Thursday, 12 June 2014

Holiday hounds head to Cornwall

Last week we went back to Cornwall, to one of our favourite dog-friendly holiday spots.

We stayed in ‘Beau Tunnel’ the wonderful converted Nissen hut at Boturnell Farm Cottages near Liskeard. There were plenty of other dog-families staying on the farm, but our nearest neighbours were the chickens (and ducks and guinea fowl).

Boturnell Farm is very dog-friendly in a refreshingly realistic way. For example, nobody pretends that dogs who are allowed on the furniture at home are going to stay off it for a whole week while they’re on holiday. Instead, they provide throws instead so that dogs and humans can relax (although I always take a load of my own throws too – you can never have too many with four dogs about). You can take as many dogs on holiday as you like at no extra charge, and there’s a lovely wood on site where they can scamper to and fro sniffing the country air. We’ve stayed there a few times and we’ll definitely be going back for more. I especially love Beau Tunnel because of its curved, ribby walls, which make me feel as if I’m inside a whale or something.

Boturnell is a fantastic base for exploring Cornwall’s dog-friendly delights and its website includes a handy list of dog-friendly beaches and days out in the area, so you can get some ideas about what to do before you go. We started with a visit to the Cheesewring on Bodmin Moor, where the dogs were delighted to discover the smells of sheep, rabbits and horses as well as the amazing views from the granite tor. 

We stopped off at the Cheesewring Hotel, which proudly claims to be the highest pub in Cornwall, in the village of Minions. Here, the sheep roam the village streets and graze on the green, and we sat outside the pub to watch them. The dogs were unfazed and managed not to bark at the sheep, and were rewarded by some fuss from passers-by and some biscuits from the pub staff.

We also drove out to Cremyll, to explore the gorgeous Mount Edgcumbe Country Park which has oodles of walks to enjoy and loads of gardens, including a lovely dog cemetery with gravestones dating back more than a century. Once you tear yourself away from the park you can take the Cremyll ferry to Plymouth, but we decided to top the day off with a pint by the river instead, at the dog-friendly Edgcumbe Arms pub.

No holiday is complete without a visit to a castle, in my opinion, so next we headed to beautiful Lostwithiel to walk around the battlements of Restormel Castle which dates back to the 13th century – the views were amazing. This castle was built more for show than for defence, but it still played its part in the civil war. It’s pretty well preserved and if you look down from the battlements you get a really good idea of the rooms below.

There was so much to do. As well as visiting these lovely places, we ran around on various beaches in the glorious sunshine (or at one point heavy rain – this is an English summer after all), and ate delicious pasties and ice cream on the sea front in Looe. The dogs enjoyed some fuss in the pasty shop here, and we even found a shop that sells ice cream for dogs! For the last day of our holiday, we took advantage of the fine weather and spent hours exploring the coastal path around Polruan. Then we went back to relax in the pretty little garden outside our cottage, sharing some quality time with Mr and Mrs Chicken who seemed to like hanging around in the field nextdoor.

So, all in all that was a brilliant holiday and everyone had a lovely time. I always think of Cornwall as a very welcoming place for dogs and their people, but every time I visit I’m pleasantly surprised all over again by just how dog-friendly it is. We're still discovering more places we can visit together and I can’t wait to go back there.

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