About Cornwall

Cornwall is England’s most westerly county, bordered to its east by Devon and then to the west by the Atlantic Ocean.

man with a german shepherd dog on a cornish beach

What Sort Of Landscape And Natural Features Are There in Cornwall?

On the edge of England’s South West Peninsula, Cornwall has coastlines on the English Channel, Celtic Sea and Atlantic coasts. The majority of the largest population centres in Cornwall are built around the coast, with the inside of the county being given over to grassy moorlands and ancient rocky outcrops. One of the most traditional areas of the UK, you may well find that Cornwall is one of the most welcoming counties in the entire country to dog owners.

man plays with dogs on beach in cornwall

What Are The Notable Parks, Beaches Or Wild Areas In Cornwall?

Cornwall is home to some of the UK’s most beautiful and beloved sandy beaches and a number of striking natural areas of interest. Away from the coastline, which accounts for 422 miles of the 630 mile long South West Coast National Trail, you will also find the stark, striking and remote Bodmin Moor, 80 square miles of moorlands and breathtaking ancient rock formations. It is also home, some argue, to a large cat-like animal known as the Beast of Bodmin Moor.

Cornwall is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape. This is a collection of museums, historical buildings and preserved landscapes commemorating the deep mining for metals such as tin and copper that brought the area much fame during the Industrial Revolution. Nine of the ten protected sites are spread across the county, from its far western tip all the way across to the border with Devon in the east.

Perhaps most famous of all are some of the headland areas, particularly Lizard Point and Lands End – the most westerly point of mainland England. 

The majority of these areas offer free and unfettered access for dogs and their owners, although due to the precipitous and rocky landscape it will often be wise to keep your dog on their lead.

norfolk terrier dog in cornwall

Seven Things For You And Your Dog To Do In Cornwall

Visit Trebah Gardens

A 26-acre botanical gardens just to the south of Falmouth, originally built in 1831 and home to a staggering variety of subtropical plants which take advantage of Cornwall’s sunny and warm climate. Dogs are allowed throughout the grounds provided they are kept on their lead.

Visit Pendennis Castle

Originally built by King Henry VIII between 1540 and 1542 to provide defensive fortifications for Falmouth at the mouth of the river Fal, Pendennis Castle is celebrated as one of the most notable examples of a promontory fort still in existence. Dogs are welcome throughout the grounds as long as they are kept on a lead. And if castles are just up your dog’s street, you might also consider a visit to Tintagel Castle on the Celtic Sea coast.

Travel on Helston Railway

England’s most westerly heritage railway runs a steam engine service, upon which dogs are welcome to travel, between Helston and Praze. And while your dog rides the rails, other members of your party might like to visit the Museum of Cornish Life, also situated at Helston.

Find the Lost Gardens of Heligan

This ought to be fairly easy, as far from being lost they are marked on most maps, located to the northern end of the Roseland Heritage Coast to the south of the county, not far from St. Austell. Here you will find a series of curated gardens in a variety of different styles, plus a jungle area and man-made lakes. Dogs are welcome throughout, kept on a lead.

lost gardens of heligan, cornwall
The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Visit the Eden Project

A complex of biome greenhouses built in a reclaimed clay mining quarry near St. Austell, the Eden Project only opened in 2001 but has instantly become one of the UK’s most recognisable tourist attractions. Each climate-controlled biome simulates a specific type of natural environment, with the largest of the lot containing a simulated rainforest. While dogs are not allowed inside the greenhouses themselves, there is plenty of exploring to do in the grounds outside.

Visit the Cornish Seal Sanctuary

Found to the north of Lizard, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary does exactly what it says on the tin, caring for orphaned grey seal pups from around the Cornish coast. While dogs are – for fairly obvious reasons – not allowed in the rehabilitation centres, they are welcome throughout the rest of the site.

