The Lakeland town offers the perfect day out for you and your four-legged friend

It’s easy to see why Keswick has been awarded the most dog friendly town in the UK by the Kennel Club three times in a row. With a plethora of dog friendly hotels, pubs, cafes, cottages, walks galore and ferries that welcome dogs on board it is the ideal location for exploring and relaxing with our canine companions. Taxis happily accommodate dogs and Pudgy Paws pet shop is situated in the main street for all your pets’ needs.

Keswick’s Hope café is the latest establishment to be recognised by the Kennel Club. For the second year running they have come runners up in the prestigious Dog Friendly Awards in the café category.

The café, a small family business, is popular with visitors and locals alike and is a great hit with their four-legged friends. Lured by the promise of tasty sausages and other doggy delights the dogs now follow their noses to the door where they will find a selection of tasty foods, a water station, an ice-cream kiosk, and underfloor heating for those rainy Lake District days. Broken ice-cream cones are free and alongside the ice-cream there is non-alcoholic doggy beer, a tasty beefy beverage, to set tails wagging.

Owner Ray Dowding explains that the idea of developing the café as a dog friendly venue was born from a genuine love of dogs. ‘Our staff are dog crazy and I like to think that they are as good with customers as they are with their dogs. We try to be as accommodating as we can and as we are located in Hope Park, have plenty of room for outdoor as well as indoor seating.’

Great British Life: Doggy delights at the Hope Cafe in Keswick. Photo: Emily RotheryDoggy delights at the Hope Cafe in Keswick. Photo: Emily Rothery

Manager Viki Mallaghan adds that it has been a team effort to create the ethos that brings customers back time and time again. ‘We get dogs of all shapes and sizes, from St Bernards to chihuahuas and have even taken the design of our tables and chairs into consideration so both dogs and owners can be comfortable.

‘Well behaved dogs and muddy paws are always welcome. The dog menu has been a joint effort and we always have large bowls of water outside which are available for any dogs, not just those belonging to customers. We’ve also placed bowls of water around the park.’

And Viki, who in spite of her job is a cat owner, added: ‘Many holiday-makers are now returning, sometimes five or six times a year and we get a lot of loyal locals. The placing of the statue of Max the miracle dog in the park brings a lot of people and then they visit us. Max, the local spaniel, who became an on-line phenomenon has a huge fan base and he attracts people who don’t own dogs too. They come along to visit us and seem to enjoy petting the dogs.’

With creature comforts for humans as well as dogs always a priority, the team at Hope Café never stand still. Their latest venture is the introduction of two igloo-like Perspex weatherproof domes where customers can enjoy the surroundings, be warm and dry and take afternoon tea with their contented pooches at their feet.