An American in London is a cliché—but what about an American dog in London? Having attended graduate school in England, I was unabashedly excited about taking Artemis across the pond for the first time. I finally felt like a mother who bought a college sweatshirt for her daughter, really hoping that Betsy would also become a Wellesley alumna. “She’ll be super welcome in London,” a friend told me. “We love dogs because most of us aren’t allowed to have them in our flats!” And so, I was planning our itinerary before I had even booked the fights: We’ll get cozy at pubs, have afternoon tea, get the zoomies in front of Kensington Palace, explore the Cotswolds, and more. I was half-convinced Artemis would come back to New York City barking with a British accent.
What I had forgotten until we landed at Heathrow: London is very muddy, and it is inevitable that your dog will get very muddy, especially if they run off-leash in the parks. (And they should! London has ample green space and dogs are allowed to go off-leash in the parks any time of the day.) And so, our trip to England was full of muddy paws and happy tail wags, and that’s all a dog mum could want for her globetrotting pup.
Here are a few things to know about enjoying London with your dog:
- Leashed dogs are allowed on all public transportation. Getting around on the Tube is reliable and easy.
- Dogs are allowed in almost all pubs, and because pubs serve food, you can enjoy a full meal with your dog, too.
- Dogs are allowed in some restaurants, depending on management. It is worth calling ahead to ask.
- Dogs are allowed off-leash at all times in most public parks. You should definitely take advantage of the green space and the opportunity for your dog to sniff a few butts. Bring a towel to wipe off the mud.
Read on for our #ArtemisApproved spots around London, from muddy parks to spotless luxury shops:
Blacks Club in Soho
67 Dean Street, London W1D 4QH
London is the mecca of members-only clubs, and some of them are easier to get into—if you’re a dog. The history of Blacks Club goes back all the way to 1764, which feels positively ancient to us two Americans, considering the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776. Reportedly, Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley are members of this particular club, located in a Georgian townhouse behind an unassuming black door, but the real VIPs are dogs. When we asked the reception if there were any rules for dogs, they told us, “No.” Well-behaved dogs are allowed everywhere, even on the velvet furniture, which is convenient for when you want to snuggle up together in all the cozy corners of the club. Join for the supper club, stay for the dogs.
L’Escargot in Soho
48 Greek Street, London W1D 4EF
The ambiance doesn’t get any better than at this fine French restaurant, where you can dine surrounded by original artwork by Picasso and Warhol, and more importantly, with your dog. The main restaurant is on the ground floor, but upstairs, you will find a private club filled with dog memorabilia and furnished to be your dream intimate post-dinner salon where you’d grab dessert and a strong coffee along with witty banter. There are also boardrooms and libraries for when you mean serious business.
Duck and Rice in Soho
90 Berwick Street, London W1F 0QB
We were cold and starving in Soho one day, and were having trouble finding a dog-friendly restaurant in the tourist-filled area until we stumbled into Duck and Rice, a roomy pub that serves decent Chinese food. We sat at one of the high booths and the server promptly brought over a bowl of water, which Artemis drank straight on the table like she’s been going to pups since she was a pup. I had a delicious mocktail and a bowl of their house duck and rice, from which Artemis definitely stole bites.
The Kennel Club in Mayfair
10 Clarges Street, London W1J 8AB
You can’t visit London without enjoying its extraordinary collections of art, but unfortunately, you can’t bring your dog to the major (and free!) art museums like the V&A or Tate Modern. But you and your cultured pup can still enjoy 19th century portraiture at the Kennel Club’s Art Gallery, home to the largest collection of dog paintings in Europe. Simply request an appointment by email or phone, and they’ll happily welcome you and your dog for an intimate look at European dog art in their plush gallery—including a private Christmas card featuring Dookie the Corgi given by The Queen’s parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, when The Queen was a child in the 1930s. In addition to its free art gallery, the Kennel Club runs the famous Crufts show (and Scruffts for mixed-breed dogs, which Artemis intends to win someday).
Sketch in Mayfair
9 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XG
When my friend found out I was going to Sketch, she said, “It’s tacky!” And that’s how I knew I would love it. Don’t come to London’s most Instagrammed restaurant without a reservation. While your dog isn’t allowed in the iconic monochromatic pink Gallery, you are very welcome to dine with your pup in the Parlour. We were given a comfortable and roomy booth where we ordered a venison and sweet potato pie and Artemis was given a water bowl. Halfway through lunch, the lights dimmed and a ballerina danced through the room in pointe shoes. Artemis would have been confused, but she was too busy licking up the pie. We sat next to several influencers talking about brand strategy and we almost wanted to ask if they had any tips for dogs.
