Coming to the South West with a four-legged family member on board? If you've planned your next holiday with your favourite hound in tow, you'll need to make sure that you plan ahead to find the best dog-friendly places to visit. There's no need to worry about whether Fido will be able to join you on days out or for meals, as all over the county, there are lots of fantastic things to do with your dog - with impressive coastal walks on Atlantic-facing beaches, rural countryside ambles, historic and fun days out and a whole heap of places to grab a bite to eat.
Cornwall makes it easy to bring your hound along for the ride, so stay with us while we show you all the best things to do and some fabulous places to stay while you're doing them.
'What do dogs do on their day off? Can’t lie around – that’s their job!' – George Carlin
Skip to a section to find out what you could get up to with your pup:
🏖️ Find the best beaches
🚶♀️ Walk on the wild side
🎡 Have fun days out
🏛️ Discover some history
🍔 Grab a bite to eat
🏡 Stay somewhere lovely
CHECK OUT THESE 5 FABULOUS BEACHES
Cornwall has over 200 dog-friendly beaches along its coastline, from the huge Atlantic-facing blankets of sand on the north coast - a surfer's dream - to the pretty stretches of sand in the south, nestled between traditional pretty fishing villages and gorgeous countryside. While many get busy in the summer and some have restrictions, you will always find wide expanses of sand to take Fido for a paddle.
It could be argued that the best time to go is out of season, when the unspoilt beauty of rugged cliffs, pretty coves and sweeping bays set the scene for the perfect bracing winter walk.
One of the most famous surfing beaches in the country, the spectacular sands of Fistral are also a dog-walker's paradise. This west-facing beach set between Pentire Point and Towan Headland can get crowded during the summer but during the winter, it is likely to be just you and a huddle of surfers looking to catch the next big wave. Do be careful of dangerous rip tides if you have a water-loving dog with you and head up to the coastal path instead if the weather is stormy.
One with a historic edge, the name of Gwynver is actually derived from Gwynevere of Arthurian legend. Set under huge grassy cliffs just 3 miles from Land's End and its famous Landmark attraction, this sandy suntrap beach is an excellent choice for those who like to get away from the crowds and enjoy a spot of alone time. It's not that easy to get to so won't be busy - but it's definitely worth the effort if you've got a dog who prefers to run solo.
A spectacular stretch of golden sands just a few miles out of Newquay and a 5-mile walk from Perranporth at the top of the St Agnes Heritage Coast, this National Trust beach welcomes salty sea dogs all year round. The views out across the turquoise seas are phenomenal and the walking, especially in a bracing wind, is a dog walker's dream.
Explore the grotto-like Holywell Cave and look out for the wreck of an old Argentinian ship that can be seen at low tide. When it's time to refuel, head up to one of the dog-friendly pubs above the beach for a welcome bowl of water and a few dog biccies.
This gorgeous National Trust beach on the Hartland Cornwall Heritage Coast is not only one for the pups, but also the small two-legged members of the family. Just a couple of miles north of Bude, this sandy tranquil stretch of sand is the perfect place for a game of frisbee and a spot of doggy paddle in the shallows - there's also some excellent scenic walking on the coastal path on the cliffs above. It is a steep walk down to the beach, so if you've got an older dog or one with joint problems, this should probably not be your first choice.
One for the south coast visitors, the mile-long sand and pebble beach of Marazion is known for its breathtaking views out to the romantic St Michael's Mount. Walk across the causeway at low tide or hop aboard a boat when the tide is in. If you don't fancy crossing over to the castle, you can walk along the bay for about 2 miles and drink in the gorgeous views instead - you won't be disappointed. The beach does get rocky as you near the town end, so take care with tides.
We also like these excellent dog-friendly beaches:
- Watergate Bay
Discover the top sandy spots with our guide to Cornwall's best dog-friendly beaches below:
DISCOVER 5 WALKIES WITH A DIFFERENCE
We know from experience that if we show our dogs their lead, it doesn't matter where we take them - they'll be happy. However, on holiday - it's always nice to discover interesting new places where you can uncover some of the local history as you go. Stately homes and historic houses, fabulous gardens, wild and romantic moorland...there are so many places to discover across this beautiful county.
