Go barking mad in Ryedale: Yorkshire's most dog-friendly destination
There’s no need to suffer pre-holiday blues at the thought of leaving your pet pal behind this year because - whether you’re a family of dog divas or merry mud-hounds - you’ll find a red-carpet welcome in Ryedale, North Yorkshire, one of the UK’s most dog-friendly destinations , where barking-mad Brits can find the perfect place to share precious time-away with their pooch.
From ‘full English’ dog breakfasts to canine concierges, dogs can enjoy just as much luxury as their owners in Ryedale; there’s always a fireside welcome or doggy treat waiting in Ryedale’s many dog-friendly cafes, pubs, shops and visitor attractions - there’s even an annual festival dedicated to dogs; and while there are thousands of miles of uninterrupted walking trails to explore through some of Britain’s most tranquil and beautiful countryside, your daily dog-walk could also become a promenade through a perfumed paradise, or a time-travelling adventure.
“Dog ownership sky-rocketed over lockdown, and many people are feeling a very real separation anxiety at the prospect of leaving their best friends behind for a holiday or even a day-out – in fact an estimated 50% of the dog-owning population could be suffering genuine distress at the prospect ,” says Philip Spurr, Programme Director for Place and Resources at Ryedale District Council.
Ryedale’s a rural area that’s relied on dogs as both companions and work-mates for centuries - dogs are part of the family here, and so the area is pulling out the stops to make sure that people don’t need to leave them behind, that dogs get the holiday they deserve too.
If you’re tempted to book a dog-friendly holiday or take a day-trip with your dog in Ryedale, visit www.visitryedale.co.uk.
Here’s a few top tips to get you started on your dog-friendly getaway:
Going the extra-ordinary mile? Making walkies a little more fun
- Helmsley Walled Garden, Helmsley: get a sniff (and taste) of history as you wander a labyrinthine dog-friendly trail through the fragrant ‘garden rooms’ and orchards of this 250 year-old, restored kitchen garden; share a moment of mindfulness together in the Garden of Contemplation, or put your feet up in the award-winning Vine House Café. Dogs are treated to a ‘welcome biscuit’ on arrival, water bowls are provided, and as a thanks for staying on the lead, they’ll get plenty of love and fuss from the staff and volunteers (if they want it!)
- Woldies, near Malton: walking’s a perfumed treat at this lavender and nature farm, as you ramble through lavender fields, harvested and distilled at the farm to make therapeutic organic oil, but also explore herb and flower gardens, and enjoy close encounters with wildlife from bees to butterflies, ducks to dragonflies…
- Castle Howard, near Malton: from its annual Festival of Dogs to its parkland paradise of dog walks, there’s a welcome fit for a royal corgi at this world-famous stately home – including a butcher who can’t resist giving your dog a bone in the Farm Shop (if he has any left!), and a mini pet shop in the garden centre. Meanwhile at the neighbouring Yorkshire Arboretum – a garden of 6000 trees – there’s a dedicated paw park so your dog can roam lead-free for 11 acres, and dogs can also join in ‘Meet the Trees’ guided walks with the experts.
- Ryedale Folk Museum, near Pickering: from the witch’s hovel to the 1950s Post Office, this is a chance to go ‘through the historic keyhole’ along a time-travelling trail through 2000 years of history, as homes, gardens, farmyards and shops from the past are brought vividly to life, from the pantry to the privy.
If you simply want to follow your paws you will be spoilt for choice in Ryedale, with thousands of miles of walking paths through some of Britain’s most tranquil, gorgeous countryside, from the North York Moors to the Yorkshire Wolds, and at its heart the Howardian Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. To get a head start, have a browse on Alltrails where you can download a series of specially-commissioned trail maps, complete with directions and detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers. Many of these multi-distance walks start from the area’s Market Towns and provide picturesque opportunities to explore the area with your dog.
Check out the walking routes:
Make it memorable: three experiences you wouldn’t expect to share with your dog…
- North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Pickering: take a nostalgic steam train ride on the world’s favourite heritage railway, famous for its star-turn in movies like Harry Potter. You can journey through breathtaking moorland landscapes right to the Yorkshire Coast or stop off and roam free as birds through some of the most tranquil and least crowded countryside in Britain.
