Dog Friendly Places: Allan Bank

Searching for Squirrels at Allan Bank

Back in 2018 we visited the Lake District. A family holiday would not be complete without the furbabies and we where very fortunate in that most of the places around the Lakes where extremely dog friendly. Once place which did stand out was Allenbank.

Allan Bank is a National Trust building like no other. Here there are no priceless ornaments and rooms to see and visit and instead it has been transformed into an area to explore. The key draw for us was that they have a population of the rather elusive red squirrels living in their woodland. However upon arrival we where treated to a National Trust experience like no other. Having been previous members of the National Trust we where well aware that dogs are not allowed in the historic houses (for good reason) however this is not the case at Allan Bank. Here dogs where welcomed with open arms and inside the very helpful staff introduced to everything on offer.

Firstly we decided to go squirrel hunting where pointed in the direction of their woodlands in the hope of spotting one (dogs on leads!) It was September, so we where hoping that they would be busier than usual starting to gather nuts for the winter. However, we where told that sightings can still be rare. Undeterred we continued into the woodlands with our eyes pealed in the tree canopies ready for the slightest movement which could indicate a squirrel. The woodlands are on a bank which allows you to get high up and into the tree canopy, the perfect hight for spotting squirrels and also to soak in the wonderful views around which would appear between the trees.

We waited and watched but there was little sign of any squirrels until some little noses started twitching. Ruby and Lottie are avid squirrel chasers at home and fortunately for us had picked up the scent of a squirrel nearby. Looking into the trees we caught our first glimpse of a red squirrel. At the time my phone camera was not great but you might be able to catch a glimpse of Squirrel Nutkin sat in the V of the tree here.

Can you spot Squirrel Nutkin?

After all the excitement of woodlands and the weather starting to turn we headed for shelter at the house. As I said before Allan Bank is completely different to any other national trust property. There are no tea rooms but you can help yourself to tea, coffee and biscuits (you give a donation towards this). Once we where stocked up with drinks and food we headed towards a large sitting room with two huge windows overlooking an area with feeders full of nuts and other squirrel snacks. This is to encourage the squirrels down so that when the weather is not so good people can still enjoy the wildlife from the windows. The dogs where allowed into the house and soon made themselves at home snuggled on our laps.

After a refreshment we explored the house. Upstairs was full of rooms where you could sit and enjoy various crafts perfect for young children or those wanting to explore their imagination.

Allan Bank is more like spending time at home rather than looking around around a historic building full of family treasures. Although I love to look around the different the historic buildings of the National Trust Allan Bank sits in my heart as a favourite place to visit and I hope more properties could be used in this way by the National Trust. Find out visiting information here.

If you are thinking of visiting its worth noting that there is only parking available at the property for disabled visitors and we had to park in the nearby village of Grasmere. There are car parks available in the village which is only a short walk away and the bonus is that the world famous Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is also here. If you love gingerbread then this is defiantly a shop not to be missed and although the shop is tiny you cannot miss the beautiful waft of gingerbread coming from the door or the long queues of people waiting to be served. It worth the wait! Find out more here.

I would highly recommend a visit to Allan Bank if your heading to the Lake District and best of all it is completely dog friendly too! If your heading that way this summer then enjoy.

Looking at visiting the Cotswolds, check out my blog post on Cotswold Lavender as another dog friendly place to visit.

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