Top things to do with your dog in Cornwall

Booking your dog friendly holiday cottage in St Ives is the first step to a pawfect holiday..!

Look at that photo and what do you see? An extremely happy dog! Our dogs come with us everywhere and we love luxury so all the dog friendly cottages in St Ives, Hayle and near Zennor on the Orange Roofs’ portfolio are all to the high standard where we would book to stay too! Check out our dog friendly holiday cottage collection here.

So, what are the top things to do and places to visit with your dog in Cornwall? Read on for some great ideas on places to eat, drink and play with your dog whilst on holiday.

So many places in Cornwall welcome dogs with open arms, a friendly pat, a dog treat or two and a dog bowl of fresh water. Whether it’s exotic gardens with impressive stately homes, long stretches of sandy beaches, family attractions, iconic landmarks or restaurants and cafes, we have listed below some wonderfully dog friendly places to add to your holiday agenda when staying in St Ives or nearby with your dog.

Dog walks on beaches

Who doesn't love a dog friendly beach all year round in Cornwall? Below are our dogs' favourites whatever time of year it is.

Porthkidney Sands – Lelant

Over 4 kilometres of white sand to play on plus, when the tide is out, the depth of the beach is almost a kilometre to the shoreline. This means that whether your dog is super friendly and immaculately behaved or has some reactive issues to other dogs or people, this beach offers oodles of space for everyone! There is parking on Dynamite Quay (no need to stash coins, the machine there accepts cards) and there are dog poo bins on the path also. If you want to try and park without paying, there are limited spaces available at St Uny Church where you will find the footpath leads through West Cornwall Golf Course, under the railway bridge and onto the beach. Depending on the tide, you can either walk around the headland to the huge expanse of sand or along the South West coastal path where you drop down through the Towans (sand dunes) onto the beach. Either way, it offers great excitement and promise of joy to your dogs! Watch the video below to get an idea of just how much beach you get to have fun on…

 

Long Rock Beach – Marazion

The iconic St Michael’s Mount is framed in your sights when walking from the Penzance end of the beach towards Marazion. It’s a spectacular sight plus the dog friendly part of the beach is 2.5km long so plenty of space to walk. This beach offers up other goodies such as sea glass, pebble and shell collecting. There is a flat and well laid path that is above the beach for anyone who prefers walking on a path rather than sand. On windy days you can watch the magnificent kite surfers and their acrobatics while drinking a coffee from The Hoxton Special (they also offer water sport tuition too so something for everyone!). It’s also a favourite beach for horse riders to have some fun in the sea or a cheeky gallop!

Pedn Vounder Beach – Porthcurno

Our little corner of the Caribbean right here in West Cornwall! It’s a spectacularly beautiful beach with the most turquoise of sea and soft white sand. It’s a bit of a scramble down a path towards rocks onto the beach but it is absolutely worth the slight trek to get there. You can park up at Logan’s Rock or Porthcurno and have a 20 minute walk to reach the beach along the South West coast path. The sea views are overwhelmingly breathtaking and it is truly a sight to behold. Being off the beaten track, there is something else you ought to know… it’s also a nudist beach!

Porthcurno Beach

Loe Bar Beach – Porthleven

Porthleven is a working fishing harbour on the south coast of Cornwall between Penzance and Helston. The beach is long and pebbly and the dog friendly part of the beach starts about 700 metres away from the Pier and is accessed via fairly steep steps down onto the beach. Once on the beach, walk east for as far as the eye can see! It’s best to time your dog walk on this beach with the tide fully out as the sea shelves off steeply and so, if your dog is adventurous, it’s best to keep an eye on them and their swimming antics. Another reason to time it with the low tide or approaching low tide is because there are some rocks to walk over to continue your walk to reach Loe Bar itself and these are only exposed when the sea is further out.

Loe Bar beach is at the end of the pebbly beach from Porthleven and you arrive at a fresh water lake which is so still and peaceful most often in contrast to the energetic sea opposite. To make the walk even more interesting (and a longer day!), you can head up off the beach onto the National Trust footpath inland towards Penrose Estate and enjoy a woodland path walk to The Stables where coffee, cake, sandwiches and cold drinks are served 7 days a week.

Watergate Bay – St Mawgan

This is one of our favourite North coast beaches for dog walks as it is 2.5km of sandy beach with a fresh water feed from a stream nearby and dramatic rock cliffs framing it. It’s the sort of beach you walk up one end and then to the other and before you know it a couple of hours have passed by as you stop, play, marvel at the views and rest. There are dog poo bins on the approach to the beach and there is a very dog friendly cafe right on the beach offering not only food with a sea view but delicious locally sourced and cooked food too!

