Dog-friendly days out in Yorkshire holiday cottages

Dog-friendly days out in Yorkshire

Emily 15 May 2024

Wide-open spaces, horizons that stretch for miles and endless watercolour skies – that’s what you can expect in the glorious county of Yorkshire. The Dales, Moors and coastline all promise plenty of wholesome fun for you and your dog. 

There’s nothing more heartwarming than knowing that whatever day trip you choose your dog can come too, so we’ve handpicked some of the best dog-friendly days out in Yorkshire with this in mind.

Head off-the-beaten-track for breathtaking beaches where doggo can run free and then call in at a pub or café to drink in the welcoming atmosphere. Browse our collection of dog-friendly cottages to find the perfect place to settle down together after days of exploring.

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Dog-friendly attractions 

They may not be able to read the guidebook, but your four-legged friends will enjoy these destinations as much as you do. These Yorkshire attractions are all perfect for a dog-friendly day out in Yorkshire. 

Pickering Castle

Remains of Pickering Castle

Well within ball-throwing distance of the doggy paradise of North York Moors National Park sits Pickering Castle. It is a magnificent example of medieval motte and bailey architecture built way back in 1180. The huge mound (motte) where the keep is perched is on a cliff overlooking the breathtaking moors scenery, making it perfect for resisting attack during the numerous invasions and wars that followed. 

When Richard II was deposed from the throne, he was kept prisoner here, and apparently his supposedly adoring dog Mathe immediately changed sides and befriended the new king, Henry IV. Hopefully, your pup will remain loyal as you explore this English Heritage attraction; there are lots of opportunities for peaceful picnics with panoramic views – so long as you keep pooch away from the sausage rolls.

Need to know

  • Address: Castlegate, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7AX
  • Opening times: 10am-5pm
  • Price: £6.80 for standard adult admission, £3.60 for children aged 5-17

Helmsley Walled Garden

Formal parterre garden at Helmsley Walled Garden

Overlooked by the dramatic ruins of Helmsley Castle, Helmsley Walled Garden has also suffered the ravages of time – but this charming herbaceous haven has been subsequently rescued and restored. Originally supplying fruit and vegetables to the Feversham family at nearby Duncombe Park since 1758, after the First World War it was neglected until its potential was once again recognised in 1994. 

In its latest incarnation, it offers horticultural therapy – both for the volunteers who maintain its superb beds and for the visitors who can enjoy quiet contemplation of a vivid display of flowers throughout the seasons. Dogs are welcome throughout this restful space, including the award-winning Vine House Café where a treat and a water bowl is provided for your furry friend.

Need to know

  • Address: Cleveland Way, Helmsley YO62 5AH 
  • Opening times: April-October, Wed-Sun, 10am-5pm, last entry 4pm, November, December and March, Wed-Sun, 10am-3pm
  • Prices: £10 or free for under 16s

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Waterfall in the middle of Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Known as the ‘gallery without walls’, this glorious celebration of 3D art occupies exterior, interior and subterranean spaces in a gorgeous countryside setting. Take the ultimate dog walk around the 500 acres of parkland around Bretton Hall and spot the spectacular work by renowned sculptors including Barbara Hepworth and the two Anthonys – Gormley and Goldsworthy – as part of the permanent collection.  

Against a beautiful rural backdrop, the artwork at Yorkshire Sculpture Park becomes truly awe-inspiring. You’ll also be able to enjoy the visiting pieces on loan here, such as Damien Hirst’s. Your canine companion is free to accompany you to the majority of outdoor areas (on a lead) and where resident wildlife needs to be avoided, an alternative route is signposted.

Need to know

  • Address: West Bretton, Wakefield WF4 4JX (for satnav) 
  • Opening times: Check the website for details 
  • Prices: Adults, £11, under 18, free but check the website for more discounts 

Dog-friendly things to do

Where you fancy a day out at the coast or whistling through the Yorkshire Dales on a historic railway line, you can make each day of your holiday memorable with these dog-friendly excursions.

Peasholm Park

Woodland gazebo in Peasholm Park

When you’ve had your fill of the sandy delights of (the dog-friendly areas of) the beach, head to nearby Peasholm Park to relax in this verdant spot in the heart of Scarborough. The huge lake provides the focal point and there are rowing boats, pedalos and the ‘Swan Launch’ motorboat to take a trip in, and yes, your faithful friend can come too. 

The island in the centre of the lake has a bandstand that often hosts free music concerts during high season. Cross the bridge to discover a series of paths through the trees, interspersed with trickling waterfalls and streams, perfect for pup to explore. Be sure to treat yourself in the variety of cafes and ice cream stands dotted throughout this elegant Edwardian park.  

Need to know

  • Address: North Bay, Scarborough YO12 7TR
  • Opening times: All the time
  • Price: Free

Runswick Bay

The beach at Runswick Bay with the village in the background

There’s nothing more wonderful than unclipping the lead and letting your pooch run free along mile after mile of deserted beach. You can do just this at this beautiful bay nine miles north of Whitby – there are no restrictions for dogs all year round. Your pooch will love digging in the sand on the dog-friendly beach at Runswick Bay, and when the tide’s out, you can search for fossils in the exposed rock pools. Off-season, there are anglers hoping to catch cod and doughty kayakers riding those North Sea breakers.

The picture-postcard pretty village of nearby Runswick is also dog-friendly as its winding lanes lined with golden-stone cottages are free from cars. 

