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Discover dog-friendly places in London

Because you and your bestie should never be apart.

It’s often said that we are a nation of pet-lovers, and there is definitely more than enough furry evidence to support this claim. It’s estimated that dogs can be found in 34% of UK households - that means that more than a third of us get to experience the joy of coming home to wet noses and wagging tails. 

Dogs are loyal companions and as much a member of the family as any of their two-legged counterparts. They love spending time with us, and we love bringing them with us at any opportunity. Because of this, more and more establishments are opening their doors to our four-legged friends - this is great news for city-dwelling dog owners who don’t have the luxury of gardens, and need more ways to keep their dogs entertained. You won’t be hard-pressed to find dog-friendly indoor places in London, but if you’re looking for a good place to start, you can use our list.

Living in London with a dog

It’s a common misconception that dogs can’t live happily in a city environment - especially one with as many green spaces as London. While big, high-energy dogs that require a lot of room and exercise may find it a bit of a struggle, many breeds are perfectly suited to flats, apartments, parks and pavement. All TfL services allow dogs, meaning your pooches are welcome to hop on the bus or tube alongside you - giving those who don’t have dog-friendly spaces on their doorstep the chance to venture further afield. 

There are more than 300,000 dogs in London. If yours is already among that number, or if you’re moving to the city and bringing them with you, here are some dog-friendly activities for you and your pet.

What sorts of things can you do in London with a dog?

The best dog-friendly activities are stimulating for both pets and people. Here are just a few of the many ways to spend a day in London with your dog.

Visit a dog-friendly market

Most of London’s best-loved markets have both outdoor and indoor areas, and this freedom makes them perfect for strolling through with your dog in tow. The usual requirements are that your dog either stays on its lead or is carried through the market. Individual retailers with indoor premises within the markets might have their own rules, so it’s always a good idea to ask before entering a shop with your dog.

For dogs, markets are places full of hustle and bustle, strange sounds and interesting smells. This sort of environment is a treat for your dog’s senses, and can provide the same sort of mental stimulation and enrichment as a much longer walk. It’s estimated that 20 minutes of thorough sniffing is the equivalent of an hour’s walk in terms of how it can make your dog feel, so don’t be afraid to let them linger and give everything a good nose.

Visit a dog-friendly museum

London is known for its many museums and galleries, but did you know that some of these museums readily welcome dogs, or even put on exhibitions designed to be attended with your pet? One great example is the Brunel Museum, which readily accepts dogs (and cats) alongside its human visitors. Accessible from the Overground line, a short walk from Rotherhithe station, the Brunel Museum is an educational day out that aims to teach visitors about the Brunel family, one of the world’s “great engineering dynasties”. Foremost figures of the Industrial Revolution, the Brunels built the famous Thames Tunnel - the first of its kind. 

Patience is a great skill to teach your dog - making sure they can wait politely for you to browse the museum is a great way to exercise and improve their training. 

Visit Tower Bridge

One of the most prominent dog-friendly attractions in London is Tower Bridge, which welcomes four-legged friends with open arms as long as they’re well-behaved (this condition also extends to their owners). They even have exclusive VIPooch Morning events for you and your dog to enjoy. This is the perfect location to get some great pictures of your dog somewhere other than the park or the sofa - if they’ll brave the glass walkways of the bridge.

Dogs (with the exception of service dogs) are encouraged to take the stairs, so be prepared to get your steps in if you decide on this day out. The staff will happily make a fuss of your furry friend!

Take your dog shopping

This day out can be a treat for both you and your pet. Your dog will be happy to be with you and take in the sensory delights of a shopping trip, and you’ll be able to tick some things off of your to-do list. Not only is this a great form of socialisation for your dog, but it can also give them a chance to build their confidence in busy environments. If your dog isn’t the bravest and you don’t want to throw them head-first into a crowd, try to hit the shops during quieter hours of the day. 

It used to be commonplace to see dogs tied outside shops while owners quickly stepped inside, but the rise in dog theft and a better understanding of the trouble an unattended pooch can get into is nipping this habit in the bud. Dog-sharing community Borrow My Doggy has a handy list of shops that welcome waggy-tailed shoppers if you’re looking for a place to start.

Sail on the Thames

If you think your dog might appreciate the wind in their fur and the spray of (admittedly dubious) river water on their snout, you can take to the Thames on a riverboat cruise. Whether you’re hopping on the river bus as your preferred public transport, or booking a sight-seeing day trip, why not bring your dog aboard? 

There are a couple of things to keep in mind if you plan on taking your dog on a boat - some dogs love the water more than others, with some pooches occasionally getting motion sickness in the same way that humans do. Make sure your dog has somewhere to stand where they can keep their footing - and, if you don’t trust them not to take a running leap overboard, keep them on a tight leash.

Swim with your dog

If your dog is a fan of being in the water instead of just on it, why not find somewhere you can both practise your doggy paddle? There are a few places in and around London that offer recreational indoor swimming spaces for you and your dog to rent, as well as a variety of outdoor lakes and ponds where dogs are allowed to take a dip (but you might want to avoid). 

Swimming is great for your dog’s health - it keeps their joints healthy, and is something that older dogs can enjoy without placing themselves under too much strain. Encouraging your dog to learn to swim in a controlled environment will also alleviate any anxiety you might have about bringing them around water in the future.

Take your dog to a cafe

There are a whole host of dog-friendly cafes in London where both you and your pup can enjoy a drink and a bite to eat as you watch the world go by. The stylish Verve in Notting Hill is a boutique, cafe and bar all in one, all catered towards pampering pets. They even host birthday parties for dogs with bespoke catering and goody bags.

Cafe rules may vary from place to place - some might need pets to remain on lead and on the floor, while others might have lax rules surrounding furniture. It’s also important to remember that unless the cafe is specifically catering to dogs and dog owners, not everyone in the establishment might appreciate your pooch coming over to say hello. 

Apartments for the whole family - and your little dog, too!

London may be a dog-lover’s paradise, but there will be times when your pet will have to stay at home. This means it’s important that home is somewhere you don’t have to hide your hound from crotchety landlords.

Pet lovers rejoice - there’s no way we’d exclude furry friends from our beautiful buildings. We know they’re part of the family too. Take a look at our one and two bed furnished and unfurnished apartments, in locations such as Wembley and Elephant and Castle. Learn more about UNCLE’s pet-friendly apartments.

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