As a native Londoner who loves the busy city lifestyle and being surrounded by other people, I’m certainly a hard-core metropolitan girl, however even I can admit that every now and again it’s nice to escape to the countryside for a bit of fresh air and peace and quiet.
That’s why each year I make sure to head down to the beautiful area of South Devon and Dartmoor with my family and our border collie Toby for a few days of long nature walks, quaint little country towns and traditional British pubs.
Devon is a pretty easy place to find dog friendly walks, activities, restaurants and accommodation, but to help you out when planning your next trip with your four-legged pal, here are my top recommendations for dog friendly days out in Devon…
Dog Friendly Nature Walks in Devon:
Parke National Trust Site
Parke National Trust site is located on the edge of Dartmoor National Park and close to the small market town of Bovey Tracey. The estate and it’s 239 acres were once home to a wealthy local family. Today the estate’s mansion known as Parke House is headquarters of the Dartmoor National Park Authority so is not open to the public, however, guests and their dogs can still access the beautiful surrounding gardens and woodland.
The Parke National Trust Site has a fruit and vegetable garden, an orchard with 150 apple and damson trees and a medieval weir, as well as a maze of paths through the surrounding woodland, parkland and along the bank of the River Bovey for guests to explore by foot or bike.
Keep an eye out for the abundance of wildlife when wandering around Parke, including cattle, sheep, weasels and a variety of bird species.
Park at Parke: Parke Car Park, near Bovey Tracey, Devon, TQ13 9JQ | £2 per day, National Trust members park free.
Dog Friendly Restaurant at Parke: Home Farm Café
After a few hours of wandering around the various walking routes and exploring the natural beauty of Parke National Trust site, stop for a bite to eat at the award-winning and dog friendly Home Farm Café. Serving a daytime menu of brunch, lunch or afternoon tea, this award-winning cafe uses local seasonal produce to cook up a delicious selection of pastries, baguettes, salads, cakes and more. As well as having a large outdoor seating area, your doggy pals are welcome inside a special section of the cafe during the day.
Haytor, or Haytor rocks, is a granite rock formation sitting on top of a hill on the Eastern edge of Dartmoor National Park. At a height of 457 metres (1,499 ft), Haytor’s spectacular views over the moorland and towns below have made it one of the most popular attractions in Dartmoor National Park.
The Haytor rocks are easily walkable from the car park and the Haytor Dartmoor Visitor Centre below, where there is a shop, toilets and a small refreshment stand for visitors to pick up a coffee or ice-cream for the walk depending on the time of year.
Although clambering around the Haytor rocks themselves isn’t particularly dog friendly, there is plenty of green space surrounding the formation for your four-legged friend to explore too.
Make sure to wander down to nearby Haytor Granite Quarry (about ¼ mile north of the rocks), a picturesque disused quarry which is now partially flooded and a great dog friendly swimming spot.
The area surrounding Haytor is also a great place to spot some majestic Dartmoor ponies, one of the horse breeds that have lived on Dartmoor for several centuries. The Dartmoor ponies are used to the presence of both humans and dogs, so as long you keep your dog on a lead you’ll be able to get up close to admire the ponies.
Park at Haytor: Haytor National Park Information Centre Car Park, TQ13 9XS (better for walking) or Haytor Car Park, TQ13 9XT (better for ponies) | Pay and Display on Monday to Sunday 10.00am to 6.00pm – £1 for up to 3 hours, £2 for over 3 hours.
Hound Tor Dartmoor
Hound Tor is another granite rock formation within Dartmoor National Park, located close to the similar structure of Haytor. Hound Tor gets its name from its shape as many believe that the rocks on the top of the tor have been weathered to resemble the heads of dogs, making it a must on any list of dog friendly days out in Devon.
Bring your own hound and take a walk up to Hound Tor where there’s plenty of beautiful scenery and stunning views across Dartmoor. You can also wander over to the nearby Hound Tor Deserted Medieval Village, where the remains of a settlement of 13th century stone longhouses can still be explored today.
Dogs are welcome to roam around Hound Tor and it’s surroundings freely, whilst at the Medieval Village dogs are allowed but must be kept on a lead.
Park at Hound Tor: Swallerton Gate Car Park, TQ13 9XG | Free Parking.
Castle Drogo and Teign Gorge
Castle Drogo is a National Trust property located within Dartmoor National Park, originally owned by wealthy businessman Mr Julius Drewe. The property was constructed between 1911 and 1930, making it the last castle to be built in England and the first building constructed in the twentieth century acquired by the National Trust.
Unfortunately dogs are not allowed inside of the castle itself, but not to worry as there’s plenty to do in the castle’s 100 acres of land to make a visit to Castle Drogo a dog friendly day out.
With your dog on a lead, head out to the castle grounds where you can explore the beautiful orchard, rhododendron garden and Mr Drewe’s path (the original owner of the castle).