Need to know

  • Address: Cleveland Way, Runswick TS13 5HT
  • Opening times: All the time
  • Price: Free

Settle to Carlisle Railway

Train travelling across Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales

Owned by Network Rail, this is a clever way to take one of the most scenic train journeys in England for a fraction of the price of ‘tourist’ trainlines. For example, a journey from Horton-in-Ribbledale to Dent, crossing the stunning Ribblehead Viaduct, is less than £5. The whole 73-mile route takes in the Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines and the views from the window are unforgettable. Stop off at The Station Inn at Ribblehead for homecooked food and local ales – like on the train, dogs are welcome here too. 

This stretch of line is only in existence thanks to a long and determined campaign in the 1980s after it was threatened with closure. Passenger journeys on the Settle to Carlisle Railway have increased since then from 90,000 to well over one million and it now has a well-earned reputation as an attraction in its own right. 

Need to know

  • Address: Horton-in-Ribblesdale station, Settle, BD24 0HL
  • Opening times: See full timetable here
  • Prices: Fares start at £4.90 

Dog-friendly places to stay

It’s great to have a base to explore the county from, and here’s some of the most dog-friendly spots to take a look at.


View across to Richmond with the castle in the background

Founded by Alan Rufus (such a good doggy name) during the Norman conquest, Richmond is a wonderful stop off if you’re heading to the Yorkshire Dales, as this gateway town is full of dog-friendly places to explore. The bustling market is on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the picturesque cobbled Market Place, or if it’s raining, take shelter in the indoor market, housed in a beautiful stone building – the café there welcomes dogs.

You can’t miss Richmond Castle either, quite literally, as it takes prime position up above the town. Let your dog pull you up the hill there and then explore the beautiful grounds and stunning views of the River Swale and beyond.

Don't miss

  • Taking a walk along the River Swale to nearby Easby Abbey, which is a scenic spot to stop for a picnic
  • Stopping for refreshments at The Little Drummer Boy, a dog-friendly cafe in the centre of town
  • Staying at Castle & Cobbles, a Grade II-listed cottage next to Richmond Casle which sleeps 6 guests and 2 dogs  

Pateley Bridge

The rolling Nidderdale landscape surrounding Pateley Bridge

Sitting on the banks of the idyllic River Nidd, of Nidderdale fame, Pateley Bridge is a dog-walk back in time. With its row of independent shops marching up the steep High Street that looks unchanged since the Victorian era, it’s a real blast from the past. 

The centrally placed Recreation Ground is a lovely green space for your pooch to stretch their legs, and a walk down by the river is a great opportunity for a doggy paddle. All this fresh air and exercise deserves a rest so pop in to The Crown, The Royal Oak or The Bridge Inn, all of which will welcome your canine companion.  

Don't miss

  • Visiting the fascinating Brimham Rocks near Pateley that geologists estimate formed 320 million years ago! How many dog years is that? 
  • Dining at The Crown Inn, a 17th-century former coaching inn that gives a warm welcome to four-legged friends 
  • Staying at Two Hoots, a peaceful stone-built house sleeping 8 people and 2 dogs on the edge of Pateley Bridge


View from Sutton Bank over Gormire Lake

If you can’t decide between the Dales and the Moors, visit Thirsk to make your choice – it’s halfway between the two. The beautiful Market Place has a fine clock tower that incorporates a drinking fountain and water trough for dogs, if either of you is thirsty (thirsky?). As a dog owner, you’ll be interested to hear about Thirsk’s famous son – James Herriot, vet and author of the All Creatures Great and Small books. You can retrace his dogs’ (Sam, Hector and Dan) steps on their walkies around the glorious countryside surrounding this charming market town.

One such walk could be along the banks of Cod Beck, a small river that runs through Thirsk. This wildlife haven is beautiful year-round: eagle-eyed visitors may spot a kingfisher or even an otter catching fish in its waters. 

Don't miss

  • Heading up to Sutton Bank where there is a dog-friendly visitor centre and a wonderful view over Gormire Lake (said to be the finest view in England by James Herriot)
  • Grabbing a coffee and cake at York's of Thirsk, a pooch-friendly cafe that's located in the town's former post office 
  • Staying at Herriot's House, a characterful cottage for 2 people and a dog that's just a short riverside walk from Thirsk

Dog-friendly pubs and cafes

White exterior of The Farmers Arms pubImage credit: The Farmers Arms

Whether you’re on two legs or four, the perfect day out for both of you must involve a bracing walk in Yorkshire’s glorious surroundings before repairing to a café or pub for a well-earned meal. Muddy boots and soggy paws are all welcomed in lots of Yorkshire establishments.

Here are some of our favourites:  

  • The Farmers Arms, Muker in Upper Swaledale is hikers' heaven, with its flagstone floors and dry-stone fireplace it’s the quintessential country pub, serving local ales (some from its own microbrewery) and hearty home-cooked food. 
  • The Dogs' Bakery and Cafe, Harrogate. Can it be true? A café that serves two types of afternoon tea – human and canine! There’s even an adorable chocolate puppy pawprint on top of the cappuccinos. Not to be missed.  
  • The Lion Inn holds a lofty position on top of Blakey Ridge, a moorland plateau, and has also earned the highest accolade of the ‘best pub in the North York Moors’, according to The Guardian. As well as the spectacular location, the roasts are famous and the welcome to your dog warm.

Map of Yorkshire's dog-friendly days out:

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Book your dog-friendly Yorkshire getaway

Pair of spaniels in the kitchen of a holiday cottage

Now you’ve set your sights on all this superb county has to offer, why not take a look at some of the cosy yet stylish dog-friendly cottages to hang up your lead at during your visit to Yorkshire?  

You’ll find dog-friendly holiday homes in popular locations like Whitby, Grassington and Helmsley and many of the cottages have enclosed gardens to keep four-legged friends safe and sound.   

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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