You may see these winter months as a time to stay in and get cosy, but with less than half of UK dog owners walking their dogs on a daily basis, you really can’t let the drop in temperatures stop you getting out and about; your dog still needs their daily dose of exercise to keep them happy and healthy.
There’s nothing like wrapping up in all your woolies, pulling on those wellies and taking a step outside into the crisp winter air. Deserted beaches, frozen lakes, frost covered countryside - this time of year is truly breathtaking, so there is no reason not to get out and explore with your four legged friend!
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together 9 of the best Christmas dog walks the UK has to offer. Get ready to explore!
Discover New Christmas Dog Walks:
- Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
- Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens, London
- Cley Next the Sea, Norfolk
- Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire
- Lyme Park, Cheshire
- Lake Windermere, Lake District
- Portland, Dorset
- Loch Morlich, Scotland
- Poppet Sands, Wales
1. Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
One of England’s largest houses and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace is a beautiful country house set in large undulating parkland.
Dogs are allowed to explore the 2,000 acres of parklands, as long as they are kept on a lead due to grazing livestock, and also in the outdoor seating for the Pantry Cafe.
As an added bonus, you can take your pooch to their annual Christmas Market as well, so wrap up the whole family for a little festive adventure.
The Park: Open daily 9:30am - 20:30pm
The Oxfordshire Pantry Café: Open daily 9.30am - 21.30pm
Christmas Market: Nov 19th - Dec 19th, open daily 10.30am - 20.30pm
2. Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens, London
Although Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland event allows well behaved dogs on leads, the bright lights and hustle and bustle may not be for every dog... Luckily, the rest of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are still open and offer some beautiful sights in the winter months.
Take a loop of The Serpentine Lake and the Round Pond, and then stop off for some lovely refreshments at ‘The Magazine at The Serpentine’. Not only is it dog friendly inside and out, it offers a delicious sustainable menu set inside a stunning building.
The Magazine at The Serpentine: Open daily 10:00am - 18:30pm
3. Cley Next the Sea, Norfolk
Cley Next the Sea boasts a renowned nature reserve that will knock your socks off this winter. Start off your Christmas dog walk at the Picnic Fayre Deli in the Old Forge with a locally produced snack or just a slice of cake to fuel your walk.
Your journey will take you past Cley Windmill towards the sea, along the Norfolk coastal path and onto deserted shingle beaches.
For this walk, make sure you all wrap up warm, including the pooch! Norfolk's coastal breeze will be extra chilly at this time of year.
Nature Reserve: Open daily 10:00am - 17:00pm
4. Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire
Shugborough Hall is a National Trust Georgian manor house, set in 900 acres of beautiful parkland that make the perfect spot for a Christmas dog walk.
Although you must keep your pup on a lead at all times, you can take the whole family to explore the gardens Shugborough has to offer, followed by a pit stop at the Park Farm Cafe for a cosy hot chocolate.
Also for Christmas 2021, staff and volunteers have created a 125 Christmas Treasure checklist you can download before your visit. You won’t be able to tick all 125 off with your pup in tow, but it still remains a fun festive adventure for the family.
Parkland: Open daily 9:00am - 16:00pm
Park Farm Cafe: Open daily 9:30am - 15:30pm
5. Lyme Park, Cheshire
Another National Trust property, Lyme Park is set on the edge of the Peak District. Well known as the setting of Pemberley from Pride and Prejudice, not only is the house itself a sight to behold, views from the surrounding parks go as far as Yorkshire and Derbyshire, and at this time of year, snow capped hills are very likely.
A place that can be enjoyed by all the family, the National Trust has created a map for you to follow during your Christmas dog walk, even showing places you can let them off the lead.
Park: Open daily 9.00am - 16.30pm
6. Lake Windermere, Lake District
If you're looking for something a little different to try with the family this festive season, jump aboard a Windermere Lake Cruise! They allow owners to bring well-behaved dogs aboard for a trip around Lake Windermere. Here, you will be able to take in all the magnificent scenery the Lake District has to offer.
After your cruise, Windermere itself is full of quaint cafes and pubs that are dog friendly, so you’ve got lots of options for some cosy food.
If you haven't done so already, a trip to the Lake District is a must. Check out cruise prices and timetables here.
Windermere Lake Cruise: Open daily 9:45am - 15:40pm (excluding Christmas day)
7. Portland, Dorset
The Isle of Portland is the Jurassic coast’s most southerly point, joined to the mainland by just a thin strip. A cobweb of footpaths criss-crossing all over the island await for you to explore - including multiple viewpoints, Portland Bill Lighthouse and Pulpit Rock.
There are also an array of dog friendly cafes for you to choose from, many around the Portland marina so you and your four legged friend can relax with some treats and watch the boats.
As far as Christmas dog walks go, we must say this one's pretty special!
Portland Bill Lighthouse: Open Sunday to Friday 11:00am - 17:00pm
8. Loch Morlich, Scotland
When travelling a bit further north, you need to prepare for a slight drop in temperature - but we promise the scenery is worth it.
A 6km loop around Loch Morlich is like something straight out of a fairytale. The views of the northern Cairngorm mountains dusted with snow, situated in the heart of Glenmore Forest and reflected in the Loch are simply breathtaking.
While there, be sure to visit the award-winning Loch Morlich Beach for coastal Christmas fun. Your wee pup is bound to love his Christmas dog walk and mini-trip to Scotland!
9. Poppit Sands, Wales
Poppit Sands is a sandy beach located at the mouth of the Teifi Estuary. Though dog restrictions apply in the summer months, during the winter months, dogs are allowed off lead at Poppit Sands. This means they have free roam of the whole deserted beach!
Lots of space for zoomies, and even a little paddle if your pup is brave enough for the cold, just make sure you keep them toasty after.
A lovely dog friendly cafe is also close by for you all to warm up together with some hot beverages.
Make sure you take note of the tide times before making a trip to ensure your Christmas dog walk isn't cut off by the incoming tide.
Crwst Poppit: Open daily - 10.00am - 15:00pm
Dog Walking Essentials For Your Pup
There are some things you will need to consider when walking your dog in the winter. Not all dogs will be comfortable being out in the cold, especially in the snow. Elderly dogs will most definitely enjoy being by a toasty fire instead, and little pup’s shouldn’t be exposed to the cold for too long.
Before heading out for your Christmas dog walk, please take note of some of the essentials you should pack:
- Snow can be a very exciting and unusual concept to dogs, so be sure to keep them on the lead initially until you know they are safe to roam. Snow can hide a multitude of dangers and can disorientate dogs so be careful. Our versatile lead is great for extra close control as you can loop it over your body.
- If venturing out in the dark, a flashing collar or tag are an excellent way to make sure you don’t lose sight of them.
- If your dog hasn’t got a thick layer of fur to keep them snug, you could invest in a jacket for some extra warmth. Our puffer jacket is an ideal extra layer for a chilly pup.
- Wipe paws and bellies after a walk as the dampness can irritate skin.
- Not just a winter essential, but ensure your dog’s microchip information is up to date!
- Antifreeze is poisonous to dogs, so make sure it is out of reach and any spillages are moped up.
As your dog's owner, you are in the best position to give judgement as to whether you can take your dog out safely, or whether the weather will be too extreme. Make sure you take this into consideration before heading out!