Are you looking for the best things to do in Cornwall with dogs? I’ve created a full guide to help you plan your trip!
Heading to Cornwall this year, but want to bring your four-legged friend?
Whether you have a Yorkshire terrier or labrador, I have good news: Cornwall is one of the most dog-friendly places in the UK.
As most of Cornwall is rural, the best activities focus on the great outdoors which are naturally dog-friendly. Because of this, a dog-loving culture has built up over time, and many outdoor and indoor attractions, restaurants and hotels have also welcomed pooches!
While you’ll need to plan a little bit more and won’t be able to do every single attraction with your dog by your side, there’s absolutely no reason that your fur baby can’t join you on your trip to the UK’s southwest!
I know Cornwall like the back of my hand – my family comes from the area and I live just over the border in Devon, so I visit at least once a month. So I know exactly what the best things to do in Cornwall with a dog are – which I’m going to cover, in full detail, in this post!
Along with a fair few canine-friendly attractions, there are plenty of dog-friendly places to stay in Cornwall, including hotels, cottages, and campsites.
Many of these accommodations even offer special amenities for pets, such as dog beds, bowls, and treats – I’ve recommended some at the end of this post!
Best things to do in Cornwall with dogs: top attractions
You’ll be glad to know that some of the best things to do in Cornwall with dogs include top attractions like the Lost Gardens of Heligan, the Eden Project, Pendennis Castle and the Minack Theatre!
Here are my favourite things to do in Cornwall with dogs, including any restrictions that you may have when visiting with a canine friend.
The Eden Project
A world-famous attraction featuring two giant biomes, one that houses tropical plants in an indoor rainforest and one which boasts Mediterranean plants, the Eden Project is a must-visit if you’re close to St Austell.
The biomes are unfortunately not dog-friendly, so I’d only recommend visiting with a pooch if you’re in a group, so you can split up and half explore the outside gardens and half look at the indoor biomes.
Dogs on a lead are welcome in the outdoor gardens, and there are water bowls available throughout the site in case they get thirsty!
The Minack Theatre
One of Cornwall’s most epic attractions, the Minack is a large outdoor theatre, sitting on the cliffs above Porthcurno beach, offering stunning views of the sea.
It was created by Rowena Cade in the 1930s; she more or less dug the entire theatre out by hand! Nowadays, it stands as a mesmerising, unique attraction which is open for tours throughout the summer months.
Dogs are welcome to join you in the theatre, but they must be kept on a lead.
The Minack Theatre also hosts plays throughout the summer season, but unfortunately dogs aren’t permitted at these! (Except guide dogs).
Cornish Seal Sanctuary
If you’re interested in marine life, head down to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary!
This rescue centre is home to a variety of seals and other marine animals that have been found in the waters around Cornwall and elsewhere in England, and travel to the sanctuary for treatment and rehabilitation.
They release any seals that become well enough to live in the outside world; if they don’t, they are offered a permanent home at the sanctuary.
It’s a registered charity, and by visiting and paying an entry fee, you’re helping to fund their work.
Friendly dogs on leads are welcome!
Located in the East Cornwall town of Launceston, Launceston Castle originates back to the late 11th century and features a circular Norman keep and a 13th-century round tower.
The castle played a significant role in the English Civil War – it was a base for Cornish royalist defence – and was later used as a prison, where it imprisoned George Fox who founded the Quakers.
Dogs are welcome at Launceston Castle but must be kept on a lead. The surrounding town is extremely historic (it used to be the county town of Cornwall) and is worth strolling around after – check out the best things to see here.
Due to Launceston’s position close to the A30, it’s an ideal place to stop when driving to or from Cornwall.
One of my favourite castles in Cornwall, Pendennis was constructed by Henry VIII near Falmouth (although it pre-dates the coastal town) to fortify the Fal Estuary against prospective foreign invasion.
There’s a lot to see at Pendennis Castle – I wrote a full blog post about it here – as it was used during both World Wars and has history spanning back to the Civil War.
It’s a fully dog-friendly site, they’re allowed everywhere outdoors (on a lead) and most places indoors. There is also dog-friendly seating in the cafe.
Don’t forget to check out Falmouth’s other top attractions while you’re here too!
St. Mawes Castle
Once you’ve explored Falmouth, hop on the St. Mawes Ferry (dogs travel for free!) to its sister village, St. Mawes.
