On appearances alone, the ancient walled city of York is one of the most picturesque, characterful and charming places in the UK. But look past the cobblestones and cottages it also seethes with energy – the result of its rich, varied and occasionally chaotic history. York has seen both Roman and Viking occupation, as well as playing a major part in several social and cultural revolutions through the centuries. It is a fascinating, as well as beautiful, place to spend some time.
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Dog Friendly York Must Sees
York’s most famous shopping street, The Shambles is only about 100 metres long but remains the focal point of the city for both locals and visitors alike. Set in a cobblestoned lane and surrounded by timber-framed overhanging buildings – some of which date back as early as the 14th Century – you’ll find something for everyone in The Shambles, even if that’s just a nice place to have a sit down and something to eat.
York City Cruises & City Sightseeing Bus
Sadly for your furry friends, many of York’s most celebrated tourist attractions are off limits for all dogs except for assistance dogs. However, you can still enjoy the sights of the Castle, York Minster or Clifford’s Tower by taking a guided tour of the city. Here are two options: the first is a boat-based cruise down the River Ouse, which runs through the centre of York. A tour lasts about 45 minutes and costs £12.50 per person, with well-behaved dogs travelling for free.
Your second choice is a little pricier but a lot more flexible: York’s City Sightseeing Bus tours offer all-day tickets for £16 per person which allow you to hop on and off the bus as and when you decide that you (or your four-legged friend) have seen something you would like to investigate more closely on foot.
The Best Dog Friendly Walks in York
The City Walls
A great way to discover York is to follow the signposted walking trail around the medieval city walls. They’re open from morning until evening every day (except in rare circumstances, such as snow and ice or urgent repair work) and they are free to the public. There’s a total of about three miles of walls to explore and well over a thousand years of history to unearth.
The River Ouse Circular
Another way to take advantage of the river that runs through York city centre is by walking this circular footpath. It is a little under three miles in length, meaning that you can comfortably cover the whole distance in just over an hour – although that may prove to be a little longer if your pooch finds something interesting to sniff along the way. The walk takes you past some of the city’s most famous landmarks and also into some parkland and nature reserves beyond, so there should be something to suit everyone’s tastes.
Hob Moor Nature Reserve
Part of Knavesmire, one of the largest areas of common ground in York city centre, the Hob Moor Nature Reserve is a much-loved green oasis. There are a variety of species of both birds and wildflowers that you could discover and a selection of well-trodden pathways. Do be aware that at some times of the year there may also be livestock grazing in the area, so your dog may need to be on its lead for parts of your day.
York Museum Gardens
First established in 1830, these beautifully tended gardens are a popular haunt for dog walkers, noted for their rich selection of flowers and also the spectacular backdrop of the ruined St. Mary’s Abbey.
The York Cat Trail
This may seem like an invitation to play with fire, but actually it’s a great – and free – way for you and your dog to explore and discover the city of York. Whatever your four-legged friend might think about cats, the people of York are big fans, considering them to be a lucky omen. Originally erected to ward off evil spirits or to scare away mice and rats, there are twenty black cat statues scattered around the city centre. See if you and your hairy pal can find them all!
Dog-friendly Cafés and Restaurants in York
The Plush Cafe
6 Stonegate, YO1 8AS
A family-run boutique store and cafe, Plush is widely recommended as the most Instagrammable establishment in York. It is just a few minutes walk from both the Minster and the Museum Gardens and features three elaborately decorated rooms in wildly different styles, from Art Deco neon to the Bohemian Room with its cushioned floor. The food gets great reviews too, with Plush offering bottomless brunch, afternoon tea and all-you-can-eat waffles, including gluten-free and vegan options.
FortyFive Vinyl Cafe
29 Micklegate, YO1 6JH
If grilled cheese and cocktails is more your style, this is definitely the place for you. The FortyFive Vinyl Cafe is a licensed premises which also sells records and occasionally acts as a live music venue, too.
3A Castlegate, YO1 9RN
Another fully licensed premises, The Nook is all about bringing street food indoors. It’s a great place to go for freshly cooked foods from all around the world, or a beer in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Like the FortyFive Vinyl Cafe, it is also occasionally used as a live venue by local performers.
The Shambles Food Court
5 Silver Street, YO1 8RY
If you prefer, controversial though it might seem, to eat your street food in a street setting, then York has you covered with the Shambles Food Court. Part of the Shambles Market, this bustling collection of small food trucks could be just what you are after. The best part is, it is all under cover, in case the Yorkshire weather gets up to its old tricks.
