If you have never been to this stunning part of England before, I highly recommend it. Whether you want to take your four-legged friends on some mountain adventures, walk around the stunning lakes or just admire the views with a glass of red, this place will become a place you and your dog will fall in love with and one that you will both treasure.
Being lucky enough to live just a few hours away from this magical place I had been a few times on my holidays, this however was the first time I was arriving with a mischievous pooch and his bestie in tow. To say I was a little dubious and concerned would be an understatement, I soon realised that I had nothing to be worried about and that this was one of the most dog friendliest places I had ever visited.
Love at first sight
The first time I visited this part of England I fell in love with the town of Keswick, not only for the exceptional fish and chips and walkers size portions but also for the spectacular views and fell walks right on the doorstep.
After a quick search for dog friendly campsites in this area, I stumbled upon Scotgate Holiday Park and instantly booked it. The campsite sits just off the A66 and in the chocolate box village of Braithwaite set in the heart of the Northern Lake District. It is set in the valley between Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwent Water which is surrounded by a selection of remarkable fells such as Grisedale Pike, Skiddaw, Barrow, Whinalatter and many more. The view honestly takes your breath away.
The site has both electric and non-electric pitches, a small shop, a café and a toilet and shower block which are pristine. The licensed café onsite serves delicious food throughout the day and allows dogs inside, we called in for a full English breakfast and the chef even cooked the dogs up a sausage each (they liked him a lot!).
Running through the campsite is a small river which not only makes for a great swimming spot for your dog it’s also ideal for those morning walks.
Exploring the Local Villiage
The quaint little village itself is beautiful, it has a number of dog friendly pubs (I will come back to these), a small village shop and a number of small cafes. Dogs are not allowed in the shop but the owners are happy to pass you your freshly baked bread or newspaper.
This area is the perfect spot for walking, it is close to Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwent Water, you can access a number of low level or high-level walks from here and you can also walk to Keswick- perfect for those pooches who have a lot of energy! Just be careful in the Lakes if your dog likes a swim, these can sometimes contain blue algae which can be harmful to you and your little friend so best to check before you swim, there are normally signs up or you can check online.
The Coledale Inn is a dog friendly pub and hotel, it is just a small 5-minute walk along the river from the campsite. We spent many evenings here in the large beer garden and we ate here a couple of nights. Dogs are welcome in most areas of the pub except room at the back of the restaurant.
Staff here are very friendly, they offer fresh water for dogs and they have some tasty dog biscuits on the bar for every time you buy a drink (this can be dangerous especially when your dog looks at you and requests more meaning you need to buy another gin!) The food was delicious, they offer proper English country pub food and yes, its walkers’ portions (be careful if you order the pie, you may need some baggy trousers). After speaking to a few people staying in the hotel with their dogs they all recommended it saying the rooms were nice and their dogs were made to feel very welcome. I shall be returning here for a little stay myself with Angus.
There lots of other pubs in the village and the surrounding area that is all walking distance and most are dog friendly. Our second favourite was the Swinside Inn pub and kitchen. We found this little gem on one of our little low-level walking adventures. It has dramatic mountain views and is the perfect resting spot when you are mid-walk with muddy boots and muddy paws, and a little treat for the humans they serve delicious coffee beer
Another pub is The Middle Ruddings. This is a family run Inn and restaurant, there were definitely more paws than humans in this pub and it was a great place for Angus and Herbert to make lots of new friends. They also serve delicious food and they have a great selection of real ales.dding-
As I mentioned previously you can walk to Keswick from the village, this is around 2 miles and low-level. It’s a lovely walk for you and your dog; Angus and Herbert bounced through the fields, swam in the river and sniffed many other pooches all doing the same. Halfway to Keswick we stopped off at a small dog friendly tearoom- The Chalet Tearooms and Restaurant – this is a perfect resting spot for a quick cup of tea and a cream scone. They also offered a range of dog treats that kept them entertained for 5 minutes.
Bustling Dog Friendly Town
Once in Keswick we wandered the dog friendly streets, I would say the ratio of dogs to humans would be for every 10 humans 9 have dogs. It’s a busy town full of walking shops, cafes, pubs and delicious fish and chips. Most shops and cafes allow dogs inside as long as they are on a lead. Angus and Herbert enjoyed a naughty sausage roll from the local Bakers.
You can walk down to the Derwent Water for a walk around the lake or a little boat ride, again you can take your dog on most of the boats.
Halfway to the lake there is another little cafe called Cafe Hope, this is also dog-friendly and also has its own dog menu.
Most walks around this area do require you to have a lead on your four-legged friend, this is due to walking through farm yards and fields and also the sheep here are free to roam and they are literally anywhere and everywhere, so its best to keep them a little restricted to reduce the amount of debauchery (we all know they love sheep)
As some of you know Angus is a Dachshund, but don’t let his little legs fool you. He is secretly a mountain goat in disguise. If your dog is also full of energy and enjoys some more challenging walks then there are a number of fells that surround this area which make for a perfect day of adventure. Angus managed to walk the Coledale Horseshoe which incorporated Grisdale Pike (791m) and causey pike (637m). We started the walk along the Coledale Beck which has a beautiful waterfall and old mine, it took around 7 hours of walking but it was incredible and the dogs loved it, what made it better was the signpost at the end pointing the way to the pub, a well-deserved pint it was!
He has also enjoyed walks up Barrow and Catbells which were both breath-taking fell walks, giving you a stunning view of the valley below. These walks are all mapped and signposted and I can’t recommend them enough for you and your dog, after all; those that climb mountains together stay together.
We are hoping to head back again before summer and have Skiddaw in our sights.
Hope this whistle-stop review can help anyone who is looking for a lovely, fun holiday with their four-legged friend.