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With Crufts gracing our screens in March, we’ve been inspired to take a look at the parks, commons and woods in and around London where owners can stretch their dogs’ legs.

Whether it’s a fun run-around, long walk or a complete dog-friendly holiday, London dog owners, both north and south, have plenty of locations to choose from.

Long Walks:

Peckham Rye Park and Common

The Peckham Rye Park and Common has been around in some shape from before the Norman conquest in the 11th century. Nowadays, it comprises the historic common and the refurbished Victorian park. Dogs can run free in the common but will need to be on a lead around the cultivated gardens and play areas of the park. The arboretum is a dog-free zone.

Start with a gentle stroll around Peckham Rye Park before letting the dog off the leash for some more energetic gambolling around the common. Start by the Japanese Garden, head south towards the woodland area, either sticking to the path or walking over the grassland. Loop around the bottom of the park before heading back north towards the lake and pass the Nature Garden to access the common. See more trails and maps of the park at the Southwark website.

Strakers Road, SE 15 • Off and on lead areas • Toilets • Free parking available

Richmond Park

Europe’s largest city park, Richmond Park attracts millions of local and tourist visitors every year. The largest of the Royal Parks, it stretches over 2,500 acres and boasts woodland, meadows, ponds and views of Canary Wharf, the Shard and the Gherkin. Dog walkers are urged to respect the park’s famous deer population, control dogs and put them on leads around the deer.

Male deer pose a physical risk to dogs during the rutting season, so avoid dog walking in Richmond Park from September to October. For a six to seven mile walk, make a loop of the park starting and finishing at the Pembroke Lodge. The loop passes Hamcross Plantation, Isabella plantation (dog on lead if you make a detour here), the two ponds, Robin Hood Gate and Roehampton Gate. Follow the edge of the park back, over the footbridge, past Sheen Gate and towards Richmond Gate before heading back to Pembroke. See more details and map here.

Richmond, TW10 • On and off lead areas • Toilets • Free parking available

Trent Park

Made up of fields, fishing lakes, woods and a nature reserve, the 413 acre Trent Park is a favourite destination with dog walkers. The park also boasts a golf course, equestrian centre, pets’ corner, cycle trail and bridle trail. Their Cafe Animal centre welcomes dogs and their owners for refreshments all year around.

The park has tarmac and gravel paths you can stick to on dog walks, or for adventurous dogs there’s plenty of unpaved woodland to explore.

Cockfosters Road, EN 4 • Off lead • Toilets • Free parking available 


The best places in London to walk your canine companion
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