Weekends with the dog: Cornwall in summer

Cornwall’s wild craggy coastline and breathtakingly beautiful beaches make for a fantastic dog-friendly weekend away. Fiercely independent but with a laid-back spirit, Cornwall draws holidaymakers like bees to honey. It can get extremely busy in the height of summer but if you know where to go you can avoid the tourist traps and let a little of the real Cornwall into your soul. Whether you and your pet like to tramp rugged coastal paths, zoom around (near empty) beaches, explore interesting tropical gardens or pootle about tiny villages chock-a-block with galleries and small shops, you should find a little dog-friendly inspiration in our weekend guide.

Written by Carmen McCormack

5 minute read

Friday night

Supper at The Gurnard’s Head, Zennor

This is just the sort of place you want to arrive at after a (long) drive into deepest Cornwall. It's earthy, stylish and supremely friendly towards both dogs and their humans. If it’s chilly the log fires will be glowing a welcome. There’s super homemade food on a short, fresh and seasonal menu that changes daily, perfect for those wanting a light bite as well as serious foodies. Served in the bar, dining rooms, or in the garden on sunny days so you can delight in views of the magical Cornish coastline. Plan to come back and follow the coast path to St Ives – secret beaches appear at low tide and wildflowers streak the land pink.

Saturday morning

Walk to the beach, Gwynver

Time to shake off the cobwebs with a blowy morning beach walk. Gwynver is a stunning white silky-sand beach just north of Sennen Cove, open all-day, all-year to dogs. The steep path down through the sand dunes is not for the faint-hearted, but the effort is completely worth it. Pitch up to find a quiet and secluded bay, vast granite cliffs towering above, and some pretty epic waves to leap in and out of, and bark at. At low tide you can walk around to the equally lovely Sennen beach but be aware that it has a seasonal dog ban.

Saturday afternoon

Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, near Penzance

In a beautiful hidden valley, overlooking St Michael’s Mount, Tremenheere is a dramatic landscape garden bursting with exotic and sub-tropical planting, native woodland and a burbling stream, all interwoven with an exciting programme of contemporary artwork, produced by internationally renowned artists. The site is so sheltered that a thriving collection of palm trees, tree ferns, succulents and bamboos grow here. As well as the sculpture gardens, there’s a gallery, shop and nursery to browse – you won’t leave without at least one wacky looking succulent in hand – and a restaurant for refreshments. And, best of all, dogs are welcome everywhere.

Saturday evening

Dinner at The Old Coastguard, Mousehole

This seaside hotel stands by the coastal path on the way into Mousehole, one of Cornwall’s most quaint villages. It’s a peaceful spot with a clutch of restaurants and galleries, and this good value and casual hotel, with relaxed staff, great food, and dog treats at the bar. Eat in the rustic-smart bar or dining room; top-notch menus have a modern British slant and change with the seasons. Outside there’s a sweep of waterfront lawn, fringed by hydrangeas and palms, then views of Mount’s Bay towards the Lizard; perfect for a pre or post-supper run around.

Sunday morning

Visit Minack Theatre, Porthcurno

Dogs are welcome to snuffle around Minack on a lead, so although they can’t enjoy the open-air performances, a visit to this theatre, dramatically perched on rugged cliffs overlooking a wild and tempestuous sea, is a great way to round off your Cornish weekend. Carved out of the cliff using only hand tools and the odd stick of dynamite back in 1929, today it hosts over 200 live shows a year, has lush sub-tropical gardens with interest in every season, and a café and terrace shop serving drinks, ice creams, homemade cakes, cream teas, pasties and light snacks. Best to book your visit in advance in the summer.

Browse all of our dog-friendly holidays in Cornwall >

Written by Carmen McCormack

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