In my experience, Cornwall is extremely dog friendly and you should have no problem taking your dog out and about with you. Of course, please always keep your dog controlled on a lead (and be wary of others – not everyone likes dogs), always pick up after your dog and bring water/food with you, especially for long days/journeys.
Also, if going into shops/pubs, don’t just assume they will allow the dog in, please double check with staff first just in case (generally supermarkets etc will not allow a dog in but cafes/gift shops are more likely to).
P.S. The below post is based on one trip, but as my boyfriend’s family are from the area, we will likely be returning regularly (once things return to normality), in which case I will be updating this with more information/recommendations on places to go.
Last year, in what turned out to be one of the most gloriously warm periods of summer, we went down to Devon/Cornwall with my dog Bonnie to explore Falmouth, St Ives and the surrounding areas.
We’d been down to Devon with her before (see this post) and I’d always been taken aback by how amazingly dog friendly everywhere was – water bowls outside almost every shop, dog biscuits in pubs/cafes and no issue with taking them on public transport (including trains/boats too). My dog loves being out and about; she’ll happily lay by the table in a pub or under your seat on the train, as long as she’s near you she’s content – a great dog to take on trips (though of course I would think that!)
We drove down there in the first week of July, just before the school holidays started and it was absolutely delightful (it’s much easier to appreciate a place when there are less screaming children, for sure). After one night at Fred’s mum’s house in Exeter, we drove down to Falmouth where Fred went to University.
We stayed at Apartment 2, Market Strand (link here), which is a lovely, affordable and dog friendly apartment in the centre of town – we did have to pay a deposit for having a dog but this was refunded once the stay was over (my dog has never been one to chew/make a mess so I’ve never been worried about bringing her to places – if you are worried about this, maybe think carefully about whether taking your dog is the best option).
After a few days there, we went to St Ives for the night – it’s much more expensive there than Falmouth so we couldn’t afford more than one night there. Especially in July! We stayed slightly outside the town centre at The Garrack which in all honesty, I wouldn’t hugely recommend – it’s good in terms of affordability and was fine for us for one night but if we were there for any longer, I would rather have spent a bit more money and stayed somewhere a bit nicer.
RESTAURANTS & PUBS
This is a beautiful bar/restaurant sitting right on the beach in Falmouth, with vegetarian and vegan options, plus plenty of alcoholic beverages. Plus of course, dogs are very welcome (though of course they aren’t allowed to drink the alcohol).
We spent a good few hours there (and drank a good few glasses of wine) – it’s a lovely place to wile away the hours, looking out at the view.
Located in the town centre, we stumbled upon the Meat Counter when wandering around the gorgeous streets of Falmouth and loved it. They do a great selection of meat, meat free and vegan burgers, plus some fantastic local craft beers.
We personally had a real treat, in that we found out after we had eaten that the restaurant is actually ran by my boyfriend’s old Uni friend, who came out from the kitchen and had a chat with us!
Located right on the harbour, this is a personal favourite out of one of the (many) pubs my boyfriend loved to frequent when he was a student here, so for me personally it was a fun place to visit and reimagine his student days. My dog liked it because there was a lot of outside space, including benches for her to curl up under and some interesting sounds/sights from the water that she isn’t used to!
With great views of the harbour and an even better menu, it’s a great place to stop. There are a few locations of Hubbox, so you may have heard of it before (the Exeter location is also fab).
I was a bit surprised they allowed dogs in all honesty as it’s quite a busy restaurant but very happy that they did. They tucked us into a corner, which my dog loved as she could sniff out everything happen without worrying about being trod on (she has a long bushy tail that sometimes gets caught up) and the staff were super friendly, giving her lots of attention which she absolutely lapped up.
A beautiful little cafe on one of St Ives’ many pretty streets – serving a great selection of food all day long; with locally sourced produce and a bit of a twist from the owners. We stopped in here before a day of walking and I’m so happy we did – a good breakfast can make a day and on this day in particular we had an accidental 3 hour (intended to be 45 minute) walk, so our stomachs were pretty happy with us.
As I’m not from a particularly beachy background (I grew up in a landlocked county of England), I’d never really thought about whether dogs were welcome on beaches in the UK. To be honest, I just assumed they always were. Turns out, they’re generally not allowed at most beaches during the summer months/at certain times.
Yes, some beaches are dog friendly all year round, you just need to check online first. The below are beaches that we stopped by with Bonnie:
Dogs are only allowed on this beach outside of the hours of 8am and 7pm from April-September, so if you did fancy a wander with your dog here during these times then be wary of the restrictions. Luckily we were up and about early for a day of adventure, so happened to get onto the beach in time.
It’s a great place to go for a walk but personally I wouldn’t eat on the beach – the seagulls will happily grab any food out of your hands (my dog did bark at one and scared them off when they tried to steal my boyfriend’s Cornish Pasty but I’d guess that most aren’t afraid of dogs, as they’re huge!)
This one feels like a hidden secret – it’s a bit out of the way, so you would need a car to get here and a head for heights, as it involves climbing down a bit of a steep cliffside in order to get down onto. We carried my dog part of the way down as we were scared she would slip off the side but some of the larger dogs practically ran down it.
Once down there though, its one of the most incredible beaches (in the UK and abroad), I have ever set eyes on and an experience I won’t forget – especially because my dog actually learned to swim here! She’s always been terrified of the water but once we walked out into the (very shallow) water, she actually followed us and paddled a bit, which was so lovely for me to see. Ok, she hasn’t attempted swimming since but still, I’m glad to know she could swim if she needed to!
One other thing… It’s an unofficial nudist beach. We kept out clothes on ourselves but be prepared to see a lot of other people live freely, shall we say.
If you don’t have a dog/don’t fancy what I’ve just mentioned but still want a similar experience, Porthcurno beach is right next door (by the Minack Theatre) and its a lot easier to access but equally as stunning.
If you continue on from Gylly beach heading away from Falmouth town centre, there are some beautiful walks along the coastal path. You can make it as short or as long as you like from there, dependent on how you’re feeling! Just make sure that you bring bags to pick up after your dog, and keep your dog on a lead.
These walks are outside of Cornwall itself but lovely ones nonetheless:
Yes it’s thought of as one of the most haunted places on Dartmoor… But that aside, it’s a great long walk taking you through the woods and up, for a scenic view of the moor.
From Lustleigh, we walked through the woods, up to Hound Tor and then stopped by ‘The Cleave’ pub on our return journey! It’s a fairly long and steep walk but the dogs absolutely loved it (my legs the next day, on the other hand, had some regrets).
Do you have any recommendations to add to the list? I’d love to hear them!