BringFido's Guide to England

Posted by Billy Francis

While England is only similar in size to Oregon, it still manages to leave a massive paw print in the dog world. From popular pint-sized pups like Beagles, Jack Russells and Yorkies to speedy Greyhounds and wrinkly Bulldogs, some of the best-loved mutts hail from this beautiful island in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Whether you want a quintessentially English holiday with afternoon tea, steam train rides and countryside manors, or you’re looking for a ruff and ready trip with fish and chips on the coast, a guided tour featuring the latest Banksy and an affordable eco-lodge to curl up in at the end of the day, this seriously dog-friendly country guarantees a “jolly good time” for every pooch and their pack.

Things To Do

“Sightseeing? I prefer sight-peeing.” Photo by iStock/mauinow1

Visiting an art gallery dedicated to dogs, watching a movie under the stars and cruising on a famous lake in a steam gondola are just a few of the adventures you and your furry travel companion can embark upon in Old Blighty.

London Calling

Every English adventure should begin in the country’s biggest city and capital, London. This bustling metropolis is nicknamed “The Big Smoke” thanks to the emissions from the coal that was once used to heat homes, but today, London’s luscious dog-friendly parks are clean, green and the perfect spot to explore with Fido. Pups with good recall can play off leash at all royal parks, including Greenwich Park and Richmond Park. Dogs are also welcome to join their owners at an alternate green space in the capital. Four-legged football fans can join their owners for kickoff at stadiums in the Non-League like Champion Hill, home of hipster favorite Dulwich Hamlet F.C.

For a different pace, visit the Brunel Museum and explore an exhibition inside the world’s oldest underwater tunnel. Then, head to the Kennel Club Art Gallery and Library to see collections of canine literature, art, photographs and more. Finish your historical adventure at the Tower Bridge Exhibition, which welcomes well-behaved dogs inside the historic Towers, on the spectacular Glass Floor and in the Victorian Engine Rooms. After a full day of exploring, head to one of Picturehouse’s dog-friendly movie theaters to watch a flick alongside your furry film fan, or watch a show under the stars at the Wooftop Film Club. If Fido prefers live entertainment, meet Betsy the house poodle during a comedy show at The Poodle Club.

If you want to learn about London from people in the know, join a guided pet-friendly tour. London Discovery Tours - Jack the Ripper Tour will take you and your pooch on an eerie journey to the crime scenes of one of the world’s most famous unsolved mysteries. Then, take the plunger with your Pug on a unique tour of London lavatories with London Loo Tours. Art lovers can sniff out the new Banksy on a guided tour with Shoreditch Street Art instead, while foodies can join Walk Eat Talk Eat on the Hidden Gems tour that sets off from Tower Bridge and visits two thriving food markets.

Nose Around The North

(North East and West)

Airedale Terriers can begin their North East escapade with a photoshoot next to Antony Gormley’s steel sculpture, the Angel of the North in Gateshead. Afterward, learn about life for coal miners over the past 200 years at nearby Beamish. This dog-friendly open-air museum features a 1900s pit village, a 1950s town, a historic tram, a fish and chip shop and more. Discover The North West’s natural beauty during an expedition around the Lake District National Park in Cumbria. England’s largest national park is home to 16 lakes, some of which can be seen from pet-friendly loop trails like Catbells Lakeland Walk and The Old Man of Coniston Circular. Get out on the country’s largest lake with Windermere Lake Cruises or experience Coniston Water with the National Trust - Steam Yacht Gondola.

While you’re in The North, make your way to Manchester where you can stock up on toys at Betty & Butch Dog Store, followed by an evening of bowling with your Bulldog at the aptly-named Dog Bowl. No visit to the home of Oasis and Joy Division would be complete without “pawrusing” a dog-friendly record store like Piccadilly Records. Afterward, hop on the 35-minute train to Liverpool Lime Street and search out Beatles albums at Dead Air Records. Keep the Beatles theme going in a ‘Yellow Submarine’ themed vessel with Mersey Ferries’ River Explorer Cruises, then hear all about the Fab Four with Liverpool Famous Walking Tours.

“I’m on the rise!” Photo by

Mosey Around the Midlands

(East and West Midlands)

Poochy Blinders won’t want to miss England’s second city, Birmingham. Roundhouse Birmingham offers a variety of experiences in the center of the city, including the Cobbles and Canals Tour that will take you alongside Birmingham’s historic canals once used to transport coal, iron and more. After your tour, wind down with music, good vibes and grub from one of the many food trucks at Digbeth Dining Club. If you want a quieter activity away from the crowds, go for a memorable walk together at Castle Bromwich Historic Gardens.

