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Dog-friendly Wales holiday cottages

Dog-friendly Wales

Kate Atkin 19 February 2018

We believe holidays are for sharing with our four-legged best friends. We are a nation of dog lovers, and there is simply nothing better than seeing our canine companions happy and enjoying the fresh air and freedom of a wide sandy beach or the countryside.

With ancient woodland for pups to explore and play fetch, golden sandy beaches to bury their treasured toys and a wealth of warm and cosy pubs for them to rest their paws by the fire, Wales has it all. From the magnificent mountains and glittering lakes of Snowdonia to the vast open spaces and craggy peaks of the Brecon Beacons, Wales is ideal for a dog-friendly holiday at any time of the year.

To help you to get to know this wonderful holiday destination better, we have created a guide to give you some inspiration for a dog-friendly Welsh getaway. Discover where you can take your dog as part of a family day out from castles to steam railway journeys and even underground in caves. We have also suggested some of the best pubs and eating places where dogs are welcomed with open arms, so you can be sure your pooch’s tail doesn’t stop wagging!


Wales is famous for its wide-open spaces with plenty of room for your pooch to walk, run and even swim along the spectacular 850-mile coastline. Enjoy an adventure-packed break, explore historical trails and stroll along woodland trails, or simply relax and take in some breath-taking sea and countryside views with your canine companion.

Play frisbee on the beach

There are some fantastic dog friendly beaches in Wales and although some have seasonal restrictions, the following beautiful options have no restrictions at all, so are perfect for furry frolics all year round. Please remember that beaches where no dog restrictions apply usually have no lifeguard service, so if you fancy a swim, please take extra care of the tide and deep water.

North Wales:

In North Wales enjoy long walks on the wide, sandy bay of Conwy Morfa, with plenty of space to chase a stick and splash in the waves. Not only will dogs love this beach, but it is also ideal for humans interested in fishing or birdwatching. The nearby historic town of Conwy offers several dog-friendly pubs and restaurants to grab a bite to eat afterwards including The Blue Bell, The Bridge Inn and the Castle View pub.

Watch the sun set behind the magnificent 250-year old lighthouse on a relaxing evening walk with your four-legged friend on Talacre Beach. Located at the northernmost point of mainland Wales, this RSPB nature reserve boasts fantastic birdwatching opportunities. Take the circular walk along the beach, past the lighthouse and back through the spectacular sand dunes. At the end of your walk enjoy a welcome drink at the nearby Smugglers Inn, which is also dog-friendly.

Pups will love racing along the wide sand and shingle beach at Afon Wen on the south coast of Llyn Peninsula near Criccieth. The shallow gradient makes it perfect for a doggy paddle.

West Wales:

A great beach in West Wales to visit with your dog and enjoy some off-lead fun is Broad Haven South beach, a long, sandy bay backed by beautiful dunes and rugged coastline. Access is by a National Trust car park and there are some lovely walks to delight your companion along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

Little noses will be in their element exploring the rockpools of Cwmtydu beach in Ceredigion. Surrounded by a deep woodland valley, it is perfect for long walkies along the Ceredigion Coast Path and appreciating breath-taking views across Cardigan Bay. It is said that the beach used to be a hideaway for smugglers as it is so quiet and secluded.

The picture-postcard town of Aberaeron has two beaches, on either side of the harbour. The north beach is the rockier of the two but has no dog restrictions so is perfect for dogs to feel the sea breeze through their fur. Soft sand is exposed at low tide and your walk can be extended along the Ceredigion section of the Wales Coast Path, which runs next to the beach.

South Wales:

Make your dog’s dreams come true with a trip to ‘the UK’s No.1 dog-friendly beach’. Rhossili Bay beach in Swansea has won countless awards and accolades due to its three miles of pristine sands, and incomparable views. If you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of seals and dolphins.

The sandy cove of Jackson’s Bay, backed by cliffs and greenery, offers soft, golden sand, perfect for sandcastles whether your dog prefers to help build or flatten them. It is perfect to enjoy with the whole family, making the most of the vibrant seaside resort of Barry Island.

