Dog Friendly Beaches
If you’re thinking of bringing your dog to Cornwall on holiday, there really isn’t a lot of bad news here. Not only can one choose from many, many pet-friendly places to stay, whether near beaches, towns, or pleasant walks, but your animals will be welcome on most of those beaches, most of the walks, and can enjoy the countryside every bit as much as the two-legged members of the party. If not more!
There are a tiny number of beaches in Cornwall that exercise a year-round ban on dogs. Most of them are privately owned beaches that allow public access. These are Carlyon Bay, Charlestown, Duporth, Looe, Millendreath, Pentewan, Polruan Back and Polruan Quay. Everywhere else allows canine visitors at the very least from the 1st of October until Easter, and the good news is that the majority of beaches welcome our furry friends all the year round!
Watching your best buddy bounding and flolloping (yes, that’s a word), excavating excitedly, chasing and being chased by waves and leaping un-necessarily over things, as they do, will surely add an extra dimension to your stay in this beautiful county.
Cornish Traditional Cottages maintain a marvellous online guide to Cornwall, which at the time of writing shows no fewer than eighty-five dog-friendly beaches. These have no restrictions but the bounds of common sense.
The rest of them, with the exception of the eight we have already mentioned, will have their restrictions (usually seasonal, but maybe others like “only on a lead”, or between certain hours) clearly posted at the car park or the entrance to the beach.
Here’s a jolly useful resource – by downloading this .pdf to your phone or printing it out, you can carry with you a pretty exhaustive list of the facilities of all the beaches that your dog can play on in Cornwall. We’ve noticed that a few of the other sites about Cornwall have some errors where the dog-access rules are concerned, and anyway rules can change. Get the .pdf here…
With at least 135 beaches in the county welcoming dogs, it’s a bit bizarre to try to list the best ones. Of course everyone is looking for something different. But here at Cornish Traditional Cottages we like a challenge. So here are some of the stand-out dog beaches in the region, all highly recommended by dog walkers and every one of them open all the year round:
Gwenver Beach, at Sennen on the westernmost tip of Cornwall, is a miracle of turquoise surf and golden sand from whence, on a clear day, you can sometimes see the Isles of Scilly, twenty-odd miles away to the west.
Watergate Bay, at Newquay, is one of the UK’s most popular surfing beaches and encourages dog owners to bring their animals down onto its two miles of smooth, tide-washed sand. Facilities at the beach are also excellent, with humans able to enjoy food and drink within sight of the sea.
Daymer Bay is near Rock and Polzeath and across the Camel from Padstow. The waves are usually quite small in this sheltered bay, and there is still a good strip of sand even at high tide. Great car park and café, and you can walk around Brea Hill to Rock or across the cliffs of Greenaway, too.
Porthkidney Beach is near St Ives and offers a very flat expanse of sand, almost a mile from the dunes to the sea at low tide, with streams and pools as well that dogs love to play in. Dogs are to be kept on a lead on the paths approaching the beach, but once upon the sand, they can run free.
Prussia Cove is a little different, a hidden rock bowl with small sandy beaches and spits of slate and granite that dogs seem to love. It’s half-way between Porthleven and Penzance, and well worth a visit if you want to get away from the usual beach-goers.
The Countryside Code has this to say about keeping dogs under control in the countryside:
“When you take your dog into the outdoors, always ensure it does not disturb wildlife, farm animals, horses or other people by keeping it under effective control.
This means that you:
- Keep your dog on a lead, or
- keep it in sight at all times, be aware of what it’s doing and be confident it will return to you promptly on command.
- Ensure it does not stray off the path or area where you have a right of access.
- Special dog rules may apply in particular situations, so always look out for local signs – for example:
- Dogs may be banned from certain areas that people use, or there may be restrictions, bye-laws or control orders limiting where they can go.
- The access rights that normally apply to open country and registered common land (known as ‘open access’ land) require dogs to be kept on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July, to help protect ground nesting birds, and all year round near farm animals.
- At the coast, there may also be some local restrictions to require dogs to be kept on a short lead during the bird breeding season, and to prevent disturbance to flocks of resting and feeding birds during other times of the year.
- It’s always good practice (and a legal requirement on ‘open access’ land) to keep your dog on a lead around farm animals and horses, for your own safety and for the welfare of the animals. A farmer may shoot a dog which is attacking or chasing farm animals without being liable to compensate the dog’s owner. However, if cattle or horses chase you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead – don’t risk getting hurt by trying to protect it. Your dog will be much safer if you let it run away from a farm animal in these circumstances and so will you.
- Everyone knows how unpleasant dog mess is and it can cause infections, so always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly – ‘bag it and bin it’. Make sure your dog is wormed regularly to protect it, other animals and people.”
Cornish Traditional Cottages currently have 153 dog-friendly cottages in Kernow. If you go to our rather clever search page, you can select a self-catering holiday home that suits your needs, by plugging in any number of criteria using the filters on the left-hand side. Save yourself the cost and trouble of kennels, or bothering friends, and enjoy your pet even more than you do at home!
“Staying in one of our dog-friendly cottages in Cornwall couldn’t be easier and ensures a comfortable and hassle-free base from which to explore. Cornwall is a very pet-friendly county and most of the pubs and attractions are equally welcoming both to dogs and their owners.”
If you are thinking of visiting a specific area, why not check out the relevant page located in the “Destinations” menu at the top of the page for some more localised information on the dog-friendly beaches thereabouts?
There is a bewildering selection of lovely cliff top, beach and woodland walks in the Duchy of Cornwall. Taking your dog away with you will be good for all of you. See the coast and countryside, be excited, explore. Finish the day’s adventures with your companion curled up contentedly at your feet, in a comfortable Cornish cottage.
The South West Coast Path
The South West Coast Path is essentially a footpath, or a coastal route made up of footpaths. It runs right around the coast of Cornwall and beyond. Well maintained and clearly signposted with the “acorn waymark”, it enjoys outstanding views almost every step of the way and rarely ventures inland at all – instead taking us around the periphery of almost every beach, and over the stunning cliffs and hills that separate them.
Dog owners will be happy to learn that their furry pals are allowed on every part of the South West Coast Path all the year round. Owners must take care to look after their K9’s in a responsibly, to ensure that they do not harm livestock or wildlife and that they won’t leave behind nuisance or mess of any kind. The South West Coast Path website has a section specifically provided to assist dog owners in looking after their animals appropriately while enjoying the path – click here…
Walks can be short or long, easy or more challenging, depending on your needs and those of your four-legged friend. For a complete study of the day- or week-long itineraries, check out our full article here… The South West Coast Path is one of the best ways to explore the many dog-friendly beaches that Cornwall has to offer.
Whatever your reasons for holidaying in Cornwall, you can be sure that your dog will be every bit as well catered for as the rest of you. At Cornish Traditional Cottages, we can recommend some really great destinations, each and every one with a variety of homes perfect for your stay. Some are traditional, some are ultra modern. Some simple and cosy, some the lap of luxury.
For a couple – see Albion Cottage, a fabulous contemporary barn conversion near Boscastle and the nearby dog-friendly beach at Trebarwith Strand. Or for a larger party, The Quillet in St. Just-in-Penwith, near Sennen, sleeping up to six within its comforting granite walls. Just two silly examples of the 153 we currently have on our books.
There are wonderful self-catering holidays available all over the county through Cornish Traditional Cottages, and at any time of year. Don’t forget to check out our latest special offers.