Ambleside Pet Shop completes full refurbishment


The owner of a refurbished dog shop by Lake Waterhead has promised a ‘new era’ for pet owners in Ambleside after completing a year-long restoration of the historic Victorian interior.

Caroline Denholm took over Paws by the Lake in 2021 and rebranded the premises of The Old Toll House as ‘Ambleside Pet Shop’, transforming the offering as well as the aesthetic.

Caroline said she was proud to have placed Ambleside on the canine map:

“I’m from Brighton and we’ve been coming here for a long time to holiday.

“I had gotten involved and learned dog training, and when this business went up for sale during lockdown it was a no-brainer – we’ve lifted the sticks and moved, and it’s wonderful here.

“It’s been a pet store since 2007 under the name Paws by the Lake, but it needed a boost, so I came up with lots of new ideas, and finally the store is fully ready.

VICTORIAN: the lower section, with the original 19th century floor

“I’ve bought a lot of new stock, like premium accessories, gifts and treats, and I think I’m the only person in Cumbria selling some premium dog foods like Orijen and Eden.

“It’s now more than just a pet store – I also offer things like stroller rentals for older dogs, I do coats and harnesses because some harnesses can be like the krypton factor!

“I’m about to become a qualified dog trainer and trained in first aid – basically helping dogs with human issues!

“Obviously we’re a top tourist destination, so we sell a lot of pet-related items like dog beds, bowls, popcorn.

“I’m very passionate about product knowledge – I can tell customers which leashes will be best for their dogs and give individual advice on how to train your own dog.”

The Westmorland Gazette: GIFTS: An example of the dog toys on sale in the shopGIFTS: An example of the dog toys on sale in the shop

Caroline said she wanted to showcase the legacy of such a historic building and craft a unique product line:

“The building has been around since 1874, and the whole exterior has been painted, and we’ve brought the floors back to the original 120 year old Victorian, so it’s a really attractive store over 2 floors.

“In the shop itself I have a lot of old pictures from when it was the County Bell Hotel in the 1930s and the Rayrigg Post Office so I also added the story of Waterhead in the shop.

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