With current COVID restrictions and changes in government travel advice every other week, UK staycations are becoming increasingly popular for summer 2020. So what better time to treat yourself and your 4 legged friend to a scenic beach break in one of England’s most beautiful coastal destinations… Cornwall!
While Cornwall is generally a very dog friendly destination, like most places, you still need to keep an eye out for restrictions on where your furry friend is and isn’t allowed to go. Many of Cornwall’s beaches are completely dog friendly, however, some do implement a seasonal dog ban during peak hours. Similarly, many attractions will allow a well behaved dog on a lead, except for inside certain buildings for safety reasons. Then, of course, there’s finding a dog friendly hotel or rental home where you and your pooch can relax together at the end of a busy day.
So to make your Cornwall holiday hassle-free from the outset, I’ve put together this ultimate guide to the best things to do in Cornwall with dogs, including the top dog friendly beaches, great dog friendly walks, dog friendly attractions and activities, and some of my favourite dog friendly accommodation…
Dog friendly beaches in Cornwall
For the pups who enjoy a sunny day at the beach as much as their humans do…
The Seven Bays, North Cornwall
The Seven Bays are a series of beautiful bays and sandy beaches linked by coastal paths on the north coast of Cornwall. They are centred around the small village of St Merryn, in between the bigger towns of Newquay to the west and Padstow to the east.
The bays consist of Porthcothan Bay, Treyarnon Bay, Constantine Bay, Booby’s Bay, Mother Ivey’s Bay, Harlyn and Trevone Bay, with the first six of the seven bays allowing dogs all year round. Only Trevone Bay has a dog ban throughout July and August between the hours of 10am-6pm.
Bedruthan Steps Beach, North Cornwall
Bedruthan Steps is an absolute must-visit in Cornwall, with dramatic views out to the large granite stacks which have fallen into the sea. According to legend, the steps were named after the giant Bedruthan who would use the stacks as stepping stones to make his way across the bay.
On the subject of steps, to get down to dog friendly Bedruthen Steps Beach you’ll also need to climb a narrow staircase down the cliff face. While the steps are safe enough, you will want to be extra careful climbing up and down with small children and dogs.
2020 update: The steps down to Beduthen Beach are currently closed due to a cliff fall. Keep up to date here to find out when the beach is accessible again. You can still view the steps from the top of the cliff for the meantime.
Bamaluz Beach, St Ives
While most of St Ive’s beautiful beaches unfortunately have dog bans from 10am and 6pm during the summer months (May-Sept), this little sandy cove right next to the town centre is the only beach in St Ives which is dog friendly all year round.
My one main piece of advice for Bamaluz Beach is that it is quite small and very popular with dog owners, so if your pooch isn’t great around other dogs and you want to let them off the lead for a run-around, you might want to find somewhere a little more spacious!
Gwenver Beach, West Cornwall
Gwenver is one of the best dog friendly beaches you’ll find in West Cornwall, an area less known for its beaches than the North of the county.
Much like Bedruthen Steps, the large sandy beach requires a short 10 minute walk down to reach, however the steps here are less steep than Bedruthen and is more of a gradual winding route down the cliff face.
At low tide you can walk round to the beautiful Sennen Cove to the west, but you won’t be able to bring your 4 legged friends as the dog ban is in force at Sennen.
Dog friendly walks in Cornwall
Because what pup doesn’t love a walkies…
The Seven Bays, North Cornwall
Even if you’re not interested in spending your trip sunbathing on the beach with your pup, North Cornwalls Seven Bays is also a great area for walkers.
There are plenty of different routes you can take between the bays depending on how far you want to go and how easy you want the walk to be. Once nice walk for those who don’t want to do the whole route is a round trip between Porthcothan Bay, Treyarnon Bay and Constantine Bay. All three have car parks to park up and start your walk from.
A walk down the Seven Bays is one of the best days out in Cornwall with dogs with a lot of energy and is sure to wear them out for the evening.
Cape Cornwall, West Cornwall
Cape Cornwall is a small headland owned by the National Trust and is one of only two capes in Britain.
There are plenty of great walks to do with your pooch around the cape where you can take in views of the Atlantic ocean, plus visit landmarks such as the iconic chimney stack and Brisons Rocks.
The Lizard Peninsula, South Cornwall
Another of the best dog friendly days out Cornwall has to offer is a trip to the Lizard Peninsula, the most south-westerly point on the British mainland.
You can visit Lizard Point and dog friendly Polpeor Cafe, take in the areas dramatic cliffs and turquoise waters on the Lizard Coastal Walk, and end the day with a visit to the gorgeous Kynance Cove which becomes dog friendly after 6pm.
