Places to go with your dog

Published on 28 February 2024 at 13:53

While your dogs stay over with us for Board and Train, we often go out and about, taking them to new places and building confidence and resilience in new environments. 

We decided we would compile a list of places that are dog friendly where you can take your dog on new adventures, family days out or just watch the world go by. 

The places we have listed are local to us here in Bedford UK, but there may be similarities in other areas where the big chain stores are. 


When you choose which places you are going to visit with your dog, consider this:

Can my dog cope: Do they have the skills needed to cope?

Can I confidently help my dog navigate these new places?

Do I know what my dogs weaknesses are: their likes and dislikes?

Will my dog get easily overwhelmed in these places- if so, do I know when to call it quits and try again another day?


Bearing this in mind, we thought we would colour code these areas to make it easier for your to pick places that will suit you and your dogs skill level.

Green: Beginners - Dogs that have some foundation skills and can cope with low levels of distraction 

Orange: Intermediates - Dogs Who can cope well in green areas and owners are confident they can help their dogs navigate areas slightly out of their comfort zones. 

Red: Difficult- These are areas where there will be a lot of things happening and the potential to experience a lot of triggers, areas may be busy with dogs or people and within less than 2m apart to walk through. Avoid these if your dog is reactive as they will likely become trigger stacked easily. 

Dog Friendly Retail Therapy

  • Nelly Mosa (small local business) 103 Castle Rd, Bedford MK40 3QP
  • Go Outdoors - Norse Road,Bedford,MK41 0QN
  • Halfords -St Johns Centre, 8 Rope Walk
  • Mountain warehouse - Interchange Retail Park 
  • Hobby Craft - St Johns Centre, Rope Walk, Bedford MK42 0XE
  • Pets At Home - Interchange Retail Park, Race Meadows Way, Kempston, Bedford MK42 7AZ
  • Jolleys Pete Store - Alban Retail Park, London Rd, Bedford MK42 0NW
  • B & Q -  Interchange Retail Park, Sam Clark Way, Bedford MK42 7GA
  • Frosts Garden Centre - Sandy Road,, Willington,  MK44 3QP 
  • Seasons Garden Centre- Bedford Rd, Bedford MK45 3HU
  • Bargain Alley (Castle Road)


These are great opportunities for you to practice loose lead walking when there are distractions, bonus is that these are places you can walk your dog when the weather is miserable. If its your first time taking your dog to these locations, don't expect to be able to do a full shopping spree. Start off going on quiet days and choose a store that is not going to be so challenging. For example going to pets at home is going to be very challenging as you have to contend with the scent of food, treats, other small animals and other dogs. Whereas a place like Mountain Warehouse where its just clothing is less likely to be such a challenge as the scents are not as interesting as in the pet shop. 

Dog Friendly drinks/dining

Bridges Espresso Bar - The Pavilion, Riverside Square, Bedford. MK40 1AR

Herd (St Cuthberts Street)

Gordon Arms (Castle Road)

The Cross Keys (wood end)

The Cock Inn (Wootton)

The Chequers (Wootton)

Albero Lounge (Bedford Town Centre)

The Longholme (Bedford Embankment)

The Embankment (Bedford Embankment)

The Pen & Cob (Bedford Embankment)

Coffee With Art (Bedford High street)

The Legstraps (Wootton)


Archers Rest (Great Denham)

King William IV (Kempston)

The Kiosk (Russel park)


It's always great when you can have a pitstop during a walk, but remember, just as with shops, some places will be more challenging than others. For example, a pub that is large an open plan with tables well spaced out will be easier for an excitable dog than a cosy café where tables are closer together. If your dog is reactive and you haven't worked on teaching them coping skills, then you may want to avoid cosy places where you are likely to be confronted by other dogs as they pass to get to their seat. 

You could always ask for a table that is away from the main footfall and tucked away so that your dog can have space to process the environment safely. 

We have made it easy for you: The green places are fairly open planned and spaced out tables where you can keep your dog below threshold. 