If you are looking for a walk with beautiful views set against an impossibly romantic backdrop, head to the delightful National Trust gardens of Trelissick. Take your dogs on the circular 2-mile walk or if you've got active pups with you, they may well enjoy the longer 5-mile hike. Check out the maps in the car park to plot your route - they are marked so relatively easy to manage.
Pop into the gallery to view the local arts and crafts on display (this is at the gallery's discretion so we would advise no muddy hounds!) and finish with a warming hot chocolate at the café, which welcomes dogs on its sheltered outside courtyard.
The whole of the Lizard Peninsula is excellent dog-walking country, with fabulous cliff-top coastal paths and spectacular sea views. It takes in some fascinating landscape and historic sites - from Mullion in the west to Coverack in the east - as well as a handful of tiny fishing harbours with strings of colourful fishing boats dotted about.
The most popular place to visit on the peninsula is perhaps the most southerly point in mainland Britain: Lizard Point with its famous lighthouse - it also has a great dog-friendly café to refuel! Don't leave without buying a souvenir of the famous dark green serpentine stone.
Pups with romance on their minds should grab their leads and get their humans down to this exquisite Grade I-listed stately home. While not allowed in the house itself, the gardens and grounds make excellent walking and meeting territory for dogs on leads, and on Wednesday afternoons, they can run free in the park and meet new pals.
Pop into the Long Gallery Tea Room afterwards for afternoon tea, where four legs can hoover up some crumbs and perhaps be treated to their very own biscuit.
Over 50 acres of parkland, lakes and woodland are yours for the taking when you take the hounds for a walk at Pencarrow House and Gardens. Stroll around the formal gardens and view some of the historic monuments such as the Celtic Cross and the Iron Age hill fort in this doggy paradise, just 5 miles from Bodmin Moor.
Children are also catered for, with a children's play area and there is a café and a gift shop for when you need to rest your paws. Dogs are welcome in the small room in the café and in the outside seating area - you can even buy them a doggy ice cream with their pawket money to cool them down!
Though visitors with four legs aren't allowed into the biomes themselves, they are allowed in the grounds and visitor centre. One of Cornwall's, and indeed the UK's most popular attractions, we suggest taking it in turns to explore the amazing tropical plants in the biomes so as not to miss out - you can walk the dogs around the gardens in turns. There are miles of outdoor paths that four legs will love (the site was voted the best dog-walking destination in the world in 2018!) and also an undercover dining area where they are welcome too.
We also like these 5 wonderful walkies:
HAVE FUN WITH THE FAMILY AT THESE TOP 5 ATTRACTIONS
When paws are tired and you are looking for something to do that won't require too much effort, come to one of Cornwall's varied attractions to see the county from a different perspective. Hop aboard a vintage steam locomotive, uncover some excellent art or even visit some of the area's most famous fishy residents. Just know that wherever you go, Rover will be just as welcome as you are!
While some dogs are happy to walk anywhere you put them, others prefer to do something a little different on their holiday - as do the rest of their family! If this sounds like your dog, hop aboard the Lappa Valley Steam Railway to see the sights of Cornwall from the comfort of a vintage locomotive. If you want to hop off, there are some lovely nature walks to explore and dogs are also welcome in the café upon your return.
View some wonderful Cornish art in these two galleries, which showcase both national and international contemporary art across their twin sites. Dogs haven't always been allowed (in case your arty canines haven't been welcomed before) but they are now, so you will be able to pay a visit to these fabulous galleries on your next trip! Bear in mind that dogs may not be allowed into the main gallery spaces for certain exhibitions so it's always a good idea to check before you go.
