London

London’s Best Dog-Friendly Activities and Attractions

It’s no secret: we’re a nation of dog-lovers. The pattering of paws by our sides on long, laidback walks and the beating hearts keeping us company at home, dogs truly are man’s best friend. Acknowledging their position as part of the family, these days many attractions, eateries and activity centres have opened up their doors to dogs, encouraging all the pack to take part in memorable days out together – including in the capital. One of the best dog-friendly destinations of all, London is peppered with all sorts of opportunities for dreamy doggy days out, offering family-friendly fun for all generations, two-legged and four.

 

To get you started, here’s all you need to know about dog-friendly London, including the best dog-friendly activities and attractions suitable for sprightly pups and senior chums.  

Boats and Floats 

If you’re looking for a novel way to explore the capital with your dog, then why not take to the water? All around the city are miles of navigable waterways that can be explored by boat, kayak, canoe and even stand-up paddleboard. If you’re happy to sit back and enjoy the ride, Thames River Sightseeing offer dog-friendly cruises, while Go Boat allow you to be the captain of your own low-emission electric hire boat for the day. For something a little different, you can also hire canoes and kayaks from Moo Canoes in East London from April to October. While they don’t supply dog-friendly safety aids, you can pick up your own doggy buoyancy jacket separately and take to the water together.  

Regent’s Canal Walk  

If your pup isn’t too taken with the idea of being on the water, then why not compromise with a canal-side stroll instead? Extending along the length of Regent’s Canal, this 9-mile walk starts in Little Venice and finishes near the Limehouse Basin, affording glimpses of lots of famous landmarks along the way. Allowing you to enjoy the city’s waterways without the chance of getting your feet (and paws) wet, it’s a great year-round activity that offers a surprisingly peaceful escape from the hubbub of the city streets. Pop your pup on their lead and walk as much or as little as you please along this dog-friendly path before heading back to your luxury retreat to relax. 

The Royal Parks 

For bark life – sorry, park life – with a regal twist, take your dog for a walk around one of London’s Royal Parks. A must during any visit to the city, these eight parks cover more than 5,000 acres of historic parkland and are the largest areas of open green space in the city – ideal for leisurely ambles throughout the day. Wherever you are staying in the city, you can choose from Bushy Park, Green Park and Kensington Gardens, Greenwich, Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Richmond and St James’s Park. The largest park, Richmond, is particularly enchanting for early morning walks, when just the dedicated few and the resident deer can be seen walking across its 1,000 acres.  

Wild Walks at Epping Forest  

Yes, London really does have some wild spaces perfect for care-free strolls with your pup. Up there at the top of the pile is Epping Forest, a 6,000-acre area of ancient woodland on the border of north-eastern Greater London. Within its leafy folds you can find two ancient Iron Age earthworks, an old Royal Hunting Lodge, ancient grassland, heaths, bogs and a huge array of trees, including ancient oak, beech, birch and hornbeam. Naturally, your dog will have a fantastic time tracing all the new trails and discovering all the exciting new scents along the way. That said, if your pup is particularly excitable, it’s probably best to keep them on-lead as the forest is also home to many resident wildlife species.  

Historic Houses  

For cultured canines, there are many historic houses that you can visit across London, many of which have dog-friendly gardens and parkland. Osterley House in West London, Morden Hall Park in South London, Marble Hill House in Southwest London and Kenwood House in North London all have beautiful grounds which you can explore at your leisure with your dog. Chiswick House and Gardens in West London is another great choice with its stunning gardens, ponds and fountains, while Severndroog Castle in Southeast London is especially popular for its views across the city and its dog-friendly tearooms. Severndroog also happens to sit within the 8,000-year-old Castle Wood, one of the UK’s last remaining ancient deciduous woodlands. 

Ruislip Dog-Friendly Beach  

If you think you need to head to the coast to enjoy a beachy holiday with your dog, think again. Over in West London, Ruislip provides the answer to sunshine days by the shore with a dedicated dog-friendly beach. While admittedly Ruislip is a lake, not a sea, we don’t think your four-legged friend will be too concerned with the discrepancy as they bound along the water’s edge and lap up the surroundings. Though humans are not permitted to swim in the water due to safety hazards and lack of lifeguard service, dogs can enjoy a little paddle in the shallows when the conditions are right – all before relaxing on the beach with a well-deserved treat. 

Emirates Cable Car  

Should your waggy-tailed pal be small enough to carry, then you can treat yourselves to a whole new perspective of the city with a high-flying tour with Emirates Air Line. With no actual flights necessary, this trip involves a sky-high cable car ride across the Thames between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks in East London. During the day, cabins arrive every 30 seconds and take you on a 10-minute journey each way. In the evening, this journey time is then slightly extended by a couple of minutes each way, meaning that you can relax and spend even more time watching the lights of the city twinkle and bounce off the river.  

Vintage Rail 

Another way to get around for a fun dog-friendly activity in London is with one of the city’s vintage railways. Running along the banks of Ruislip Lake, the Ruislip Lido Railway is a 12-inch narrow gauge railway that skirts ancient woodland and affords lovely views over the water. Hop on at Woody Bay station by the beach and savour the ride with your pup by your side. Another time, should you like to extend your exploration of the Epping Forest District, you can journey back in time with Epping’s steam railway. One of the longest heritage railways in the UK, it travels out through some of Essex’s most picturesque countryside for a sweet rural escape.  

Dog-Friendly Pools 

An especially tempting proposition in the warmer months, London’s dog-friendly pools are sure to be a real winner with water-pups. Hidden amongst London’s glittering high-rises are many glistening pools perfect for a splash. Hampstead Heath, Clapham Common, Epping Forest and Wimbledon Common are all home to some of these mirror-topped delights and welcome all pups and their well-behaved owners. Located on the southernmost edge of Epping Forest in London, Hollow Pond is probably one of the best destinations to go, consisting of a series of watery inlets and islands spread across 13 acres. With tranquil surrounds and shingly shores, you’re both sure to have a ball.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is perhaps London’s most famous landmarks, having overlooked the city for more than a century. It also happens to be one of the city’s top dog-friendly attractions, too. With your dog on their lead, you are invited to learn all about its history, climb its towers and enjoy its stunning panoramas. Making your visit to Tower Bridge even more thrilling, you can also walk across the iconic glass-floor walkways with your four-legged friend, enjoying incredible views above the Thames and snapping a photo or two. Finally, you can also head to the Victorian Engine Rooms too, ready to witness the enormous machines that powered Tower Bridge many years ago.

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