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Visiting Ickworth Estate with your dog

Visitors walking their dog on a path at Ickworth, Suffolk
Two visitors walking their dog on a path at Ickworth | © National Trust Images/Rob Stothard

Ickworth Estate is a great place for dogs and their owners – there are a wide range of walks for you to enjoy, and a dog-friendly café too. Read more to find out how to make the most of your visit with your four-legged friend.

Lambs on the estate

Lambs are in parkland and will be present until late summer. Please ensure your dog is on a short lead and kept away from electric fences.

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. You can find this information in the National Trust members’ handbook.

Ickworth Estate is a three pawprint rated 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. There’ll be clearly signed dog zones and dog-friendly experiences. Read on to discover exactly where you can take your dog.

Where can my dog go at Ickworth Estate?

Dogs are welcome in the parkland, on woodland walks, the walled garden and at Porter’s Lodge café, which is the perfect place to start or finish your dog walk. There are tasty treats, plenty of hot and cold drinks, and of course water bowls with lots of shade for your furry friend. Please keep your dog on a lead at all times on the estate.

Where can’t my dog go?

Only assistance dogs are allowed in the West Wing, house and Italianate garden.

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.
Sheep and two lambs grazing in the field in March at Ickworth, Suffolk
Sheep and two lambs grazing in the field in March at Ickworth, Suffolk | © National Trust/Justin Minns

Livestock on the estate

There are sheep grazing across the site, so please keep your dog on a lead at all times and shorten this when around livestock.

Take extra care around the flocks, as temporary paddocks are in use with electric fencing, and it is always active. To best ensure the conservation of the parkland, the flocks are frequently moved throughout the year to rotate their grazing land. You may spot them in an area you haven’t before.

The sheep at Ickworth are a breeding flock; there can be around 800 pregnant ewes on the estate, and in turn up to 1,200 nursing lambs in spring and summer.

It's essential for your dog to remain under close control by means of a lead, as worrying of livestock can lead to miscarrying.

It is recommended that you give the ewes and lambs as much space as possible by walking away from them or on the opposite side of the pathways.

Visitor using the pet waste disposal bins in the park at Ickworth, Suffolk
Visitor using the pet waste disposal bins in the park at Ickworth, Suffolk | © National Trust Images/David Levenson

Indoor seating area closed at Porter's Lodge

Due to flooring works taking place at Porter's Lodge, the indoor seating area is currently closed and we regret that we are unable to provide alternative indoor seating for dogs and their owners. The hatch will be open on the side of Porter's Lodge serving food and drinks as normal and the outdoor seating area will also remain open. We apologise for any disappointment or inconvenience caused and thank you for your understanding.

Facilities available for my dog

  • There are water bowls at the welcome hub and plant centre as well as the Porter’s Lodge café
  • Dog beds and blankets available at Porter's Lodge
  • You’ll find water taps across the estate where you can fill up your portable dog bowls
  • There are eight dog bins on site; the five key locations can be found on Ickworth’s map, with the remaining bins located around the parkland
  • New for 2024 - dog trailers for cycle hire. See our Cycle hire page for more information.

Forgotten anything on your visit?

We can loan you spare leads, and have dog waste bags available at the welcome hub and plant centre.

Por(Paw)ter's Lodge

The indoor seating area is currently closed for replacement flooring works, we apologise for any disappointment or inconvenience caused.

Porter's Lodge café is our dog-friendly café and has everything your four-legged friend needs. Make the most of our comfy dog beds and blankets and free snacks on offer in this indoor space, perfect for relaxing after a walk in the parkland. We also have dog-friendly snacks for sale including muffins and ice cream. Admire our furry visitors on our dog board and chat to the team to have your dog's photo taken with the chance of becoming our next 'dog of the week'.

A happy spaniel walking with its owner on the grass at at Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire
Happy dog on lead | © National Trust / Annapurna Mellor

Free dog training sessions

Join us as we welcome Ellie from Smart Nose Dog Training. She will be providing free* training classes for you and your dog. Taking place once a month, exercises can vary month to month so anybody who wants to attend more than one session will get the chance to learn new training techniques.

Mixed abilities training session

Learn basic training such as helping your dog to get out of the car calmly, wait while you’re stopping to chat and loose lead walking. Learn all the tips and tricks to make sure your dog has an enjoyable day out for every time you visit Ickworth. Book your free* session here

Dog Parkour

Dog parkour gives your dog a chance to take on physical movements in a controlled way as they learn to go over, under, through, or around obstacles. Benefits for your dog include improved body awareness, confidence, balance, and strength - benefits for you both include a boost to your relationship, and ideas to make your day-to-day walks extra fun! It is low impact, and suitable for all ages and abilities. No previous experience needed, and all equipment provided during the session. Book your free* session here

Sessions are available to book approximately two weeks in advance. If you book a session for your dog and then are not able to make it please contact us ASAP so we can offer your space to another dog. Sessions will run in the event of rain. *Normal admission charges also apply, free for National Trust members.

View of the Rotunda from the path with newly restored roof at Ickworth, Suffolk

Discover more at Ickworth

Find out when Ickworth 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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