Charming, upmarket Dartmouth sits on the scenic banks of the River Dart, just a mile or so away from where it flows out into the English Channel. Historic streets are packed with independent shops and eateries, promising hours of relaxed browsing. Elegant buildings and colourful houses line the quayside, stepping up from the waterside like spectators in a theatre, with the comings and goings of boats on the sparkling river providing the show.
A wonderful South Devon destination for a getaway with your pup, there are plenty of dog-friendly things to do in Dartmouth and the surrounding area to keep you occupied for a week or more. Enchanting Dartmouth Castle, delightful neighbouring towns and villages, a brimming programme of events and the rolling Devon countryside provide no end of dog-friendly days out.
So, pocket the dog treats, grab the lead off the hook and put your best paw forward to discover dog-friendly Dartmouth with us. And don’t forget to check out our fabulous selection of Dartmouth cottages which you and your four-legged friend can call home during your stay!
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Great dog-friendly days out in Dartmouth
As you gaze out at the breathtaking estuary views from this stunning fortress, it’s not hard to understand why, over 600 years ago, it was chosen as the perfect location to defend the river. Dartmouth Castle is dog friendly, but it’s definitely one for nimble pups, as there are lots of steps to negotiate! The vista from the battlements at the top of the castle is tremendous, so well worth the effort if you do take on the challenge.
If you have children with you, they’ll no doubt love the huge cannons, exploring the dimly lit passageways and trying on the helmet collection. One of the most intriguing features of the castle is the harbour chain, which once lay across the mouth of the river to be raised in the path of unwelcome ships. Once their route was blocked, they were in prime position to be shot at from the tower.
Why your dog will love it: Inquisitive dogs will have fun sniffing around the ancient nooks and crannies on their lead, while you admire the view!
If you’re on the hunt for dog-friendly things to do in Dartmouth and your dog’s got their sea legs, a cruise onboard the Greenway and Dittisham ferry is a great activity. Choose from a selection of sailings depending on what you have in mind for your day out. You can visit Agatha Christie’s Greenway House, where your pup is welcome to join you for a stroll on the lead around the gardens and woodland (but not inside the house, unfortunately).
You can also hop on board and sail over to the quaint village of Dittisham, or take an hour-long river cruise to admire the scenery along the tranquil River Dart.
Why your dog will love it: Like us, our four-legged friends have a keen sense of adventure, so the chance to set sail for pastures new is sure to go down a (doggy) treat!
Bayards Cove Fort
In Dartmouth, historic attractions are ten a penny, and Bayard’s Cove Fort is yet another fascinating fortification that overlooks the beautiful Dart Estuary. If invading vessels happened to slip past Dartmouth and Kingswear castles unhindered, Bayard’s Cove Fort was the last point of defence, with heavy guns to bombard daring enemy ships.
Now reduced to atmospheric ruins, the Tudor fort can only be reached on foot – the perfect excuse to pop your pup on the lead and head off in search of adventure…and views!
Your dog will love it here: A dog-friendly attraction AND walkies – is this the perfect day out?
Dartmouth Steam Railway
Activities for adventurous canines are around every corner in Dartmouth, and what could be more exciting than a trip aboard a steam train! Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company offer a range of rail and sail combinations, including the well-loved ‘Round Robin’ which includes train, boat and bus around Paignton, Dartmouth and Totnes.
Why your dog will love it: It’s not every day that they’re allowed to board three different modes of transport by your side!
Dartmouth Escape Rooms
If you’re looking for something a little bit different to do during your stay in South Devon, why not book an experience with Dartmouth Escape Rooms? Detectives of the four-legged variety are welcome to join you as you attempt to work your way through a series of clues to solve themed mysteries.
Why your dog will love it: Your dog is sure to enjoy the thrill of being the Scully to your Mulder, the Watson to your Sherlock, the Thyme to your Rosemary….see where we’re going with this?
