In this post we detail the dog-friendly things to do in West Cornwall, which I’m defining as anything left of St Erth. Basically the furthest part of Cornwall from the rest of the UK. Cornwall is a favourite tourist spot for many Brits and others as it sits on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a special part of the UK with it’s own flag (black with a white cross), Celtic roots, it’s own language and a strong identity. The perfect escape with friends and your pooch.
One sunny weekend Sash, Willow, my friend and I drove from Bristol to Cornwall for a girls weekend away. Our three hour drive ended up taking five hours after some serious traffic, torrential rain and a flat tyre. You should note that any drive to Cornwall should include buffer time for traffic. Cornwall’s beautiful beaches, pretty towns and easy life attracts people from all over the country. And you should check your tyres – finding a place to fill a tyre with a slow puncture adds a lot of time!
When we, finally, arrived we headed straight to Long Rock Beach where we could all stretch our legs. Long Rock Beach is dog-friendly all year round, which is unusual as many of the beaches are only dog-friendly at certain times of the year.
Our accommodation for the weekend was a gorgeous little terraced fisherman’s cottage – Oikos Cottage. It has a funky layout, great bathroom and living area, and a tiny section at the rear for the dogs to pee. The best part is that it’s minutes walk from Newlyn pier and harbour. Newlyn has lots of great little places to eat and drink, many of which are dog-friendly.
We spent the morning on Marazion Beach. This beach is dog-friendly at all times other than between 10am and 6pm in July and August (VisitCornwall). Although there are conflicting ban dates on other websites (e.g. 8am to 7pm from May 1st to September 30th and Easter day to 1st October). We visited in May and happily explored the beach with lots of other dog-walkers.
From Marazion Beach you can see St Michael’s Mount. Unfortunately, dog’s aren’t allowed in the castle or it’s grounds and so you will have to view it from the beach. If some of your party are happy to stay and play on the beach with the dogs, I highly recommend popping over to the island (at low tide) to take a look inside. Not only is the castle iconic, it houses some really interesting historic artefacts.
The beach itself is a about a mile long and has beautiful soft sandy, rocky parts and dunes. It’s a real haven for dogs who like water (*cough* WIllow) and those who are happier sticking to the dry areas (*cough* Sash). Basically, everyone loved it.
We stopped at Mousehole for lunch. Mousehole is the cutest little fishing village with windy little streets, lovely places to eat and some great ice cream. There’s a small carpark on the left of the harbour. The beach isn’t dog-friendly, but you can happily potter around the harbour and watch the boats from one of the benches, cafes or pubs.
After lunch we headed for another beach. My friend really likes beaches. We tried to visit Porthcurno Beach, apparently it is amazing, but there was a sign saying not dogs even though we visited outside the dog ban season (1st July to 31st August according to the National Trust and this website). I was disappointed as really wanted to walk towards to the famous Minack Theatre. In fact you can take your dog to a storytelling at the Minack Theatre – it’s on the list!
A little bit further along the coast we found Porthgwarra Beach. Porthgwarra Beach has a little carpark and dog-friendly cafe with an impressive array of good for such a remote place.
From Porthgwarra we walked along the South West Coastal Path to Nanjizal Beach, following this post. The South West Coastal Path is stunning but has some really steep cliff edges and significant drops. Unless you completely trust your dog, keep them on a lead. One of ours almost chased a bird off the edge! There are safer routes that stay away from the edge, probably better for most people, but the views from further down are amazing.
Nanjizal Beach is a hidden dog-friendly treasure that is protected from tourists by it’s general inaccessibility. From the South West Coastal Path you can walk down some narrow steps and then a wooden staircase. It is not wheelchair accessible and you want a dog that you can trust to not pull you down.
Next we headed to Sennen Cove for dinner. Unfortunately, we arrived too late for anywhere to eat (9pm during COVID restrictions and outside of peak season). Instead we enjoyed Sennen Cove Beach before heading to Land’s End to watch the sunset. Between Sennen Cove and Land’s End we drove past some of the most beautiful wild ponies/horses (I’m not sure which – someone tell me!). It was a stunning sunset and a great way to end the day,
On Sunday we had planned to visit St Ives and Haldon forest on the way home but we again had torrential rain and so, after a quick walk, headed home. If we had been able to visit we would have had brunch in one of the many dog-friendly places to eat in St Ives and visited their beaches. St Ives is one of the largest coastal towns and it’s very popular – you may have to park on the outskirts and wander in. Haldon Forest, on the other hand, is an area of woodland in Devon (between Cornwall and Bristol) that is said to be one of the best places to walk your dog.
Dog-friendly things to do in West Cornwall
There are so many beautiful beaches, walks and countryside to explore with your dog in West Cornwall that it would be hard to find time for anything else. Should you find yourself at a loss, in need of inspiration, or the weather is abysmal, these are the dog-friendly things you can do in West Cornwall:
Dog-friendly places to eat in Cornwall
We spent our evenings catching up over home cooked food. We ate at a number of places during the day. Rest assured, you will not go hungry in Cornwall with a dog. See these sites for examples:
You should double-check that the places are still open before you travel/book as, unfortunately, many places in the UK haven’t survived the COVID pandemic.
Dog-friendly accommodation in Cornwall
Cornwall is full of dog-friendly cottages, places to rent, hotels, caravan/camping parks, everything. You can find these places using the usual sites (e.g. booking.com, airbnb, etc.). We stayed in the lovely Oikos Cottage in Newlyn (see pictures and description above).
We found this site really helpful when planning our getaway – Dog Friendly Cornwall.
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