There's nothing better than an attraction which is great for all the family, including the four-legged members. Enjoy the indoor activities if the weather isn't great - try the build your own bear workshop - or if it's sunny, stay outside and have a go on the crazy golf course and other activities. Stroll along the paths set in 18 acres of beautiful countryside and treat yourself to a picnic filled with local Cornish produce: if the weather doesn't play ball, pop instead into the dog-friendly restaurant for a chunk of squidgy cake and pot of tea.
Discover some fascinating Cornish mining history at the Wheal Martyn museum. At the UK's only China Clay museum, you can discover the area's rich heritage via the interactive displays in the visitor centre and then wander with your dog around over 26 acres of prime country park. Watch a modern China Clay pit at work and let children work off some steam in the play area and adventure trail afterwards.
Believe it or not, this sanctuary - home to some of our favourite marine residents welcomes furry friends too, as long as they are on a lead and well-behaved. Also known as the Gweek Seal Sanctuary (named after the village it is set in), you have ample opportunity to see the seals and their friends, even at feeding time.
Children can take part in the quiz trail and find out all about the work of the sanctuary and why it plays such an important part in rescuing seals and pups from danger, as well as learning how seals are released back into the ocean when they are well enough.
We love these five brilliant dog-friendly attractions too:
- Healey's Cornish Cyder Farm, nr Truro
- Land's End Landmark Attraction, nr Penzance
- Cornwall's Regimental Museum, Bodmin
- Crocadon Markets, St Mellion
- Mylor Yacht Harbour, Nr Falmouth
DISCOVER SOME HISTORY WITH THESE 5 TOP LANDMARKS
If your hound is partial to a spectacular view mixed in with a bit of Cornish history, then you won't want to miss these famous landmarks dotted all along the Cornwall coast and across its spectacular landscape. Learn about Arthurian legend at the birthplace of King Arthur, visit ancient Iron Age villages and discover the mighty fortresses built by Henry VIII, all with your favourite hound at foot.
Steeped in history and legend, this medieval fortification - the alleged birthplace of King Arthur - offers one of the most scenic historic sites across all of Cornwall. Set high on rugged cliffs overlooking the dramatic Atlantic sea, you can explore the ruins and also visit the nearby Merlin's Cave. Dogs must be kept on leads as there are lots of steps, cliff edges and nesting birds. Four legs are also welcome in the bright and airy Beach Café afterwards or why not bring a lovely picnic to enjoy on the grassy areas - there's no better view!
The historic town of Launceston is home to the castle of the same name, set on a large natural mound which dominates the local landscape. Built soon after the Norman Conquest, it is known for its unusual keep which consists of a 13th-century round tower built by the Earl of Cornwall, inside another earlier circular shell-keep. Managed by English Heritage, the castle welcomes dogs on leads and it's great for children who will love the views from the top of the tower.
Travel back almost 2,000 years in time to this Romano-British settlement to see how village life would have been during that time. Explore the ruins of the stone-walled 'courtyard houses' which were unique to this part of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and see how these thatched rooms set around an open central courtyard would have lined the 'village street'. Also hunt out the enigmatic 'fogou' underground passage, which may have been used as a ritual building or hiding space. Set on a hillside, the views are wonderful and the walking excellent.
Visit one of Henry VIII's most impressive artillery fortresses, built on a headland near Falmouth to defend the south coast against military invasion. It has been protecting the coastline from attack since Tudor times, including playing a pivotal role during both World Wars. It is famously one of the last royalist strongholds to fall during the English Civil War - watch the Tudor gun deck in action and take part in the interactive exhibition where you can relive an enemy attack on a WWII observation post. Bring your on-lead dog with you to join in the fun.
Twinned with the aforementioned Pendennis Castle on the opposite side of the Fal Estuary, St Mawes is one of the best-preserved of Henry VIII's coastal artillery fortresses and possibly the most elaborately decorated. Also used to guard against attack from Catholic France and Spain alongside Pendennis Castle, it played a vital role in England's defence strategy. Bring dogs on leads to stroll around the beautiful grounds which stretch down to the Fal Estuary.