With epic views over the estuary, St. Mawes Castle was built for the same purpose as Pendennis: to defend Cornwall.
It’s a lot smaller than its counterpart in Falmouth, but there are some interesting stone carvings with Latin inscriptions inside, and the view from the gardens is phenomenal.
Dogs on leads are welcome!
Home of King Arthur, Tintagel Castle broods on the cliffs of the North Cornwall coastline.
The ancient castle was once the seat of Cornish kings; and while its connections to King Arthur have been disputed, there’s no denying that the historic attraction – plus its surreal setting – is one of the best things to do in Cornwall.
Dogs on leads are welcome, but there are lots of steps, steep cliffs and nesting birds, so they must be kept on a lead.
When you’ve finished at the castle, check out the pretty village of Tintagel too!
Delve into what makes Cornwall unique at Heartlands, a free attraction close to Camborne.
Featuring the Cornwall Mining Museum, where you can learn about the industry that Cornwall developed around in the 16th – 19th centuries, the Cornish diaspora gardens where you can learn about Cornish migration after the mines closed and even a Cornish language bookshop, there’s plenty to uncover here.
Dogs are permitted in most areas at Heartlands – but do double-check signage for particular attractions before entering.
Dogs are welcome on leads throughout the site – there are even three office dogs who may be around to keep them company!
The museum focuses on Cornwall’s military history, with fascinating artefacts and exhibitions, including military uniform, weapons and even a small piece of the Berlin Wall.
While Bodmin Keep is dog-friendly, please be aware that Bodmin Jail is not – the sensory exhibitions would probably be a bit too overwhelming for your pooch!
A creaky historic inn sitting in the midst of the foreboding Bodmin Moor… Jamaica Inn has notorious smuggling connections but was made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name.
It also features a museum dedicated to smuggling.
Dogs are welcome in the pub and museum, and there are even some dog-friendly hotel rooms.
Geevor Tin Mine
If you want to learn more about mining history in Cornwall – and how significant it was to Cornish culture and economy throughout the centuries.
Geevor Tin Mine is a vast museum all about mining in Cornwall and also boasts an underground mine and sweeping sea views.
Dogs on leads are permitted everywhere apart from the underground mine.
Chysauster Ancient Village
This Iron Age village features the remains of several stone houses and is surrounded by stunning countryside.
It’s one of the smaller English Heritage attractions in Cornwall, but it’s a fascinating window into Cornwall’s pre-historic past.
Dogs are welcome on leads.
Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm
Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm celebrates one of Cornwall’s favourite tipples – Rattler’s Cyder!
Here, you can learn all about the cider-making process, with its history, tastings and of course, a cafe where you can purchase pints of Rattlers (you can even pour your own!).
Well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome everywhere apart from the production halls or jam kitchen. There are also some friendly farm animals here, so do be mindful while you’re exploring with your pooch!
Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park
If you’re looking for dog-friendly attractions on a sunny day, head to Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park.
Dogs are very welcome in the estate, although it states that they must be “controlled” – they can be let off a lead if they’re well-behaved and you’re sure that they’ll come back.
In the landscaped gardens, they must be kept on a lead.
The house is a country home dating to around 1550; it was created by Richard Edgcumbe who owned the land and deer park. The house is open for visitors, but unfortunately, dogs aren’t permitted.
This family-friendly attraction comprises of a few miniature railways and attractions like a boating lake, woodland walks and a crazy golf course.
The attraction welcomes dogs on leads (even on the Lappa Valley Steam Railway carriages!), and there’s a large field close to the attraction where they can be let off their lead.
There is a small charge of £1 per dog.
St Nectan’s Glen
The mystical St Nectan’s Glen is home to St Nectan’s Kieve, of the most beautiful waterfalls in Cornwall.
A plume of water descending through trees, this site has been renowned as one of the most magical places in Cornwall time and time again!
Dogs are welcome on-site, provided they’re kept on a lead and are well-behaved – it’s a peaceful place, spiritual for some, so it’s recommended to only take your dog if you know that they won’t cause a disruption with lots of barking!
One of Cornwall’s most iconic landmarks, Land’s End is an epic place to visit with your dog!
Dogs are welcome on leads, and there are plenty of nearby coastal walks to explore.
At the attraction itself, enjoy stunning views of the coast, visit the gift shop and café or take a selfie (try to get the dog in!) at the famous Land’s End signpost.
