It was never really a question if I would bring Lumos to London with me. He has been with me since he was 8 weeks old and he definitely is part of my family. A month after I moved here I brought him over. It all worked out , however I wish I knew a few things before I moved here.
1. Public transport is free for your furry friend
As long as you are able to carry your dog on the escalators you are allowed to bring them to the tube. They have to be on a lead, but there are no rules besides that. I was really worried that Lumos would be scared of riding the tube, but he is totally relaxed and usually sleeps during the ride. One thing you should be aware of is that while some people will love your dog and will ask to pet it, others might be scared of dogs.
2. You can let them run off lead in most parks
Unless a park specifically says to keep your dog on a lead, they are allowed to run around. London has many big parks and most of them are super dog friendly.
Here are Lumos’ favorite parks and green spaces:
- Hampstead Heath
- Battersea Park
- Wimbledon Common
3. Areas like Chelsea, Shoreditch and Hampstead are really dog friendly
I originally got a dog because I always wanted one and living in Berlin at the time I saw all these dogs in coffee shops, restaurants and parks and it really made me jealous. Berlin is one of the most dog friendly cities.
When I first moved to London I found it very hard to bring my dog with me as many places don’t allow dogs. Now that I’ve been here for 9 months I know which areas are more likely to be dog friendly and which aren’t.
Shoreditch is by far the most dog friendly area. All the pop-up stores, vintage stores and coffee shops allow you to bring your dog. People there are really excited to have dogs in their venues and always give Lumos cuddles (and sometimes even treats).
Hampstead is located in the North of London and I’d say most people there own a dog. It’s very nice to grab a coffee or a bite there after a long walk through the Heath.
Chelsea is one of the “poshest” areas in London and many people there have a dog (though most dogs there are “handbag dogs”). You can bring your dog to most shops, including Zara, and most coffee shops too.
I will write a separate blog post on my favorite dog friendly coffee shops soon.
4. Get insurance for your dog
Where I’m from vet costs are really low compared to other countries, that’s why I never really thought about getting health insurance for Lumos. But when I moved to the UK and Lumos had his first visit to the vet I knew why people would get insurance for their pets.
Vet bills here can be REALLY high! I recently paid over £120 for antibiotics and a check up. So do yourself a favor and get insurance for your pet, even though this might seem expensive too, it’s worth it. I’ve heard about several dogs who needed emergency treatment and the bill was more than £2000, luckily their insurance covered the whole bill.