Prussia Cove – Rosudgeon

Less of a ‘let’s walk miles and miles’ beach but more of a let’s have a gentle walk down to the cove and spend time exploring rock pools with our dogs, sitting and looking out to sea and swimming safely with our beloved canines. The cove is sheltered and is a perfect place to take time out, reflect and stay away from the crowds who may be on Perranuthnoe beach to the west or Praa Sands beach to the east.  There is a small car park which can get full during school holidays so we tend to visit towards the end of a summer’s day for a last dip, a cool drink and watch the sun slowly disappear behind the headland.

Portheras Cove – Morvah

On the far west of Cornwall, you will find a rugged beauty that cannot be found anywhere else in the UK. The bright yellow, fragrant gorse bushes contrast against the iridescent pinks and violets of heather as well as the stupendous back drop of the deep blue sea which reaches the shoreline as cobalt blue or turquoise. It’s simply breathtaking. There is a special and fairly hidden cove called Portheras Cove which promises white sand, rock pooling, fresh water for doggy refreshment and amazing opportunities to spot wildlife. Our dogs love it here as there is a 10 minute walk from the parking area at Chypraze down a path via a small farm yard, over a wooden bridge then down some (fairly) steep steps onto the beach. We have spotted Choughs here before as well as many a curious seal bobbing around in the sheltered cove.

Please do get in touch with us by email on [email protected] if you would like more information on any of our favourite beaches, we will be more than happy to share how to get them and why our dogs love them so much!

Cornish attractions who love dogs

Lots of families come on holiday to St Ives in Cornwall with their beloved family pet (perhaps lovingly known as the 3rd child?!), which means it's so important to know where you can all enjoy a family day out in Cornwall with the dog. Read our list of attractions below that will entertain all and provide plenty of smiles...and wags!

Healeys Cyder Farm

They mix apples and imagination to make delicious drinks! A family run business in the heart of Cornwall who fully appreciate why a dog should join families on farm tours. Take a vintage tractor ride (yes, with your dog aboard), experience their cyder mastery methods, have a VIP cyder experience, meet the beautiful furry farm animals and say hi to them up close, have a Cornish cream tea or eat at the restaurant (again your dog is welcome) and (or) head straight to the cyder sampling part of Healey’s!

There are two small exclusions to dogs being welcome all areas… dogs are not permitted in the production halls or in the jam kitchen for hygiene purposes (seems fair!). This means you may need to take turns to have a good wander around these areas, whilst someone stays behind with your dog.

Lost Gardens of Heligan

Our dogs LOVE the Lost Gardens of Heligan! They have to stay on the lead but the walks are simply wonderful (and full of amazing scents!). You can choose the distance and the amount of time you would like to walk but, wherever you choose, you will be blown away by the skill and beauty of these historical gardens. There is a gift shop full of local produce from face creams, candles to gin and the restaurant serves delicious locally sourced meat and vegetables for breakfast and lunch until late afternoon. The gardens are so set up for dogs that their map of the gardens pin points where the doggy poo bins are. For the farm animal fanatics, visit the rare breeds from an Exmoor pony sharing a field with a giant Shire horse to cheeky (and talkative) pygmy goats!

Eden Project

The Eden Project was first created 20 years ago in a disused china clay pit in Cornwall which was transformed into a living theatre of plants and people. Today they support projects locally, nationally and internationally around topics relating to our love and preservation of planet Earth. It’s dog friendly in the outdoor gardens (with your dog being on a lead) which is a kaleidoscope of colour and species of plants across 20 acres so allow up to 2 hours of mooching and marvelling at their wizardry and expertise with plants. There is plenty more to see and do at Eden Project so you can take turns to go and take a look around the Biomes perhaps while you dog waits patiently in the dog friendly covered dining area. For the brave, and adventurous, book yourselves some fun at Hangloose Adventure where your dog is most welcome to also watch as you take it in turns to fly!

Pendennis Castle 

King Henry VIII built this mighty fortress on Pendennis Point in Falmouth to defend the country from invasion. It also played an incredibly important role throughout both World Wars so is steeped in evocative history dating back to the Tudor times. Our two dogs enjoyed their walk around the moat and the grounds as well as within the castle itself, they needed to be on leads at all times but the walk and the sea views from the castle and grounds are breathtaking!

St Mawes Castle

Another English Heritage castle like Pendennis Castle, St Mawes Castle is one of the best preserved Henry VIII’s castle in the UK. It was also built to defend the country from Catholic French and Spanish invasions. Dogs are most welcome around the fort and castle itself as well as the gift shop. The fort is shaped like a clover leaf and was originally surrounded by octagonal defences. The views from the castle are gorgeous and the walks around the fort offer far reaching views across to Falmouth (where you will see Pendennis Castle).

