Striding out on a long walk will be at the top of your dog’s wish list, and there’s no doubt that the South Hams has a great variety to choose from. But while you’re on holiday with your dog why not try something a little different?

Read on – you’re bound to find something memorable for you both . . . 

Dipping your paws in!

For puppies and young dogs a gentle introduction to the sea with a paddle on a sandy beach would make a perfect start to their first seaside holiday. Bantham estuary, Bigbury beach with the natural causeway to Burgh Island, Mill Bay and Sunny Cove beaches all have super soft sand for puppy paws.  In all these places you can park nearby and in a few steps you’re on the beach and ready for that paddle. Find out more about Julie’s jaunt with her dog Charlie on her blog: No Passports Required. Remember to take towels and a picnic too!

Canoeing – you do the paddling and your dog enjoys the scenery!

Singing Paddles has regular paddling sessions with free places for well-behaved dogs. A paddle will include a trip around the peaceful creeks and estuaries of the South Hams. You’re likely to spot some wildlife, then you’ll stop at a small beach for a dip and make hot drinks and cook sausages over an open fire – possibly the best bit of the trip for your dog!

Explore South Devon on Trains, Buses and Boats!

There are two dog-friendly steam train lines to choose from: the South Devon Steam Railway which puffs its way from Totnes to Buckfastleigh with the pretty Dart River and picturesque valley in view for much of the journey; and the Dartmouth Steam Railway which runs from Paignton along the pretty English Riviera Geopark coastline. Your dog is welcome on all services on both railways and may even be issued with their very own ticket! For more unusual travel adventures you can hop on the Round Robin service, a circular tour by steam train, river boat and bus, visiting the towns of Paignton, Dartmouth and Totnes along the way.

Steam Train by the River Dart, South Devon

Dog-friendly Gardens?

There are two National Trust Gardens which welcome dogs: Greenway near Dartmouth and Coleton Fishacre near Kingswear have stunning gardens and you could visit both of them in one day. You’ll enjoy a stroll around the gardens followed by a Devon cream tea in the cafes. Read about Kes the Collie’s relaxed trip to Coleton Fishacre .

Watching (and smelling) wildlife at Slapton Ley

Only a 10-minute drive from Dittiscombe  Slapton Ley is a popular wildlife venue and National Nature Reserve much loved by local residents and their dogs. It’s a freshwater lagoon sitting close to the sea but protected by the shingle ridge of Start Bay. This unique location attracts many resident and migrating birds and mammals, including otters. You can look over Slapton bridge and watch the wildlife float by or take the short stroll along the nature trail, stopping at the information boards, bird hides and viewing points, with plenty of guaranteed wildlife smells for your canine companion to enjoy too.

Slapton Ley, South Devon

Inclement weather?

Why not pitch up in one of the many scenic car parks in the South Hams. Try Bolberry, a National Trust car park with far reaching coastal views; from here you can always stagger the few hundred yards to the dog-friendly restaurant of Ocean Reach for a coffee or spot of lunch. Start Point car park is famous for the sweeping views across Start Bay and, on a clear day, you might see as far as Portland in Dorset! You’ll be spoiled for views if you head to Dartmoor where there are many car parks to sit in and soak up the majestic and dramatic landscape.

One activity for you and one for your dog – shopping and eating of course!

You’ll find plenty of dog-friendliness in all our towns and villages: Kingsbridge, Totnes, Salcombe and Dartmouth all have pretty high streets with an eclectic mix of independent shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants, many of which welcome dogs.  Some eateries go the extra mile and offer a treat – a sausage or biscuit for your dog – whilst you enjoy the local cuisine, perhaps a fabulous Start Bay crab sandwich washed down with a craft beer. You’ll find more eating out suggestions on both our Food & Drink page, and also Ruth’s blog A Dog Friendly Welcome to South Devon.

For your dog-friendly holiday Dittiscombe Holiday Cottages provide a warms welcome to visiting dogs in cottages which sleep 2 to 6 guests. The cottages all have lovely gardens and are surrounded by a 20 acre private estate to walk and play in. Located near Slapton village and the dog-friendly beaches of Start Bay beaches. To find out more and to book a holiday visit Dittiscombe Holiday Cottages or