The English Riviera has long been a destination for getaways; the name was given by visitors in the Victorian era as they believed it compared to our neighbours over in France. The warm climate, abundance of palm trees and captivating coastline has been attracting tourists ever since.  

Each town along the coastline offers something different; Torquay boasts a lively harbour side, pretty beaches and buzzing nightlife, Paignton has its historic Pier which stretches along the sand and out to sea, plus amusements arcades, and Brixham offers some of the freshest and most delicious seafood due to its traditional fishing port and famous fish market. It’s also an art and cultural hub with plenty of independent shops.  

If you’re looking to spend some time away by the coast with your family, dogs included, you’ll be happy to know that the English Riviera (or Torbay, by its actual name) is a tremendously pup-friendly place. Read on to find out more about dog-friendly English Riviera.  


The Grand Hotel, Torquay 

Appropriately named, The Grand Hotel is a charming and impressive hotel, standing proudly on the seafront and overlooking the coastline in Torquay. With links to World War II, the Rolling Stones and murder mystery writer, Agatha Christie, The Grand Hotel is particularly iconic in South Devon.  

The rooms are traditionally appointed with all the amenities you may need, some boasting terrific sea-views and many are dog-friendly. 

Mere minutes away is Torquay’s vibrant harbour side complete with a great selection of bars and restaurants along the promenade, which is simply stunning and somewhat reminiscent of harbours you might see elsewhere in Europe. 

Cary Arms & Spa, Babbacombe 

If you’re after a luxurious beach-side stay with your pooch, then look no further than Cary Arms. Picturesquely perched on the beach, this hotel has all the makings for a lavish getaway; stunning rooms with sea views, a beautiful terrace, an elegant spa and fantastic food.  

Choose to stay in the hotel or in one of their chic beach houses, perhaps opt for a cottage if you’re visiting with a larger family. No matter where you decide to stay, you’ll be very well looked after by their welcoming staff. Your pup even receives their own welcome pack complete with treats and a local walks book too. 

Cary Arms sits in Babbacombe, a small resort in Torquay which has plenty of great places to eat and visit. However, you won’t need to travel far to sample some of the delectable delights that Devon has to offer as the restaurant at Cary Arms offer a daily-changing menu to tantalise your taste buds. 

Torquay Holiday Park – Parkdean Resorts, Torquay 

Fancy staying outside of the hustle and bustle of the town centre but still want plenty to keep the whole family entertained? Why not consider Torquay Holiday Park

On-site is a whirlwind of activities for all to experience. Swim and ride the flume in the indoor swimming pool, lose yourself in the atmosphere of a show at the Broadway Club or simply enjoy a glass of wine whilst your little ones burn off some steam in the play park below the Boathouse Bar & Restaurant.  

The park has the perfect balance of off and on- site activities, being just a 15-minute drive away from the English Riviera coastline, if you fancy venturing further out you could visit one of the many great nearby attractions or spend the day at the beach scoffing down fish and chips or tasty Devonshire ice-cream. Doesn’t that sound great? 

Wall Park Touring Caravan & Centry Road Camping Site, Brixham 

A 15-minute amble from Brixham Harbour, Wall Park Touring Caravan & Centry Road Camping Site is a wonderful dog-friendly place to stay with your four-legged friend.  

Located near Berry Head this campsite offers a large, open green space to pitch your tent or park your van, plus there’s plenty of great pubs, restaurants and cafes nearby offering the catch of the day!  

If glamping is more your preference then not to worry as Wall Park have newly built glamping pods equipped with a double bed, power sockets, a microwave, a kettle, toaster and a fridge so you have all the amenities you need for a comfortable getaway. 

Beverley Holidays, Paignton 

Overlooking gorgeous Torbay, Beverley Holidays is an excellent place to stay whether you’re a big family with lots of little ones or simply just a couple looking to book a Devonshire getaway with your fur-babies.  

Choose to pitch up a tent, trek down in your camper, rent a caravan or stay in one of Beverley Holiday’s stunning lodges (with a hot tub for extra relaxation!). On-site is a crazy golf course, several pools; both indoor and outdoor, water zorbs, and so much more. You could spend your whole holiday just on the park! Of course, you won’t want to though as Beverley Holiday’s location it just one of the great things about this place. 

The park boasts unrivalled views of the English Riviera and the closest dog-friendly beach is just a mile away to let your furry friend stretch their legs. Paignton’s town centre is also not too far away, complete with its historic pier and amusement arcades. If you ask us, that’s all the makings of a great seaside getaway!  

We stayed at Beverley Holidays at the end of last year, find out more about the park and our experience here.  

Whitehill Country Park, Paignton 

Covering over 40 acres of luscious green land, Whitehill Country Park is a smidge further inland than the holiday parks above but it’s perfect for those who want to add a dash of countryside to their seaside sojourn. 