Visit Bodmin Moor

If you find your dog is still a bundle of energy but you are all beached out, there’s no better place to let them run free and explore than on Cornwall’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Don’t fret unduly about the prospect of being attacked by the Beast of Bodmin Moor: it almost certainly doesn’t exist.

dog friendly map of cornwall

Seven Walks For You And Your Dog To Enjoy In Cornwall

Fistral Beach

There’s nothing so frustrating as a dog owner than finding a beautiful beach and then being told there are all kinds of restrictions on where your furry friend can go and when. No such barriers exist to your pooch having the time of its life at Fistral Beach in Newquay, one of the top-rated sites in Cornwall on tripadvisor.com. You will also easily be able to find plenty of dog-friendly pubs and cafes to unwind in afterwards.

Fistral Beach Cornwall
Fistral Beach, Newquay

The Camel Trail

Named after the river Camel, rather than the animals you can expect to find on the way, the Camel Trail is an 18 mile public footpath through the glorious Cornish countryside between Padstow – a famed fishing village on the northern coast – to the centrally-located town of Bodmin.

King Arthur and the Slate Coast

Another magnificent coastal walk, this time using old donkey trails in the area around Tintagel. In addition to the regular backdrop of sandy beaches and sea bird life, you will also no doubt enjoy the views of the remains of the Roman-era castle.

Cape Cornwall, St. Just

A circular walk beginning and ending at the market square in the village of St. Just, which is a few miles from Lands End. What makes this walk such a perennial favourite is that it takes in a lot of the UNESCO-protected local mining heritage site, as well as important prehistoric landscapes.

mullion cove cornwall
Mullion Cove

Poldhu to Mullion Cove

A walk set around the unforgettable coastal landscape of The Lizard, the southernmost point of the county and, as such, mainland England. You’ll walk along cliffs, across beaches and through coves, passing by the point where the first transatlantic telegraph poles were installed. At Mullion, the Mullion Cove Hotel offers outdoor dog washing facilities, in addition to no-additional fee room and board for four-legged friends throughout the off-peak season.

Looe to Polperro

A picturesque coastal walk of about five miles between two seaside villages to the southeast of the county.

Holywell Bay

A sprawling sandy beach on the north coast of the county, not far from Newquay, taking in grassy dunes and a backdrop of rock formations poking out from the Celtic Sea. Another excellent no-restrictions beach location for dog owners.

Where To Stay In Cornwall

Exactly where you want to base yourself for your stay is obviously dependent on exactly what activities you and your dog plan to get up to. However, here are some suggestions.


Cornwall’s second-most populated town is a great place to base yourself for a dog-friendly holiday. Situated on the Channel coast at the mouth of the river Fal, it is near several Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as being home to Pendennis Castle. Both Trebah Gardens and the Cornish Seal Sanctuary are also nearby.

Falmouth Coastal route

St Austell

Sitting half a mile from the Channel coast, the picture perfect St. Austell is, like Falmouth, a great base of operations. It is near the Roseland Heritage Coast AONB, as well as sitting more or less exactly in between the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. The mining heritage area of Luxulyan Valley with Charlestown is also close at hand.


One of Cornwall’s most famous towns, Penzance sits towards the toe end of the west of the county, the Channel coast equivalent to the equally famous St. Ives. This would be a great place to base yourself to enjoy the natural splendour of the area around Lands End, with the mining heritage area of St. Just also nearby.

Abbey BasinPenzance
Abbey Basin Penzance


Unusually for this list – and for Cornwall – Bodmin is not a seaside town at all. Instead it sits more or less in the centre of the county, just to the west of the moor that bears its name. If exploring there is what you’d like to do, Bodmin would be a great place to start. It is also the southernmost point of the Camel Trail that will take you to the north coast.

a black jackapoo outside the shipwrights arms helston cornwall


A small town about a mile inland from the Channel coast beaches at Porthleven, Helston is home to not only the Museum of Cornish Life but also the origin point of the heritage railway that runs from Helston to Praze. It is also not far from Falmouth, Lizard or Penzance, with both the Cornish Seal Sanctuary and Trebah Gardens not far away.


A fishing village on the Celtic Sea coast made famous by its resident TV chef – and fellow dog lover – Rick Stein. The picturesque Padstow is roughly equidistant from Newquay, home to some of the UK’s most glorious sandy beaches, and Bodmin.