After talking about dog-friendly castles near London, it’s time for some marvellous places for a dog walk near home, which combine culture and a view: we pulled together a list of dog-friendly historic houses and gardens in London and beyond that are perfect for any season.
Dog-friendly historic houses and gardens in London
There are plenty of pictoresque spots for dogs walks in London and not necessarily they are “ordinary” parks (like these weren’t already enough). Some of them are full of history. Historic houses that once were residence of aristocrats, royalty, or just wealthy families and today can be enjoyed by the public and their dogs.
We found 11 dog-friendly historic houses and parks in London, which combine historic buildings and parkland. In all cases, while dogs are not allowed to enter the houses, they are welcome in the grounds. In a few of them they must be kept on a leash, but other places offer some interesting dog-friendly perks like a dog-friendly pond!
1. Chiswick House and Gardens
Chiswick House and Gardens feature a fabulous 18th century palladian villa in West London (more about its history) and a 65 acre garden, with wilderness, fountains and ponds, a conservatory and more. I particularly love the place and even had our engagement photoshoot in the gardens, a few years back.
The gardens have a Code of conduct for dog walkers, which was agreed upon after a restoration project of Chiswick House and Gardens’ grounds had proposed to restrict dogs access to the grounds in ways that would have negatively affected the dog-walkers community and a lobbying group called CHOW (Chiswick House Organised Walkers) was formed, to try and find a solution which would take into account the interests of dog owners. Today dog owners walking in Chiswick House Gardens can take their dogs off-leash apart from designated dog-free areas, and benefit from free poo bags sponsored by the Dogs Trust and dog waste bins.
You can view an interactive map of the gardens, also showing the dog-free zones. There is also a dogs in water area near Chiswick House, also shown in the map.
If you want to visit Chiswick House and Gardens when it is most busy with canine friends, every year, at the end of September, a few thousand people and their four-legged gather around the cricket pitch in occasion of the Chiswick House Dog Show, the largest (and best) fun dog show in London. This is an incredibly well-organised show that is made possible by all the volunteers that every year give their time for it.
Where: Burlington Lane, Chiswick, London W4 2RP
Prices: Visiting the gardens (and the conservatory which however is not dog-friendly) is free.
Opening times: The gardens are open 7am to dusk all year round
Transports: The closest tube stations are Turnham Green on the District Line.
2. Syon House and Park
We had come across about Syon Park and were very thrilled before visiting it last year. We happened to be very close to it when researching enclosed dog parks, as we had been told about a dog park at Brent Lea Recreational Ground, just adjacent to Syon House and Park, so we took the time for a visit. To our disappointment, we discovered that the part of the park you can visit with your dog is extremely limited and you can’t get anywhere near or with a clear view of the iconic conservatory or access the gardens, and there is a large fenced-off area where cows graze, which is not accessible either. You can only see the house strolling outside the moat next to the road. We ended up strolling outside the walls and continued along the river. Nearby there is the London Apprentice pub, overlooking the Thames, which is dog-friendly and a lovely 18th century Grade II listed building.
In sum, we wouldn’t recommend bringing your dog to Syon Park for a special visit, unless you are combining it with something else.
Where: Syon Park, Brentford TW8 8JF
Prices: Free for the dog-friendly part of the park, fees apply for visits to the non dog-friendly part (garden, conservatory etc)
Transports: by train get off at Syon Lane station.
3. Osterley Park and House
Not far from Syon House and park, there is Osterley Park and House, a Georgian country estate. Dogs are not allowed in the house, but they are allowed in park on leads. There is also an off-leads area for dogs, which is clearly indicated in the Park map.
Where: Jersey Road, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 4RB (sat nav TW7 4RD)
Prices: access to the park and grounds is free, while tickets apply for accessing the house and gardens that are not dog-friendly though (standard tickets Adult £12.00, Child £6.00)
Opening times: The parkland is open daily 7am-7:30pm except Christmas Day (different opening hours apply for the house and gardens).
Transports: The closest station is Osterley (Piccadilly Line) 1 mile, while the nearest step-free access station is Hounslow East (Piccadilly Line) 1¾ miles (2.7km). If you travel by car, there is a pay and display parking (£7 per car, Free parking for members and blue badge holders).
4. Ham House and Garden
After a dog-friendly trial back in Winter 2017-2018, Ham House and Garden opened to dogs on a permanent basis from Autumn 2018. Dogs are not allowed inside the house, but can be walked on a short leash in the garden and can enter the shop and part of the orangerie/cafe. The full dog etiquette can be found on their website here. The garden in not very big (it will take you probably just about half an hour to visit it all), so to make the most of the ticket price I would recommend going with someone and taking turns outside to visit the house (otherwise it may turn not a great value for money compared to other sites mentioned in this guide).
For a dog day out, you could combine your visit with a trip on the Turks Launch ferry from Richmond to Kingston/Hampton Court, a stroll on the Thames Path, hiring a rowing boat in Richmond, or a walk at Richmond Park (beware of deer though!).
Where: Ham Street, Ham, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 7RS
Prices: Adult £12.50 (gift aid £13.75), Child £6.25 (gift aid £6.90); Winter Admission prices apply betweeen 4 November and 15 March Adult £11.05 (gift aid £12.20), Child £5.50 (gift aid £6.10)
Opening times: Vary throughout the year, please find the relevant hours at this page.
Transports: The closest station is Richmond.
5. Marble Hill House
Georgian Marble Hill House, in Twickenham, is set in 66 acres of riverside parkland containing historic features such as an ice house and grotto, both built in the early 18th century. Dogs are allowed off leads in most areas of the park under close supervision, while the fenced children’s area is a dog-free zone.
