With almost one in four of us owning a dog, holidays in Cornwall - which is well-known for being a playground for humans and dogs alike - are increasingly canine-centric. This seriously dog-friendly county is chock-full of beaches, walks and places to eat where you can relax at the end of a fun-filled day with your furry best friend.
To help you plan a dog-friendly holiday in Cornwall with that all-important woof factor, we’ve sniffed out some of the best things to do with your dog in tow.
Walks (or walkies to our four-legged friends) are one of the best things you and your dog can enjoy together. In Cornwall, thanks to the stunning coastal paths and expansive moorlands, you can turn the mandatory daily walk into a cornerstone of the holiday. Here are just some of the types of walks you can enjoy, and read our guide to the best walks in Cornwall for more inspiration.
South West Coast Path
With over 300 miles of South West Coast Path to explore, whether you’re setting out on the north, south or west coast paths, you’ll be treated to a gallery of entirely different views. You’ll pass ancient sites that are steeped in history, rugged cliffs home to hundreds of sea birds and great sweeps of sand that are just calling out for fresh pawprints.
The Lizard peninsula is one of our favourite areas for coastal canine excursions as it’s home to some incredible sights (Kynance cove, anyone?) plus a fantastic patchwork of fields that amount to a spectacular circular walk. The best bit? Stop off for a cracking cream tea overlooking the sea at the UK’s most southerly café, Polpeor Café.
Note: Be careful when walking the coastal paths and we recommend keeping your dogs on a lead.
As much as we love sea views, sometimes it’s nice to shake things up, so we’ve picked our top 5 dog-friendly inland walks to help get you started. Bodmin Moor will always be a firm favourite for dog walkers as the rolling and scraggly moorland offers miles of space where the dogs can run free.
On the other end of the stick, you have some beautiful Cornish woodlands where both wellies and paws can enjoy getting back to nature with lots of muddy adventures!
Sometimes we fancy turning inland but we don’t want to miss out on that dose of blue therapy. Luckily, Cornwall has lots of winding rivers to give you that hit of the blue stuff without the ups and downs of the coast. Try walking from Tresillian to Malpas just outside of Truro for a gentle walk that’s great for the whole family. You can even stop off for a cheeky refresh at the Heron Inn, which looks out over the river Fal for a lovely drink with a view.
Cliffs and beaches might be Cornwall’s biggest hook when it comes to walkies, but its selection of gardens is equally enticing. Trebah Gardens enjoys a little bit of everything thanks to the tropical tangle of curated gardens that wind down to the river and a coast path full of wooded valleys, craggy outcrops and sheltered coves.
Further up the coast you’ll find the massive Pinetum Park, with over 30 acres of charming gardens to explore. Launch around the wide-open Pinetum or rein things in with a relaxed stroll around the peaceful Japanese Garden.
Overlooking Mount’s Bay, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens combine exotic and sub-tropical plants with an evolving programme of contemporary art installations so you can get even more out of your Sunday stroll. Not to mention their drool-worthy restaurant with its picture-perfect outside seating area.
All of these gardens welcome dogs on leads so pack up the gang and head out for a beautifully curated walk.
When you think of a Cornish holiday, there’s one thing you’re always going to think of first: the beach!
Whether you’re a sunbather, swimmer or surfer, Cornwall’s beaches are always beckoning, and with a great selection of dog-friendly beaches to choose from, the whole family can make the most of Cornwall’s stunning coastline.
Offering plenty of space for sandy zoomies and games of fetch, Watergate Bay is dog-friendly all year round and is one of Cornwall’s most famous sandy beaches. Caves offer interesting places to explore while the Beach Hut sits above the beach ready to welcome sandy toes and paws for a bite.
On the west coast, the rock pools and pebbly goodness of Prussia Cove provides 365 days of snufflingly good fun. This pretty cove is often frequented by seals, giving the kids and the dog a bit of wildlife spotting from the comfort of your spectacularly beautiful surroundings.
From family attractions that have something for everyone to nature centres where you can go nose-to-nose with local wildlife, there are lots of things to do in Cornwall to get the tales wagging.
