With five official areas of National Outstanding Beauty, a beautiful coastline, and an endless supply of Devonshire cream teas (with jam definitely on top!), it’s no wonder that dog-friendly Devon is consistently rated one of the best areas in the UK to visit. Once you visit Devon, you’ll keep coming back; there is an organic quality to the landscapes, the coastline has that unique, untouched feel, and the local produce is marvellous. You don’t have to look far to find fantastic cider, cheese, wine and artisan bakeries, and the Dartmoor National Park is a luxury playground. Follow old railway tracks and discover the unique Dartmoor Tors, which your dog will love scampering about on, and definitely make it over to Becky Falls, an All Four Paws favourite. Beautiful surroundings, coupled with cosy lodging and good food, makes Devon one of our top spots to visit with pup in tow.
Let sleeping dogs lie in South Devon, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Whitehouse in the leafy village of Chillington is a boutique, contemporary-styled Georgian bed and breakfast offering all the comforts of a home away from home. All of the Whitehouse’s six bedrooms are dog-friendly (allowing 1 dog per room) and the hotel is a short walk from Devon’s craggy coast. We also love South Devon’s The Cary Arms, which is right on the coast. Their two dog-friendly hotels rooms, Rear Admiral and Commander, both have sea-facing balconies, but we particularly love the three Cary Arms elegant beach huts that boast panoramic views of Lyme Bay to Portland Bill along the Jurassic Coast.
Head towards East Devon, famed for its affluent and idyllic countryside. It was also the home of crime writer Agatha Christie, who once described Devon as the ‘loveliest place in the world’, before using the moors and quiet parklands as inspiration for her writing. She penned her novels from her house on the beautiful River Dart (which now belongs to the National Trust), a location that would even make Poirot’s moustache quiver. Nearby Dittisham is also particularly picturesque, and sailing town Salcombe is lovely, too. Treat yourself to some fantastic views from the Salcombe Harbour Hotel, which overlooks the estuary and quayside. There are heated indoor pools, a cinema and spa, and balcony baskets (including blankets) are provided. Dogs are allowed in all the rooms and around the hotel except the dining areas – but with so many local options, you won’t mind dining out.
A favourite dining hotspot right in Salcombe has to be the Winking Prawn, a lovely, airy beach restaurant that welcomes our four-legged friends. Shabby chic in character, the interiors are exactly what you want when at the beach: old wooden beams, distressed paint work and bright decorations. The fish here is fantastic (think buckets of fresh prawns), and there’s a lovely sunny terrace.
If you’re after a good coffee and some breakfast while in Dartmouth, look no further than Cafe Alf Resco, a vibrant and quirky cafe with a colourful menu and a large selection of freshly squeezed drinks. Dogs are more than welcome here. For dinner in Dartmouth, definitely try the Seahorse Restaurant that sits on the banks of the River Dart. Serving some of the finest seafood in the country, the Seahorse is known for its wide array of fish, most of which is prepared over an open charcoal fire (we recommend the spider crab.) The wine list is also exquisite and, more importantly, they welcome dogs in the bar area.
Devon has some truly amazing outdoor areas that both you and your dog will love exploring. So if you’re keen to explore Dartmoor more, you can try the perfectly situated Hotel Endsleigh in Milton Abbot. This converted 1811 Regency shooting lodge combines tradition with contemporary. It is beautifully decorated with elegant patterns and colours inspired by the local parkland and river wildlife. There’s just a small paw fee, but dogs are permitted in all the rooms and everywhere else except the dining area. The garden area is simply beautiful, with classically elegant flora, and there’s even a croquet pitch and pool of trout.
The beaches in Devon are hard to beat. Beaches Instow and Saunton in the north and East Portlemouth, Beesands and Shelley in the south allow dogs total freedom all year round. The other beaches change their dog-friendly status in the summer months which is worth bearing in mind – and these restrictions are clearly signposted. The rock pools in Devon are dog heaven. Your pup will have a great time splashing around.
With so much to see and do in dog-friendly Devon, it’s no wonder people keep coming back for more. If it was good enough for Agatha, it’s good enough for us!