When choosing the perfect staycation, your pooch will no doubt be a huge part of the decision-making process. We understand that your dog doesn’t just tag along, but is an integral part of the holiday, and there are few better places to head for a retreat than the Peak District. Whether you are a family with a dog or two, a couple with a canine who is most definitely your baby, or if it’s just you and your dog, then we have the holiday for you. No matter whether you have one, two or three dogs, we can find you the perfect holiday cottage in this gorgeous part of England. Just sit back and put your feet up, get the pooch to put his paws up, and together have a read of our top canine adventures in the Peak District.
Canine adventure number one
Walkies on the wild side
Full of rugged mountains and peaks, some of which only the most intrepid human and hound would dare to scale, the Peak District is absolutely perfect for those who like a spot of adventure. Separated into The Dark Peak, which is made up of remote moors and imposing mountains, and the White Peak, which is a treasure of pretty villages, chocolate-box cottages and gorgeous lowland, there is something for every human and canine.
For those who don’t have a head for heights, there are lots of opportunities for low-level walking with a diverse landscape of low fells, woodland and lakes which all make for a perfect day out. The Goyt Valley is a brilliant place for dog walks – plenty of off-lead routes and paths that cross open moorland, through woods and alongside reservoirs. A popular walk involves parking at Errwood Hall car park and walking up to Shining Tor where you can marvel at the spectacular views on offer, then walk along the path towards Foxlow Edge, past the mystical ruins of Errwood Hall and back to the car park. Also make sure you go to the Black Rocks at Cromford where there is a perfect mixture of woodland and grasslands. You can choose marked trails or go off-piste – just make sure that your hound doesn’t take you off-track chasing rabbits! Here you will be treated to fabulous views and there are various dog-friendly pubs to stop off at on the way home.
If you like to lose yourself in rugged moorland and stark countryside, the Eastern Moors near Sheffield are breath-taking and well worth a visit. The Grouse Inn is the perfect place to relax afterwards so make sure you stop off there for dinner. Don’t miss the Monsal Trail which has lots of pooch-friendly pubs on the way; following the route of an old railway, it is traffic-free and flat. Popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders, it passes through multiple tunnels along the route, four of which are lit up.
You cannot leave the Peak District without spending a day at Mam Tor, one of the most famous landmarks in the Peaks. From glorious sunrises across the panoramic hilltops to traversing the hard ground covered in glistening ice crystals by the frosts of winter, you and your dog are guaranteed a wonderful experience.
Those of us used to England’s weather know that when we get a heatwave, it really can get scorching! While we advise not taking long walks in the heat, and sticking to earlier in the day or later in the evening for walkies, short daytime strolls can be enjoyable in the cool shade. Woodland walking is ideal when it is warm and also great for dogs who need to be off lead as there is less chance of meeting livestock (please be aware though that woods often back onto fields where there can be livestock roaming). Try the ancient woodland of Eccleshall Woods in Sheffield where there is a host of trails and bridleways (be aware of horses) and the beautiful area of the Longdendale Estate in Stalybridge. If you like to be around water, try the Linacre Woodland which is the perfect setting for a relaxing day out; set around three reservoirs, you can enjoy the multitude of wildlife, both in the forest and at the water’s edge.
Canine adventure number two
Historical hound dogs
Now, we know that our dogs enjoy a nice day out at a stately home or castle as much as we do, and luckily the National Trust and English Heritage have a mountain of properties that welcome our canine chums. While they can’t go into the actual properties themselves, they are allowed to have a wander about the grounds and go into some of the cafes. One such property is the elegant stately home of Chatsworth House, which welcomes dogs on leads in their gorgeous grounds. Another is Hardwick Hall which has an amazing 900 acres of parkland and welcomes our canine friends across both the parkland and stable yard. Stop for a coffee where your dog can sit with you on the South Terrace; there are water bowls for the thirsty pooch at both the Visitor Centre and Gatehouse. Just be wary as always of livestock and keep dogs on leads in the park.
Take an afternoon trip to Peveril Castle near Castleton, one of the UK’s oldest existing Norman buildings. For exuberant hounds, we suggest a climb to the top of the hills for the spectacular views across Hope Valley – just make sure that you take a picnic and lots of water for your canine chum. Another place where you are all welcome is Arbor Low Stone Circle and Gib Hill Barrow, a Neolithic henge monument high up on the moorland. Dogs are more than welcome to share this atmospheric prehistoric site, again just be sure to keep them on leads.
If you are lucky enough to be visiting the Peak District in August, then be sure to pop along to the Bakewell Show. One of the oldest agricultural shows in the country, there are a whole host of activities, from The Sheep Show to a stunt team, flower displays, livestock shows and a fabulous marquee full of scrumptious local produce. You might even want to enter Rover into the Premier Dog Show and Companion Dog Show. It’s one of the crowning glories in the agricultural calendar, and certainly one of the Peak District’s most famous and revered events.
