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Visiting Scotney Castle with your dog

Six small white dogs, led by two people, Blenheim Palace Oxfordshire
Enjoy a great day out with your pups at Scotney Castle | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Dogs on leads are very welcome at Scotney. With 780 acres of estate covering woodland and parkland as well gardens, we've got plenty of walks to choose from, and dogs are welcome in the tea-room and shops too.

Our pawprint rating system

We’ve been working on making it easier for you to find out how dog-friendly your visit will be before you and your four-legged friend arrive. To help with this, we've created a new pawprint rating system and given all the places in our care a rating.

Scotney Castle is a three pawprint place.

Three pawprints shows the very best places you can visit for a day with your dog. You’ll be able to take your dog to most areas, including indoors for a cup of tea and a treat. Read on to discover exactly what is on offer for canine visitors at Scotney and where you can take your dog.

Why do we ask for dogs to be on leads?

The fields and parkland at Scotney are a working estate and, although letting your dog off lead to run seems harmless, it can cause untold problems for the livestock and wildlife who live on the property. There are sheep and cattle grazing who don't realise your dog 'just wants to play'. Sheep see dogs as predators rather than a friend, and there have been several cases of sheep being mauled on the estate by dogs not on leads. Pregnant ewes can also abort as a direct result of being chased by dogs. Both situations are not only very distressing, their loss has a significant financial impact.

On the rest of the site we ask that dogs are on leads so all our visitors can enjoy their time here.

Dog-friendly facilities

  • Water bowls are available in the Courtyard area and by the Visitor Entrance.
  • There is fresh running water to top up doggy water bowls or bottles at the walkers’ toilet block.
  • After an exciting estate walk you can rinse off mucky paws and tums using the spray by the walkers' toilet block.
  • Dog bins are located by the WCs in the main courtyard and by the white five-bar Salvin Gate at the visitor entrance at the entrance to the estate.
  • Staff in the shop, tea-room and at visitor entrance love to share their supplies of free doggy treats for our four-legged visitors.
  • You can also purchase doggy ice-creams in the shop and tea-room.

Where can my dog go?

Scotney is a very dog-friendly property and dogs are welcome on short leads in the main Picturesque garden, the shop and tea-room; we do ask that dogs in the tea-room are tucked under tables to prevent them being an obstacle or trip hazard for other visitors or staff.

The estate at Scotney Castle provides miles of beautiful walking for you and your canine companion. However, it is also home to a variety of wildlife and grazing livestock so dogs must be kept on a lead when walking on parkland.

Only assistance dogs are permitted in the house, old castle and walled garden.

Where can't my dog go?

Only assistance dogs are allowed in the house, old castle and the walled garden.

Occasionally we may not be able to accommodate dogs in the tea-room because of events taking place, but the manager on duty will advise you on this upon arrival.

Dachshund with ice cream
Everyone can enjoy a treat at Scotney | © James Dobson

The Canine Code

We’ve worked with our partner Forthglade to come up with this Canine Code, which helps to make sure everyone can enjoy their day:

  • Keep them close: using a short lead helps to keep your dog from disturbing ground-nesting birds and farm animals. It's essential to use a short lead around sheep. But if cattle approach you, it's best to let your dog off the lead, and call them back when it's safe to do so.
  • Pick up the poo: please always clear up after your dog. If you can't find a bin nearby, take the poo bags home with you.
  • Watch the signs: keep an eye on local signs and notices wherever you're walking. They'll tell you if a beach has a dog ban, for instance, or if a path has been diverted, or if you're in an area where dogs can run off-lead.
  • Stay on the ball: remember that not everyone loves dogs, and some people fear them. So make sure your dog doesn't run up to other people, especially children.

Keeping control of your dog

Our definition of close or effective control is: ​

  • Being able to recall your dogs in any situation at the first call
  • Being able to clearly see your dog at all times (not just knowing they have gone into the undergrowth or over the crest of the hill). In practice, this means keeping them on a footpath if the surrounding vegetation is too dense for your dog to be visible
  • Not allowing them to approach other visitors without their consent
  • Having a lead with you to use if you encounter livestock or wildlife, or if you are asked to use one
The mansion house at Scotney Castle in winter

Discover more at Scotney Castle

Find out when Scotney Castle is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

Our partners


We've partnered with natural pet food maker Forthglade so that you and your dog can get even more out of the special places we care for.

Visit website 

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