It has to be said that us Londoners seem to be absolutely batty about pooches. After all, we’ve got dog-friendly restaurants, bars, cafés and even the world’s friendliest travel network for dogs – more on that later. So, if you’re mad about dogs and are looking to take your four-legged friend out for a day, then why not peruse this roundup of the best dog-friendly activities in London? You can thank us later.
1. Go for a wander in one of our many parks
There are plenty of parks where you can let your doggo off leash in London Town, but we’d argue that one of the best in town is Victoria Park – or ‘Vicky Park’ as it’s affectionately known – a spacious spot which is considered one of East London’s biggest draws.
It’s the city’s oldest park and has two sides which span Grove Road – the Eastern half is more suitable for doggos, as there’s ample space for them to run free and for throwing balls, frisbees or (insert here). Post pup-walk, head to the Pavilion Cafe for a brew and a pastry – they’re pretty darn good. Other great spots include Peckham Rye, Richmond Park and Primrose Hill too.
2. Visit one of the capital’s dog-friendly restaurants
Now we’re not exactly short of dog-friendly restaurants here in London, and there are numerous options depending on what kinda grub you’re looking for. For excellent Spanish fare and tapas, we’d recommend making your way to Pizarro in Bermondsey, which does everything from cod in a traditional Catalan sauce with sautéed baby spinach and padrón peppers with pan con tomate.
3. Enjoy a dog-friendly bottomless brunch
To celebrate the launch of their new dog walking club, the Poke Pup Club, Poke House are inviting local furry friends to join them for a bottomless brunch at their Battersea location. It’s completely free and takes place on June 4, and there’s everything here for pups from a free dog-friendly poke bowl (quinoa, chicken, cabbage, courgette, and seaweed) to bottomless water. Ok, it’s not quite prosecco, but still…
Dog owners needn’t get FOMO though, as they’ll also be entitled to a freebie in the form of a coffee to sip on whilst their dogs dine and a tasty discount on their very own poke bowls.
4. Raise anchor and sail down Regent’s Canal
Another one of the best dog-friendly activities in London here, GoBoat boasts a fabulous fleet of picnic boats that rule the serene waters of London in three different locations. These charming little craft boats really do offer one of the best days out in London, particularly when you can motor through tranquil Little Venice, leafy Kingston, or past the impressive towers of Canary Wharf.
Perhaps the best way to boat hire in London, they can seat up to six people, and pooches are more than welcome so you can happily bring your furry, four-legged friend on board with you. There’s also space for picnics to boot.
5. Take your pooch to a dog-friendly café
Pawsitive Cafe in West London is just what this city needed: a welcoming, dog-friendly space with great coffee, good food, and a genuine focus on mental wellbeing. It’s a place for dogs and their owners to hang out, take part in wholesome activities, and/or tuck into delicious brunch dishes – and that means for the pups too.
Fusing typical English brunch classics with traditional Malaysian food, Pawsitive Cafe is a foodie destination in its own right. We’re talking katsu chicken club sarnies, piles of strawberry cheesecake fluffy pancakes, and the Burgerdict – a patty served between two English muffins, with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Another option is POP+BARK, a pop-up spot designed entirely for dalmatians – sorry other dogs!
6. Hire a cargo bike and explore Hackney Marshes
Although dogs usually love a big old runaround, sometimes they might need a bit of chilltime too – particularly if the sun is shining. So if that’s the case, then why not hire yourself a bike with CarryMe which has its own basket in the front for your pooch to sit in.
They’re based in Lower Clapton so are right on the edge of Hackney Marshes – what better spot to enjoy a leisurely cycle hey? You’ve got the River Lea, the Walthamstow Wetlands and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park right on your doorstep – what could be better than that hey?!
7. Practice your golf skills with a pooch by your side
Another incredibly-fun dog-friendly activity here, London is chock-a-block full of places where you can practice your swing with a pooch in toe. Dogs who are good as gold are allowed off lead on the course at Wimbledon Common, whereas they’re allowed on the bougie Dulwich and Sydenham Hill golf courses when they’re on a lead.
Think about it – lovely walks, fresh air and you with man’s best friend – what’s not to love about that?