The best dog walks near Dartmouth
Take in some of the scenery along the River Dart and the town of Dartmouth itself on this up and down walk. Starting at Dartmouth Station, it’s not long before the climb out of town reveals views of the glittering estuary. Further on, you’ll be treated to glimpses of Start Point and the lighthouse in the distance.
The last part of the route follows the coast path back into town, skirting the cliffs, passing hidden coves and covering varied terrain from green lanes to woodland. If you’ve still got some energy in your legs from the challenging route, you can take a detour down the steps to enchantingly named Sugary Cove, or continue on back into Dartmouth, past dog-friendly Dartmouth Castle, for a well-earned refreshment in one of the many cafes.
Why your dog will love it: With lots of interesting ascents and descents, this is a great trail for an energetic dog who loves to stretch their legs.
Dartmouth Mayflower Heritage Trail
3 sections between 0.7 miles and 1.8 miles
The 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower to America was marked by the creation of a set of three walking routes around Dartmouth, together forming the Mayflower Heritage Trail. There is a free app which you can use to discover the story of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims who travelled aboard, as well as details of the routes and a map.
Passing iconic sites such as Bayards Cove Fort and Dartmouth Castle, as well as taking in some beautiful views, this isn’t your average dog walk!
Why your dog will love it: While the history might go over their head, they’ll be more than content to sniff out some new smells and see some new sights en route!
Diamond Jubilee Way
If you’re looking for dog walks in Dartmouth which combine both coast and countryside, this stunning route which was formed to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee ticks all the right boxes. The walk itself takes the shape of a diamond, beginning at Little Dartmouth Farm and passing through countryside and woodland, taking in Dartmouth Castle too.
Why your dog will love it: The glorious countryside is one of Devon’s most celebrated assets, and your dog is sure to enjoy discovering why!
Dartmouth dog-friendly beaches
Sugary Cove and Castle Cove
Dogs allowed all year round
We’ve paired up these two dog-friendly beaches near Dartmouth, because they are riverside neighbours, just beyond Dartmouth Castle, facing into the river estuary. Access to the tiny coves is for intrepid dogs and their owners only, as there are many steep steps to get down to them.
Castle Cove is completely submerged at high tide, but time it right and you’ll find a peaceful and magical setting, with views of the castle. Sugary Cove is a little beach of sand and shingle, inspiring for artists and photographers alike.
Why your dog will love it: Off the beaten track, these little beaches are true gems for the pooch who’s passionate about exploring!
Strete Gate Beach
Dogs allowed all year round
Just 6.5 miles from Dartmouth, this shingle stretch makes a good summer alternative to Blackpool Sands which is another beach close to Dartmouth where dogs are banned between Easter and November. Strete Gate Beach lies at the northern end of the extensive Slapton Sands. If you’re feeling energetic, you can walk the full 3 miles to Torcross along the shingle spit which separates the freshwater lake of Slapton Ley from the sea. Don’t be shocked if you come across naturists along the way, as the northernmost part of the beach is a popular spot to bare all in the summer!
There’s plenty of parking and you might even find a coffee van in the car park serving up hot drinks and baked goods to fuel your walk.
Why your dog will love it: Games of fetch and zoomies are on the cards as they can enjoy mile-upon-mile of unbridled exercise!
Dogs allowed all year round
Further south along the coast from Torcross is Beesands, a long beach of small pebbles where you can take your pup for an exhilarating run before retiring to the cosy Cricket Inn to reward yourselves with a slap-up meal – it’s dog-friendly, of course! If you enjoy bird watching, behind the beach is a freshwater lake known as Widdecombe Ley where you may be in with a chance of spotting Great Crested Grebe and Cetti’s warblers among many other species.
Why your dog will love it: A walk with a pub stop en route? Yes please!