Whether you decide to bring along your home for the night in the form of a tent, or choose to glamp in one of Whitehill’s luxury lodges, this rural retreat makes the perfect dog friendly getaway. A large dog exercise area, woodland walks and warm doggy showers are available on- site so your best friend feels just as welcome as you do.   

To stay active during your getaway you could visit the fitness suite or do a couple of laps of the pool. And there’s no need to worry about what you’re going to have for dinner as there’s several places to pick up locally-sourced produce or meals in their shop, bars and restaurants, offering you an authentic taste of the South West.  

Places to Eat 

Venus Café Broadsands, Paignton 

Relax and watch the smiling faces of beachgoers enjoying their day out at the beach at the Venus Café at Broadsands. Located quite literally steps from the beach, Venus Café are an award-winning, environmentally friendly café offering mouth-watering dishes for breakfast, lunch or an early dinner.  

Utilising some of the best produce in the South West, Venus pride themselves to serving fresh dishes and local tipples to sooth your growling tummies. Whether you’re a vegan, pescatarian or a full-blown meat-eater you’ll find something on the menu to blow your taste buds away. They even boast a doggy menu offering nutritious and delicious natural chews and ice-cream – yum!  

The Railway Inn, Brixham 

Conveniently situated next to the Dartmouth Steam Railway station, The Railway Inn is the perfect pit stop for that pre or post-steam train bite to eat with your canine companion. This warm and friendly inn will welcome you with open arms and the tempting aroma of traditional pub grub. 

If you just fancy popping in for a drink you’ll be glad to know that The Railway Inn serves some of the best local real ales, spirits and fine wines, all chosen with care from the best breweries, merchants and distilleries in the region. 

Waterside Inn, Paignton 

If you’ve spent the day at Goodrington Beach running around and swimming with your pups you might be keen to get your chops around a meaty steak, fresh off the grill, or a plate of fish and chips, a staple for any seaside getaway. If so, head to the Waterside Inn! 

The Waterside Inn is your typical pub; plenty of booze to choose from, a pool table to shoot some pockets and a TV to catch up with the latest footy game. However, what’s not typical for a pub is a doggy dinner menu so your hungry hound can dine with you. The Waterside Inn has everything you could want from an alehouse! 

Church House Inn, Marldon 

Draped in history, the Church House Inn dates back to the 1400s and offered accommodation to the artisans working on the Church in Marldon hundreds of years ago. Today, this Grade II listed building is a country pub and restaurant with a fantastic beer garden, perfect for soaking in the sun on a warm day. 

A beamed ceiling and exposed stone walls give such character to this pub, plus dishes made with locally produced ingredients will leave you with full bellies and a smile on your faces. 

Surrounding the pub is the quaint village of Marldon which is close to two historic National Trust castles in Torbay. It’s also en-route to Totnes, another great dog friendly town in Devon. Find out more about Totnes in our dog-friendly blog post here

Rockfish Brixham & Rockfish Torquay 

Seafood lovers will be no stranger to Rockfish, it’s perhaps one of the most prominent seafood restaurants in the South West. If you are a lover of fish but haven’t heard of Rockfish, firstly… why not?! And secondly, you must pay them a visit! They have restaurants dotted all over the region, including in Torquay and Brixham.  

There’s simply nothing better than eating fresh seafood by the sea. Each day Rockfish’s expert team select the best fish directly from the fleet in Brixham, one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world. They prepare and portion it right at the quay and then send it to their restaurants, ready to be cooked, seasoned and served for lunch and dinner.  

You can expect the usual suspects from a seafood restaurant; fish and chips (obviously!) crispy calamari and delicious sweet oysters. If you’re a fish fiend but your travel companion isn’t, then don’t worry, they also offer a few fish-free dishes too! Of course, Rockfish are also dog-friendly.  


Babbacombe Model Village, Babbacombe 

A unique and fun-filled attraction found in Torquay, Babbacombe Model Village not only consists of a beautifully landscaped garden, but also, you guessed it… a model village! However, it’s so much more than your typical model village.  

Alongside over 400 miniature models of historical monuments, local attractions and humorous scenes depicting the little folk going about their days, it also boasts a crazy golf course (regular size for humans to play on!) and several indoor features too. 

Dogs are welcomed here throughout the gardens, indoor displays and gift shops, but they’re not permitted inside the coffee shop. However, if you did want to stop for a hot drink, you can take it outside and drink it on the terrace which overlooks the whole display. It’s simply a day out that everyone will enjoy, grown-ups included! 

Bygones, Torquay 

Upon entering the doors at Bygones you’ll be transported back in time to the Victorian era. Wander through the authentic and life-size Victorian street filled with original artefacts, witness the blacksmith hard at work and smell the treats of the sweetshop. Allow yourself to be fully immersed in this unique attraction.  

As you meander through Bygones you’ll lay witness to the change in times from the reign of Queen Victoria, through both World Wars and into the swinging sixties. A sense of nostalgia can be found all around. Your little ones will thoroughly enjoy learning about historic England and you might even spot familiar items from grandparents and great-grandparents on display. Bygones are dog-friendly throughout so your pups can enjoy the journey through time with you too.  

