The Canine guide to North Devon holiday cottages


The Canine guide to North Devon

Courtney Kelly 26 June 2023

With the breathtaking South West Coast Path and the varied landscapes of Exmoor National Park, North Devon has to be one of the best places to visit with your dog.

Many of the beaches have no dog restrictions and there are ample walks to tire you out, plus dog-friendly eateries on offer to satisfy the bellies of both canines and humans.

Continue reading to uncover all you need to know about dog-friendly North Devon or click the button below to start your cottage search straight away.

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Top pubs for top dogs in North Devon

Beer garden at the manor and two dogs at the Manor and the Williams ArmsPhoto credits: @montymoz2020 (top left), @themanorcroyde (bottom left), @milo_the_big_red_dog (right)

Spending time in a pub with friends is great but it’s even better if your four-pawed pal is there as well. Having that constant companion that accompanies you to the bar can be a conversation starter or, at the very least, provide a pleasant distraction as you wait for your pints to be drawn.

If the pub has a beer garden, you and the pooch are in heaven. You can sit at a table and stroke his head before he goes off searching for new smells in the grassy wonderland that no doubt contains other intrepid canine explorers. Check out three of our favourite North Devon pubs.

Our top dog-friendly pubs in North Devon

  • The Thatched Inn, Abbotsham – located in a quiet village just outside Bideford, this welcoming pub accepts dogs in the bar area as well as in its fantastic beer garden, some of which is covered.
  • The Manor House Inn, Croyde – this family-friendly (as well as dog-friendly) inn is under 1 mile from famous Croyde Bay and welcomes dogs into the bar area and outside spaces. Look out for the dog station with water bowls and dog biscuits.
  • The Williams Arms, Braunton – a 16th-century thatched inn with lots of outdoor seating, this dog-friendly pub also welcomes pooches into its bar area.

If you’re keen to find more dog-friendly pubs in North Devon where your poochy pal can sit under your table and wait for a treat or head out to the garden to rest in the sun after an exhilarating walk, tap the button below.

Top days out with your pup in North Devon

The cliff railway, Arlington Court and Ilfracombe Harbour

The last thing you want when arriving at an attraction that you and the kids have been talking about all holiday, is to find out that they don’t accept dogs. All that happens then is that you have a solemn drive back to square one. And it’s not Fido’s fault.

That’s why it’s best to plan ahead and find out which North Devon attractions are dog friendly so that your bright-eyed fluffball can join in the fun on your day out. Below are three of the best dog-friendly days out in North Devon for a pawsome good time.

Our top dog-friendly days out in North Devon

  • Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway – hop aboard the steepest water-powered railway in the world with your pup in your lap or by your side
  • Arlington Court – although dogs aren't allowed in the stately home, the dog-friendly National Trust grounds are vast and you'll find new walkies to embark upon every time you visit
  • Ilfracombe Princess – jump aboard the big yellow boat and take in some pawe-inspiring coastal views and maybe even catch sight of a no-eared-sea-dog (aka a seal)

There are so many more amazing days out for dogs in North Devon; that was just a taster, a morsel. To discover even more, read our full guide below.

Sniff out the best dog walks in North Devon

Valley of the Rocks, Heddon's Mouth and the Tarka Trail

Recent research has shown that humans have been taking their dogs for walkies for around 7,500 years so there is quite clearly something about that bonding time between those on two legs and four that has stood the test of time.

North Devon has so many exciting routes to show your best friend a good time whilst also treating your own senses to experiences you won’t soon forget. From waterfall walks to woodland strolls and long-distance hikes to short circulars, North Devon has something for everyone and their dogs.

Our top dog-friendly walks in North Devon

  • Lynton and the Valley of Rocks – with plenty of cliffs to climb, this is one for brave dogs. The views are spectacular and the wild goats are a sight to behold.
  • Heddon's Mouth circular walk – this 2-mile circular is perfect for pups who love to be by the sea. It also passes through some wonderful woodland before reaching the coast.
  • Tarka Trail walks – this 180-mile trail is level and easy to traverse. It passes through forests and nature reserves and follows large sections of coastline.

With the South West Coast Path spanning the entire North Devon coastline, you’ll never be short of an exciting dog walk. And that’s without taking into account the incredible countryside and woodland strolls further inland. Find out more about these North Devon walks as well as some rambles in the wider Devon area in our handy guide below.

Get sandy at these top beaches in North Devon

Saunton Sands, Westward Ho! and Hele Bay

Devon has somewhere in the region of 130 beaches with North Devon boasting its fair share of that number. Many of its scintillating shores are world-renowned and the vast majority of them accept dogs all year round with zero restrictions.

A handful of beaches impose restrictions during the summer months and other busy times, but these sands are well worth the trip out of season. Only three North Devon beaches have a complete ban on furry rascals, showing that this part of the county truly is an excellent dog-friendly destination.

Our top dog-friendly beaches in North Devon

  • Saunton Sands – one of the best-loved beaches in the UK, let alone Devon, this amazing stretch of sand even had its own dog surfing school until recently.
  • Westward Ho! – even though the south end has restrictions during the summer, the beach is so vast, you’ll have no issue finding some room for zoomies. The water laps gently onto the shore and the entire beach is backed by an impressive pebble ridge.
  • Hele Bay – perfect for those dogs who don’t like crowds, this sand and shingle beach has plenty of rock pools to investigate and smugglers’ caves to explore at low tide.

There are so many more incredible beaches in North Devon besides these three. Read our guide below to find out where they all are, what restrictions they may have and which three beaches to avoid.

Top dog-friendly North Devon destinations

Ilfracombe, Exmoor and Woolacombe

By now, you’ve probably got a good idea of where you want to visit and the places you wish to dine whilst on your North Devon getaway. However, where are you going to base yourself, where are you going to call home for the next week or two?

This decision can take into account many factors. Do you want to be near a beach? Do you long for long countryside walks? Does your pup prefer quieter locations?  Here are a few options for you to get the decision-making process moving along swimmingly.

Our top dog-friendly destinations in North Devon

  • Ilfracombe – with numerous dog-friendly beaches, as well as shops, pubs and restaurants that welcome four-legged friends, this coastal town is a delight for dog owners.
  • Woolacombe – with an enviable beach, several dog-friendly eateries and incredible walks to explore, this large village is a seaside resort you won’t regret visiting.
  • Exmoor – still featuring some spectacular coastline but also comprising some astonishing inland countryside, this national park treats you and Rover to the best of both worlds.

If you need more inspiration, take a look at our Canine guide to Devon.

Self-catering stays in dog-friendly North Devon

The reasons above are but a handful of excuses to visit dog-friendly North Devon. Stay in one of our beautiful cottages and find your own motivations to return to this outstanding part of the UK time and time again.

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.

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