As more pet owners choose to holiday at home and almost half of dog owners choosing to take treat their pet to a break away with the family, K9 Magazine is launching a new series giving you the chance to talk about your pet friendly holidays at home.
Kick starting our series in Cornwall, Natasha Desborough tells all about her recent family holiday with her dog, Enid.
Here's her story...
A 9 ½ hour car journey from Surrey to Cornwall is not my idea of fun but whilst our 7 and 9 year old sons bickered and my husband Jim and I yelled and threatened each other with divorce, Enid our 18 month old rescued Chocolate Labrador slept soundly for pretty much the entire duration.
We stayed in a beautiful, dog-friendly cottage in the tiny, working fishing village of Cadgwith which has to be one of the most dog friendly places in the UK. Situated on the eastern side of the Lizard Peninsular, it’s a place that I have revisited for many years and holds wonderful memories for me.
As a child I prodded and examined the dead crabs that had been dropped by fishermen on the pebbled beach and as a teenager I got squiffy on Scrumpy and sang slurry sea shanties in the pub with the locals on a Friday night.
We chose to visit during the October half term when all the seasonal beach dog bans had been lifted but even in peak season, Cornwall has over fifty dog-friendly beaches that are open all year round.
After the kids and Enid had had a splash about in the sea, we headed to The Old Cellars Restaurant in Cadgwith which is super dog friendly and serves amazing cream teas. The local pub The Cadgwith Cove Inn is over 300 years old, seeped in seafaring history and also warmly welcomes dogs. With countless water bowls dotted around and a doggie treat from the landlord at the bar, Enid was able to curl up contentedly under the table while my husband and I sampled the Cornish ale and the kids played board games.
My Top 5 Dog friendly West Cornwall Pubs
1. The Cadgwith Cove Inn, Cadgwith (www.cadgwithcoveinn.com) – simply my favourite pub in the whole world.
2. The Ship, Mousehole (www.shipinnmousehole.co.uk) – very atmospheric pub overlooking one of the most beautiful harbours in Britain.
3. The Tinners Arms, Zennor (www.tinnersarms.com) – Enid made friends with a very friendly Weimaraner on our visit to this lovely old pub which brews its own delicious Tinners ale.
4. The Ferryboat Inn, Helford Passage (www.thewrightbrothers.co.uk/restaurants/the_ferryboat_inn/) Daphne Du Maurier used to sit here with her dog while she drank pints of Cornish ale and smoked a pipe. Actually I’ve just made this up but the serene view of the Helford Passage was the inspiration for her novel Frenchman’s Creek. And that really is true.
5. The Sloop Inn, St Ives (www.sloop-inn.co.uk) – One of the oldest pubs in Cornwall, it’s always mega busy but still worth a visit, if only for the stunning view.
There are loads of dog friendly attractions in West Cornwall but with the weather being mild for the time of year, we were all happiest just being out in the open air. On one spectacular morning coastal path walk we encountered a very friendly herd of wild ponies, then at dusk a colony of pipistrelle bats left the eaves of a farm barn to playfully dart about in front of us.
Enid took all the wildlife in her stride but being a water-loving, food obsessed Labrador - she most enjoyed swimming in the sea and trying to eat the copious amounts of seaweed strewn temptingly across the beaches. Doggie heaven!
I thought seeking out dog friendly cafés and tea rooms for our family holiday might have been a little bit tricky, but fortunately there are loads in West Cornwall to choose from. We found one brilliant place in Penzance called the Harbourside Café which was already full of well-behaved dogs when we arrived.
As usual, Enid curled up at my feet when we sat down at the table, but as we started on our freshly caught crab sandwiches, she stood up and loudly threw up the gallons of sea water, sand and seaweed that she had scoffed on the beach that morning. Quite frankly, it was utterly disgusting so I offered to clean it up myself and within thirty seconds of swift Dettol wiping action, all evidence of Enid’s morning feast had vanished. Thankfully the staff were very gracious and none of the other customers appeared to have been put off their lunch (I hope).
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary had been on our list of dog friendly places to visit, but having already spotted a seal happily swimming alongside us as we played on a beach we decided to give it a miss. We did however get ourselves along to the Eden Project which has recently announced itself to be dog friendly.
You can’t actually take your dog into the biodomes (my husband and I took it in turns to go in with one of the kids while the other explored outside with Enid) but there is a great indoor dog friendly café.
My Top 5 West Cornwall Attractions
1. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek (www.sealsanctuary.co.uk/corn1.html) Take a wander with your dog around this lovely rescue, rehabilitation and release centre for seals.
2. Newlyn Art Gallery and Exchange, Penzance (www.newlynartgallery.co.uk)– After viewing the contemporary art, Enid’s bark adopted the same posh accent as Brian Sewell.
3. The Eden Project (www.edenproject.com) a world famous attraction that opened its doors to dogs last year.
4. Godolphin (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/godolphin) – being members, we’ve taken Enid (and the kids) to loads of National Trust properties but this is one of our favourites. It’s a spookily atmospheric place with a medieval garden and some excellent surrounding walks.
5. St Mawes Castle (www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/st-mawes-castle/fort-house) One of Henry VIII’s castles that overlooks the Fal Estuary.
No trip to West Cornwall would ever be complete without a visit to the dog friendly Roskilly’s Ice Cream Farm in St Keverne. Quite simply they make the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted and entry is free. Poor Enid could only look on longingly as I sampled the scrummy ‘cream tea’ and ‘banoffee pie’ flavours. Don’t get me wrong - I love my dog and all that but there is NO WAY she was going to eat MY ice cream!
We then took Enid on a long walk through the surrounding meadows so that the kids could see the water mill and I could burn off some of the ice cream weight that had undoubtedly gone straight to my bum. But two days later and we were back again so that I could try the ‘orange and mascarpone’ flavour that I didn’t manage to squeeze in before. Not many people know that ice cream actually counts as one of your ‘five-a-day’ for dog owners (this is a true scientific fact that I just made up).
My Top 5 Dog Friendly West Cornwall Tea Rooms/Cafés/Resaurants
1. Roskillys Ice Cream Farm, St Keverne (www.roskillys.co.uk)– dog or no dog. Kids or no kids. This is a place where all ice cream worshipers should make a pilgrimage. Also does lovely lunches and cream teas.
2. The Old Cellars Restaurant, Cadgwith (www.facebook.com/TheOldCellarsRestaurant) - dogs are more than welcome either inside or in the outdoor courtyard so full of lobster pots and nautical artefacts that you’ll be craving a crab sandwich before you’ve even sat down.
3. The Kynance Cove Café, Kynance (www.kynancecovecafe.co.uk)– overlooking the most spectacular beach in Cornwall, this outdoor café is the perfect place to enjoy a cream tea whilst seal spotting with your four legged friend.
4. Harbourside Café, Penzance – a lovely café that serves excellent crab sandwiches (and is very tolerant of puking dogs).
5. The SeaDrift, Porthleven (www.seadriftporthleven.co.uk) – a wonderfully dog friendly kitchen-cafe that serves locally caught fresh fish specials alongside brunches, lunches and with an excellent kids menu too.
One of our main concerns when we adopted Enid last year, was the potential negative effect she might have on our family holidays in the UK. But rather than being a hindrance, Enid has helped us to seek out fabulous restaurants, quirky tea rooms and inspiring art galleries that would probably have remained undiscovered to us if we hadn’t been dog owners. West Cornwall is a brilliantly dog friendly place to visit and we can’t wait to return again in the not too distant future.
For a more detailed guide to dog friendly Cornwall visit www.visitcornwall.com/dogslovecornwall