Paws In Britain
    Home     Boating     Motorhomes     Health and Welfare     Places To Visit     Articles     Contact     Paws Abroad
Pet Friendly Ambleside strip

On a recent visit to The Lake District I was in Ambleside, where my dogs, husband and I often base ourselves. We don't visit as often as we would like to and always leave wanting more. The town is at the heart of the Lakes for many walkers and, largely Victorian in style, it is an attractive place with shops, hotels and restaurants; one of the best town bases for exploring this beautiful area.  Ambleside has always attracted visitors with dogs, whether preparing for or returning from a walk, or simply strolling around and making the most of the scenery and local dog friendly Rothay Park.
We were particularly struck, on this occasion, by how “dog friendly” the town had become since our last visit which was not that long ago, and by how many local businesses displayed signs to this effect.  Many of us who have dogs often cannot understand why they are not welcomed in more places, as they noticeably are in France for example and often in Italy. 
And there are times when they have to be left at home, in the car (never a good idea) or tied up outside a premises (again, with the problems that could present).

Dog in shop

Old Courthouse Gallery, Ambleside

The Disability Discrimination Act means that guide dogs are now accepted in most public places, including shops and restaurants, would it not be good if more of them accepted our pets too? After all a dog is a dog, whether it is a guide dog or not...and providing the dog is under control and the business owner is happy then it should not be a problem. Some staff may dislike or fear dogs, or even be allergic to them. Insurance cover may be required by the business owner to cover pets on the premises.  But, many public places, from shops and restaurants to pubs and hotels, have found that their business improves and that their customers have a better experience when dogs are allowed into their premises.

Of course, not all workplaces would be suitable, not only from a health and safety perspective but also because the premises themselves may have very little space or be crowded, thus creating a danger to the public and to the dogs.

Dog owners also know how well dogs can keep us in shape, both physically and mentally, and how they encourage social interaction – I do not often stop to talk with strangers unless my dogs initiate it!  Dogs are a talking point, they get employees socialising and interacting with the public and have been proven to boost moral and improve immune systems. In fact they are so good for our physical and psychological well-being that they should be more widely promoted.
In the USA, Dr. Karen M. Allen, a research scientist at the State University of New York in Buffalo, studied two groups of stockbrokers. Both groups were taking medication for high blood pressure, but only one group had pets. She found that the stockbrokers who owned pets experienced half the increase in blood pressure caused by imposed stressful situations as those who did not own pets. (1)

Fluffy dogIn a recent survey conducted by the animal charity The Blue Cross, over 90% of  the UK businesses who do allow dogs at work have noticed a positive change in the working environment, with a noticeable reduction in absenteeism and improved staff morale.
For further information
and advice on pet-friendly workplaces visit the Blue Cross Website:


(1) Cited in on line paper, Therapy Dogs in the Long-Term Care Environment by Steve Reiman, President of Therapy Dogs of Vermont.

What some of Ambleside's
business owners Say...

Old Courthouse Gallery, Market Place
(Image top centre)
We accept dry and well behaved dogs but please ask for permission from the resident border terrier, Meg, first. One of the largest independent, contemporary art galleries in the North of England.

The Attic, The Slack.
Very friendly owner who also has stores in Grasmere and Windermere.
Happy to welcome dogs into the shop which is home to a mix of gift ideas and stylish home accessories.

The Climbers Shop, Compston Corner.
Very dog friendly shop with a 'shop dog', a young golden retriever called Sam. Stock a good range of dog accessories such as Ruffwear leads, Collars and harnesses, Troll dog coats and Nite Ize dog toys and lights.

Head to the Hills, Compston Road.
An outdoor enterprise providing open water swimming, navigation and nordic walking courses, events and retail. For the last 7 years we have always welcomed people with dogs into our shop.

Daisy's Cafe, Central Buildings
Family run cafe serving good quality food, cooked to order. Dogs are very welcome.

Windermere Lake Cruises Ltd welcome all well behaved dogs, they can travel on all our scheduled services free of charge.

Lakes Climber, 3/4 Cheapside.
Pet friendly outdoor shop. The only rules are those that most good pet owners follow. ie. dont let them chew the shoes, dry themselves on the clothes when its wet and excessive barking and aggression is frowned upon.

Bilbo's Cafe (located above Lakes Climber)
An ideal place to begin or end your run, ride, climb or walk. Good food at very good prices with dog bowl and treats for dogs.

Ambleside Toy Shop, Compston Road
Small shop with lots of things including soft toys at dog height so we don't like wet dogs
in the shop.

Silver Moon, North Road
Jewellery, crystals, cards and gifts. The owners friendly dog is often in the shop and in the past we have entertained a rabbit, a ferret and a cat who used to visit and sit in the window.

Chesters by the River, Skelwith Bridge
Situated outside the town on the River Brathay and near the bridge, Chesters is very pet friendly, dogs are welcome into the café and shop and we even have a dog wall of fame.

Gates Travel, Market Place.
Well behaved dogs are welcome.

The Epicentre, Compston Road.
Outdoor clothing camping and climbing equipment. We welcome dogs and provide a water bowl (the manager has even considered keeping dog biscuits under the counter!!

Mountain Warehouse, Rothay Road
All theire stores are dog friendly unless located in a shopping centre which does not allow dogs.

Fred Holdworth's Bookshop, Central Buildings
A popular independent bookshop. Bowl of water always available, biscuit offered by the owner who keeps a stash here for scout 'his dog' who sometimes accompanies him to work.

Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre
Dogs on lead welcome at all times. The café has an outdoor seating area where dogs are welcome, overlooking the lake and gardens. We provide water bowls outside the shop and on the terrace. Please clear up after your dogs, bags are available free of charge from our shop.

Cunningham's Ambleside, Rydal Road.
Outdoor clothing and equipment. All dogs offered bisuits to make them feel welcome.

Below Stair Kitchen Shop and J R Fuller Electrical, Church Street.
Well behaved dogs are welcome in both stores.

Ambleside Tourist Information Centre, Post Office and Gift Shop, right in the centre of the town and dog friendly.

Adventure Peaks, 101 Lake Road.
Three stores, Climbing Wall and Cafe Altitude.
On rainy days we ask if owners try to keep dogs as close as possible to avoid any skuffs or marks from wagging tails on the clothes. There are usually at least 1 or 2 dogs relaxing while their owners climb or chill with a coffee.

The Lake District Walker, Kelsick Road.
Guided Walks in the Lake District.
Very pet friendly, allow well behaved dogs on all except two walks, Helvellyn & Striding Edge and Blencathra and Sharp Edge for safety reasons. Shop has a dog bowl and usually a bag of treats for visiting dogs and a hot drinks machine for thirsty owners and a comfy sofa to relax on.

3 Swiss Villas, Vicarage Road
Centrally located self-catering accommodation for up to 6 people, comfortable and convenient. Enclosed, small rear garden so great for dogs.

The Old Vicarage, Vicarage Road
Very dog friendly bed and breakfast in central Ambleside, with  its own swimming pool and hottub, sauna, guest lounge and terrace. Dogs always welcome and stay free of charge.

Brathay Lodge, Rothay Road
Have 6 pet friendly rooms on the ground floor.
Park and walks close-by.

1inbannerPet friendly Ambleside banner2banner
Contact Paws In Britain 01233 861337
Top of page
Back to List of Articles
Read Next Article
Sitemap Disclaimer and copyright Website by Tabby Design