Your guide to the best dog-friendly days out in Cambridge
A day out in Cambridge with your dog has never been easier, with more and more places welcoming well-behaved pooches. As lots of dogs are finding it difficult to be alone for long stretches because they are used to their owners working from home, it has become more important than ever to find spots that will allow doggy visitors. Luckily, Cambridge has woken up to the latest trend for dog-friendly shopping, dining and days out and we have collected together some of our favourites.
A dog-themed walking tour
When Green Badge guide Murray Jacobs was searching for a new theme for one of his guided walks, he quickly realised that dog walkers were being sadly neglected on tours that went inside university grounds.
He said: “Obviously it’s great to go on a tour of the colleges, but if you’re in Cambridge for the day with your dog you might miss out on a fun guided walk because pets aren’t allowed inside. I’m a dog lover, although I don’t have one at the moment, and I see lots of people walking around Cambridge with their dogs but I haven’t spotted any on a tour. So I devised a walk where dogs can happily join their owners and I’ve found some entertaining stories about man’s best friend in Cambridge.
“I’ve turned up some fascinating facts about influential dogs in Cambridge. For instance, it could be argued that one of Cambridge's most famous buildings at Pembroke College might never have been built if it hadn't been for discussion about dogs. A Springer spaniel dubbed by its owner as the dumbest dog ever has a close connection with one of the most unusual pieces of art in Cambridge; and a famous Italian painter who seems to have painted more dogs than any of his contemporaries is linked to a particularly well admired structure in the city.
“This walk would suit locals just as much as visitors as the stories are not well known and I will be showing things even people who have lived here for years wouldn’t spot. I can accept up to five well behaved dogs in one group and I think it would be a nice, sociable thing to do with friends.”
Contact Murray to book a tour at hiddencambridge.co.uk/dog-lover-tours-2/
Either 60 or 90 minutes. It will usually start from in front of the Pitt Building on Trumpington Street (opposite Fitzbillies), explore the surrounding area and finish on King’s Parade. The starting time is flexible.
The cost is £80 for 60 minutes or £100 for 90 minutes. You can even do it with your friends (up to eight people and 5 dogs).
Milton Country Park
Fridays in the Park is back for the summer at Milton Country Park and dogs are welcome. These outdoor food and drink events took off during the pandemic and have returned this summer. They offer a chance to socialise outdoors with lots of space to spread out in a beautiful setting, with a great vibe, a delicious food truck and a vintage well-stocked bar.
From May to September the park will be hosting a food truck and vintage bar on the front lawn one Friday per month. Bring chairs, blankets, spread out and enjoy the park a little later - the car park will have a prompt 9pm close.
For pre-booking food orders, see updates on the Milton Country Park Facebook page.
The line-up of food trucks for the next few months is:
- June 10 - Wandering Yak & Gentleman Jims Bar
- July 1 - Gino’s Pizza & Gentleman Jims Bar
- August 26 - Wandering Yak & Gentleman Jims Bar
Pamper your pup at the park
Another exciting development at Milton Country Park is the installation of a self-service dog wash in the grounds.
For just £3, dogs can have a wash and blow dry, including conditioner or a flea treatment. The front of the shower unit opens to let the dogs in and you clip them in place and then choose your wash. They come out fresh and fluffy after even the muddiest walk.
Sarah Harris, project manager at Cambridge Sport Lakes Trust, which runs Milton Country Park, said: “I think people struggle to take dogs to the groomers and this is just a really nice way of getting your dog nice and clean without having to do it in your own house… We just want to make it clear that it is not for swimmers, kids or bikes!”
Walkies at Wicken Fen
The visitor centre at Wicken Fen has a (not very) secret stash of dog biscuits awarded to well behaved dogs, a nice cafe and is a great place for a long walk.
Dogs on a short lead are welcome inside the Visitor Centre and shop, as well as the café when you are choosing and ordering your food. There are plenty of picnic benches outside to eat at. Inside seating may also be available in the Visitor Centre for eating your café food with your dog.
