Categories: Pet Friendly

Grab your lead and head for the door... we've rounded up some of the best dog walks in Northern Ireland as well as a few of the best places for you and your four-legged friend to bed down for the night.

Let loose along the Causeway Coastal Route  

The Antrim Cliff Path to Dunseverick Castle is part of the longer 33 mile Causeway Coast Way. This 5-mile section of coast features some spectacular cliff landscape passing above a series of coves and the sea views are simply to die for.   

There are some spectacular beaches along the coast, so you’re never too far from a mile or two of sand stretching out into the distance. What dog wouldn’t love belting along the golden sands of Benone or Downhill, or you could really wear them out with a run along the strand at Portstewart where even a greyhound will be out of puff by the end.  

There’s no shortage of dog-friendly places to stay either. Ashlea House (3*) is a self-catering bungalow just five minutes from the three Portrush beaches. Also in Portrush, you’ll always find a welcome for pooch in the pet-friendly rooms at the Inn on the Coast (3*) and nearby Antique House B&B (3*).  

Ballycastle’s Marine Hotel (3*) always has a welcome basket of treats for your best friend. While in Ballintoy, near Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, the Fullerton Arms (4*) has been welcoming happy pet owners forever.  

A little further inland, The Lodge Hotel in Coleraine (3*) is a warm dog-friendly haven to base yourselves, while in Bushmills, home of the famous whiskey and its distillery, your bestie will feel right at home in the award-winning Ballyness Caravan Park (5*).   

Lakelands and forest walks to explore together in County Fermanagh  

Part of the Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark, Big Dog Forest Walk is a beautiful short walk that will allow you and your four-legged friend to explore some of County Fermanagh's best upland landscapes.   

For a more easy-going stroll, you can enjoy a dander around the grounds of Florence Court, the former home to the Cole family, the Earls of Enniskillen. This magnificent National Trust estate is surrounded by a large area of parkland, garden and woodland, with breath-taking views to Benaughlin and the Cuilcagh Mountains! 

With all that walking around the lakes, through the forests and up the mountains of Fermanagh, you and your pooch will need somewhere to rest. There’s no shortage of choices here.  

You’ll find pet-friendly hotel rooms and self-catering cottages at Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel & Lodges (4*) and if Lusty Beg Island Resort and Spa isn’t the loveliest piece of private island heaven for you and doggy, then nothing is.  

For another lake-side option, Manor House Country Hotel and Chalets (4*) on Lough Erne’s shores have a massive welcome for dogs as well as space to run around. If it’s the lap of luxury you’re after, then lap it up Lough Erne Resort (5*) where there are 600 acres of grounds to explore with your best friend in tow.  

Make time and space for the Mournes  

The Mourne Mountains are a walker's paradise, with stunning walks to suit all abilities and all sorts of human and canine stamina reserves.  

Under the gaze of Northern Ireland's highest mountain peak, Slieve Donard, you can discover the Mourne Mountains by foot with your doggy friend by your side. Dominated by a compact ring of 12 mountains rising above 2000ft or 600m, there are walks to suit everyone.  

There is also a section of the Mourne Way Walk as an option, part of a 26-mile off-road walk traversing the foothills from Newcastle to Rostrevor. This route provides amazing views of the impressive Mourne Mountains, the valleys and the historic Mourne Wall which was built to keep livestock from wandering.  

You and your dog will just love some of the dog-friendly places to stay here in County Down. If it’s a bed and kennel with a difference you’re after, Meelmore Camping Pods in Newcastle will have you straining at the leash.  

You and pooch will feel right at home in any of the five Kribben Cottages (4*), nestled in picturesque Annalong. Or maybe Dunhill Cottage near the historic Georgian town of Royal Hillsborough will become you and your doggy’s home from home.  

There’s another chance to get up close to nature in the idyllic retreat of The Byre in Dromore, while in Downpatrick, Dunanelly Country House (4*) has cosy kennels for your best friend.  

You won’t need to see the Dogs Welcome paw-print sign or the waiting dog bowls at the doors of these two places to know how welcome you are: the Salty Dog (3*) in Bangor and FeetnPaws in Portaferry both just love dogs, and humans are welcome too.  

If that selection of walks and accommodation isn’t quite enough to whet your appetite and get tails wagging then just start looking around and exploring all our other dog-friendly articles and recommendations. If it’s an inspirational trip filled with dog-friendly discoveries you’re after, you’d be barking mad not to come to Northern Ireland.