We’re a nation of dog-lovers. That’s according to statistics that estimate 12.5 million of our furry friends in British households, which makes us just second in Europe for dog ownership countries! Beyond the statistics though many of us simply love canine companionship, and Devon is top of the list when it comes to all things pooch-friendly including a wealth of beaches, restaurants and activities that cater to four-legged visitors (as well as their humans). Being dog-owners ourselves we know a thing or two about keeping our pets happy when out and about in the county, so we’d love to share some of our favourite things to see and do on a Devon holiday with your best friend.
With roughly 100 miles of wonderful coastline and more than 33 dog-friendly beaches in the county, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a town where there isn’t a local sandy stretch for ‘walkies’. A favourite is Putsborough Sands, near Woolacombe on Devon’s North coast with its fabulously long beach which is only partially restricted at certain times of the year. The other half has no holds barred so your pup can run wild there at any time there of the year, rain or shine. Another beauty is Slapton Sands in Torcross which is a shingle beach of just over 3 miles long. Not only is the beach dog-friendly all year round but the views are pretty incredible too, and on a sunny day you’ll feel like you’re in the Med.
After all that fresh air you’re going to need a rest, and a pub lunch is a delightful way to recharge and refuel. Places like The George and Dragon in Dartmouth offer fresh water and doggy treats as does The Cary Arms in Babbacombe in Torquay. Dartmoor is awash with paw-friendly places to stop for a bite like Fingle Bridge Inn and The Rock Inn near Haytor. The Ship Inn in Teignmouth however takes the biscuit for dog-friendly watering holes and in 2019 it scooped up the region’s coveted Rover Dog-friendly Pub Awards prize.
On a hot summer’s day there’s nothing better than an ice cream cone so why wouldn’t we treat our four-legged friends to their very own snack? A handful of Devon based companies have now come up with their own dog-friendly versions of this mouth-watering delight with places like The Salty Dog Kiosk near Holcombe Beach in Dawlish offering delicious doggy ice creams that you can enjoy on your walk down to the beach. Another is DOG ICE which is the brand name of one of the region’s most popular dogtastic iced desserts. It has created a frozen treat made with fresh chicken of all things. We’d prefer the standard two scoops of vanilla but your pet will wolf theirs down in minutes. DOG ICE is sold at many local farm shops in places like Topsham, Kingsbridge and Budleigh Salterton so if you’re in the area, you’re likely to spot their tubs on sale.
All aboard! If you fancy a scenic railway trip while on holiday, you won’t have to leave your pooch behind. There are two steam railway lines in South Devon that welcome dogs including The South Devon Steam Railway which huffs along between Totnes and Buckfastleigh and showcases some beautiful scenery along the way. Or if you fancy a picturesque journey past the colourful beach huts at Broadsands and along the River Dart, Dartmouth Steam Railway which runs from Paignton along the to Kingswear is the perfect way to relax. Your dog is welcome on all services on both railways and may even be issued with their very own ticket!
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