They ask owners to keep dogs on a lead as there are grazing animals and wildlife across the site.
Struggling to shop with a hound in tow? The good news is that you will definitely be able to go book browsing in Cambridge. Waterstones on Sidney Street not only welcomes dogs it also has a lovely cafe where visitors can leaf through the books over a cup of coffee and a brownie. There is also talk of treats being available by the till for well behaved dogs.
Heffers is equally dog friendly and has a huge games department to explore downstairs as well as two floors of books.
Vintage browsing at Emmaus shop and cafe, Landbeach.
Joan’s Coffee Shop in in the charity Emmaus, which sells second-hand homeware, is a welcoming place for dogs, offering cushions, cuddles and the occasional complimentary sausage. They have even been known to put on a special ‘Dog’s Christmas Dinner’ – made up of sausage, bacon, ham, pepperoni, tuna, cheese, egg, turkey and topped with gravy.
The coffee shop is a social enterprise run by homelessness charity Emmaus Cambridge and generates funding to support the charity’s work in helping formerly homeless people rebuild their lives.
Emmaus says: “Our whole site in Landbeach is very dog-friendly, and we have plenty for people to do – a large garden area to stroll through, second-hand furniture to browse, and a café with hot and cold drinks, cakes, and a main menu with options for vegetarians, vegans, kids, and now dogs.”
- Emmaus, Green End, Landbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9FD.
Pro pooch pubs
The Free Press
The Free Press is a great place to eat and gets glowing reviews of its food on TripAdvisor, with the Scothc egg, ploughmans lunch and roast dinners all highly recommended. This small pub is dog friendly throughout snd has a quirky story behind its name. The building was a printing press for a free Cambridge newspaper. It lasted one issue, but the name survived. The walls are covered with front pages of old newspapers.
The Free Press pub - 7 Prospect Row, Cambridge CB1 1DU
Other dog friendly pubs worth a mention are The Station Tavern, The Clarendon Arms, The Pickerel and The Granta. Cambridge Brew House, The Mill, The Waterman and The Petersfield.
Green Dragon pub in Chesterton
The Green Dragon pub is a great dog-friendly spot and may be the oldest coach house and pub in Cambridge. Famous patrons have included Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) who reportedly enjoyed knife-throwing sessions with his friends, the evidence of which can be seen on the fire today.
The author J.R.R. Tolken (1892-1973) often visited the pub for inspiration for writing the likes of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
Reader Chris Smith says; “If you fancy a stroll out of town with hound along the river, the Green Dragon at Chesterton always reminds me of an older friendlier down-to-earth Cambridge with a beer garden by the river.”
Fort St George
Take a stroll on Midsummer Common then sit down and soak up the views at the Fort St George pub which is right on the banks of the River Cam and next to the City and University boathouses. Dogs are allowed in the pub and beer garden, but not in the restaurant.
The Pint Shop - Benet St
The Pint Shop restaurant is based in an impressive Georgian townhouse, where EM Forster once lived. Dining and drinking rooms are available across three floors and there is a rear terraced patio garden for outdoor eating. Dogs are welcome here - just make sure they don’t make off with one of the famous scotch eggs.
In need of a shot of caffeine but don’t know where you can sit quietly with your dog to escape the weather or just enjoy somepeace and quiet? Cambridge actually has a huge number of dog-friendly cafes. Small but beautiful, the Indigo coffee house at 8 St. Edwards Passage, has great sandwiches and cosy dating area upstairs where you can settle down with your pup.
Hot numbers on Gwydir Street and their other outlet in Trumpington both love you to visit with your dog and offer a wide range of speciality coffees as well as savoury snacks, vegan dishes and cake. The friendly atmosphere and free wifi keep thie cafe busy all week.
The Bould Brothers cafe on round Church Street is serious about quality and only sells speciality coffee. Head there for a spectacular brew, freshly made sandwiches and free glasses of cucumber water. Dogs welcome.
- For more tips check out the Dog Friendly Cambridge page on Facebook.