Charlestown Shipwreck Treasure Museum
Uncover the history of shipwrecks and treasures that they contain by visiting the Charlestown Shipwreck Treasure Museum.
Dogs are welcome on leads, and there are water bowls for them at regular intervals.
Once you’ve finished, take a walk around Charlestown Harbour, which is home to plenty of dog-friendly outdoor restaurants and things to see!
National Lobster Hatchery
Situated in Padstow, the National Lobster Hatchery is one of the best dog-friendly indoor attractions in Cornwall!
The National Lobster Hatchery is a small museum where you can learn about the life cycle of lobsters and see them up close, with plenty of informative displays and exhibits.
It’s only a small attraction, but dogs are welcome on leads. Once you’ve finished, check out the rest of Padstow’s attractions!
Spreading over 26 acres of ground, Wheal Martyn is a China clay mining museum and exhibit.
Dogs are welcome on the trails which span the China clay mining area, where you can visualise how the industry works and its history. There are also some excellent woodland walking trails in the compound!
Pencarrow House and Gardens
A Georgian mansion located in Bodmin, Pencarrow House gardens are open to the public, with outdoor areas being dog-friendly.
Visitors can explore the house’s elegant artwork-filled rooms, although dogs aren’t permitted in the house itself – so to see the inside, you’ll need to visit in a group and take turns seeing the house.
Dogs are permitted anywhere in the gardens both on and off-lead; although they must be kept on a lead in front of the house and around the cafe.
The cafe is dog-friendly, with water bowls, and you can even purchase some doggie ice cream for your furry friend – perfect on a hot summer’s day!
Bodmin and Wenford Railway
A heritage railway running through the beautiful Cornish countryside, the Bodmin and Wenford line is a must-visit for all train fanatics or anyone who wants to experience some of Cornwall’s most beautiful views!
Dogs are welcome in the carriages provided they’re kept on leads. The only exclusion is that they’re not permitted in the restaurant car.
Best Dog-Friendly Beaches
Cornwall’s stunning beaches are legendary, and there are plenty that welcome dogs all year round.
Some of the most popular year-round dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall include Holywell Bay, Lantic Bay, Porthkidney Sands and Sandymouth.
- Holywell Bay Beach: Situated near Newquay, Holywell Bay has rolling waves and mesmerising cliffs, along with a mysterious cave to explore (it’s one of my favourite hidden gems in Cornwall!).
- Porthkidney Sands: One of the quietest beaches around St. Ives, this is the beach to visit if you’re keen to avoid the crowds – and dogs are permitted all year round. The only restriction is that your pooch must be on a lead on the footpath from St Uny Church.
- Lantic Bay: This South Cornwall Beach is one of the county’s best hidden gems. It’s a bit of a trek to reach, the fact that it’s not directly close to any towns means that it’s usually quiet, even in the summer.
- Sandymouth: Situated near Bude (close to the Sandymouth Holiday Park, a pet-friendly caravan park!), Sandymouth is a stunning spot for a sandy walk.
Best dog-friendly gardens
You could never tire of Cornwall’s beaches, but if you fancy a little variety, the region offers a myraid of beautiful gardens that are perfect for exploring with your furry friend.
Here are some of the best dog-friendly gardens and nature walks in Cornwall:
Trebah Gardens sprawls over 26 acres and boasts a stunning coastal backdrop, featuring exotic plants, waterfalls, and a private beach.It’s a year-round dog-friendly attraction, with doggie tables in the cafe and complimentary poop bags!
Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens
Situated near Penzance, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens is an outdoor art gallery boasting a variety of contemporary sculptures and offering stunning views of St Micheal’s Mount.
Dogs on leads are welcome throughout the gardens and in the outdoor seating area.
Lost Gardens of Heligan
Go back in time in the Lost Gardens of Heligan, a 200-acre estate which were “lost” after WW1 and only “discovered” again in 1990 – hence the name!
They used to be part of the grand Heligan estate, which interestingly is somewhere I’ve traced my family history back to!
Dogs are welcome throughout the gardens – and there’s a lot to explore, including a jungle garden and a Victorian productive garden.
They must be kept on leads, as there are live poultry in the gardens.
Best dog-friendly walks in Cornwall
There’s nowhere quite like Cornwall for hiking, and many of the best walks in Cornwall are dog-friendly!
