Running a dog day crèche, we frequently have our four-legged friends sniffing out the best routes on the block. London may be a densely populated city, but we’re not short of some fabulous walkies spots where your pooch gets a chance to explore, dash, chase and socialise with abandon. What’s more, these spots are often in some of the most beautiful corners of our capital. As part of our doggy day care, we love to mix up new walks with old favourites, so here’s our list of the best dog-friendly parks to take your dog to this spring.
- Victoria Park: Victoria Park is the capital’s oldest and has a whopping 212 acres of doggy-friendly haven to explore. It’s clean, it’s accessible, and dogs are welcome everywhere except the kids’ play areas. What’s more, we love that you can feel as if you’re not in the city but instead wander scenic pathways taking in a quaint tea room or two.
- Alexandra Palace Park: The much-loved Ally Pally Park is a parkland wonder full of spring meadow flowers ripe for a good sniff. There’s a variety of woodland and grassland as well as an ornamental garden or two. At Alexandra Palace Park, you also get treated to outstanding views of the capital’s skyline.
- Hampstead Heath: Of course, no mention of favourite dog walks in London would be complete without a nod to Hampstead Heath. One of our favourite dog crèche spots for the diversity it offers. There’s no shortage of doggy exercise and social encounters to be had here.
- Finsbury Park: Dogs go wild for Finsbury Park for its mix of wide-open space for chasing balls and formal gardens as well as a lake for a quick splash if they fancy. It’s great fun to head along the disused railway line, which is now an ambling path, sussing out the smells on the way.
- Richmond Park: Not so central but excellent for a weekend wander is Richmond Park. Bigger dogs and the young ‘uns with steam to burn will love the huge spaces and undulations for a good stretch and sprint. You can even take dogs, on leads, into the Isabella Plantation – a perfect opportunity for a springtime amble amongst the azaleas. It’s best to avoid Richmond Park if you have dogs in tow in Autumn due to the deer rutting season, and summer can be tricky for birthing, but early and mid-spring are ideal times for dogs to visit, you really don’t want to be Fenton no.2!
- Battersea Park: If your pup is a keen squirrel-spotter then they will love Battersea Park. A great opportunity to stretch their legs, have a potter and chase their favourite ball. Again, what’s not to like about 200 acres of woodland, lakes, open space and pure dog-walking heaven? You can even stop for a thoughtful moment at The Brown Dog memorial in the name of dogs used in research experiments. Know that your hound is safe and sound and simply here for fun and exercise.
- Dulwich Park: What’s good about Dulwich Park is the amount of space, perfect for a good run about. Not something we do at doggy day care, for obvious reasons, but this walk is also fabulous as you can finish up at the Crown and Greyhound pub, which not only serves fabulous real ales but also welcomes your canine pal too.
- Chiswick House Gardens: You do need to be aware that there are some areas here where your dog isn’t allowed. Nonetheless, it’s worth a visit to the areas where they can go. As the days get warmer it’s worth heading here for the section of the lake where dogs are actively permitted to jump on in to have a splash and a paddle.
- Crystal Palace Park: We’re not sure what our loyal hounds make of the giant dinosaurs, but we do know they love exploring amongst the trees here on a walk around the lake. If you’re after a doggy-challenge you can even head into the maze, and – hopefully – your dog can follow the scent to get back out again.
Wherever you head, you’re spoilt for choice. It’s essential that dogs get regular diverse walks, both for exercise and health, and their socialisation. If you’re struggling to fit in all your dog’s walking needs with everyday life, then it may be time to consider a dog day crèche or doggy day care. We recently put together a blog post on how your dog could thrive on a day care which you can read here.