Coastal castles and curious villages: North Devon’s best dog-friendly attractions

North Devon with dogs is a dream: great walks, plenty of pubs, lovely seafood restaurants and ample adventures to be had on its many dog-friendly beaches. But beyond all this outdoorsy excitement, there’s a whole host of brilliant attractions to keep the entire family entertained, too. Here are the best days out in North Devon for anyone with a dog.

Written by Lottie Gross

Clovelly village, Torridge

There’s so much to see in Clovelly Village, you might want to spend a couple of days exploring this pretty fishing village. Set on the steep slopes leading down to the ocean on the North Devon coast, Clovelly is a quintessential fishing community. There’s a handsome harbour at the bottom of the hill, and a warren of pretty cottages line the main street and tiny alleyways that break off from it. 

Dogs are welcome all over Clovelly, including in the museums (included in the village entry price) and the Harbour Bar in The Red Lion. Don’t miss a visit to the Clovelly Court Gardens, and to see the donkeys in the stables at the top of the village.

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Photo Credit: Watermouth Castle

Watermouth Castle, Ilfracombe

This regal castle on the North Devon coast was built in the 19th century and enjoys spectacular views out over the ocean. But beyond Watermouth Castle's brilliant surroundings, there's a host of attractions to enjoy here too that will keep the whole family happy. Get lost in the hedge maze, which has a single entrance and a single entrance, and lots of dead ends. Or hop in a boat on the Big River Ride rapids. 

Dogs can join you almost everywhere (follow their dog rules here), and they'll love romping around the grounds on the various footpaths and trails.

Hartland Abbey, Bideford

Summertime wanders around the gardens at Hartland Abbey are wonderful, but it’s in spring when this estate really comes into its own. Carpets of daffodils and bluebells flourish as the warmer weather beckons, and so bring the dog for a day out (on the lead) around the grounds of this handsome country house. You might recognise this home from the BBC’s adaptation of Malory Towers, which is set right here. 

The house belongs to the Stucley family and it hails from the 12th century. If you take it in turns to nip inside while one of your party stays with the dog, you can see fascinating architecture and decor from throughout the centuries, since its first stone was laid.

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Photo Credit: Canonteign Falls

Canonteign Falls, Dartmoor

Dogs are welcome from the moment you arrive at Canonteign Falls, as there’s a basket of free dog treats right by the front door – nab a bag for bribing your dog all the way up to the top of the falls. The walk up to the top is relatively easy as a winding path twists and turns up the hillside – though it’s a little uneven under foot sometimes – and from its full 70 metre height you’ll get brilliant views over Dartmoor and the surrounding Canonteign estate. 

Down below, there’s a brilliant kids’ play area, a lakeside walking route and a café where dogs can join you for lunch or a bacon sandwich.

Milky Way Adventure Park, Bideford

If you’re bringing the kids on holiday to North Devon, Milky Way Adventure Park is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Dogs can join you but must abide by the rather extensive rules, while the kids scream their way around rollercoasters, down slides and on the dodgems. 

There’s a bird of prey centre, a sci-fi memorabilia exhibition, mini golf and a maze, too. Older children will love the laser target shooting range, while there’s even a sensory room for babies and toddlers, too.

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Photo Credit: The Milky Way Adventure Park

Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum, Barnstaple

Arlington Court is a pretty Regency mansion, just south of Combe Martin, deep into the North Devon Countryside. It’s pleasant but unassuming from the outside, but what lies within its back buildings is most intriguing, as this is home to the National Trust Carriage Museum. Here you can wander with the dog among stately coaches once used for ferrying the gentry and tiny, humble carts used by farmers. 

Elsewhere on the estate are sublime pleasure gardens with a series of beautiful views, kitchen gardens and Victorian planted gardens, as well as an old book shop and a tearoom serving scones for humans and ice cream made for dogs.

Written by Lottie Gross

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