68 Gillygate, YO31 7EQ
This is the one your dog has been waiting for, because in addition to Osbourne’s variety of breakfast and lunch options, it also has a dedicated doggy menu, including sausages, scrambled eggs and home-made peanut butter biscuits. Don’t be surprised if you find your four-legged friends leading you there.
Dog Friendly Pubs in York
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a pub in York that isn’t dog friendly, so if you can’t see anything that interests you here you could very easily just follow your – or your dog’s – nose. That said, here’s some suggestions:
The Shambles Tavern
44 Shambles, YO1 7LX
An old-fashioned pub that has everything you’d expect from a modern one, The Shambles Tavern offers a wide variety of craft beer and ales, as well as a hearty, filling food menu bursting with choice and local ingredients.
The Whippet Inn
15 North Street, YO1 6JD
A gastropub in the city centre which specialises in Yorkshire beef. As your dog is also likely to be a fan of Yorkshire beef (just ask them and find out), it comes highly recommended.
The Minster Inn
24 Marygate, YO30 7BH
A traditional and cosy English pub, offering the now standard bewildering array of craft beers and local ales. The Minster Inn also specialise in pizza, from their wood-fired oven.
4 Patrick Pool, YO1 8BB
Named for and inspired by York’s Viking heritage, Valhalla would please any straggling Scandinavian marauder who got lost on the way over and is only just arriving now. There’s mead! There’s meat, cheese or fish boards! And best of all, it’s all dog-friendly.
Dog Friendly Shops in York
Give The Dog A Bone
17 Fossgate, YO1 9TA
A quirky independent gift and novelty store, Give The Dog A Bone specialise – in their own words – in “things you don’t need but really want”. In addition to the traditional greetings cards, mugs and board games, you will also find trendy favourites like Jellycat plush toys and cartoon-inspired nick-nacks based on Disney, Studio Ghibli and Kawaii. But will they give your dog a bone? There is literally only one way to find out.
Upside Down Design
27 Bootham, YO30 7BW
An interior design store which sells everything from bedding, lighting and candles to books and kitchen homewares. You and your dog could quite easily begin a home makeover right here.
Dog and Bone Vintage
28 Castlegate, YO1 9RP
If your home makeover extends into your wardrobe, the retro fashion and vintage clothing you can find in this boutique could be just the ticket. Again we find ourselves asking, will your dog end up with a bone (albeit a vintage bone) out of all of this? And the answer remains the same: you’ll need to find out.
6 Goodramgate, YO1 7LQ
Homewares and gifts also dominate the offerings at Cleggs, but you’ll also find ceramics, pottery, rugs, throws and bags. If your dog gets nothing else out of their visit to York, they’re bound to come away with a sweet, fresh, style.
Dog-friendly York: Where to Stay
If you’re looking to stay in a dog friendly hotel in York, here’s our recommendations:
15 St. Peter’s Grove, YO30 6AQ
Located in the Clifton area of the city, just outside the city centre and close to Rawcliffe Park, York’s largest. Every four-legged guest receives a welcome pack of bowls, treats and a bed, while their owners get a list of recommended places to go and things to do. Your hairy chum can also join you for drinks in the hotel bar of an evening. Prices start from £99 per night, with one dog.
Cromwell Road, YO1 6DS
A four-star hotel located just across the River Ouse from Clifford’s Tower in the centre of York. You and your hairy pal will be able to walk together in the hotel’s own gardens and outside areas, as well as dine together either al fresco or in the Sun Lounge. One for those looking for a little slice of luxury. Prices start from £170 per night, with one dog.
No. 1 by GuestHouse
1 Clifton, YO30 6AA
Located a few hundred metres from York Minster, your dog will get a warm reception at No. 1 with free treats and their own bed, plus the option to eat with their owners at the hotel’s restaurant. No. 1 also allows guests to leave their dogs in their rooms, or will provide a dog walking service. Prices start from £210 per night, with one dog.
If you’d prefer to stay a little way out of the city centre and enjoy some of the inimitable North Yorkshire countryside, a holiday cottage is a good way to do it. Check out the listings on both Canine Cottages and Pets Pyjamas to see if you can find the right fit for you and your dog(s). Here, we selected Green Cottage, a charming and well-reviewed location within comfortable distance of the city centre itself.
As ever, don’t forget Travelodge. Many of their 570 nationwide locations are pet-friendly, including these three in the centre of York:
York Central, 90 Piccadilly, YO1 9NX
Central Micklegate, Micklegate, YO1 6JG
Hull Road, YO10 3LF