Hawes End Landing Stage to start the walk.
Nearest dog-friendly pub: Dog & Gun is a Greene King pub in the centre of Keswick. Staff love welcoming dogs here and they even have a special canine menu featuring a range of treats, chews and (non-alcoholic) drinks!
Nearest dog-friendly café: The Square Orange Café – aka The Sqaorange – offers speciality coffee, stone-baked pizzas and a fully stocked bar. The venue hosts live music nights and dogs are welcome to come along too.
5. Porkellis Moor
There are more walking routes and trails than you could possibly choose from in Cornwall – but Porkellis Moor is described as one of the county’s secret gems. The marshland – part of the historic Penrose Estate in the old mining village of Porkellis – is managed by the National Trust and offers winding paths past mine works, woods, fields and the River Cober. It’s a wonderful place for walkers (and their dogs) to explore come rain or shine.
Nearest station: Camborne Station
Nearest car park: You can park at the National Trust-run Penrose Estate. Donations are accepted at Penrose Hill, Degibna and Chyvaloe.
Nearest dog-friendly pub: The Star Inn at Porkellis is a great watering hole for tired walkers and their pets. You can relax over a pint while your pooch snacks on their homemade treats.
Nearest dog-friendly café: The Stables Café at Penrose Estate is a convenient eatery set within the grounds. The dog-friendly venue offers hot and cold drinks, homemade cakes and local ice cream.