Devon’s a great place to come on a dog-friendly holiday.
Here, we’re all about outdoorsy fun. Many of our activities, attractions and beaches welcome dogs, meaning days out can include your pet too. Plus, there are lots of dog-friendly places to stay and eat all over the county, from highly-rated hotels, luxury holiday cottages and holiday parks, to cosy tea rooms and foodie pubs.
So, to make things even easier for you, we asked the experts on dog-friendly holidays in Devon for their top tips on bringing your pet here with you.
Claire Doyle runs Doggy Devon, which helps visitors find dog friendly places across the county.
“We really are spoilt for choice when deciding where to go for adventures with our four-legged friends in Devon. From beaches, moors, parkland and woodland and everything in between, Devon is truly dog friendly!
“Whilst we live here all year round, we still get excited about visiting new places with Alfie. We love visiting the North Devon coast and having a good leg stretch on Woolacombe beach; we enjoy adventures on Dartmoor and walking sections of the Two Moors and Granite Way and on a beautiful sunny day (or equally a wet and wild one!) exploring the pretty villages of South Devon and enjoying a lunch in one of the many dog friendly Devon pubs is a must!
“To make the most of enjoying dog friendly Devon ensure you have plenty of poo bags on you (more than you think you need!), carry water for your thirsty hound and please do make sure that your dog is wearing a sturdy collar/harness/lead and dog tag and that their microchip details are up-to-date too.”
Mark Godfrey is MD of Deer Park Hotel, which recently won Gold Awards in the Dog Friendly Business category at both the South West Tourism Awards and the Visit Devon Awards.
“As far as my West Highland Terrier Hugo and I are concerned, Devon is the perfect place to come on holiday with your dog. We welcome dogs to stay at Deer Park – we’ve even won awards for being dog friendly. Find out more on Twitter from Hugo, who has his own Twitter account!
“We have the most amazing beaches – Hugo particularly loves BanthamBurgh Island where he charges around like a mad mutt. In East Devon, the best sandy beach is at Exmouth – if you’re holidaying at Christmas, go on Boxing Day when the beach is teeming with dogs (don’t forget to wear a silly Christmas hat).and
“If you’re staying with us, it’s lovely to mosey into Ottery St Mary. Deer Park Hotel sits just above the Otter River, and you can follow the river along to Tipton for lunch at the Golden Lion. It’s a beautiful walk, nice and easy.
“Salcombe Hill is also well worth a visit; it’s National Trust land with great views of the Jurassic Coast, and you can pick up the South West Coast Path. Not far from there is the dog-friendly Donkey Sanctuary which has a lovely café. We also love the Drewe Arms in Broadhembury – there can be quite a cacophony of barking when you go in. They serve proper pub food and I highly recommend the fish and chips.”
Alistair and Lorna Handyside own Higher Wiscombe, three luxury pet-friendly holiday cottages with a heated pool in 52 acres of East Devon, which has won a clutch of awards including Visit England’s Best Dog Friendly Business 2016.
“For us, the best place to eat is The Holt in Honiton, which has a great menu, and all meals can be served downstairs in the dog-friendly area. This pub’s famous for producing its own smoked foods, and we highly recommend a pint of some smoked prawns with a pint of Otter Bitter! The Cary Arms near Torquay is also very good – it’s a dog-friendly pub restaurant overlooking Babbacombe beach with a varied local menu.
“When it comes to walks, head for where The South West Coast Path meets the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site, between Beer and Branscombe. Start at Beer, where there are some lovely café’s on the beach and working fishing boats, and it’s about 2.5 miles to Branscombe along some of the most stunning scenery on the Coast Path with views to Start Point in South Devon. Branscombe has a lovely beach, and a beach café on the National Trust property. Just inland is a dog-friendly pub, The Masons Arms. Walking back gives a totally different aspect, with views over Lyme Bay to Weymouth and Portland Bill.
“Take your dog with you to visit Seaton Tramway, which is dog-friendly and runs from Colyton to Seaton along the Axe Valley, a place that’s brilliant for lovers of wildlife. You end up outside the new Seaton Jurassic, a visitor attraction telling the wonderful story of the Jurassic age, dinosaurs and all. We recommend Canonteign Falls too – a fabulous dog-friendly walk through some stunning Devon scenery.”
Jo Smith is assistant manager at Stowford Farm Meadows, a brilliantly dog-friendly touring, caravan and camping site in North Devon. Jo belongs to Mowky the lurcher who loves camping and running fast on the beach.
‘When taking your four-legged friends away with you on holiday, make sure you pick a dog-friendly touring site. At Stowford Farm Meadows we have a whole host of helpful facilities such as dog exercise areas complete with bags, a woodland walk for off-lead exploring, and even a dog day kennels for when you or your family fancy a dog free day at one of the great local attractions.
“Nearby, we have lots to recommend to dog owners. North Devon has fantastic dog-friendly beaches that your dog will love to explore, such as Woolacombe, Saunton, and Ilfracombe, At Stowford we even host a Dog Activity Weekend in June (pictured right) where you can come and stay with your dogs and take part in fun classes and agility, plus there will be doggie displays, trade stalls and our usual on-site entertainment.”
Mike Coombes ia a manager at the Two Bridges Hotel on Dartmoor and The Bedford Hotel in Tavistock, both of which make dogs (and their owners!) very welcome.
“Like any other kind of holiday, a dog-friendly break in Devon requires proper homework! The diversity of Devon, from awesome coasts to rugged moorland, makes it ideal for a break away with your dog.
“You’ll find a good choice of dog-friendly hotels, but it’s worth checking what they offer and the restrictions they put on dogs. Obviously hotel restaurants are usually out-of-bounds to dogs, but a good dog-aware hotel should give you the option of eating somewhere else – perhaps in the bar or a lounge area – with your four-legged friends. Also, ask the hotel whether all rooms are available for guests with dogs, or just selected rooms (especially if the selected rooms are the less well appointed ones!). All our bedrooms at the Two Bridges Hotel are available for guests with dogs, and there’s the option of eating breakfast and dinner in the bar. We have miles of walks in every direction, and even a dog Goody Pack on arrival!”