Miles of pathways and hidden routes intertwine to create a veritable haven for people and dogs at Heligan. The impressive restoration takes you around a number of gardens (and one jungle) and even a Burmese rope bridge – this really isn’t your run of the mill garden tour! As you rock up, you’ll be handed a free garden map so you can find your way around the grounds while also making note of the bins for all your dog’s business needs.
Is a trip to Cornwall even complete without visiting the very end of the country? With easy access to the coastal path and one hundred acres of natural landscape onsite, it’s the perfect place to take your pup. You’ll find plenty of seabirds and you might even be lucky enough to spot a dolphin, seal or basking shark while walking the dog.
Nestled in what used to be a clay pit near St Austell, the Eden Project is all about nature, so naturally welcomes dogs in its outside gardens. While you can’t take the pup into the biomes, over 20 acres of gardens provide plenty of space for walkies and exploration with water bowls dotted throughout and an undercover dining area for a picnic with the pooch. Huge displays of plants from all over the world line the winding paths that lead you to hidden cafés and ice cream stands.
This much-loved Cornish attraction always has our dog-friendly seal of approval as it’s almost completely accessible for our four-legged friends – the only exceptions are the seal hospital and café. Stroll around the 42 acres and watch as your dog meets all manner of mammals from otters to beavers to seals – oh, and some penguins too! Pick up some local homemade dog treats from the gift shop to finish your doggy day out in style.
With tractor rides for the kids, interesting sniffs and animals to meet for the dog and cider tasting for the parents, Healey’s really does have something for everyone (and we’ll be honest, we want to do it all). Dogs are welcome everywhere at Healey’s except for the production halls and jam kitchen, so the sky’s the limit to what the pup can enjoy here. Tour the distillery and cellars, meet the friendly farm animals, and round it all off with an exceptional cream tea in the restaurant - dogs welcome!
If you thought having the dog with you was going to hinder your cultural possibilities when on holiday, you’re in for a treat! The Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange both welcome dogs so you can go and make the most of their ever-changing timetable of exhibitions every time you visit. Staying in Penzance? Walk along the promenade to soak up some of the scenery that’s inspired many artists in Cornwall.
The Camel Trail, Bodmin
One of Cornwall’s best bike rides, The Camel Trail is a beautiful stretch whether you’re on two wheels, two legs or four paws. You’ll pass serene estuary scenes as you make your way from Bodmin to Padstow where you can catch your breath overlooking the harbour at the Old Custom House. Or, if you’re heading off in the other direction, Snail’s Pace Cafe is a great dog-friendly eatery that does legendary hot chocolates! The trail is 17 miles so you can either break it down into shorter dog-friendly chunks or you can hire a bike trailer and treat your canine to the ride of their life!
Ready for something a little more dramatic? Steeped in history - and well, just steep! – Tintagel Castle is a towering example of history that’s etched into the cliffside. Cross the impressive bridge and explore the ruins that are intertwined with King Arthur and the surrounding legends. While dogs are welcome throughout Tintagel, we do recommend keeping them on a lead due to the sheer cliff edges.
Whether it’s a refreshing pint in one of Cornwall’s dog-friendly pubs after a long and windy walk or a hearty feast to refuel the troops in a canine-approved restaurant, Cornwall has some brilliant pubs and restaurants that cater to dogs and their well-behaved humans.
For a best of both worlds drink and banquet, The Gurnard’s Head near Zennor is pawfectly primed for incredible views and fresh-off-the-boat meals. You also have The Tinner’s Arms in Zennor for a relaxed drink by the fire – pooch always welcome.
If you’re looking for something with a bit of a twist, we recommend setting sail for the Pandora Inn, where you can literally arrive by boat! Situated on the peaceful Restronguet Creek, this famously dog-friendly inn serves food all day and makes for an idyllic spot for lunch.
You can find more dog-friendly places to eat in Cornwall in our guide here.
Ready to start your canine adventures? Browse our dog-friendly cottages in Cornwall and start planning.