Freshwater West beach is one of Pembrokeshire’s most delightful doggie beaches as it is long and sandy, has plenty of golden dunes and even has its own freshwater stream for a mid-walk drink. Your best pal will love running in the shallow waves and watching the surfers all day long.

Head to Swansea Bay for a wooftastic choice of seven different dog-friendly beaches, all free from dog restrictions. All are sandy at low tide but make sure you bring your ‘dog towel’ as they can get quite muddy too!

Climb a mountain

The whole family, including your dog, will love exploring the several walking trails available on Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in south Wales. Located in the Brecon Beacons, the views from the top are magnificent with plenty of photo opportunities along the way. This is arguably a more manageable mountain to climb than Snowdon, especially for families and dog walkers. There are different routes depending on ability, ranging from a gentle stroll on the trail nicknamed The Motorway, which starts at the Storey Arms, to the nine-mile circuit on the horseshoe ridge that starts at Taf Fechan Forest and heads towards the Corn Du, Pen y Fan and Cribyn, or the more challenging 11-mile Brecon Beacons circuit.

Those who have a head for heights and fancy a real challenge can follow in the footsteps of legends and take the Llanberis path up Snowdon. There are seven routes up the mountain, ranging from the Snowdon Ranger path, which is the ‘easiest’ of the routes, to the Grib Goch, which should only be attempted by experienced, well-equipped mountain walkers. A tough walk up Snowdon is not for the faint-hearted, so make sure your dog is physically up for it and take essentials such as a lead, water and snacks. It is important to note that you cannot take dogs into the café or on the train and they must be kept on a lead at all times as there is grazing livestock and very high drops to be aware of. We advise checking the weather before you set off; summer is a great time to experience Snowdon but winter walks should be left to more experienced hill walkers only. The immense views from the top are definitely worth it and both you and your dog will sleep well afterward!

With both Pen y Fan and Snowdon, please make sure you are well prepared beforehand and that your family and dog are definitely up to the challenge. None of these trails should be taken lightly.

King of the castle

Wales has a fascinating history, steeped in myth and legend and the good news is that many of its most iconic heritage sites are dog-friendly, perfect for enjoying during a stay in one of our Welsh dog-friendly holiday cottages.

Pembroke Castle, Pembroke

One of the finest castles in Britain, Pembroke Castle is a definite hit for dog-friendly days out in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry VII, the first Tudor king, and has often had a leading role in shaping Britain’s history so there is plenty to explore. Be sure to admire the impressive views from the 75ft high Great Keep, and enjoy a wonderful picnic in the grounds with your four-legged friend. Dogs are welcome to explore the castle grounds provided they are kept on leads; they are not permitted in the shop or café.

Entry Fee: Adults £6.00, Children (aged 3-15) and Seniors £5.00, Children under three go free

Opening Hours: Opening times vary throughout the year, please check the website


Caldicot Castle and Country Park, Monmouthshire

Caldicot Castle has a romantic and intriguing history, founded by the Normans, developed in royal hands as a stronghold in the Middle Ages and restored as a Victorian family home. Located in a 55-acre beautiful country park with tranquil gardens and woodland, dogs will love roaming the stunning grounds and can even be taken into the castle as long as they are supervised.

Entry Fee: Free admission

Opening Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday 11:00 until 16:00 during their open season


Harlech Castle, Gwynedd

Built by Edward I in 1283, the mighty Harlech Castle, standing atop a spur of rock overlooking Snowdonia, is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a spectacular location and thanks to Cadw recently relaxing its rules, dogs are now welcome in all lower levels of the castle if kept on a lead. Children are given a treasure map full of clues on arrival and there are plenty of events throughout the year so this makes a fantastic family day out.

Entry Fee: Adults £6.00, Children £4.20, Family Ticket (two adults and up to three children under 16) £16.20, Children under five go free

Opening Hours: Opening times vary throughout the year, please check the website


Raglan Castle, Usk

Situated on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the spectacular medieval fortress of Raglan Castle is perfect for an historical doggie day out. The castle ruins are so impressive that they have been used as a filming location for an episode of BBC’s Merlin. Dogs are welcome to explore the atmospheric ruins on the ground level on a short lead, however they cannot go up the towers.

