St Ives is one of the most popular places to visit in Cornwall. Over 250 thousand people flocked to the picturesque harbour town in 2019/20. It’s famous for its art galleries, including The Tate and Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden and has been the inspiration for artists including Bernard Leach’s pottery, Ben Nicholson and Ben Wallis. Fortunately there are plenty of dog friendly things to do in St Ives, whether you’re visiting just for the day or staying in one of the many coastal cottages in the town.
DOGSCLOSURE: This blogpost is sponsored by Dog Friendly Cottages. All recommendations and opinions are my own.
St Ives can be quite chaotic in summer, as it’s the most popular time to visit. It can be overwhelming for dogs (and their owners!) so you may want to consider visiting when it’s a little quieter. We love nothing more than wandering through the cobbled streets during winter, taking in the twinkling Christmas lights and enjoying a quiet meal in the harbour. Visiting Cornwall with your dog in winter (the majority of the photos in this post were taken around November time) is a totally different experience but no less charming.
Walks and Beaches
Cornwall’s Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) was updated in 2020, which resulted in the majority of beaches being dog friendly in the evenings throughout the year. There are still seasonal restrictions between May and September between 10am and 6pm though, which includes the majority of beaches in St Ives. The tidal beach at Bamaluz is the only exception but is only accessible at low tide.
For dogs that prefer more space to run and play, hop in the car for 10 minutes and head to Porthkidney Sands. You can even walk here via the South West Coast Path from St Ives. It’s a beautiful, fairly flat walk through the dunes and down to the sandy beaches. Fun fact: Porthkidney is the only beach where Woody will actually play fetch with us in the whole of Cornwall!
If you’re looking for somewhere quieter, away from other dogs, I highly recommend booking the secure dog field at Natural Cornish Pet in nearby St Erth. The zoo grade 6ft mesh fencing is well maintained and regularly checked for holes. There’s even a small woodland, water supply and seating area inside the secure field. So you can enjoy a cup of coffee while your dog safely goes off to explore.
Dog Friendly Days Out
Like many seaside towns, St Ives is the perfect base for day hikes along the South West Coast Path. The path is stunning but technical to the west, towards Zennor and The Penwith Heritage Coast. You’ll definitely need proper walking boots if you’re heading this way! Alternatively, if you drive to Botallack the path is much flatter with the added bonus of old mining architecture scattered along the coastline.
Geevor Tin Mine in Pendeen was the last mine to work in the St Just Mining District. When it closed in 1990 it had produced over 50,000 tonnes of black tin. The site is now a heritage museum and tourist attraction. Dogs are welcome throughout the site (apart from inside the underground mines!) and it’s a great day out for all the family. For adventures further afield, St Ives is ideally situated for days out in Penzance, including St Michael’s Mount, Land’s End and Porthleven.
Places to Eat
Fortunately the majority of pubs in Cornwall are dog friendly; something I definitely think should be the norm UK wide! We recently enjoyed a meal at The Lifeboat Inn, which is based in the heart of the harbour. Part of the St Austell Brewery group, the pub serves a variety of Cornish lagers, ales and ciders including Pear Rattler, which is my all time favourite!
Hubbox originally started as a shipping container in Truro. They’ve since expanded across the south west. Their St Ives restaurant is based in the harbour and serves a wide range of award winning burgers, craft beers and cocktails. Dogs are welcome to join their owners at Hubbox, though you’ll likely get begging eyes from under the table when they see the size of your locally sourced Cornish beef burger!
A trip to St Ives wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Willy Waller’s Ice Cream Factory. There are over 30 extravagant flavours to choose from and don’t get me started on the toppings. Be wary of the seagulls, as they’re known to swoop down and steal a bite, or the whole cone if you’re not careful!
For a lighter snack on the go you can’t beat a good old Cornish Pasty. The St Ives Bakery is hidden down the cobbled streets of Fore Street. You can purchase a wide range of artisanal breads, cakes and of course pasties from this independently, family run bakery.
Where to Stay
As an owner of two spaniels myself, it’s often a challenge to find high quality multiple dog friendly accommodation when we go away. Fortunately Dog Friendly Cottages have got you covered! Many of their properties allow up to three dogs. You can also search through by town, county or number of pets you’d like to bring along! If you’re looking for dog friendly accommodation in St Ives, it’s well worth giving Dog Friendly Cottages a go. For a couple’s weekend away with one dog, I recommend The Drift. However if you’re looking to travel with family or friends, why not check out Una Argentum 61 or Trecarrack?
You can even search by property feature, including wifi, parking, enclosed gardens and even a hot tub or when you’re feeling extra fancy. Their website covers the whole of the UK, with over a thousand dog friendly properties located in Cornwall alone!
What are your favourite dog friendly places to visit in St Ives? Which walks would you recommend?
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