Below the castle is the dramatic Teign Gorge, a self-labelled ‘dog walking haven’. Dropping down into the Teign River, Teign Gorge is a gorgeous sanctuary of nature and wildlife. With scenic paths stretching down either side of the river, the gorge is a safe and fun spot for both you and your four-legged friend (off the lead) to take a long walk and maybe even a dip in the river itself.
Park at Castle Drogo: Castle Drogo Car Park, Drewsteignton, EX6 6PB| £2 for up to 2 hours, £4 all day, National Trust members free.
Dog Friendly Restaurant near Castle Drogo and Teign Gorge: Fingle Bridge Inn
Sitting on the bank of the Teign River, at the opposite end of the Teign Gorge to Castle Drogo, is the Fingle Bridge Inn, a quaint country pub with a riverside beer garden. The pub’s location at the end of the Teign Gorge makes it particularly popular with dog walkers. The kitchen serves hot lunch and evening meals, Devonshire cream teas, as well as a popular Sunday Carvery.
Address: Fingle Bridge Inn, Drewsteignton, Exeter, EX6 6PW
Becky Falls is a woodland park situated inside Dartmoor National Park. The dog friendly park is centred around the waterfall known as (you guessed it) Becky Falls, surrounded by 50 acres of stunning woodlands. There are several different paths you can take around the park, some of which are flatter and easier to walk and others of which involve plenty of clambering around the rocks and waterfalls, making it a great spot for both those wanting a leisurely walk or something a little more adventurous.
Tip: Remember to bring some sturdy shoes if you’re going to take on the harder routes and climb around the rocks and falls. The harder routes are still dog friendly (but maybe best for bigger dogs only).
Becky Falls is also a great option for children, with its own animal collection and zoo featuring animals such as snakes, lizards, chinchillas, chipmunks, rodents, rabbits and goats. The zoo does regular animal encounters and animal feedings so children can get up close and personal with the animals.
Admission Prices: Adult £8.25, Child (4-15) £7.25, Senior/Student £7.25.
Park at Becky Falls: Becky Falls, Manaton, Newton Abbot, TQ13 9UG.
Dog Friendly Towns in Devon:
Bovey Tracy is a town and civil parish located on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, giving it the nickname “The Gateway to the Moor”. The small market town is built from cob and granite and is a pretty place to use as a base for exploring South Devon and Dartmoor. Or if you’re staying elsewhere, Bovey Tracey is also a lovely and dog friendly town to take a wander around and explore the local shops, churches and cafes.
Bovey Tracey is also home to some of South Devon’s more unique attractions, including The House of Marbles and The Jolly Roger (both of which you can read more about in the section below).
Dog Friendly Restaurant in Bovey Tracey: The Cromwell Arms
The Cromwell Arms is a Country Inn and restaurant in the centre of the town of Bovey Tracey, making the most of its ideal setting with beautiful views over Dartmoor. The restaurant serves a selection of light bites and sandwiches for a small lunchtime break as well as burgers, steaks and pub favourites such as hunters chicken and scampi.
Dogs are welcome in both The Cromwell Arms Inn (find out more below) and restaurant.
Address: The Cromwell Arms, Fore Street, Bovey Tracey, TQ13 9AE.
Widecombe-in-the-Moor is a small village surrounding a central green, with several gift shops, two pubs (the Old Inn and the Rugglestone) and a weekly Craft Market on Thursdays.
One of the big draws of Widecombe is the unusually large (for a village of its size) gothic-style St Pancras Church, also known as ‘The Cathedral of the Moor’ due to it’s tall tower being visible from much of the surrounding moorlands.
Dog Friendly Restaurant in Widecombe-in-the-Moor: The Cafe On The Green
The Cafe on the Green is a cosy family-run cafe in Widecombe-in-the-Moor, with a lovely large garden and outdoor dog-friendly seating area overlooking the town’s central green. The cafe is open every day between 10:00 and 16:30, serving brunch, a lunch menu of baguettes, salads, jacket potatoes and burgers, and home-made Devonshire cream teas and cakes. There is also an ice-cream stall in the garden serving delicious local ice-cream.
Address: The Cafe on the Green, Widecombe in the Moor, Dartmoor National Park, TQ13 7TA.
Chagford is another market town on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, close to the River Teign and Castle Drogo. Chagford is a town with a very long history, with archaeological remains hinting that a community has lived on the site for at least 4000 years. Chagford became a market town in the 13th century and has remained an important part of Dartmoor’s cultural scene ever since.
Although Chagford is a relatively small town, there are several dog-friendly shops, pubs and restaurants to explore with your pup.
Dog Friendly Restaurant in Chagford: The Three Crowns
The Three Crowns is a beautiful, thatched 5-star inn in Chagford with an onsite restaurant serving a selection of dishes prepared using local ingredients. The menu includes pub classics such as fish and chips, bangers and mash, steak, burgers and salads, as well as an evening menu of specials such as lamb rump, salmon fillet and duck breast.
For the cheese lovers among you, The Three Crowns even has a specific ‘Cheese Menu’ which offers custom cheese boards featuring the likes of smoked cheddar, Cornish brie and goats cheese.
