If you’re thinking about taking your pooch on holiday to the Lake District, you can’t go wrong basing yourself in dog friendly Keswick. Many of the local shops, pubs, and restaurants in the area allow dogs on their premises, and there are also several fantastic walks and hikes close by to mooch around with your four legged friend.. There are also several accommodation options ranging from hotels and cottages to glamping and camping.
Although Keswick is ideally situated to explore other areas of the Lakes in this post we’re going to focus on all the activities and fun you can have with your dog in and around Keswick.itself. The last time we visited I challenged myself to fill our week in Keswick without ever having to get in the car and drive anywhere, and found that there were plenty of dog friendly adventures to be had, just exploring the Keswick area on paw!
Dog Walks in Keswick
Derwentwater is a great place to take your dog for a walk. There is a waymarked circular footpath that goes around the lake, which is about 10 miles in length. Along the way, you’ll pass through woodlands, fields, and along the lake shore, with plenty of opportunities for your dog to explore and play, and of course have an obligatory swim in the lake. (NB In summer the lakes are prone to blue green aglae which is extremely toxic to dogs, so please ensure your dog does not enter the water if it is present) It’s a good idea to keep your dog’s lead handy as there may be livestock in the fields and other wildlife in the area and I did have to put my girls on the leash for parts of this walk..
HIghlights for me are the National Trust Centenary Stone and the amazing view from Friars Cragg, but honestly the whole walk is just stunning.
If you and your dog prefer shorter strolls you can always buy a day ticket for the launch and hop on and off as you please.
Ashness Bridge is a small packhorse bridge that spans the River Derwent, and it offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. We walked from Keswick to Ashness Bridge, via the Great Wood NT Carpark and all told the walk we did was about 7 miles, however, you could obviously park at Great Wood Car Park and save yourself 3 miles. The route follows a well-marked footpath, although it can be slippery and muddy in wet weather. After admiring the bridge walk a little further up the hill and you will be greeted by the amazing views at Surprise View. If you don’t fancy walking at all there are small car parks at both locations.
So this article really is about dog walks from Keswick so don’t be put off that Latrigg is a Wainwright, it really is just a small hill. For just a gentle climb you are rewarded with panoramic views of the town and surrounding areas and in my opinion it is a must do, on a dog friendly holiday in Keswick.
One possible route is to start at the Market Square in Keswick and follow the signs for the A591 road towards Threlkeld. After about 1 mile, you will see a sign for Latrigg on your left. Follow this footpath as it winds uphill through the fields and woods, and you will eventually reach the summit of Latrigg. The whole walk up and down is only takes around 21/2 hours or so, allow longer if you want to take pictures!
There is a carpark halfway up if you or your dog want to see the views for a little less effort and this is a brilliant option for those with mobility issues as it is part on the ‘Miles Without Stiles initiative.
Whenever we have walked up Latrigg there has been a lot of sheep around so if your dog is unreliable in that department keep them on a lead! Although my little golden dog is totally trustworthy off lead, I do put her on when I reach the summit just for safety, and also if I see sheep in close proximity, just out of respect. My other spaniel, Maya, is on the lead the majority of this walk because she is partial to snacking on sheep poop!!
Castlerigg Stone Circle
I am one of those people that is intrigued by Stone Circles, and so it is no surprise that I absolutely love Castlerigg, a Neolithic stone circle dating back to about 3000BC, Set against the backdrop of Helvellyn and High Seat means the scenery there is fabulous too.
My dogs had their noses to the ground throughout our visit, I like to think they were sniffing out what went on there in past times, but in truth they were probably just investigating the scents of the other dogs that have recently left their mark!
The walking route we took to Castlerigg from Keswick did involve walking on roads but it is any easy walk of around 4 miles so only takes a couple of hours out of your day.
Of course there are also some more strenuous hikes that you can take your dog on from Keswick, but this post seems way too long already, so I will write about them in a separate article.
Dog Friendly Things To Do in Keswick
The Keswick Launch is dog friendly and the best way to get to the start of the Cat Bells walk, my spaniels love it! You can buy a day ticket and hop on and off wherever you like, so if you don’t fancy walking round the whole lake at once, do this!
Now I am not one of those people brave enough to take my camera out on a kayak, canoe or paddleboard but my spaniels absolutely loved getting out on the lake, and there are a few places to hire boats and suchlike around Derewent Water. Please play it safe if you take your dog out and get them fitted with a life jacket before you go..
One thing that you can almost be guaranteed of on a dog friendly holiday in Keswick is rain! You might be lucky and only get a couple of showery days or you might not! Either way I thought I’d mention a couple of ways to spend time with your dogs in Keswick if it rains and one of them is a trip to The Puzzling Place, which is a “World of Optical Illusion” (or a hall of mirrors in old money!) My dogs did not really know what to make of it but isn’t it great to find such a random attraction that is dog friendly?
Most shops welcome dogs inside and many stock dog gear if you feel like treating your pup. We have happily whiled away a few hours and a fair bit of cash wandering round town! Additionally most businesses have water bowls on offer and some have dog biscuits too!
Dog Friendly Cafes and Pubs in Keswick
So let’s get serious now! What about the dog friendly pubs and eateries in Keswick?
Well there are so many choices I am struggling to narrow it down to just a couple of recommendations but I’m going to have to go with the ever popular Dog & Gun as our favourite pub, and Little Chamonix Cafe, as our top pick of the cafes (because of the cake, obviously) At both of these you can either sit in or outside and the staff are very welcoming to dogs.
If your dog is nervous of people and or other dogs I would recommend The Kings Arms/Casas Sports Bar which has a covered seating area down the alley where you can sit with your dog. On the few occasions I have been we have been the only customers sitting outside, and, although it doesn’t quite have the ambience of my other choices, it would probably be the most relaxing place to have a beer if you worry about your dog interacting with others.
If you decide to take your dog to Keswick, I can almost guarantee you will have the time of your life, it really has everything for the perfect dog friendly holiday!
Sal. Maya and Lucia xxx