Take the train from Birmingham New Street to the city of Coventry and wander through the medieval streets to Coventry Cathedral, one of the many buildings in the city that was destroyed during the Second World War. Leashed dogs are welcome in both the Ruins and the New Cathedral. On the opposite side of the region, visit the historic city of Nottingham to stroll around Nottingham Arboretum, look out for Robin Hood and his Merry Men at Sherwood Forest, and soar high above a deep limestone gorge in a cable car with your pooch at the Heights of Abraham.

Southbound With Your Hound

(South West and South East)

Hop on the 90-minute Thameslink train from London to Brighton, where you’ll find one of the most vibrant coastal cities in the world. Here, you can revel with your Retriever in The Lanes with Only In Brighton Tours and check out intriguing art at Kellie Miller Arts. Dogs are permitted on all Brighton beaches from 1 October to 30 April and can join their owners in the dedicated dog-friendly stretches during summer, too. After a walk on the famous pebbly beach, cruise along the seafront on a heritage train journey with Volk's Electric Railway.

From Brighton, book a pet-friendly rental car and head west for a hike on the gorgeous Seven Sisters trail in South Downs National Park, then take another break at the open-air archaeology museum, Butser Ancient Farm. In nearby Portsmouth, Fido will feel like Godzilla as he strolls through the tiny world of the Southsea Model Village. Step back into the real world and catch the Wightlink ferry to the Isle of Wight for a romp around a variety of stunning off-leash beaches like Yaverland Beach. Back on the mainland, head to the harbor city of Bristol on the border of Wales in the South West. Pups are welcome to stare in wonder as hundreds of balloons take off during the annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at Ashton Court in August and join you for a guided tour of the engineering marvel designed by Brunel, Clifton Suspension Bridge.

“This trip is getting steamy.” Photo by

Full Steam Ahead!

Invented by the English engineer Richard Trevithick at the start of the 19th century, many steam locomotives are still operational around England today. Share an unforgettable scenic train ride with your dog while you’re in the Lake District with The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. This seven-mile journey through the surrounding hills departs from Ravenglass Station, where your pooch receives a welcome pack and can order a doggy ice cream. Visitors to the Angel of the North can join nearby Tanfield Railway for an excursion on a train track once used as a horse-drawn colliery wooden wagonway. Swanage Railway in Dorset, home of the Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge, is a heritage railway that sets off from Norden and stops at Corfe Castle on its way to Swanage. This historic fortification welcomes leashed dogs inside the castle to explore, in the tea room to sniff out gourmet dog treats, inside the shop to pick up swag like a new water bowl or harness, and on trails that wind around the surrounding countryside. Elsewhere in the region, pups can enjoy a day out at Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway. Grab a doggy ice cream from Mr Eddy’s Restaurant, then explore some of the 22 miles of pet-friendly trails that weave through the exquisite gardens. Plan your visit around a Devoted to Dogs Day for a discount on your tickets.

“So, is the cave made of cheddar?” Photo by

Sniff Out Literary Legends

Pups are welcome to join their owners on a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see William Shakespeare’s birthplace, Anne Hathaway's Cottage and Shakespeare's New Place, where he passed away. If you don’t have time to read The Bard’s 38 plays, hear about them on a guided tour with Stratford Town Walk. You and your pooch can also pay a visit to Tudor World to see life in Shakespeare’s time brought to life by actors in period clothing. Next, it’s back to London to follow in the footsteps of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. Bring your Hound of the Baskerville with you on a tour of book locations like 221b Baker Street with London Walks. Next, take a detour into the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Tour for Muggles is led by real-life witches and wizards and “aims to educate the non-magical world” by visiting secret magical places hidden in plain sight. You’ll also check out London locations where the two worlds meet. Leashed dogs are welcome to join their owners on this unique tour. Afterward, take a picture of your pooch with the trolley at King Cross Stations’ Platform 9 and ¾, before hopping on a train to Paddington Station to see a famous furry passenger from Peru waiting with his suitcase.

Tourists exploring Bristol can easily get to Cheddar Gorge and Caves, one of the inspirations for J.R.R Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. Leashed dogs are invited to explore this underground marvel and see the inspiration for Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers. From Cheddar, head further west into Cornwall in search of more legends at Tintagel Castle, a medieval fortification on the coast said to be the place where the legend of King Arthur was first conceived. Pups are welcome on the coastal pathways, throughout the English Heritage site and even inside Merlin’s Cave on the beach below.