You can combine your visit with a stroll on the Thames Path, crossing the river with Hammerton Ferries and continuing to Ham House or Richmond.
Where: Richmond Road, Twickenham, London, TW1 2NL
Prices: Adult £7.80 £8.60; Child (5-17 years) £4.70 £5.20; free for English Heritage members. We are currently confirming whether the parkland is accessible without a ticket.
Opening times: Open on weekends, hours vary depending on the season. The park is currently open 6.30 am to 7pm.
6. Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace is a stunning palace that used to be home to Henry VIII. Dogs can’t access the Palace, nor the Formal Gardens or the Maze, however they are allowed in the gardens, provided that they are kept on a lead at all times. The areas where dogs are welcome include the courtyard at the front of the Palace, the Wilderness, the Rose Garden, and the Tiltyard.
If you want to read more about a dog day out at Hampton Court Palace, check out our visit review.
Where: Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU
Prices: Free* : The dog-friendly areas are free to visit. Tickets are required for non-dog-friendly areas such as the maze, the palace and the formal gardens and prices can be found here.
Opening times: Open daily
7. Claremont Landscape Garden
Claremont Landscape Garden in Esher is not far from Painshill, but closer to London. Smaller and with less impressive follies than Painshill, but having a fantastic evocative wilderness, Claremont Landscape Garden welcomes dogs only seasonally, from 1st October to 30th March. In the dog-friendly season, you can also join organised dog walks (more in our Dog Events Calendar). The café is dog-friendly both inside and outside, and they have hot and cold food, drinks and a small shop. You view a map of the garden here.
We recently visited it and will tell you more on the blog soon.
Where: Portsmouth Road, Esher KT10 9JG, Surrey
Prices: Adult £10.50 £9.50 Child £5.25 £4.75 free for National Trust members.
Opening times: Opening times vary thoughout the year, so check this page before visiting
Transport: if you travel by public transport you can claim a £1 voucher at the cafe. The closest train station is Esher, then take the bus no. 715 which will get you in front of the garden’s entrance. By car, there is free parking available for 120 cars, 10 metres from entrance kiosk as wekk as free council car park for 50 cars in West End Lane, across the Portsmouth Road approximately 125 metres from Claremont.
Painshill is the most stunning landscape garden we have ever visited. It consists of a huge 158 acres garden with many follies and breathtaking views, where dogs on short leads are welcome. On top of our recommendations list, make sure to allow for at least half day, or a whole day if you take a picnic with you. View more photos and read about our visit and how to plan yours in this post.
Where: Portsmouth Road, Cobham KT11 1JE, Surrey
Prices: Adult £8 (£8.80 gift aid), children 5-16 £4.10 (£4.60 gift aid)
Opening times: Daily 10 am-6pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Transport: Best reached by car, free parking on site. By train: train to Esher, then bus no. 715 to Cobham (Waitrose), then walk to Painshill.
9. Charlton House and Gardens
Charlton House and Gardens, in Greenwich, is part of the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, and allows dogs in its grounds. In the past it has even hosted dog-friendly events, such as a dog-friendly film screening at its Charlton & Woolwich Film Festival back in September, canine capers and a dog show.
Where: Greenwich South West London
Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 9am – 10pm; Sunday: 9.30am – 7pm
Transports: The closest train station is Charlton.
By car: there is pay and display parking at Charlton House car parks located to the front of the house, cost is £1 per hour between the hours of 8am and 5pm, 50p per hour between 5pm and 10pm, some discounts available (more here).
10. Kenwood House
Kenwood House, in Hampstead, is an iconic 17th century building standing out on a hill. Hampstead Heath already offers a classic spot for dog walkers. A stroll in the grounds of Kenwood House can complement the visit.
Kenwood House’s website warns that dog byelaws apply in the parkland surrounding Kenwood House, and while dogs on leads are welcome; dogs may be off leads in the West Meadow only. Assistance dogs are welcome in the house.
There is a cafe on site and we are currently confirming whether this is dog-friendly.
Where: Hampstead Lane, Hampstead, Greater London, NW3 7JR
Transports: The closes tube station is Highgate.
11. Hatfield House
Hatfield House in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, 21 miles North of London, is a Jacobean house known for being the set of famous films and having a huge woodland. Dogs are not allowed in the house or the formal gardens, however, they can be walked in the woodland area that surrounds Hatfield House. There are three different woodland walks of various lenghts for you to enjoy with your dog. Dogs must stay on a lead on the estate. Allow 2 hours and a half walk for the longest. We visited earlier this year and enjoyed the long walk. More about our visit coming soon on the blog.
There is a stable yard that can be accessed for free and where there are some shops, most of which dog-friendly (we even bought a tweed dog bed for Argo there), although the restaurant does not allow dogs inside, while to access the rest of the site you will need to purchase a ticket.
Hatfield House sometimes hosts dog events, such as the Dogs and Daffs (daffodils) Charity Walk and fun dog show back in March, or the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Heli Hounds Dog Walk and Show in June, which we haven’t participated to but look forward to next year.
Where: Great North Road, Hatfield AL9 5HX, Hertfordshire
Prices: House, Garden, Park & Woodland Walks: adult £19, child £9; Garden, Park & Woodland Walks only: adult £11, child £7. The good news is that if you wish to go back in the same year, you can have your ticket named and stamped to access it again for free.
Opening times: opens seasonally. It will reopen on 4th April 2020.
Transports: By train, Hatfield station is a short walk away. By car, there is free parking on site.
Looking for more?
Check out DOG-FRIENDLY CASTLES near London
Or if you prefer to stay in London, some remarkable buildings you can visit with your dog