If your dog is as much a part of your family as any person there’s no need to upset them with a spell in kennels while you head off for a fantastic holiday, because the Peak District is brimming with dog-friendly attractions, activities and self-catering accommodation. This is a part of the country we know inside and out, so we’ve put together this useful list with lots of things you and your four legged friend can do together.
Walking in the Peak District National Park
Limestone dales and highland moors are characteristic features of the Peak District National Park. There are an almost infinite number of routes you can take to suit your level of fitness, and the weather and time you have available, including sections of the Derwent Valley Heritage Way, Pennine Way National Trail, and Trans Pennine Trail. Some 65 miles of tracks provide off-road enjoyment for walkers and cyclists and there is also a wide choice (64 miles!) of buggy and wheelchair friendly trails including the Monsal Trail, Longendale Trail, and Tissington Trail. You can find more information about accessible for all, ‘miles without stiles’ routes here.
You’re seriously spoilt for choice with dog-friendly walking routes in the Peak District. Some of the most popular include the circular route from Little Longstone to the Monsal Trail and Cressbrook; and Millers Dale to the Chee Dale Nature Reserve, returning via the Monsal Trail.
It is worth stopping off at one of the Peak District National Park Visitor’s Centres in Bakewell, Castleton, Derwent, or Edale for maps and advice on dog walking in the area. The Monsal Trail and Tissington Trail have the advantage of being not only free of traffic but also free from sheep, and dotted with dog-friendly pubs and cafes.
The stunning landscape of the Peak District National Park will have you lacing up your walking boots and your dog wagging its tail from the moment you arrive. Dog owners are asked to keep their dogs on lead during the spring and summer months (March 1 to July 31) throughout the countryside, to protect ground-nesting birds and young grazing animals.
Dog Friendly Attractions in the Peak District
As enjoyable as a good walk is, sometimes you just want to put your feet up and enjoy the scenery without breaking a sweat. Peak Rail runs regular services between Matlock and Bakewell – some of them on a beautifully restored steam locomotive – and welcome well behaved dogs everywhere except in the restaurant car. A great alternative is the Discover Buxton tram, which welcome dogs (providing the other fellow passengers are happy). Their “Wonder of the Peaks” route goes via Poole’s Cavern and Buxton Country Park where there is a dog friendly café.
Treak Cliff Cavern is a fascinating wet-weather attraction which allows dogs on leads. It’s the only place in the world where Blue John stone is mined and the tours give an insight into this amazing underground world.
Peveril Castle in Castleton was built by Henry II in 1176 and is now a gloriously romantic ruin. There are breath taking views (quite literally – it’s up a hill!) across the Hope Valley, along with a picnic site, visitor centre and shop, a playground and a permanent exhibition about the history of the castle.
It would be completely remiss to come to the Peak District without going to Chatsworth House. Dogs are not allowed in the house, adventure playground, or farmyard (although they can be tied up outside the farmyard for short periods). However, that’s no hardship with 1,000 acres of parkland and beautiful gardens to enjoy strolling around, imagining you’re the lord or lady of the manor. Whether you want a gentle stroll with your dog along the River Derwent or a more strenuous 7 mile challenge that takes in much of the estate, there are plenty of opportunities on offer. A trip to the Estate Farmshop afterwards is a must where you can stock up on some of Derbyshire’s finest produce including venison, lamb, beef and pheasant reared on Chatsworth Estate, along with fresh fish from its waters. All the right ingredients for a great day out and a relaxing tasty supper back at the cottage afterwards!
Dog-friendly places to eat and drink in the Peak District
If you’re on a self-catering holiday you’re bound to enjoy the opportunity of dining in one of the region’s many dog-friendly pubs and restaurants. For local ales and seasonal food make a booking at the Monsal Head Hotel near Bakewell where dogs on leads are allowed in both the Stable Bar and the beer garden. The views over the viaduct are unbeatable and the food is sure to fill your soul with warmth after a long walk.
The White Lion at Great Longstone near Bakewell is another great place to relax in front of the log fire over Sunday Roast (dogs are welcome in the Tap Room!). With a great selection of ales, gins and an enticing menu with plenty of classics and modern dishes, a visit here should set you up nicely for a day exploring the Derbyshire Dales.
Also close by and perfect if you’re travelling the Monsal Trail, The Packhorse Inn in Little Longstone is another good choice, especially if you want a good honest pint. It’s very popular so bookings are advisable, but it’s worth forward planning to enjoy the menu made from food so local you can see some of the fields where it was grown from your comfortable chair.
If gastro dining is your thing, then make sure a trip to The Cow at Dalby Lees is on the itinerary. This fabulous inn may be full of boutique charm but it offers a warm welcome in the bar to dogs and owners alike and provides a superb place for a long leisurely lunch. Close to Ashbourne (we have holiday cottages in and around Ashbourne if you fancy staying near some good pubs!), the food is every bit as fabulous as the setting of this popular pub. If The Cow is fully booked, head to The Horseshoes in Long Lane Village (just 6 miles away) which is sure to be every bit as enjoyable and another of the areas great gastro pubs that welcomes dogs.
Where and When
Not only was the Peak District the country’s first national park but it is also one of its most frequently visited, which is hardly surprising given its central location within the country. With 50 million people able to reach the Peak District in four hours or less, it’s an ideal choice of holiday destination for many dog owners who want to avoid long car journeys. Easily accessible via the M1 and A6, you and your dog can set off from home and within little time be exploring the 1600 miles of tracks and trails that make this vast outdoor playground so popular.
There is no time of year that is “best” to visit the Peak District. The landscape is idyllic in spring and summer, painted in glorious colours in autumn, and utterly majestic in the winter. With ancient peaks and medieval villages, country houses and wooded valleys, and views you have to see to believe, there’s nothing stopping you and your dog enjoying a break away in the Peak District at any time of the year. We have a huge choice of holiday homes in the Peak District but if you are specifically looking for a dog friendly rental, take a look at our pet-friendly cottages.
For further information about the Peak District and its many attractions (including some more dog-friendly options) read our Things to do in the Peak District guide.