Places to Stay

“Are you gonna eat that?” Photo by Healing Manor Hotel

From a quintessential Cotswolds stay to a city home with a big surprise, these pet-friendly places welcome your Whippet with open arms.

Bring your Heeler to Healing Manor

Healing Manor Hotel invites dogs of all shapes and sizes to join their owners for a relaxing weekend in Lincolnshire. The hotel’s on-site restaurant, The Pig and Whistle, offers a delicious dog menu that includes a protein bowl, scrambled eggs, a turkey casserole and more. You can order food to your room, enjoy it in the bar area of the restaurant or sit outside during the summer months. Pups are welcome to join their owners on a walk around the grounds, but you can go for a longer stroll at nearby Cleethorpes Beach. Canine guests also receive treats at check-in and bowls to use during their stay.

London’s Four-Legged Finest

Lollygagging around London with your Lab is tiring work, so make sure you have a welcoming place to rest after each long day in the capital. The Bermondsey Square Hotel goes beyond the beds, bowls and treats at check-in by offering four-legged guests a discount at nearby Holly & Lil. Dogs can also join their owners for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea at the hotel restaurant. Elsewhere in the city, Kimpton Fitzroy London’s Director of Pet Relations, Winston, invites dogs to stay at his home away from home. His guests of honor receive a loaner pet bed, bowls and treats, and can join their owners for brunch at the in-house restaurant, Burr & Co, and for afternoon tea in the Palm Court.

Cotswold Calling All Hounds

You won’t find anywhere more “typically English” than The Cotswolds. Wander with your dog through a collection of villages with names like Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Norton and Minster Lovell, all made up of quaint buildings that date back to the 16th century. The Hare & Hounds in Tetbury is the quintessential Cotswolds stay. Explore the extensive grounds with Fido before enjoying a meal at the bar, complete with braised venison, liver and oat biscuits on the dog menu. The Fish Hotel offers more incredible Cotswolds accommodations, which include a doggy bathtub with canine shampoo, a boot room stocked with tennis balls and walking maps, and an outdoor agility course. Pups are also invited to afternoon tea designed for four-legged guests with muffins and local treats in The Lounge.

“If I had opposable thumbs, I’d help with the locks.” Photo by

Cruise on the Canals With Your Canine

The Cotswolds provides the “ulti-mutt” English experience on land, but pups who enjoy being on the water may prefer a classic canal boat holiday. ABC Boat Hire welcomes dogs across their fleet at 13 locations throughout England. Whether you want to start your adventure at Worcester Marina and witness Worcester Cathedral from the River Severn, cruise through quaint towns like Newbury and Thatcham from Aldermaston Wharf, or enjoy an adventure up North from Anderton Marina, there’s a route to suit all groups. Black Prince Boating Holidays also offers pet-friendly rentals that cruise leisurely along the canals and waterways of England’s countryside. With boats big enough for 12 or more people, it might be time to consider a floating family retreat.

Hang Around in Manchester

Hammock Heights lives up to its name by featuring an upstairs area that’s been converted into a huge luxury hammock with views into the downstairs living room. This award-winning Airbnb is centrally located off Manchester’s iconic Deansgate, is within walking distance of pet-friendly pubs and restaurants, and features a garage so you don’t need to worry about parking in the city. Your pooch can keep you company on both rooftop terraces, while you play ping pong, soak in the hot tub or do morning yoga on the artificial turf.

“Log home? More like a dog's home!” Photo by Airbnb

“Pawradise” for an Old English Sheepdog

Like something you’d see in “The Shire,” Chestnut Eco Lodge is a woodland escape in Northamptonshire. This off-grid Airbnb on a working farm has everything you need to switch off and connect to the rolling hills of the surrounding English countryside. Inside, there’s a log-burning fireplace, hardwood floors, kitchen area, dining table and cozy bed. The outdoor space features a wood-fire oven, fire pit grill and plenty of room for a game of fetch. If anybody in the family snores, send them next door to the tiny shepherd’s hut with a bed inside.

