With its rock pools, waterfall and rock formations, this pebble beach is a favourite with families and dog walkers – especially when the tide ebbs to reveal 2km of sand. The steep, narrow path from the National Trust car park deters the crowds that descend on the rest of Bude’s beaches, and at low tide you can walk the two miles into the vibrant, beachside town all the way along the beach.
Daymer Bay, nr Wadebridge
Sandwiched between the popular beaches of Rock and Polzeath, the more secluded Daymer Bay is in a different league with its sheltered sandy smile backed by Brea Hill. Wear the dog out on a climb to the top of this perfectly formed knoll and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the scenery that inspired the late Poet Laureate John Betjeman. Or, trot along the coast to Rock and board the ferry for an adventure to foodie Padstow and the coastline beyond.
If you and your dog can handle the knee-wobbling descent down the cliff staircase, you deserve to wallow in the beauty of Bedruthan Steps, dubbed Britain’s equivalent of Australia’s Twelve Apostles. Here the beach wends its way around a row of towering rock stacks that rise from the pearly sands like granite giants. And when you make it back up the cliff steps, you’ll be rewarded with cream teas and water bowls at the dog-friendly National Trust café.
Watergate Bay, Newquay
Surfers and dogs hog the beach year-round at Watergate Bay, both species bounding with excitement and unable to resist the mile of Atlantic-lashed sands backed by staggering cliffs. Take a low-tide walk along the wave-pounded sands to Trevelgue Head, looping back along the coast path to make the most of the views. Back at Watergate Bay the welcome to hounds extends beyond the beach, with The Beach Hut café and the Watergate Bay Hotel inviting sandy dogs into the mix.
Crantock, nr Newquay
Nudging the southern tip of Newquay’s string of beaches, Crantock is just far enough away from the surf-town’s maddening crowds to offer sandy paws plenty of room to play. A mile of sugary sands stretched between the craggy headlands of Pentire East and West, the River Gannel trickles down the northern flanks of the beach, while the sand dunes grow into towering cliffs at its southern end.
Mexico’s, St Ives Bay
Slide down the dunes on the eastern side of Black Cliff (easily identified by the rows of Haven Holiday Park caravans staring out to sea) and there’s nearly two uninterrupted miles of dog-friendly, golden sands stretching all the way to Peter’s Point (where the sand dunes turn into cliffs as you reach Gwithian). Enjoy the walk at low-tide when the beach is enormous, with plenty of room to play ball, chase kites and do some doggy-paddle between the surfers.
Porthkidney Beach, nr St Ives
Known by locals as ‘Happy Dog Beach’, this is where Penwith’s happiest dogs and their owners are privileged to hang out. A vast, sandy expanse, Porthkidney dispels the crowds that flock to neighbouring St Ives Bay, due to being much less accessible. In fact, being separated from the rest of the three-mile bay by an estuary too deep and dangerous to wade cross, beach goers on the busier Hayle Towans side gaze over and wonder how on earth to get to this gloriously deserted stretch of beach where just a handful of gleeful dog walkers stroll.
Gwenver, nr Sennen
My favourite Cornish cove, Gwenver is wild, remote and beautiful. It’s the sort of place that should be reserved for bona fide beach lovers and their friendly four-legged beasts. And fortunately, the steep flight of steps between the car park and beach deters anyone who isn’t serious about setting foot on the coarse white sands, scrambling over wave-hewn granite borders and dipping toes and paws into the Caribbean-blue seas.
Long Rock, nr Penzance
A flat, long sweep of sand and pebble beach between Penzance and Marazion, Longrock is one of Cornwall’s best beaches for dogs that love to swim. No matter how far you can launch a ball out to sea, it’s usually only waist deep and, being a south coast beach, there aren’t usually the pounding breakers that dogs have to contend with on the Atlantic coast. With a promenade for walkers, a view to St Michael’s Mount and £1 parking, doggy beaches don’t get much better than this.
Kennack Sands East, The Lizard
While the western end of Kennack Sands attracts hoards of families and kayakers (and rightly so with its by-the-beach parking, sand, stream and rock pools), a stroll over Carn Kennack takes you the dog-friendly, far more peaceful, eastern end. Which means you can make the most of the easy parking and beachside café, and bag all the natural beauty whilst leaving the bucket-and-spade brigades behind on the other side of the hill.
Most dog-bans apply Easter day until 1 Oct.