Welcoming dog-friendly pubs in Dartmouth
Bayards Cove Inn
Bayards Cove Inn occupies the oldest building in Dartmouth. It’s a wonderfully cosy dog-friendly pub where you can enjoy anything from a cup of coffee to a mouthwatering burger or fish dish. They’re open for breakfast right through to the evening for meals and sundowner drinks. They also do a cracking Devon cream tea – topping your scone with cream first, then jam is a Devon tradition!
Why your dog will love it: Cosy and warm, this pub oozes relaxed vibes from every weathered wood beam – what better place for a kip at your feet? When it comes to top dog-friendly restaurants in Dartmouth, this is a strong contender!
Café Alf Resco
Bursting with character, Café Alf Resco serves up local food and drink all day and evening. Freshly prepared dishes can be enjoyed inside or in the undercover al fresco dining area. Chat, listen to live music at the weekends or pore over a newspaper with your breakfast and morning coffee – it’s all about relaxing at Café Alf Resco, one of the favourite dog-friendly cafes in Dartmouth.
Why your dog will love it: There’s a choice of indoor and outdoor tables, so whatever the weather, they’ll find a comfortable spot to watch the world go by.
Another enchantingly old building, The Cherub is a great choice if you’re looking for dog-friendly pubs in Dartmouth. The talented chefs whip up weekly specials, always featuring seafood straight from the boat – the Dartmouth crab is a special local delicacy! Enjoy delicious fare with your four-legged friend by your side, and don’t forget to snap a photo as you leave, as the endearingly crooked building festooned in hanging baskets is a beautiful sight!
Why your dog will love it: They’ll be following in the footsteps of many pups before them, and may even make a new friend or two!
If it’s a light bite you’re after, follow your nose to sample the tempting freshly baked goods at French bakery and café Saveurs. Homemade French bread, pastries, cakes and chocolates make up a tantalising spread, expertly crafted by authentic French owners Julien and Guylaine.
Why your dog will love it: Super-friendly staff and the aroma of baking in the air make this a lovely place to stop on a w-a-l-k around the town.
For more dog-friendly things to do on your Dartmouth holiday, take a look at our Canine guide to Devon.
Lovely dog-friendly cottages near Dartmouth
The best cottage for wonderful views
Sleeps 3 dogs and 12 humans
Imagine gazing out over the glorious River Dart from the comfort of the sofa, sipping your morning coffee as sailing boats and pleasure craft glide peacefully past. Bright and spacious, with an open-plan lounge/kitchen/diner and character in spades, this luxurious riverside abode is the perfect retreat for three canine pals and their families and friends. A picturesque leafy garden with inviting patio for al fresco dining makes for relaxed evenings in the warmer months, while in cooler weather you can cosy up in front of the wood burner and admire the view from the warmth.
Why your dog will love it: Not only are there wonderful riverside walks all around, the nearby dog-friendly pub, The Ferry Boat Inn, is also within walking distance.
The best cottage for countryside walkies
Sleeps 2 dogs and 7 humans
Set within lush, rolling countryside in a gated development, just 3 miles from Dartmouth and Brixham, Windward Cottage is a beautiful place for an escape with family and friends. A spacious open-plan lounge/kitchen/diner offers plenty of room for guests to spend time together and with two patio gardens to choose from, your pups will be spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor space.
Why your dog will love it: The gardens are sure to be the most stand-out feature for discerning doggy guests. And being equidistant between Dartmouth and Brixham means that you’ll have plenty of walks and destinations to explore including St Mary’s Bay and Breakwater Beach.
We have a wonderful selection of dog-friendly cottages close to Dartmouth, from which you can enjoy days out on the river, roaming the countryside and exploring the coast. Return to the haven of your cosy cottage for relaxing evenings and lazy mornings, spending time together with your loved ones and making the most of a well-earned holiday!
Whether you’re looking for a fabulous large house to accommodate a pack of pups and their owners, or a small-but-perfectly-formed hideaway for a couple and their four-pawed friend, you’re sure to be tempted by one of our Dartmouth cottages.
Dartmouth dog-friendly cottages
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.