Dogs are welcomed in the inn (find out more below), bar, snug and external dining areas of the Three Crowns Chagford.
Fun fact: The Three Crowns is rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of the cavalier poet Sidney Godolphin who was shot and killed on the hotel’s porch during the English Civil War.
Dog Friendly Attractions in Devon:
House of Marbles
The House of Marbles is a working glass and games factory, shop and restaurant set inside a historic pottery in Newton Abbot.
The House of Marbles is a unique attraction where you can watch expert glassmaking right in front of your eyes, as well as admiring an impressive collection of large and bespoke interactive marble runs.
The House of Marbles shop sells a selection of cool games and gifts, while the restaurant serves different menus for breakfast, lunch and a delicious afternoon tea.
Dogs are allowed inside of the factory, shop and parts of the restaurant at the House of Marbles. There’s even a doggy water station outside the front of the shop.
Visit the House of Marbles: House of Marbles and Teign Valley Glass, The Old Pottery, Bovey Tracey, Devon, TQ13 9DS | Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm, Sunday 10am to 5pm.
Jolly Roger 3D Models
The Jolly Roger House of Models is a warehouse in Bovey Tracey full of life-sized 3D models, advertising figures and replica props, ranging from giant dinosaurs to cartoon film characters and lifelike celebrities. The Jolly Roger supplies these models to companies such as theme parks, nightclubs and attractions all over the UK. Their impressive showroom is also open to the public for free so that anyone can come and peruse the collection of amazing life-sized models. Plus your four-legged friend is welcome inside the showroom too!
Visit The Jolly Roger: The Jolly Roger, The Mill, St John’s Ln, Bovey Tracey TQ13 9FF | Open from 9am to 4pm on weekdays.
Babbacombe Model Village
Babbacombe Model Village has been named one of Europe’s Premier Model Villages, with over 400 model buildings and features, 13,000 miniature people and beautiful award-winning gardens. The village portrays English life and culture over the last 6 decades and includes many different architectural styles and iconic landmarks such as a miniature stone henge and The Shard in London. There are also many somewhat more elaborate and unique models, including a fire-breathing dragon, a working model railway, a world of movie miniatures and a ‘Little East Enders’ soap set.
Dogs on a lead are welcome to explore the model village alongside you, so get ready for some fun shots of your pet towering over the miniature scenes.
Admission prices: Adult £11.95, Child (3 to 14 yrs) £9.95, Senior (over 65s) £10.95.
Visit Babbacombe Model Village: Hampton Avenue, Babbacombe, Torquay, Devon, TQ1 3LA.
Babbacombe Beach is a dog-friendly beach on the Devon coastline, sat beneath the district of Babbacombe.
The best way to access the beach is via Babbacombe Cliff Railway, a funicular railway which links Babbacombe Downs with Oddicombe Beach. Oddicombe Beach is a popular beach with a cafe, huts, deck chair hire and water sports hire, but unfortunately dogs are not allowed on this stretch of the coastline.
However, dog friendly Babbacombe Beach is just a 5 minute walk along the coast where your four-legged friend can run around on the beach and swim in the ocean to their heart’s content. One of the best dog friendly days out in Devon during the hotter summer months!
Take the Babbacombe Beach Railway: Open everyday 9am to 6pm | Adult return £2.80, Child return £2.00.
Visit Babbacombe Beach: Babbacombe Cliff Railway, Babbacombe Downs Rd, Torquay, TQ1 3LS.
Dog Friendly Cottages and Hotels in Devon:
A large self-catering dog friendly holiday home which sleeps up to 10 people (across 4 bedrooms) with a heated indoor swimming pool, games room with table tennis and snooker table and private garden.
This has been our base during our last three trips to Devon and I couldn’t recommend it any more highly! The owners are lovely and will help you with anything you need during your stay, the large garden and outdoor seating are great during the summer, and the indoor pool is ideal for chilled out evenings after a long day of walking the moors.
A homely 17th century inn in Bovey Tracey, with 14 traditionally furnished rooms and a dining room serving home-cooked food. A cheap and cheerful centrally located base for those wanting to explore the Dartmoor area.
13th Century inn with 5-star pet-friendly accommodation in the heart of Chagford. The Three Crowns has cosy and stylish boutique-style rooms, a lounge and bar with traditional beamed ceilings and a log fireplace, and a menu of tasty locally sourced dishes.
5-star luxury hotel in North Bovey, with large dog friendly rooms and beautiful views over the castle’s gardens and Dartmoor countryside from its location high on the valley’s edge. With a swimming pool, spa, tennis court, golf course, games room and two on-site restaurants, Bovey Castle is perfect for those wanting to spend a little more time enjoying their hotel. But don’t be overwhelmed by its grand appearance and list of awards as Bovey Castle has been described as ‘the least prestigious luxury hotel’ in Devon, with muddy boots and paws welcome to come and go as they please.
If camping is your thing, there are plenty of dog-friendly campsites around Devon where you can pitch up your tent and really enjoy the area’s natural beauty along with your pooch.