With its dramatic coastline, misty moors and warm climes, Cornwall is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate on holiday with your beloved pet. Immerse yourself in Cornwall's rich history, its charming fishing harbours, stunning beaches and diverse landscapes. Enjoy slowing your pace and take in the magic on foot with some of the UK’s best walks with awe-inspiring views, abundant flora, fauna and wildlife.
There’s no reason to leave your dog at home when you holiday in Cornwall. Complement your stay in one of our pet-friendly holiday homes, luxury cottages, lodges or caravans with a multitude of dog friendly activities in Cornwall. We’ve sniffed out just a small selection of our favourites, discovered when travelling around this diverse region with our own dog, Max.
Cornwall is renowned for its breath-taking scenery, wildlife and walking. Explore hidden coves, wildflower meadows and soak up the stunning views. There are hundreds of walks to choose from all over Cornwall, with the beautiful coastal path being a real favourite. Tehidy Country Park in Cambourne is home to 9 miles of mapped walks and 250 acres of woodland where you can let your dog run free. There is a wonderful 4-mile circular walk from Tehidy to Deadman’s Cove. Afterwards choose a spot for a family picnic or relax with a cream tea in the cafe. Idless Woods near Truro is another popular dog-walking area with large mixed woodland with streams and an abundance of wildlife. To inspire and motivate the kids you could also try Treasure Trails with over 60 self-guided walks around Cornwall within the fun themes of Spy Mission, Murder Mystery or Treasure Hunt.
There are many un-spoilt coves and beaches that are open to dogs off season and year round. With over 130 open to dogs year round, there’s plenty of dog-friendly beaches for dogs who love swimming or surfing in the sea. Our recommended holiday resort, Par Sands Holiday Park, is situated right next to Par beach, the only beach which is dog friendly all year round.
Gardens & Country Estates
The iconic Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey, welcome well-behaved owners and their dogs. There are miles of pathways to discover. Another fabulous garden to consider is the stunning Elizabethan Pencarrow House and Gardens near Bodmin where dogs can explore the grounds, fruit gardens and woods off the lead. It is geared up for dogs, with designated shady areas, water bowls and even a dog treat in the gift shop!
Be mesmerised by the mystery and magic of its culture and folklore as you explore the prehistoric remains, Bronze Age standing stones and ancient castles. It’s worth going out of your way to visit Tintagel Castle. It combines the coastal path, rich history and the mythology and magic of King Arthur and Merlin which has inspired writers and artists alike. Pendennis Castle in Falmouth is an impressive Henry VIII coastal fortress, well-known for its summer jousting tournament. Dogs are welcome to explore around the grounds and inside the buildings.
Visiting the Eden Project is the iconic Cornish attraction and your four-legged friend is welcome inside the site and can use the miles of paths that wind through the Outdoor Gardens. They are not allowed inside the Biomes so you may have to take it in turns to visit the ‘Journey into Space’ themed areas in 2017.
The Seal Santuary at Gweek is really dog friendly and is the only seal rescue centre in Cornwall. Some sick, injured and orphaned seals that have been washed up on local beaches live here all the time, others are returned to the wild when they have recovered. It’s a great day out for children and fans of animal conservation. Dogs must be kept on a lead.
If your dog likes to run and you fancy a gentle cycle, then the Camel Trail has 18 miles of largely traffic-free, flat, surfaced paths, ideal for beginners or more experienced cyclists. The routes run from Padstow to Wadebridge (5.5 miles), Wadebridge – Bodmin and Boscarne (5.75 miles) and Bodmin to Wenfordbridge (6.25 miles). One of the best places to start your journey is the Snail Pace Café and Bike Hire, near Wenfordbridge. It is a unique and inspiring place – a mix of ecology, permaculture, community development and good food. They have an excellent range of bikes for hire.
Pubs, Cafes and Restaurants
Great food is in abundance with award-winning local producers and new and exciting restaurants and gastro pubs popping up all the time. There is a real variety of superb dog friendly eateries in Cornwall using fresh, local produce. Just a few of our favourites are:
The Gunnards Inn - welcoming and worth the hike from St Ives.
Falmouth Bay Seafood Café – come for the Seafood buffet and Jazz on the first Sunday of the month.
The Mill House Inn near Trebarwith Sands – enjoy friendly service and tasty food.
The Jamaica Inn - Cornwall’s most famous Smugglers Inn on Bodmin with a character-filled bar and an award-winning restaurant.
Café Mylor - at the Mylor Yacht Harbour between Falmouth and Truro is a great venue to people-watch over brunch, lunch or a cream tea.
St Petrocs Bistro - in Padstow is a fabulous place for fine dining where head chef, Nick Evans recreates Rick Stein’s favourite menus.
Milos Italian Bistro - at Par Sands Holiday Park serves a tasty selection of family Italian favourites
The Elephant Brasserie - at the Cornwall Hotel Woodland Lodge Resort serves exquisite food in a Victorian manor with a distinctly English feel.
Culture lovers will appreciate the buzzing art scene, local events and outdoor theatre. Poldark fans can get under the skin of the Winston Graham’s novels about Cornwall’s mining heritage and the great fortunes and struggles of people living in late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Follow a map and visit film locations or download the app for Poldark-inspired walks.
The Minnack Theatre is our favourite place in Cornwall. Arrive early with a picnic hamper and a bottle of wine and soak up the atmosphere, the far-reaching ocean views and passing basking sharks. Performances run year round and dogs are welcome in the cut-out amphitheatre from October – March.
You'll find a lovely variety of pet-friendly accommodation in Cornwall to suit every style and budget, so the whole family can have a wonderful holiday.
Laura Ross is a freelance writer