Smith & Whistle in Piccadilly
Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, London W1J 7BX
If you’re sick of bringing your dog to pubs, visit this art deco-inspired hotel cocktail bar instead. There is section of the menu called Dogtails just for dogs, and they sound delicious: Poochie Colada, Hound’s Hops, and Bubbly Bow Wow. While I snacked on sweet potato fries and a cocktail, Artemis was given complimentary Woof&Brew Pawsecco, a non-alcoholic, grape-free, non-carbonated drink for dogs, and plenty of biscuits to power her through the day. (Bar snacks for dogs!) The bartender was super accommodating and friendly to Artemis and let her sit on the plush furniture with us.
Daphne’s in Chelsea
112 Draycott Avenue, London SW3 3AE
This Italian restaurant is a favorite amongst celebrities and the posh London set, but it doesn’t feel pretentious. The small dog-friendly conservatory area is open all year round and is probably the better area for dining, due to its ample natural lighting and wall mirrors that make the place feel bigger. We were promptly seated for lunch even without a reservation, but for holidays and weekends, you should call ahead (dogs are only allowed to dine during lunchtime). Remember to dress your pup in their best accessories (and maybe wear something nice yourself). This is a place to be seen!
The Admiral Codrington in Chelsea
17 Mossop Street, London SW3 2LY
When you’re caught in the rain in London (happens all the time), you have no choice but to head to a pub. Luckily, they’re everywhere, and almost all of them are dog friendly. The Admiral Codrington is a traditional British pub with few frills but plenty of ales and hearty menu choices. Sit on one of their leather couches and snuggle up until the rain (briefly) stops.
The Chelsea Gardener in Chelsea
125 Sydney Street, London SW3 6NR
The English take great pride in their gardens—just look at the popularity of the Chelsea Flower Show, where Kate Middleton designed a garden! Even if you’re just visiting London and you’re not interested in buying plants, The Chelsea Gardener is a gorgeous place to take your dog. In fact, weddings and parties are hosted here regularly. But on most days, you can just come, rain or shine, to celebrate the beauty of flora and fauna and speak to the employees about gardening trends (the English are at the forefront). Grab tea and snacks at the charming café before you leave.
Love My Human in Chelsea
308 King’s Road, London SW3 5UH
This is the best pet store we’ve ever experienced. Love My Human is a stylish, well-curated shop with a high-end grooming salon downstairs. The grooming salon features an adorable crèche (what the English and French call daycare) with dog-sized armchairs, so your dog will never be in a kennel while they wait for you to come pick up. But even if you don’t have a dog, you should come visit Love My Human to greet Ted the Pomeranian, the best little shop boy ever. (He was sitting on the counter when we were there.) Product selection will please the pickiest dogs and pickiest humans; we picked up Artemis’ favorite ByBenji Biltong treats and that was good enough for her, but I really wanted the one-of-a-kind golden goose egg bed. (Doesn’t it look good with Artemis’ coloring? Isn’t that good enough of a reason to buy anything for your dog?)
Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge
17-19 Egerton Terrace, London SW3 2BX
You can’t be a tourist in London without having afternoon tea with clotted cream and scones, and at the five-star Egerton House Hotel, you can have an entire three-course tea with your dog. (You don’t have to stay there to have tea, although you should make a booking. When we were there, two other dogs were having tea with their parents.) Artemis had meatloaf (she loved it so much she got two servings), homemade biscuits, and puppy ice cream. I had Assam tea and too many scones and little sandwiches to count, and yes, I let Artemis have a dollop of clotted cream.
Artisans & Adventurers in Bethnal Green
146 Columbia Road, London E2 7RG
We truly believe that Artisans & Adventurers is one of the best shops in London, and it’s managed and curated by our friends at Hiro + Wolf, one of the most delightful dog accessories brands in the world. When we visited, they gave us a sample bag of what is now Artemis’ favorite treat, ByBenji Biltong, and a glass of sparkling water. The shop features fair-trade and ethically-sourced products, especially homeware, from around the world, but in the back, there is an entire room dedicated just to pets (cats get plenty of love, too!).