8. Find a breed-specific meet-up group
Now we all know that London is a city of dating apps and *ahem* often questionable dates, but did you also know that there are ‘dating’ apps for dogs in town? Meetup.com gives you the opportunity to join all kinds of groups, such as dog-walking groups, puppy yoga and dog socials designed for LGBTQ+ groups.
They also have groups designed for specific breeds such as pugs, French bulldogs, English boxers and more.
9. Meet the animals at dog-friendly city farms
Surrey Docks Farm is a charitable working farm that enables people from all communities to learn about farming, nature and food production. They run several education programmes and workshops aimed at getting people involved in the farming world.
This farm, which offers training and gardening courses, is home to a diverse variety of animals including goats, sheep, pigs, donkeys, poultry, bees and wildlife in addition to green spaces and gardens. The place is open to the general public for free from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Saturday, and even better, they allow (well-behaved) dogs to visit – sign us up!
10. Ride the world’s friendliest travel network for dogs
We think it was already apparent to anyone who’s read our article about dogs on the Tube, but we’ve got official information that the London Underground is the most dog-friendly transport network in the entire world.
So if you’re wanting to get out and explore some of the city, then why not hop on board a tube/DLR/overground/bus/insert here. You can head all over the city, so why not make a whole day of it?
11. Have a tipple or two at one of our numerous dog-friendly pubs or bars
Now with over 3,500 boozers to choose from, we’re more than set with our range of pubs in our beloved capital. And did you know that most of them are dog-friendly too? Top picks for us include The Hare & Billet in Blackheath, The Montpelier in Peckham, The People’s Park Tavern in Hackney and The Flask in Highgate.
We’d also recommend paying a visit to the Hackney Church Brew Co. which offers melt-in-your-mouth goat shoulder seekh kebabs – which are also gluten-free – as well a whole tandoori market fish, aged mushroom parathas and Bombay spring cabbages.
12. Explore the vast expanses of Hampstead Heath
Ah yes. You didn’t think we could compile a list of the best dog-friendly activities in London without mentioning this one did you? Hampstead Heath – not technically a ‘park’ – is a wonderfully-wild place incorporating almost 800 acres of undulating meadows, ancient woodland, stately homes and natural swimming ponds – an absolute playground for a pupper.
It’s full to the brim of history, there are some of London Town’s best pubs nearby and there’s one of the city’s best panoramic views from atop Parliament Hill. What’s not to love ey?
13. Sample a dog-friendly afternoon tea
If you’re looking for something a bit different and are really wanting to spoil your four-legged friend with an afternoon tea, then why not get involved with this one? This pawsome (sorry) experience has everything your furry friend could dream of with a four-course selection of treats, free-flowing water and even ‘puppuccinos’ (with lactose-free milk) too! Treats here include a lamb liver and veggie stew, a banana ‘woofin’, a carrot ‘pupcake’ and a peanut butter and oats cookie – now what pooch isn’t gonna love that hey?! Get a hold of your tickets here.
And if your fluffy friend is still feeling hungry, Jack and Beyond also sell dog ice cream all year round, as well as delicious treats for us humans too. Set only five minutes’ walk from Battersea Park, the café is perfectly situated to go and burn off some energy before or after the experience with a lovely walk.
14. Find yourself at one of the capital’s dog shows
Our penultimate addition to this roundup of the best dog-friendly activities in London is heading to a dog show – which you’d expect many of in a city of thousands and thousands of dogs.
While there are usually many on the roster, we’d recommend the Chiswick House Dog Show, the Halloween Dog Walk and the Great Hampstead Bark Off – which features six categories for you to enter, celebrity judges and a variety of stalls offering canine and human delights to boot too.
15. Stay at the Rosewood London with your four-legged friend
Rounding off this list of the best dog-friendly activities in London is an overnight stay at the Rosewood London – a five-star gem in Holborn which is arguably one of the finest hotels in London. They love four-legged friends here, with an emphasis on ‘taking care of our furry friends as much as we take care of our human ones’.
Dogs receive a sumptuous bed, delicious welcome treats, and water and food bowls, as well as a specially curated ‘Expawriences Guide’, with recommendations of local dog-friendly restaurants, bars, and parks, including Lincoln’s Inn Fields – just mere steps away from the hotel.
So there you have it – a roundup of the best dog-friendly activities in London for you and your pooch to enjoy a big day out. So, whether you’re looking for a pint with your pupper or a lovely afternoon tea, then you’re all set here!