Just a quick reminder to our heritage pooches
They too can have a brilliant cultural-focused doggy distancing day out, if they head to a county with two World Heritage Sites and fascinating places in-between. They could even become a Hound of the Week!
As long as they and their owner ‘paws’ in the right places, to allow other doggies and their pet parents to pass safely by, canines can have a whale of a time, soaking up culture both indoors and outdoors, at many of the historic attractions, museums, gardens and venues that make up the group, many of whom are extending their season this year.
If enjoying an indoor attraction, all a dog need do is remind their owner to pop on their mask, sanitise their hands and stay around two Alsatian-lengths away, to keep safe. Easy indeed!
Going all out on dog-friendliness is Holker Hall and Gardens where, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the hall and gardens being open to the public, dogs are now welcome in the gardens, if walked on a lead, as well as in the parkland, courtyard and café where lead-led tails have long wagged at the sight of fallow deer, East Indian black ducks and the Cavendish family’s chickens. Taking your four-legged friend to Holker, could result in it becoming Holker Hound of the Week – an initiative recognising adorable visiting dogs and one supportive of the Holker Hounds calendar for 2021, featuring dogs of those living and working on the estate and raising money for St Mary’s Hospice and the NHS heroes. All visiting dogs featured will become part of a huge end-of-season montage, which no pooch will want to miss out on!
One venue always happy to let doggies view its fabulous exhibits is the Lakeland Motor Museum, where dogs and their owners can sniff out 30,000 unique road transport exhibits, see replicas of the iconic Bluebird speed machines driven by Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell and now even master very appropriate traffic-light systems, in some places, which make things extra safe. As long as you and Fido don’t try to break any speed records, things should be hunky-dory, whether you’re viewing a TT winner’s motorcycle or an Al Capone-style gangster-mobile!
Masked (but not often muzzled) visitors can also have fun finding out how Lake District-made bobbins were essential to the success of the Lancashire cotton mills, if they head to the Stott Park Bobbin Mill near Coniston. The fascinating story of the Bobbin Mill, and the children and adults who worked in it, is brought to life with an exhibition that takes visitors, alongside their pooches, through the production journey that started with wood and water and resulted in bobbin. Just make sure you pre-book your visit and don’t let your canine chew the bobbin you can take home!
If outdoors, the pet parent should stay nice and safe if they put their pooch on a long lead and let that measure their social distancing zone. This is easily achievable when dog and human pal are exploring all the incredible heritage sculptures situated in Grizedale Forest, where the scent of trees, tons of outdoor space and trails to explore are all bound to get tails wagging, especially if you spot a squirrel. Just watch out, in case any trails have been signposted slightly differently.
Another great outdoor zone for this distancing tactic can be found at Brockhole, where there is open space aplenty to venture into and enjoy – and it’s a perfect place for a pooch picnic too and maybe even a little doggy paddle in Windermere.
If they are boarding a heritage vessel, such as the glorious Steam Yacht Gondola – a restored Victorian pleasure vessel sailing on Coniston – they just need to abide by the crew’s rules and make sure they listen to instructions, as they take in the glorious landscape from on the water.
If in a garden environment, perhaps mooching around Muncaster or Mirehouse Gardens, taking a heritage seat at Brantwood, or having a hoot at Hutton-in-the-Forest, there should be every opportunity to give others some space, whilst still enjoying what’s on offer.
At Muncaster, a brilliant day out can be enriched with a bird of prey flying display every afternoon at 2pm, whilst at Mirehouse it can be a case of getting the ears pricked for the sound of birdsong, bees flying over from the Bee Garden and the splash of lake water, as you take to the Lake Walk, treading in the footsteps of Alfred Lord Tennyson.
At Brantwood, it’s all about exploring eight unique gardens created by philosopher, author and artist, John Ruskin, before taking a pew at the lakeside Terrace Coffee House, for a light refreshment and drinking in the lake view of Coniston. New measures such as queue control systems, distancing markers, contactless payments and hand-sanitising stations are now in place to keep doggies and owners safe, so you can fully relax in the fell landscape.
Meanwhile, at Hutton-in-the-Forest, your day out can be all about chewing over the wonderful heritage offer of a home that makes its doggy visitors so welcome, it gives them a bone! Here, The Walled Garden is said to be looking its best ever this year and there’s a one-way system to keep owner and dog on their toes, as they trot around.
Of course, some places are more open to dogs and their owners than others and the roofless, ruined, Brougham Castle, is one of them. Offering panoramic views over Eden Valley, this pooch-perfect, picturesque spot is an ideal location for a family picnic. You can explore the 13th century gem through a complex of passages and spiral stairways and later, stretch out your legs and soak up some sun (if you’re lucky!) with your four-legged friend. Just book your visit in advance, as there are limits on visitor numbers to keep everyone safe.
With all the measures in place, there’s no reason why you and your canine companion can’t have a fabulous doggy-distanced day out, exploring whatever branch of heritage floats your boat and there’s no better place to track that down than in the Lakes.