We also love these five historic sites:
- Restormel Castle, Lostwithiel
- St Michael's Mount, Marazion
- Land's End
- Gunwalloe and the lost treasure of Dollar Cove
- Pentillie Castle and Estate, nr St Mellion
GRAB A BITE TO EAT IN OUR TOP 20 EATERIES
For some of the best Cornish seafood:
- Old Ship Hotel, Padstow, North Cornwall
- Cafe Mylor - Mylor Yacht Harbour, West Cornwall
- The Old Coastguard, Mousehole, West Cornwall
- Falmouth Bay Seafood Café - Truro, North Cornwall
- Molesworth Arms, Wadebridge, North Cornwall
For mouthwatering cakes and lovely lunches:
- Mowhay's Restaurant, Healey's Cyder Farm, North Cornwall
- The Olive Tree, Bude, North Cornwall
- The Deli, Marazion, West Cornwall
- Seaview Inn, Falmouth, West Cornwall
- Ohana Beach Café, Newquay, North Cornwall
For a traditional Cornish pub:
- Treguth Inn, Newquay, North Cornwall
- Star Inn, Hayle, West Cornwall
- Queen's Arms, St Just, West Cornwall
- Fox and Hounds, Redruth, West Cornwall
- Logan Rock, Penzance, West Cornwall
For an evening out with the hound:
- The Harbour, Port Isaac, North Cornwall
- Hub Bar and Grill, St Ives, West Cornwall
- Jamaica Inn, Bodmin Moor, North Cornwall
- Polgooth Inn, St Austell, South Cornwall
- Rick Stein's Restaurant, Padstow, North Cornwall
REST YOUR PAWS AT OUR PET-FRIENDLY PADS
We have an amazing selection of dog-friendly cottages all over Cornwall for you to greet the morning and see out the day, hound at your side. Wake up steps from the beach, ready to head down to the sands for an early morning walk, or cosy up in a traditional fisherman's cottage in front of a warming wood burner when the nights turn cold. Check out some of our favourite paw-friendly pads all across Cornwall below.
If you want to be near to the sands:
North Cornwall: Porth Beach House, Newquay (sleep 4 and 2 dogs)
West Cornwall: Curnows, Portreath (sleeps 6 and 2 dogs)
South Cornwall: The Stables - St Martin, Looe 2mls (sleeps 8 and 2 dogs)
If you want to be as rural as can be:
North Cornwall: The Retreat At Cory Farm, Bude (sleeps 2 and 3 dogs)
West Cornwall: Tom's Cottage, Perranporth (sleeps 2 and 2 dogs)
South Cornwall: Sweet Briar, Bodmin (sleeps 2 and 2 dogs)
If you want to stay near somewhere historical:
North Cornwall: The Old Borough House, Tintagel (sleeps 8 and 2 dogs)
West Cornwall: Penhallow Farm - Mount Hawke, St Agnes (sleeps 6 and 1 dog)
South Cornwall: Cobblers Cottage, Charlestown (sleeps 2 and 1 dog)
If you're just going for the surf:
North Cornwall: The Light House, Bude (sleeps 8 and 2 dogs)
West Cornwall: Fistral Beach House, Newquay (sleeps 4 and 1 dog)
South Cornwall: Sea Valley Retreat Cottage, Looe 1.5mls (sleeps 2 and 2 dogs)
If you want to experience a typical Cornish fishing village:
North Cornwall: The Foredeck, Port Isaac 1 mile (sleeps 4 and 2 dogs)
West Cornwall: Mullion Kingfisher, Mullion Cove (sleeps 4 and 2 dogs)
South Cornwall: Fairlight House, Polruan (sleeps 2 and 2 dogs)
Discover more fabulous dog-friendly cottages in Cornwall where you and your dogs can relax after long days out with our guide below:
Whether you’re after a pad by the beach for your salty sea dog, a cosy escape in a traditional fishing village or something a little more rural, check out our full collection and start planning your escape to this spectacular county.