- Animal Art Gallery, Malton: it’s unusual enough to discover a dog-friendly art gallery, but this eccentric emporium not only showcases work by top local animal artists – it doubles as ‘Dapper Dogs’, a popular pooch pampering studio. You can even get creative during crafting workshops, while the dog enjoys being groomed by a pro!
- Keith the Stickman, Helmsley: dogs can’t resist a stick, but Keith the Stickman’s sticks are a work-of-art. From his open and dog-friendly workshop, he handcrafts unique dog walking sticks, helped by Nellie, his black lab pup. He’ll even make bespoke walking sticks with life-like sculptures of your own four-legged friend, and has the distinction of crafting crooks for bishops and magic wands for Nanny McPhee…
For a luxury escape: top places to stay:
- The Talbot Hotel, Malton: doggy designer fashion show? Pup pamper parlours? Expert dog training? Whatever your whim, the dedicated Canine Concierge will make sure you get special gold-star service; and if that wasn’t enough, the hotel also supports local dog rescue charity, Miss Mollies.
- White Swan Inn, Pickering: even dogs enjoy the full English (with bacon and sausage) at this warm and friendly pub, with specially-designed luxury hideaways featuring underfloor heating, sumptuous dog beds, and a personal porchaway to store wellies and wet dog coats.
- Black Swan, Helmsley: not only can you cosy up with doggy treats in private VIP areas of the 15th century pub or Walled Garden, but there’s a special welcome for keen dog-adventurers this year, courtesy of the ‘Walk Inn’ package, that includes free overnight stays for dogs, a complementary guide to local dog-walking, picnic lunch pack-up, and free boot-cleaning when you get back!
Or for those who prefer self-catered luxury:
- Platform One at Castle Howard Station, near Malton: to give you the perfect getaway, no doggy detail has been spared - from the 1.5-acre enclosed wildlife garden for lead-free roaming, to its doggy beds, doggy goody bags, and even towels, feeding bowls, and biodegradable poo bags. If your pooch needs some ‘me time’, or a chance to socialise with other local hounds, then doggy day care’s available through Dutch Barn Day Care, run by expert dog-loving neighbour Mildred Reiniers.
- Forest Holidays, near Pickering: located right in the heart of the forest, these luxury woodland cabins welcome guests with a doggy bag of treats, while there’s underfloor heating for a lazy snooze, and enclosed decking for the pooch to roam free while you enjoy the hot tub. For an unusual playtime, why not try a Forest Adventure with the local rangers, to see the trees as you’ve never seen them before!
- Fox and Rabbit Holiday Cottages, Lockton: set in a dog-walking paradise on the edge of the North York Moors and Dalby Forest, these cottages have been designed to get you and your pet pal in tip-top shape for both outdoor adventure and delicious snooze-time, with thoughtful extras like a dog-sitting service (in case you also want to enjoy the pub restaurant); bowls, leads and poo bags if you need them; and plenty of advice on local dog-walking. They also welcome other pets, previous guests including cats, a tortoise, parrot and hamster!
- Other top dog-friendly holiday cottages with dog-walking from the doorstep, underfloor heating, and ‘ensite’ enclosed paddocks and gardens for lead-free relaxation include Low Costa Mill Cottages or Tranmire Cottage, both near Pickering.
Information about where to go and what to do in Ryedale is available at www.visitryedale.co.uk – part of the destination development initiative from Ryedale District Council.
 In 2018, Malton in Ryedale was named the UK’s most dog-friendly town by the Dog Friendly Awards, in association with the Kennel Club, but the gold-star welcome for four-legged friends is matched across Ryedale, most especially in the award-winning market town of Helmsley and across the vast Castle Howard estate at the heart of the region.
 According to a survey of dog-owners conducted by Certapet in 2021
Notes to editors
Notes to editors:
Ryedale District Council’s destination development project supports the growth of responsible tourism in the district, and helps to attract seven million visitors annually, and a £281 million total visitor spend.