A Beach Stay With Your Bestie

Lusty Glaze Beach Resort is a premier property in the lively seaside town of Newquay in Cornwall. Dogs are welcome to stay year-round and can join their owners throughout the resort, including in the restaurant and at Lusty Glaze Beach. After a sunrise stroll on the sand, go for a unique day out at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. Leashed pups are welcome throughout this rescue center, except the Seal Hospital and Cafe. Outside, you can wander together along woodland trails through 42 acres and hop on the Land Train. Then, peruse the homemade dog treats and commemorative bandanas in the gift shop. If you’re joining other guests for dinner back at the resort, Fido can curl up in a dog bed provided and dream about his new ocean-dwelling friends.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants

“Make mine a “bark-tini” - shaken, not stirred.” Photo by Facebook.comMereScribblerSW

Fido can browse dog menus full of exquisite meals and nutritious drinks, bask in a bustling beer garden and enjoy the view from a “ruff-top” bar at these pet-friendly establishments across England.

A Big Smoke Bar Crawl

Liquid History Tours will guide you and your furry drinking partner to some of the most legendary London pubs, or you can embark on a self-guided tour of the most dog-friendly instead. Smith and Whistle in Mayfair is a classy cocktail bar that boasts London’s first permanent Dogtail menu created alongside a canine nutritionist. The Mere Scribbler opposite dog-friendly Streatham Common is the perfect place to enjoy a post-walk pint while Fido sips on a Bottom Sniffer beer, enjoys items from the dog menu and curls up in the comfortable dog bed provided. Home to one of the capital's best-loved beer gardens and dedicated to local legends, The Kinks, The Clissold Arms welcomes you and your pooch to enjoy good food and vibes all day and night. For a stunning skyline view and a cocktail, visit Netil 360, East London’s premier “ruff-top” bar.

The Best Brummy Dog Menu

The Bell, located in the suburb of Harborne, is Birmingham’s best bar for Bulldogs and Border Collies. Humans can enjoy hearty pub grub like mushroom Wellington and burgers, while pups of all shapes and sizes dig into a plate of fish and chips, washed down with a delicious “Paw-star” Martini from the dog menu. Not only is there enough to fill both you and your pup up after a day wandering along the canals, but this inviting pub is also home to one of the city’s best beer gardens.

Manchester Loves Mutts

It’s all in the name of these magnificent mutt-loving establishments in Manchester. Brewdog DogHouse welcomes pups to stay for a long weekend at the Doghouse Hotel and to join their owners on the rooftop for a Dog Pawty with party hats, a card, a special dog ice-cream sundae and a donation to an animal charity. The Beagle in Chorlton also welcomes well-behaved dogs inside where they can join you for pizza, drinks and ice cream sandwiches. Finally, The Barking Dog is a former post office that now serves dogs and humans, as long as neither barks too much.

“This is about as refined as we're going to get.” Photo by The Egerton House Hotel

Afternoon Tea with your Airedale

There’s nothing quite like afternoon tea with your Terrier in London. The Egerton House Hotel in the heart of Knightsbridge welcomes dogs to stay overnight after devouring an afternoon tea with chicken and beef meatloaf, homemade dog biscuits, a carrot cupcake and a dog-tini served with canapes. Afternoon Tea at The Parlour in Westminster invites pups along for Sunday afternoon tea with doggie digestives, primrose pupcakes, and more crafted by the in-house canine nutritionist at nearby Talula Eats. If you want a break from the city, stroll around the pet-friendly lavender fields at Mayfield Lavender Farm in the London borough of Sutton just south of the city, followed by afternoon tea overlooking the purple display.

Delightful Dog-Friendly Beer Gardens

As soon as the sun comes out in England, people flock to the nearest beer garden to make the most of the good weather. “Liverpup-lians” will love the huge beer garden at Fletcher's Sports Bar at Allerton Manor Golf Club. Go for a walk together around the golf club grounds, then pick one of the many tables outside to sit at where Fido can peruse the enticing dog menu. Meanwhile, Bristolians and their best friends can join Number Seven Boat Trips on a journey down the River Avon from Bristol city center to the city’s “best kept secret,” Beeses Riverside Bar & Garden.

Fancy Fish and Chips

Indulge in the national dish of fish and chips with your furry chap. While most towns, even those far from the sea, claim to have the best fish and chips around, few get as many plaudits as RYBKA (the fish likes to swim) in the coastal city of Brighton. Here, you can order the signature fish supper, which includes haddock, cod or hake freshly caught the same day, with chips, homemade tartare sauce, a wedge of lemon, and either mushy peas or homemade curry sauce. Dogs are welcome at RYBKA, as long as they stay off the tables. Or, take a detour from Manchester to Chorley on your adventure through the North for another fine meal for you and a special treat for Fido at Skippers Fish and Chips.

What’s your favorite dog-friendly town in England? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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