There’s no need to leave your hound at home on a fun-packed day out in Cornwall. Almost a third of visitors to the county are dog owners, and many of the county’s best attractions have opened their doors to Fido and his friends. Beyond beaches to bound along and miles of coastline for waggy-tailed walks, here are ten of the best places to go on a dog-friendly day out in Cornwall.
1. Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, nr Penzance
Amidst this magical maze of wide-open spaces, woodland, sub-tropical foliage and art installations inspired by nature, you and your hound can wend beneath towering canopies and climb grassy knolls to witness stunning views over Penzance and Mounts Bay. Make sure you take in Tremenheere’s panorama through the camera obscura and view the sky through the underground elliptical chamber, and take a seat outdoors at Tremenheere Kitchen for a helping of homemade cake and local produce.
2. Bodmin Keep, Bodmin
Step into history in Bodmin’s military museum, where you can handle battle weapons, discover life in the trenches and see over 1,200 military exhibits as you learn about Cornwall’s role in wartime – from Napoleonic times to the modern day. Built in 1859, Bodmin Keep takes you under the skin of life in the war, with uniforms, weaponry, interactive workshops, children’s wartime games and historic reenactments. Dogs are welcome throughout the museum, but please pre-book, especially at busy times.
3. Trelissick, Feock
Boasting 300 acres of rolling parkland, woodland trails and shoreline nudging the River Fal, Trelissick is high on the list of great days out with dogs in Cornwall. While the house and gardens aren’t paw-friendly, there are plenty of walks to choose from – with a map in the car park so you can choose your terrain and how far you want to roam before refuelling in the dog-friendly courtyard café, and having a nose in the arts and craft gallery. If you’re feeling energetic and want to explore further, hop on the King Harry Ferry and float over the Roseland Peninsula.
4. Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek
If you don’t mind keeping your dog on a lead, a day out at the Sea Life Trust’s seal sanctuary is a fascinating day out for families and wildlife lovers. Enjoy pretty walks along the Helford Estuary, pause for picnics with a view, and get up close to all sorts of animals including seals, otters, sea lions, penguins, ponies, goats and sheep. The main purpose of the sanctuary is to rehabilitate seals rescued around the Cornish coastline, and you can witness rescued seal pups dipping and diving their way to recovery, as well as learn what to do if you find a seal stranded on the beach.
5. The Eden Project, St Austell
Surprised to learn that Cornwall’s biggest visitor attraction welcomes your four-legged friends? Dogs on leads can explore the miles of pathways around Eden’s tiered gardens, and flop at your feet with a doggy water bowl in the undercover eating area. While they aren’t admitted into the biomes, if you want to take your dog back to your vehicle for part of your visit, there are car parking spaces with a shelter for dogs, one with a water tap.
6. St Ives Bay Railway, St Ives
Hop aboard one of the UK’s most scenic train journeys and enjoy eye-popping views of the wildlife-rich estuary and sandy swathes of St Ives Bay. Hopping between St Erth, Lelant and Carbis Bay, there are plenty of pit-stops to hop out and enjoy a section of the South West Coast Path with your dog. We suggest taking the train all the way to St Ives for a pasty and ice cream by the harbour town, then strolling the easy mile back to Carbis Bay and hopping back onboard to your starting point. Of course, you can walk the whole distance if you and your dog want a more energetic stomp, and to take in the breathtaking vistas at a more leisurely pace.
7. Wheal Martyn Museum And Country Park, St Austell
The UK’s only China Clay museum isn’t only home to hands-on exhibits and audio-visual displays delving into Cornwall’s fascinating history. It’s also home to 26 acres of dog-friendly country park, with woodland walks, nature trails and Cornwall’s largest working waterwheel. Once the dog’s been walked and the kids have run off steam on the commando-style assault course, relax for a taste of the county’s local produce served in the Victorian remains of china clay setting tank.
8. Lappa Valley, Nr Newquay
Looking for a fun family day out in Cornwall with the dog in tow? Hop aboard a Lappa Valley steam engine and chug into a secret valley of train rides, family attractions and outdoor play. While kids will love the outdoor adventures, train and boat rides, and multi-level soft play, there are plenty of woodland trails and wild open spaces to explore nature together with the dog on the sprawling 35-acre site near Newquay.
9. Tintagel Castle
Cross the footbridge to the 13th-century ruins of Tintagel Castle, perched on a wave-lashed granite promontory on Cornwall’s north coast. Once you’ve come face-to-face with a bronze sculpture inspired by the legend of King Arthur, it’s impossible not to get swept away by local myths that link Tintagel to his birth. Back on the beach you can hear your echo in Merlin’s Cave and tuck into locally sourced food and drink at the beach café, before following the footpath back to the Arthurian-themed village. If you want to stretch your legs further, strike out along the coast path to the rugged Trebarwith Strand beach.
10. Trebah Garden, Helford Passage
Tunnel beneath Trebah’s canopies of sub-tropical foliage that tumble to the edge of the Helford Estuary, and pad along a sandy cove perfect for skimming stones and throwing sticks out into the calm waters for dogs to retrieve. Families with dogs will love this natural playground, and back at the top of the valley (through the bamboo jungle and the giant Gunnera passage), the Planters Café and picnic area welcome dogs. There are water bowls and complimentary poo bags too.
Find a paw-friendly holiday pad in Cornwall
Inspired to visit Cornwall and visit some of its best dog-friendly attractions? Search our collection of Dog Friendly Retreats and find the perfect place to stay with your hound.