Mare Street Market in Hackney
117 Mare Street, London E8 4RU
During the day, Mare Street Market is full of beautiful young people who work at nearby East London co-working spaces. When we were staying in East London, it was a great place to grab breakfast on our morning walk. There is free WiFi, dogs are allowed everywhere (the server provided a water bowl for Artemis), and there is plenty of seating for those of you who need a spot to get some work done while your dog naps nearby. There is also a florist, a barber, a beer garden, and more. You could probably stay here all day.
Hampstead Heath in Hampstead
East Heath Road, London NW3 7JP
This 790-acre North London park is my favorite place in the world, and I think it may be Artemis’ favorite place, too. Just bring wellies or another form of footwear you don’t mind getting muddy. Like most parks in London, the Heath allows dogs to be off leash at all hours, and you will find plenty of dogs with muddy paws and long walks with their parents. Head to Parliament Hill for a view of London while your dog runs around. Even in the dead of winter, you will find people swimming in the ponds, and in fact, there are two single-sex ponds with loyal swimmers all year round. Make sure your dog doesn’t jump in.
Oliver’s Village Café in Belsize Park
92 Belsize Lane, London NW3 5BE
Spending time with your dog shouldn’t have to be a formal occasion, which is why Artemis and I love getting hearty lunches like chili on rice at this family-run café in North London. We spotted plenty of 20-something-year-olds with their laptops open getting work done here, so don’t be afraid to loiter here, especially during off hours. There’s plenty of coffee to go around.
The Wells in Hampstead
30 Well Walk, London NW3 1BX
After your muddy walk through 790 acres of Hampstead Heath (or a hangover), head to The Wells, a cozy gastropub with a menu just for dogs! Artemis ordered the small bowl, but it was an ample bowl filled with Lily’s Kitchen kibble (the same brand that the Royal family feeds their dog) and she devoured it before the humans even got served our Sunday lunch. The servers were especially accommodating and nice to Artemis, and on my way to the bathroom, I walked by the bar, where there were at least four dogs lounging by their owners.
The Grazing Goat in Marylebone
6 New Quebec Street, London W1H 7RQ
This is another gastropub that Artemis and I enjoyed together. Remember to make a booking (it gets pretty rowdy with the after-work crowd) and note that you’re bringing a dog, so they can accommodate you in their dog-friendly area downstairs. We spotted a tiny chihuahua sitting on a chair with their mom.
Magi Alexander in Westminster
2, 11-13 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AH
We were introduced to this full-service beauty salon by our friends at Flouffy, who were hosting a pop-up here. You can get your nails done, a blowout, eyelash extensions, waxing, and more—all while your dog accompanies you. We appreciated that there was plenty of space for dogs to run around, and that the staff was so welcoming towards our furry friends, even when they shed a lot. (If anyone’s okay with hair, it’s them!)
The Standard in King’s Cross
10 Argyle Street, London WC1H 8EG
When we landed in London, we checked into The Standard hotel, where dogs stay for free. Housekeeping sent up a Casper dog bed and two food bowls for Artemis. The entire hotel is dog-friendly, so you can dine at the ground-floor restaurant Isla with your dog, too. Even though The Standard is a nightlife hotspot, the rooms are remarkably soundproof and we slept soundly all night once we got over our jet lag. Dogs are allowed to stay in the room without you, so feel free to explore London while your dog naps.
Mungo & Maud in Belgravia
79 Elizabeth Street, London SW1W 9PJ
Everything at Mungo & Maud’s flagship shop can best be described as simple elegance. The patterns are never too loud, the toy giraffes are understated, and there is a lot of grey apparel. If you’re sick of cheesy dog toys and clothes and you miss Phoebe Philo-era Celine, this should be your go-to dog brand.
And lastly, to feed your dog like royalty…
Lily’s Kitchen is officially Artemis’ favorite dog food brand. She devours every variety of the brand, from the venison and duck kibble to the very British flavors of canned food, like An English Garden Party (chicken, strawberries, garden vegetables). She has, unfortunately, never done this with any American dog food brand, not even the fresh delivery ones! The brand has a Royal Warrant, which means it is an official supplier to the British Royal Family. I always knew Artemis was a queen.
Photography by Lauren Marsh