Holidaying with your dog can come with complications. Many holiday apartments, cafes, pubs, shops and even beaches have a no dog policy. Earlier this year even one of Cornwall’s most dog-friendly beaches, Perranporth, enforced dog restrictions for the summer. So, when you’re planning an adventure with your pooch pal, a little forward planning is always necessary.
Despite the new restrictions, Cornwall is still a fantastic venue for a dog-friendly holiday. With its miles of footpaths and dog-friendly attractions, it’s a sure winner. Here are our top 5 dog-friendly beaches:
Mawgan Porth Beach, Helston
Mawgan Porth’s Sunday Times award-winning beach has acres of golden sands. It’s a popular beach for families of all ages, surfers and dog walkers—being a dog-friendly beach all year round. It also has ample parking at around £3.50 for the day.
RNLI lifeguards operate on the beach every day between April and September and there are many activities in and around the local area including crazy golf, surf schools, and ten-pin bowling. It’s also a great beach for young children and toddlers with the many shallow pools at low tide.
Recent changes mean that beach-goers now have to pay to use the onsite toilets—so remember to carry a few extra 20ps.
Harlyn Bay, Padstow
Considered one of the best family beaches in Cornwall, Harlyn Bay is a wide and spacious beach of yellow sand and pebbles with plenty of interesting rock pools backed by dunes. Its reputation as one of the safer beaches in the county also means it’s a great spot for young children and novice surfers who can learn with the various surf schools who run sessions from the beach. RNLI operate on the beach throughout the summer season and there is a large car park, charging around £4 per day close by, with toilets just across the road. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year.
Porthkidney Sands, Carbis Bay
If you’re looking for a massive expanse of quiet un-spoilt sand, then this is your beach. It’s like having your own beach, but with just a few dog walkers (dog-friendly all year round) and miles of sand and waves. It’s also very flat, clean and the water is really clear—great for kids playing along the shore line.
The only downside is access. The beach can be accessed by walking along the beach from Carbis Bay at low tide, but be sure to not get caught out. It can also be accessed via the coastal path from Carbis Bay, but it does mean climbing down some steep rocks to get to the beach—so care just needs to be taken.
Finally, Porthkidney can be accessed by car, however there is limited parking. Head for St Uny’s Church at Lelant then turn down by the side of the church down a stony lane which runs through the golf course for about one mile. This takes you to Quayside with parking. Then walk down a path which runs along side the Hayle Estuary and to Porthkidney Beach.
Watergate Bay, Newquay
This is another great sandy Cornish beach. It’s size and length means it provides plenty of space for your dog to stretch its legs, all year-round. Another plus is that the RNLI patrol the beach during the summer months, and there are a lot of surf schools around the bay for kids and teenagers who are interested in the sport.
There is ample parking, costing around £6 for the day and there are nearby cafes and restaurants. A downside is that this beach can get busy, so get there early.
Tregantle Beach, Whitsand Bay
Arguably the finest stretch of sands in south-east Cornwall, Whitsand Bay beach is actually a sequence of beaches which, combined, stretch around four miles from Portwrinkle to Rame Head. Tregantle Beach is a beautiful beach in this stretch, ideal for anyone wanting to escape the extremely busy beaches in the summer months. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year around and there is a car park on the cliffs above. This beach is also a great choice for anyone interesting in military history as the old Tregantle Fort which was built in the 1850’s, overlooks this whole beach.
One thing to be aware of is that it’s only available at low tide, so beware of tide times. Likewise, the beach is actually owned by the MOD and may be closed for training purposes—though not often. There are notices displaying times at the gate entrance to the beach or on the gov.uk website here.