Dog friendly attractions in Cornwall
Other than the beaches and scenic walks, there are plenty of other dog friendly places to visit in Cornwall…
Minack Theatre, West Cornwall
The Minack Theatre is an impressive open-air theatre carved into a granite cliff face and is one of Cornwall’s most famous attractions. Due to its unusual positioning, the 750 seater theatre has amazing panoramic views overlooking the ocean and Porthcurno Bay.
While the theatre looks like something you’d find in ancient Greece, it was actually built less than 100 years ago almost entirely by hand by an extraordinary woman named Rowena Cade, who owned Minack House and the surrounding land, and her gardener Billy Rawlings.
The theatre still runs a full summer season of plays from Easter to September each year, although the shows themselves are not dog friendly. Luckily, if you’d still like to visit the unique theatre, dogs are allowed in during day time visiting hours from 9.30 until 5pm (except during ticketed matinee performances on Tuesdays and Thursdays).
COVID-19 update: The Minack is not currently showing any performances, however, it is still open for visitors as long as you book your time slot in advance.
Lands End, West Cornwall
Land’s End is another of Cornwall’s most well-known attractions dues to being the most westerly point of mainland England and one end of the ‘end to end journey’ across the UK with John O’Groats in Scotland on the other.
Sitting on the edge of the Penwith peninsula, Land’s End is currently a headland and holiday complex. It’s free to visit, except for a £7 fee to park your car for the day.
Whilst you won’t be able to go inside the shops and attractions (the end to end exhibition, 4D film experience etc – you’re not missing too much) with your dogs, there are still plenty of dog friendly things to do at Land’s End, such as taking a photo with the iconic Land’s End signpost, taking a walk up the scenic headland, grabbing a Cornish pasty at one of the food kiosks and enjoying a drink in the beer garden at the First & Last Inn.
COVID-19 update: Land’s End is back open except for the indoor attractions (which aren’t dog friendly anyway!). If you can, book your car parking space in advance.
Tintagel Castle, North Cornwall
Tintagel Castle is a medieval fortification located on the peninsula of Tintagel and is one of the UK’s most famous historic sites because of its association with King Arthur (you’ll have to visit to find out more!).
The castle is also one of the best dog friendly attractions in Cornwall as your pet can explore all of the early-medieval ruins alongside you, as well as crossing the new bridge to take in stunning views of the surrounding coastline and climbing down onto the sandy beach below and venturing into Merlin’s Cave.
COVID-19 update: Tintagel Castle is open but you do have to book a time slot ticket in advance so numbers can be controlled. The castle is also now operating on a one-way system.
Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm, Truro
Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm is a traditional cider brewery offering tours and samples and, despite being centred around alcohol, is a great day out for the whole family including children and pets.
As well as their well known Healey’s and Rattlers Cyders, the brewery also produces a range of wines, spirits, juices, preserves and sauces which you can learn about on a tour and taste for yourself. At the farm, you can also take a tractor ride through the orchard, visit the friendly farm animals and stop for a cream tea.
Plus, dogs on a lead can are welcome on the farm and can even join for tractor rides, tours and the rest.
COVID-19 update: The farm is now open but tickets need to be purchased in advance.
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, South Cornwall
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is a charity working to care for sick, injured, or distressed seals and other marine animals, including otters, southern sea lions and even a colony of Humboldt penguins. One of the sanctuaries main jobs is rehabilitating grey seal pups from local coastal waters and treating injuries at their specialist Seal Hospital before releasing them back into the wild. Visitors are welcome to visit the animals and get a behind the scenes look at the amazing work being done.
The Seal Sanctuary is also one of the most dog friendly attractions Cornwall has to offer, with dogs allowed everywhere other than the Seal Hospital, 42 acres of land to explore, water bowls and disposable doggy bags available throughout and even a selection of doggy treats to buy in the gift shop.
COVID-19 update: The Seal Sanctuary is open but tickets and time slots must be booked in advance.
Other dog friendly activities in Cornwall
Boating in St Ives
One of the more unique dog friendly things to do in Cornwall is to head out into St Ives harbour on a boat with your furry friend.
St Ives Boat Rides offers a range of watersport activities, including boat tours, rib rides and kayak and paddleboard hire, as well as self-drive motorboats on which your dog can join you. They even have doggy life jackets for those overly enthusiastic pups who might be tempted to dive in.
Dog friendly accommodation in Cornwall
Where to stay in Cornwall with dogs
There’s plenty of dog friendly accommodation in Cornwall. Here are a few of my favourites to start you off…
Dog friendly hotels in Cornwall
Not only is St Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa one of the largest and most elegant hotels in St Ives, but it is also in a prime location overlooking
The Londcross Hotel is perfectly located in the stunning