The orange ones are where space is slightly tighter and you may see some dogs

The reds are places where there will be a lot of dogs and people in tight spaces. Not ideal for dogs that may lunge or bark from under a table. 

Outdoor Adventures

Wiles wood/ Potters Cross 

Nearest drinks/dining: The cock inn, The legstraps, The Chequers


Kempston Wood

Nearest Drinks/Dining: The cross Keys, The legstraps


Great Denham:

Nearest drinks/dining: Archers Rest


Addison Howard Park - Kempston

Nearest Drinks/Dining: None yet explored


Hillgrounds -Kempston

Nearest Drinks/Dining: None yet explored


Kempston Mill - Kempston

Nearest Drinks/Dining: King William IV


Bromham fields (Mollivers Lane)

Nearest Drinks/Dining: None explored yet


Stevington Windmill 

Nearest Drinks/Dining: None explored yet


Stewartby Lake 

Nearest Drinks/Dining: None explored yet


Marston Vale Forest 

Nearest Drinks/Dining: Cafe at Forest centre


Berry Woods

Nearest Drinks/Dining: The Cock Inn, The chequers


Salcey Forest

Nearest Drinks/Dining: None explored yet


Mowsbury Park

Nearest Drinks/Dining: Cafe at the park (Outside only)


Bedford Park 

Nearest Drinks/Dining: Cafe at the park(outside only), D'Parys


Bedford Embankment 

Nearest Drinks/Dining: The Embankment, The Longholme, Pen & Cob (outside/bar only), Bridges Espresso Bar, Albero Lounge


Priory Marina 

Nearest Drinks/Dining: None explored yet


Russel Park 

Nearest Drinks/Dining: The Kiosk

Rules and Safety 

The England and Wales Countryside Code states that:

  • You control your dog so that it doesn't scare or disturb farm animals or wildlife
  • When using the new access rights over open country and common land, you must keep your dog on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July - and all year round near farm animals. You may not be able to take your dog at all in some areas or at some times. Please follow any official signs
  • In general you don't have to put your dog on a lead on public paths, as long as they are under close control. Though please be aware of any local laws that may be in place.
  • As a general rule, keep your dog on a lead if you cannot rely on their obedience. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals
  • If a farm animal chases you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead - don't risk getting hurt by trying to protect them. Please see our guides on keeping safe around horses and livestock
  • Take particular care that your dog doesn't scare sheep and lambs, or wander where it might disturb birds that nest on the ground and other wildlife
  • Across the UK, 7 in 10 livestock attacks are caused by unaccompanied dogs, e.g. dogs that have escaped your garden. Make sure your garden is escape-proof,year%20round%20near%20farm%20animals.

Doggy Etiquette

  • When out and about remember to be respectful of other dog walkers and the general public.
  • When you see another dog approach, its a common courtesy to put your dog on the lead until you get close enough to ask if their dog is ok to greet your dog. 
  • Your dog doesn't need to say hello to every single dog, they should learn that its ok to also just walk past. 
  • If you see someone trying to get their dog on a lead, pause for a minute and allow the person time to get their dog and safely on a lead. Don't try to rush past. If possible, give the person space as they or you pass each other. 
  • If their dog is reacting, keep your dog calm and allow them to pass.  You don't need to make conversation with this person if they are trying to do their best to pass safely. Chat another time. 
  • Take in your surroundings- if you are in the country side, be aware there may be livestock around, keep your dog safely on a lead if you can see a field with livestock. You dog has a great sense of smell and may try to run towards them. Ensure they are wearing a harness they cant escape from - a Y shaped harness is the best ones for this. The ones that go over the shoulder are easy to escape from.  They should also be wearing a collar WITH ID tag.
  • If you're walking in densely populated areas such as town centres, keep your dog under control so that they are not jumping to say hello to everyone. Your dog may be friendly, but not everyone likes muddy paws. Your dog should also be learning to walk by without saying hello to every person or dog it comes across.
  • If you have a nervous or fearful dog, KNOW when to call it a day and go home. Your goal may be to sit at a pub and have a meal, but take your dogs lead on this and if they are too overwhelmed, leave sooner and try again another day.