Canine adventure number three
Who let the dogs out?
We know from experience that the vivid imagination of some pooches is bigger than their ability and it is up to us to set the pace. Though willing, they may not always be able – some breeds can’t do long walks, some dogs have arthritis or are not very well, some may be elderly and some are, ahem, just a little bit lazy (or as we like to call it, ‘thinking dogs’). For those who can’t quite manage a whole day out, the Peak District does offer some more sedate activities that don’t involve lots of walking.
The first exciting activity is the Crich Tramway Museum. It is not only interesting to humans, but the lovely staff there also encourage dogs to have a ride on the tram! They will allow them not only on the trams, but in the museum too – after all, who says dogs don’t like a bit of history? The only place they are restricted are the children’s play areas and cafes. When you have finished your tram ride, you can visit the second part of this adventure if you wish – the pretty woodland walk with sculpture trail; funded by the Countryside Trust, it’s a truly gorgeous walk. To finish off the day, head to The Red Lion, an establishment that relocated to Crich from Stoke-on-Trent and has been rebuilt brick by brick. It also has its own ale exclusive to the tavern, so be sure to sample this when you are there, even if the pooch can only sample one of the bowls of water on offer!
Now, for a second activity, how about a canine cable car? At the famous Heights of Abraham at Matlock Bath, you will find a maze of trails up Masson Hill, a pair of grand showcase taverns, and cable cars that cross the valley to give you and your canine chum a lovely view below. It’s great for a selfie, but make sure your dog feels safe and doesn’t look down if he shows any signs of vertigo! Since most of the attractions at the Heights of Abraham are outdoors, well-behaved dogs on leads are more than welcome, just remember that they can’t go into any of the caverns or buildings.
For dogs who enjoy a bit of transport history, head over to the Peak Rails heritage railway line. Running between Rowsley and Matlock, these wonderful steam trains travel at a slow pace so that you can sit and watch the world go by. This is an excellent afternoon out for dogs who can’t manage lots of walks, but who are still interested in the world outside. When you get to Matlock, you will find lots of dog-friendly pubs and coffee shops so you don’t need to leave your pooch unattended at any time. If you can manage a walk after that, the Limestone Way is easily accessible and truly lovely.
Last but certainly not least, a really exciting place to visit (and one where you wouldn’t imagine dogs to be allowed) is the spectacular Treak Cliff Cavern in Castleton. Dogs with a sense of adventure can accompany you down the mines and channel their inner ‘Search and Rescue’ dog!
Canine adventure number four
A real dog’s dinner
Now we understand more than most that holidays are not just for walking and visiting attractions. Sampling the local food and ale is a must, and leaving your dog out of this is most definitely a must not! Though they won’t be tasting the ale on offer, they should at the very least get a treat or something delicious from the menu. Here we have picked out a selection of eateries where your dog will not only be allowed, but positively welcomed.
- The Bluebell Inn at Tissington makes pooches feel very welcome, however wet and muddy! If they are lucky, they may be given some offcuts of ham.
- The George and Dragon in Ashbourne has its own dog to greet you and provides dog treats on the bar as well as water bowls. The Bowling Green Inn and Ye Olde Vaults in Ashbourne will also welcome your pooch.
- The Rising Sun in Middleton has good food and great ales for you, and a lovely warm fire for your dog to relax by after a brisk walk on the High Peak Trail and Middleton Top.
- The Malt Shovel at Bolehill has the claim to fame that there are often more dogs than people in the pub! Greeted with a chew stick and water after the exertion of a Peak walk, your dog will love it there. They also have a wonderful selection of ales and bar snacks for humans.
- The Boat Inn at Matlock will make a huge fuss of your canine chum as he enters – after all, nobody wants to be ignored! He will get biscuits and perhaps have a conversation with the dog behind the bar if he is in the mood for a chat.
- The Flying Childers Inn at Matlock not only offers dog treats kept in a special tin behind the bar, but is also full of lovely locals who often have a pocketful of treats – win-win!
- The Holly Bush Inn at Belper is a mecca for walkers, and the staff here don’t worry about muddy boots or paws. There are two resident pub dogs to chat with if your pooch gets lonely.
- The Old Bramshall Inn at Uttoxeter is surrounded by lovely scenic walks that you and your pooch can try after you have sampled a hearty meal at this lovely pub.
- The Flower Pot in Derby has excellent real ale and their own brewery.
- The Furnace Inn in Derby is only a few minutes from Darley Abbey Park; the friendly staff here will pet your dog and make him feel very welcome.
- The Old Smithy Café and Bistro at Beeley is a lovely eatery serving homemade food – perfect for when you have a day out at Chatsworth.
We hope that you and your pooch now have an idea of the wonderful things that you can both do in the Peak District and that it isn’t just about walking! Whatever you decide to do, we hope that you all have a pawsome time!