South West Coast Path walks
The South West Coast Path spans over the entirety of Cornwall’s coastline. There’s a walk for every type of dog here – some trek the entire path with their owners, while others stick to the easier routes! Here are some of my favourites:
- Looe to Polperro: A fairly easy (for SWCP standards) walk in South Cornwall, this trek connects the tourist town of Looe with the picturesque fishing village of Polperro.
- Boscastle to Tintagel: Offering some of the best vistas and most beautiful views in Cornwall, this walk is a little up and down, but it’s not too long, making it manageable for energetic dogs.
- St Ives to Zennor: This walk is challenging, but younger dogs will relish the adventure and freedom!
- Sennen Cove to Land’s End: This short walk is doable for most dogs – although there’s a bit of up and down so older dogs may struggle. I always recommend this walk to people visiting Land’s End, as not only is it beautiful, but you can park your car in Sennen Cove for much cheaper than at Land’s End itself!
There’s a variety of walking trails on Bodmin Moor, including hiking up Brown Willy (Cornwall’s highest point), Rough Tor and Golitha Falls.
Most walks, unless mentioned otherwise, are dog-friendly.
The Camel Estuary runs from North Cornwall coastal path (by Polzeath) and down towards Rock (opposite Padstow) and ultimately to Wadebridge.
Part of the Cornwall AONB, the estuary is a geological ria. This means that it was a valley which was permanently flooded by rising sea levels after the ice age.
A prime spot for birdwatching, its flat terrain makes it popular with cyclists, but you can also walk (or run) with your dog along the trail. It’s largely flat, which makes it suitable for most dogs.
The Tamar Valley descends from Launceston all the way to Plymouth, marking the border between Devon and Cornwall.
It provides a multitude of lush riverside walking trails which are never too busy, ideal if you want to get off the beaten track.
I love the trail between Gunnislake and Calstock, which is connected by a regional train – so you can walk one way and take the bus back.
Places to Stay in Cornwall with dogs
If you’re planning a trip to Cornwall with your furry friend, it’s important to find the right accommodation.
Fortunately, there are plenty of dog-friendly options available, from hotels and B&Bs to campsites and holiday cottages.
Hotels and B&Bs
Many hotels and B&Bs in Cornwall welcome dogs, but it’s always best to check in advance. Some popular dog-friendly options include:
The Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth
Treat yourself and your dog to a luxurious beachside escape at The Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth, near Newquay on the north coast of Cornwall.
This eco-friendly hotel boasts beautifully designed dog-friendly rooms, ideal for a relaxing getaway by the sea.
The hotel dog-friendly hotel encompasses a range of facilities and services to ensure that your stay is unforgettable, including dog beds, food bowls and doggie towels.
Jamaica Inn, Bodmin Moor
Jamaica Inn is located in the heart of Bodmin Moor, a stunning yet broody landscape that offers plenty of opportunities for long walks with your furry friend.
The inn itself is a historic building – it was once a smuggling inn, although now it has cosy and welcoming atmosphere.
Dog-friendly rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay.
The Gurnard’s Head in Zennor
Escape to The Gurnard’s Head in Zennor, Cornwall with your furry friend for a picturesque getaway on the rugged Cornish coast – the pub’s located right on the epic cliffs by Zennor head.
This charming inn offers a warm atmosphere, with comfy sofas and friendly staff, that will make you and your dog feel right at home.
Cozy up in comfortable rooms equipped with all the necessary amenities for a relaxing stay, including high-end mattresses and well-appointed bathrooms.
Dogs are welcome in bedrooms – the only ask is that they don’t sleep in your bed!
In the summertime, campsites in Cornwall thrive. Most campsites will permit dogs, but double-check before booking.
You’ll find campsites in most towns and by lots of beaches – I use Pitch Up to find tent sites and Booking.com to look for self-contained caravan sites.
Are you ready for a doggie trip to Cornwall?
Get ready for an adventure-packed trip with your furry friend in Cornwall – the ultimate destination for dog owners!
From exploring the great outdoors on beautiful walks to relaxing on our dog-friendly beaches, Cornwall has it all.
You can even visit top attractions like the Eden Project, Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm, and the Minack Theatre with your pup.
Remember to clean up after your pet and follow any restrictions at specific attractions or beaches, and you’ll have a blast exploring Cornwall’s stunning natural scenery, rich history, and dog-friendly activities!