Cornish Seal Sanctuary

I mean, who could resist those gorgeous seal faces that look like merle coloured Labradors looking up at you? The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is a charity who’s mission is to rescue and provide expert care to the sick seals rescued along Cornwall’s shores with the aim to release them back into the wild as soon as they are fit and strong enough. For those seals where this is no longer an option, the sanctuary provides just that and offers them a permanent home and haven along with other marine life (like penguins!) in need of help. The sanctuary is very dog friendly and the only area where they are not allowed is within the hospital and inside the cafe but there is a covered dining area to be able to enjoy the same menu. There are doggy treats, water bowls and even bio-degradable poop bags on offer as well as your four-legged friend can join you for a ride on their Land Train!

Retallack Aqua Park

Okay, so you won’t be able to take your dogs in the water with you to tackle the Wipeout style aqua park hilarities or on the inflatable floating volleyball court or while you have a turn on the Flow ride (Cornwall’s only surf simulator) but there is a man made beach with cafe and picnic benches where a member of your group can sit, warm and dry, with your dog to watch the craziness and giggles unfold! A great family day out where your dog is welcome to join you rather than be left at home alone.

Cornwall exotic gardens

Here in Cornwall we have a mild climate that exotic plants favour. We are exceptionally lucky to have many dog friendly gardens who welcome families and their beloved pooches to walk around and enjoy the grounds as well as the cafes offering delicious, locally sourced food and delightful gift shops. Please do check the websites as some gardens close over winter!

Trebah

We love these gardens as they are so meticulously maintained with a huge variety of exotic plants of all shapes, colours and fragrances. Follow 4 miles of footpath around the estate and meander down to the private beach with its own cafe where dogs are very welcome if kept on leads. There is an outdoor theatre and plenty of dedicated space for the younger members of your family, as well as four-legged friends, Trebah is the perfect place to visit for both family adventures and peaceful escapism, with visitors enjoying inspiring spaces and unique events all year round.

Trewithen

Trewithen House has been in the same family since 1715 and over those hundreds of years the gardens and grounds have been extensively loved and nurtured. Trewithen has nearly 30 acres of woodland gardens and about 200 acres of surrounding parkland so with circular walks and the incredible wildlife you can spot, as well as the amazing colours of the local flora and fauna, you can lose yourselves for a couple of hours in the peace and serenity of the moment. If you love the pinks and whites of impressive magnolia trees, be sure to visit during flowering season (March). The extensive woodlands and gardens offer a rich history and wonderfully varied show of beautiful tree specimens – if you are looking for gardens to visit in Cornwall, a trip to Trewithen is a must. Dogs are so welcome on leads and The Tea Shed offers delicious refreshments and enticing gifts for those wishing to replenish calories after a lovely long walk. The house is being renovated so keep an eye on their website for advance booking notifications, it’s well worth a visit.

Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens

This is one of our favourites as the views from the gardens are something from a fairy tale as you look across to St Michael’s Mount and Mounts Bay. This beautiful, sheltered valley overlooks the castle perched on the island off Marazion beach called St Michael’s Mount. The walk includes woods, a stream and super impressive sea views which all provide the perfect setting for the exotic and sub-tropical planting at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens in Cornwall. As well as the incredibly talented gardeners putting on a spectacle of landscaped gardens, there is an evolving programme of contemporary artwork with sculptures and art which harmonise with the landscape. The walk is on a well-laid path and dogs are very welcome on leads. Your dog would need to be the patient kind as there are plenty of places to stop and take in the views and the sculptures! The cafe serves the most amazing, locally sourced and cooked food where there is a covered area for dogs and they are quite often offered a treat too!

Pinetum Gardens

Open all year round, these gardens (we say gardens as there are 10 of them to enjoy!) have been lovingly created over the past four decades across a 30-acre garden. It is home to one of the largest plant collections in Cornwall with Eastern Asian influences. Set within the stunning parkland, there are 10 individually themed garden rooms boasting an array of incredibly varied plants displaying wonderful colours and fragrances. There is a Japanese garden, Arboretum, Cornish Cottage Garden, Bridge Garden and so many other joys are found in their other gardens too. Dog friendly if dogs kept on their leads with water bowls and poo bins available also. There is a cafe serving hot and cold food and drink to rest and replenish energy after visiting all their superb gardens.

And finally..

Click here to find out which restaurants and cafes in St Ives welcome your dogs with open arms, we’ve also added more dog walks to try as well as important vet contacts and a few more beaches too.

If you would like to have some guided walks around St Ives that you and your dog will love (just like ours do!), read our article here and enjoy the freshest of sea air with stupendous sea views.

Whatever the time of year you visit Cornwall with your dog, very special memories are created and these will be cherished forever. We hope you have enjoyed our guide and please don’t hesitate to contact us (dog lovers) for any advice or ideas if you are looking for a dog friendly holiday cottage in St Ives or simply to know how pet friendly St Ives is and the local area too. Our email address is [email protected] and our number is 01736 806100.