Your guide to exploring all the county has to offer with your four-legged friend. By Viki Wilson editor of dogfriendlycornwall.net
Last summer, I decided to start writing a blog inspired by my large over-friendly Newfoundland Rosie. The idea was inspired by a rather inauspicious email exchange with an accommodation provider who told me enthusiastically that their apartments were dog friendly, but recinded the invitation for me to bring Rosie when they learned that she was a rather large dog.
It occurred to me that there is a difference between businesses which are dog tolerant, in order to take you booking, and those which are genuinely dog friendly, and that having a job which takes me all over the county, meeting retailers and business owners and to hotels, restaurants and exploring new walks, I was in a good position to share my discoveries with my fellow dog lovers.
To my delight, the ‘dog blog’, has become a huge success, with an audience of tens of thousands and dedicated followers who write to me about everything from lost dogs to pubs we should add and who send in wonderful photographs of their dogs enjoying Cornwall. We’ve stayed at and reviewed incredible properties such as Polpier, Mevagissey owned by the incredibly dog friendly Amanda Hines who told me simply that I was not allowed to visit unless I brought Rosie.
For now, we’d like to share with you a lovely day out offered by Finesse Chauffeurs, equally dog loving, and in fact, one of the first businesses to jump on board by offering Rosie a chauffeur driven Poldark inspired tour around Cornwall
Finesse Chauffeurs, based in Par, offer a sight-seeing tours all over Cornwall in a smooth and luxurious Chrysler which can seat up to five people and a dog. It is a really wonderful day out.
Our tour began when Rosie, along with me, my husband Adam, son Jem and daughter Carys, were picked up at our home by Mark Hollis who was Rosie’s chauffeur for the day and his wife Nicola. They had everything for Rosie including a belt to clip into the seatbelt and onto her harness, bowls for water and they had thought out the best way to arrange the seating so we all had plenty of space. We also had water, biscuits, Wi-Fi and USB ports in the car, plus silent and beautifully effective air-conditioning. It really is a luxurious and comfortable ride.
Once we were all sitting comfortably, we set off. Our first stop was Gunwalloe. The shipwreck scenes in the first Poldark series were filmed here. Nicola had lots of information about the beautiful church here, with its appropriate engraving ‘Church of the Storms’. Church Cove has a summer dog ban, but Dollar Cove right next to it allows dogs, so it was the ideal stop off for us to enjoy a stroll by the sea and for Rosie to stretch her paws. We stopped for an ice cream and Rosie had lots of attention from passers by.
Back in the car, we swooped very smoothly into the far west, enjoying views of Mounts Bay and St Michael’s Mount as we headed towards the Levant to Botallack stretch of coast near St Just which is dotted with beautiful old mining buildings. We drove up to Levant mine, part of the Cornish Mining Heritage site. There is car parking here and a lovely walk beyond the mining buildings set on the coast here. This was where the scenes portraying the fictional Tressiders Rolling Mill where filmed while Wheal Owles near Botallack starred as Ross Poldark’s Wheal Leisure. We enjoyed exploring the beautiful coast path here before hopping back into the car for our next destination — lunch
The road from Levant and Pendeen up to St Ives here is known as one of the most scenic drives in the UK. It offers views of the rugged moor inland, standing stones and sweeping views over the Atlantic ocean to the north. There are lots of dog friendly places to stop for lunch here, including the Gurnard’s Head. We drove slightly further on to the wonderful Tinner’s Arms in Zennor, which is also dog friendly (dogs need to be on a lead). We enjoyed a lovely Sunday lunch with a sea view here in the sunshine.
Our next destination was St Agnes Head, the area used to represent the Nampara Valley, part of Poldarks’ family estate. Unfortunately, an accident meant the road was closed, but Nicola and Mark’s tours are designed to be flexible to suit changing circumstances and requests, so plan B, to head to Charlestown was put into practice. We drove through the fascinating China Clay country to this beautiful harbour near St Austell which has been used in many films and TV shows. Here there are lots of lovely cafes, galleries and shops. Rosie had been absolutely relaxed in the Chrysler all day, enjoying regular stops along the way, so she was very happy to get yet more attention in Charlestown before hopping back into her chauffeur driven car for the ride home.
It was a truly a wonderful day. You get to enjoy spectacular scenery that you simply don’t take in if you are driving yourself. You can enjoy a glass of wine or a pint along the way, and travel in real comfort to places that you probably don’t venture too. Nicola shared lots of fascinating information with us about Cornish emmigrants, mining heritage as well as interesting facts about the filming of Poldark. It is also a really lovely thing to be able to take your dog with you. It is not just the case that we didn’t have to leave Rosie at home all day, but she really enjoyed herself. We’re very sure that you will too if you give it a try.
Tours cost from £120 for half a day and £200 for one day.