Lads in the Lake District – Visiting Penrith With Dogs


The town of Penrith, Cumbria, lies just outside the Lake District. It has plenty to offer the average visitor, including a great dog-friendly attraction! Chase and Lewis sampled the delights of the town on a warm spring day.

Getting to Penrith

Penrith has good travel links from both north and south. If you’re traveling by train, there are services approximately every half hour to Carlisle (journey time 15 minutes), with half continuing to Glasgow (journey time 1 hour 30 minutes), and half continuing to Edinburgh (journey time 1 hour 30 minutes).

Chase arrives at Penrith station

There’s also approximately a train every half hour heading south to Preston (journey time 1 hour), with some continuing forward to Manchester (journey time 1 hour 45 minutes), some to Birmingham (journey time 3 hours) and some to London Euston (journey time 3 hours 15 minutes).

Chase enjoys a drink of water at the station

By bus, there’s an hourly service to Carlisle (route 104), an hourly service to Keswick and Workington (routes X4 and X5), and an hourly bus to Ullswater (route 208), half of which are operated using open-top buses, and the other half are closed top buses that carry on to Windermere.

If you’re travelling between Glasgow and destinations in England, you’ll often find yourself changing over at Penrith. You can take a quick break in town for a walk or something to eat.

In Town

Penrith is a beautiful old market town. It is filled with centuries-old buildings and atmospheric market squares. The town still has much of its medieval charm and it is always bustling, even in the middle of the week.

Lewis takes in the sites of Market Square

There are lots of pedestrianised side streets packed with shops and other small businesses. It’s the perfect place for a walk with your four-legged friend.

Penrith has a lot of walkable side streets

Look out for various historic buildings around town. Penrith Town Hall, the clock tower and St Andrew’s Church contribute to the pleasant scenery of the town.

Things to Do in Penrith With Dogs

Penrith and the surrounding area has no fewer than three castles. All of them are dog-friendly!

Penrith Castle is the town’s best-known attraction and it is well worth a look. Built in the 14th century, it was once home to Richard III. The ruins are fairly substantial with lots to see and enjoy. Signs and plaques explain the history of the castle.

Lewis outside Penrith Castle

Much like Flint Castle, it is completely free to enter and you can walk around at will. During our visit, there were quite a few off-lead dogs enjoying the space.

An off-lead hound gets Chase’s attention

After you’re done exploring the castle, take a wander around Castle Park. It features beautifully manicured gardens and wide-open green spaces. Both Penrith Castle and Castle Park are directly opposite Penrith station.

Castle Park is a pleasant spot for a walk

The second castle is Brougham Castle which sits just a few miles outside of Penrith and is ideal for those with cars. Although it is a bit more substantial than Penrith Castle, there is a small admission fee. Dogs on leads are welcome around most of the site.

Finally, Lowther Castle lies about six miles south of town. Its spires and turrets make it look like something from Disney! You’ll find a museum and a gift shop onsite too.

Places to Eat in Penrith With Dogs

There is no shortage of good places to eat with dogs in Penrith. The region is an agricultural powerhouse and many Penrith establishments make full use of local produce. Some favourites include:

  • The Yard Kitchen, a restaurant offering pizza and other lunch and dinner options
  • New Squares Café, a popular spot serving everything from roast dinners to cakes
  • The Narrowbar Café, rumoured to have the best cakes in town
Outside the Narrowbar Cafe

We stopped for a bite to eat at Tasty Bites. This small café has a good range of lunch options like Paninis. They also had a great selection of ice cream flavours, including some suitable for dogs! We all enjoyed a scoop which was perfect for the heat of the day.

Inside Tasty Bites

If you’re looking for something to drink, Penrith is packed with pup friendly pubs! The Cross Keys Inn and Robin Hood Inn come highly recommended.

The lads loved their dog ice cream from Tasty Bites

Walks Around Penrith

Just like any other destination in Cumbria, Penrith has lots of pleasant walks around town. Acorn Bank is the best place to enjoy a stroll with your dogs. This National Trust property has woodland trails and substantial gardens.

The house and gardens at Acorn Bank (photo credit: Jhsteel, Wikimedia Commons)

Thacka Beck Nature Reserve is another great spot. Its flower-studded grasslands and hidden ponds provide a habitat for a wide range of wildlife.

Stay in Penrith With Dogs

If you want to stay in Penrith for a little longer, there are plenty of great places where you can stay.

  • The Castlegate Arms pub has dog friendly rooms where you can stay close to the station
  • North Lakes Hotel & Spa offers luxury accommodation for you and your pet
  • The George Hotel can be found in the town centre and offers a mix of comfort and convenience

Penrith is a good spot for those looking for a base to explore the Lake District.

Pop Over to Penrith!

Penrith isn’t as popular as some other destinations in Cumbria. But it still offers plenty to see and do for travellers with dogs. Stop by if you’re passing and enjoy the castle. If you enjoyed our article, follow us on Facebook for more.


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