Top 10: The Best Dog-Friendly Hotels in the Lake District

Ullswater Lake, Lake District, England
Lake District, England // Photo by JoeDunckley/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

by Helen Pickles, The Telegraph, November 14, 2017

An insider's guide to the best dog-friendly hotels in the Lake District, including the top places to stay for country house style, rambling grounds, pet-friendly bars and restaurants, proximity to scenic walking routes, and generous welcome packs for dogs, in locations including Windermere, Ambleside and Keswick.

Cragwood Country House Hotel Windermere, Lake District, England

8Telegraph expert rating

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This Edwardian mansion looks suitably imposing: creeper-covered stone façades, huge leaded windows, sandstone mouldings and a fancy two-storey bay. Even later extensions have been skilfully blended. Inside, it’s classic country-house – busy carpets, floral-patterned curtains, deep sofas, worn-leather armchairs – but done with a conservative touch. If your pooch is a water-baby, they’ll be in doggy heaven, here. The hotel has a private stretch of Lake Windermere, plus 20 acres of gardens and woodland in which to romp around. Dogs are welcomed with a blanket, bowl and treats, have access to the entire hotel (dining-room aside). Choose a ground-floor room for quick access to the garden through French windows. Charge: £20 per stay. Read expert review. From £80per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

• The best hotels in the Lake District

Wasdale Head Inn Lake District, Cumbria, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This cream and black hostelry has been a landmark at the head of the valley since the early 18th century, first as a farm and then as an inn welcoming weary walkers. It's resolutely traditional, slightly shabby, with patterned carpets, a scattering of heavy oak antique furniture and a wood-panelled dining room. It's very much a walkers' pub; the bar happily welcomes dogs, as does the rest of the hotel except the dining-room - though they'll arrange for you to eat in another room if you and the dog can't be parted. Free towels for wet and muddy dogs, too. Charge: £10 per night. Read expert review. From £118per night.

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George and Dragon Penrith, Cumbria, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This gastropub on the northern edge of the Lake District has a well-deserved reputation for its excellent, locally-sourced food. It's perfect for an active getaway, with packed lunches provided for walkers and bike storage for cyclists. There's no excuse to only give your dog a quick run around the car park, here, either. Their welcome pack (yes, theirs not yours) includes a map of local walks as well as a toy, treats, bowl and blanket. They can roam where they like, apart from the dining-room. But, as it's the same menu in the bar, you don't have to be parted at dinner-time. Charge: £10 per stay. Read expert review. From £90per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

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The Ryebeck Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This Edwardian country house enjoys a quiet setting – yet close to Bowness – with glorious lake views. It offers a relaxed, family-home feel with a low-key, contemporary-country style. Food is a big draw with well-crafted, Modern British dishes on the menu, as is the chilled-out atmosphere. Dogs are considered 'proper guests', here, as they not only have their own bed, bowl and treats but also a welcome letter. Six of the rooms are geared for dogs plus the rest of the hotel - and five acres of gardens (including a tarn) - is theirs to roam (restaurant aside). Should you wish to eat with your dog, meals can be taken in the lounge. Charge: £20 per stay. Read expert review. From £97per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

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Inn on the Square Hotel Keswick, Cumbria, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The sturdy slate frontage with tall gables and handsome arched windows suggest a 19th-century coaching inn, which it was. It's since had a Scandi-cool makeover that wouldn’t look out of place in Malmo or Manchester. Grey leaf-pattern carpets and silvery tree-pattern wallpapers provide a sleek background to Danish-style furniture, colourful velvet armchairs and modern abstract art. It may be right in the centre of Keswick, a busy market town, but this hotel welcomes dogs in the majority of the bedrooms, as well as in the two bars and lounge. As food is served in both bars, there's no need to be parted from your pet. Beds and bowls can be provided plus there's a hosepipe and towels for après-muddy-walks attention. Charge: £10 per night. Read expert review From £90per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

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The Masons Arms Cartmel Fell, Lake District, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The traditional whitewashed building has been a pub most of its life, with bedrooms in converted outbuildings and cottages at the rear. Inside, it’s all a pub should be, with low-beamed ceilings, flagged or wooden floors, open fires and a series of small snugs furnished with mis-matched chairs, wooden settles and scrubbed tables, and creamy walls crammed with mirrors and hunting prints. The treat here for dogs is that each of the dog-friendly rooms has its own small terrace or patio so they can drag you out for a walk without traipsing through the pub. Rooms are big, too (two are cottages, two split-level) so plenty of space for all to sleep. As the bar area is small, however, dogs aren't allowed during food service but there's a large, heated terrace with stunning views. Charge: £15 per night. Read expert review. From £85per night.

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The Cuckoo Brow Inn Lake District, Cumbria, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This family-friendly inn sits one mile from the western shore of Lake Windermere, on the road to Hawkshead and right in the middle of Beatrix Potter country. The late-18th-century/early-19th-century building has been extended over the years, through conversion of stables and courtyard, into a sprawling mish-mash of styles. But colourful hanging baskets and a few creepers help soften its looks. Dogs are free to roam where they like, here - but will probably fight over the spaces nearest the fire - so they can join you for breakfast and supper. There's a large downstairs bar (former stables), too, if they're a bit damp or boisterous. Staff will suggest local walks, many of which start from the front door. Charge: £10 per night. Read expert review. From £81per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

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The Queens Head Hotel Troutbeck, Cumbria, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This listed 17th-century coaching inn is a classic Lakeland building of slate, white-washed walls and black window-mouldings. It's classy, yet still retains its pubby credentials: light-oak flooring and furnishings, exposed beams and stone walls, a jolly mix of plaids and fun touches such as wallpaper depicting flying ducks, stuffed fish and OS-maps. Dogs are treated just like their owners, with emergency supplies for everything a typical doggy guest might forget: leads, baskets, blankets, even doggy shampoo. Over half of the rooms allow dogs plus they can join you for supper, as long as you eat in the bar area. And when they come back from a muddy walk, there's a hosepipe shower to spruce them up again. Charge: £10 per night. Read expert review. From £116per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

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Eltermere Inn Lake District, Cumbria, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The name is misleading as this is a small country-house hotel, not a pub, with a low-key, contemporary elegance: lots of taupe and coffee colours, chairs and sofas in heathery plaids, window seats to enjoy the views, botanical prints, local watercolours and a risqué display of Lady Chatterley's Lover illustrations. And the great thing for dogs and their owners is that, other than the (smart) dining room, there are no restrictions on doggy territory. Plus, as the same menu is served in the funky bar area, you can still dine with your dog. A booklet of walks provides plenty of suggestions for walks from the doorstep. Charge: £15 per stay. Read expert review. From £110per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

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Waterhead Hotel Ambleside, Lake District, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This refreshingly slick bolthole, perched at the northern end of Windermere and close to Ambleside, may have more than a whiff of urban cool about its styling - hardwood floors, blingy chandeliers, electro music - but it’s pretty relaxed when it comes to dogs. Nowhere, other than the restaurant, is off-limits, and there are doggy treats, bed, bowl, towel and welcome letter waiting in the bedrooms plus walking routes and maps should you both fancy some serious exercise. If the weather’s warm you can all sit outside to eat, on the lawn and terrace beside the pizza oven, and it’s only a dog-leap across the road for a dip in the lake. Charge £20 per night. Read expert review. From £142per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

• The best family-friendly hotels in England

 

This article was written by Helen Pickles from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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