Dog-friendly places to visit in Cornwall
Cornwall regularly tops the charts as one of the most dog-friendly places in the UK. It’s home to over 330 beaches and hundreds of miles of footpaths — perfect for dogs when the sun’s shining but not quite so inviting when the rain sets in. For those seeking shelter indoors, we have scoured the county to bring you some of Cornwall’s favourite visitor attractions, galleries, museums and historic places that welcome canine companions through their doors all year round.
Galleries and museums
Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance
Galleries are often off limits for dogs, but not so in Penzance. In the heart of the town’s vibrant, creative quarter, Newlyn Art Gallery has been celebrating contemporary art for over 100 years and showcases a huge variety of Cornish, national and international artists. The arts centre welcomes dogs through the doors so visitors can get their art fix with their hound by their side.
Penwith Gallery, St Ives
Hidden down a narrow street, the Penwith Gallery in St Ives is the home of the Penwith Society, founded by Barbara Hepworth in 1949. This former pilchard packing factory has three galleries exhibiting works from contemporary artists, both renowned and little-known, from Cornwall and beyond. Entry is free and dogs are allowed in all areas of the gallery, including the cafe and bookshop.
Charlestown Shipwreck Museum
If you find yourself in this part of south Cornwall, the Charlestown Shipwreck Museum is a real gem, with treasures collected from over 150 shipwrecks — the largest private collection of this type on public display in Europe, including the only intact barrel of coins ever recovered from a wreck. Salty sea dogs are made very welcome here, and can access all areas of the museum, exhibitions and cafes.
Museum of Cornish Life, Helston
This lovely old-fashioned museum in Helston houses one of the largest social history collections in the south west, with some fascinating exhibits, including a fully-stocked 1950s village shop and Bronze age finds from the Lizard Peninsula. Dogs are welcome to browse the exhibits with you but must be on a lead at all times.
Lappa Valley, Newquay
Chug through the Cornish countryside with your dog on a beautiful steam train at Lappa Valley, near Newquay. Although the mini railway is the main attraction here, there’s also a boating lake, children’s play areas, woodland trails and a cafe on this 35-acre site. Dogs are welcome on board, but not in the buffet car, and they need to be kept on leads on the platforms and at the stations, for fairly obvious reasons!
Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Helford River
Located in the quiet creekside village of Gweek, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary is home to otters, sea lions, penguins and of course, dozens of seals, and is dedicated to educating people on the struggles of marine life and why conservation for these animals is so important. Dogs can accompany you as you visit the seal enclosures, see the penguins at feeding time, and visit the seal hospital where pups are first brought when they arrive at the sanctuary.
Wheal Martyn, St Austell
Cornwall may be best known for its tin and copper mining, but the county’s largest mining industry was actually China Clay — an ingredient that’s found in dozens of everyday products, from toothpaste to paper and car tyres. At this brilliant museum near St Austell, you can explore the original Victorian clay works and the indoor Discovery Centre, see Cornwall’s largest working waterwheel in action, join guided walks, and wander the 26 acres of woodland. Dogs are welcome across the site.
Healeys Cyder Farm, Truro
This family-run cider brewery and visitor centre near Newquay provides tours of the distillery with tastings, a cyder making museum and a tea room. Apart from the production halls and jam kitchen, dogs are allowed across the site, including in the cellars and museum and on the tractor rides.
Pendennis Castle, Falmouth
This impressive Tudor fortress defended Falmouth against invasion for 400 years. Visitors and their dogs can explore the winding stone staircases and gun rooms, scramble up to the top for panoramic views, discover underground tunnels where ammunition was stored and experience the castle under attack with an immersive experience. There’s also a soft play area for children and a dog-friendly cafe.
St Mawes Castle
Designed to guard the Carrick Roads, along with Pendennis Castle opposite, St Mawes Castle is one of the most well-preserved and elaborately decorated of all of Henry VIII’s coastal fortresses. Visitors can listen to an audio tour of the castle’s history and visit the oubliette where prisoners were once kept captive. Dogs are welcome across the site.