Berry Head Nature Reserve, Brixham 

An area of historic and natural significance, Berry Head Nature Reserve is a large headland which was once used during the Napoleonic War. Two garrisoned forts, dating back to 1795, were built here to protect Brixham harbour from French invasion and later limestone was quarried here from 1780 to 1970.  

Being a nature reserve, you can expect to find an assortment of plants and animal species that call this place home. If we still haven’t tempted you to head over, the unadulterated and panoramic views from the headland are second to none.  

Dogs are welcome on the nature reserve but may need to be kept on a lead in certain areas where livestock are present.  

Year-Round Dog Friendly Beaches 

The English Riviera boasts a number of year-round dog friendly beaches; Anstey’s Cove, Churston Cove, Fairy Cove, Elberry Cove, Livermead Sands, Maidencombe Beach just to name a few, but below are a couple of our top picks.  

Babbacombe Beach, Torquay 

Set beneath the cliffs at Babbacombe Downs, the beach here is a stunning shingle beach with rockpools to explore and stunning water to swim in. The picturesque and wooded lane from the promenade is quite steep so why not venture down on the newly reopened cliff railway for a unique experience.  

This unspoilt slice of heaven and tranquillity will allow you to forget all your woes and soak up the scenery. Walk along the breakwater and watch the anglers reeling in fish, or give snorkelling a go, you won’t be disappointed with what you can find in the translucent sea! 

Goodrington Beach, Paignton (North Sands) 

Divided into two sections, North and Sound Sands, Goodrington Beach has all the ingredients for a great day at the beach; gorgeous sand, sparkling blue water and flanked by brightly coloured beach huts.  

Dogs are welcomed on the North Sands part of the beach all year round and on the South Sands section from October – April, which brings you peace of mind if you’re hoping to spend the day lapping up the seaside scenery with your furry friend. As with pretty much any beach in the UK, Goodrington has strict anti-fouling rules, but we’re sure that’s a given!  

Fishcombe Cove, Brixham 

If you want to escape the crowds of the bigger beaches in the English Riviera head to Fishcombe Cove. Situated along the coast between Paignton and Brixham, this small shingle beach is peaceful and sheltered by tall cliffs.  

It’s also not uncommon for a seal or two to be spotted here! Just make sure your pooch doesn’t get too excited and run after them as these animals can be unusually friendly! 

Fishcombe Cove can be accessed from the Battery Gardens or from a steep path that leads down from the car park to the beach, passing through the mature Churston Woodland. 

Please also note that the following beaches are only dog-friendly from October – April: Breakwater Beach, Broadsands Beach, Corbyn Head, Hollicombe Beach, Oddicombe Beach, Paignton Sands, Preston Sands, Shoalstone Beach and Torre Abbey Sands. Find more year-round dog friendly beaches in South Devon here.  


Churston & Broadsands, Paignton 

One of the best ways to visit a selection of the beaches that the English Riviera has to offer is via the Churston and Broadsands circular walk.  

Starting at Broadsands Beach, you’ll follow the coastline to Elberry Cove, a shingle inlet with crystal clear water, which is known to have been one Agatha Christie’s favourite beaches.  

From here you’ll pass the ruins of the old bath house and down some steep, narrow steps to Churston Cove. Follow the rocky path along the coastline and visit Fishcombe Cove. Head back to your starting point by venturing through the country lanes towards Churston and back to Broadsands. 

Geopark Walk, Torquay – Brixham 

If you’re unsure what exactly a ‘Geopark’ is, it’s a UNESCO designated area of geological significance intended to converse the geological heritage of a place, and the coastline of Torbay is just that. Just eight sites in the UK hold this status. 

Explore the Geopark by embarking on a walk across the unique and diverse environment with your four-legged friend in tow. Visit the special sites that allowed this area to be designated as such, or simply just enjoy the wonderful scenery along the way via the South West Coast Path. If you’re up for it, you can walk the entire coastline from Torquay to Brixham.   

The Agatha Christie Mile, Torquay 

Walk in the steps of one of the best-selling authors that the world has ever seen. It’s a well-known fact that Agatha Christie was born in Torquay, there’s even an annual festival that celebrates this.  

The Agatha Christie mile is a way-marked route that takes you to some of the places that were inspiration in her life and work with several plaques to find along the way. The Grand Hotel, Torre Abbey Gardens and Princess Pier are just some of the landmarks with links to Agatha Christie you’ll find out more about on this walk.  

This walk is quite short and so it’s great if you have children or small dogs with little feet that may tire easily.  

And there we have it – a round-up of all the dog friendly places to stay, eat and visit in Torbay. If you’re interested in visiting any other dog-friendly towns and cities in South Devon head to the dog friendly section of our blog here.  

Be sure to tag us in any of your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts of you and your pup enjoying the region by tagging @VisitSouthDevon and using the hashtags #VisitSouthDevon and #DogsOfSouthDevon.




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