Entry Fee: Adults £6.50, Children (under 16) and Senior citizens £4.20, Family Ticket (two adults and up to three children under 16) £19.30, Children under five go free

Opening Hours: Open daily 09:30 until 17:00


Ogmore Castle, Bridgend

Situated in the middle of the Glamorgan coast and countryside are the remains of Ogmore Castle, a Norman stone-built castle, raised by the de Londres family. Idyllically situated on the river Ewenny, there are lots of surrounding walks, perfect to stretch four legs!

Entry Fee: Free admission

Opening Hours: Open daily 10:00 until 16:00


Valle Crucis Abbey, Llangollen

If you want a slice of Welsh history you can keep your dog with you while exploring the ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey. This Cistercian monastery founded in the winter of 1201, is one of the best preserved in Wales. Its remote location offers a peaceful walk for you and your dog with plenty of tranquil spots, such as the restored fish pond, to relax and while away some hours in the sunshine.

Entry Fee: Adults £4.00, Children (under 16) and Senior citizens £2.60, Family (two adults and up to three children under 16) £11.90, Disabled and companion go free, Children under five go free

Opening Hours: Open Wednesday to Sunday 10:00 until 17:00


Doggie Days Out

Wales is bursting with fantastic dog-friendly visitor attractions that are perfect for the whole family to enjoy during a stay in one of our pet-friendly holiday cottages. From scenic railway trips to educational museum visits and lovely gardens, there is plenty to keep dogs and their owners happy.

The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways, Porthmadog

Enjoy a dog friendly day out on the Ffestiniog Railway, and experience the world’s oldest narrow-gauge railway on a 13-mile scenic journey from the harbour in Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Alternatively, admire 25 miles of breath-taking Snowdonia scenery aboard The Welsh Highland Railway, the UK’s longest heritage railway. Dogs are welcome in the third-class sections of both railways and guide/assistance dogs are welcome in all station buildings and carriages.

Entry Fee: Fares vary depending on the route, please check the website. Children under three travel free and there is a standard fare of £3.00 per dog. Guide/assistance dogs travel for free

Opening Hours: Check the website for timetables as they are subject to change

Conwy Water Gardens, Conwy

Tails will be furiously wagging in excitement at Conwy Water Gardens, set amidst a woodland valley in the Snowdonia National Park. Discover a Nature Walk and be delighted by dazzling waterfalls, three well-stocked coarse fishing lakes, a children’s play area to keep the little ones happy and an Aquatic Centre with over 100 species of fish to see. If that’s not enough there’s even a Dutch Pancake House to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Entry Fee: Free admission

Opening Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday 09:30 until 17:30

Sygun Copper Mines, Beddgelert

For the most adventurous pooches, take an exciting journey underground at the Sygun Copper Mines in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park, and discover an important part of Welsh industrial heritage. One of the wonders of Wales, these copper mines house intriguing tunnels and large, colourful chambers full of magnificent stalactite and stalagmite formations. Just bear in mind, there are metal gridded staircases to contend with so this attraction might be more suitable for smaller dogs that can be easily carried. Above ground, there are also tranquil lakeside walks and fun family activities such as panning for gold, metal detecting and pottery painting.

Entry Fee: Adults £8.95, Children (aged 3-15) £6.95, Seniors and Students £7.95, Children under three go free, Family (two adults, two children) £28.00, Family (two adults, three children) £34.00

Opening Hours: Open 10th February until the 10th November and then the 27th December until the 2nd January. During British summer time 09.30 until 17:00 and during British winter time 10:00 until 16:00

Llanberis Lake Railway, National Slate Museum and Quarry Hospital, Caernarfon

Another fantastic way to savour the grandeur of Snowdonia with your canine companion is on the Llanberis Lake Railway. This fun little steam engine toots its horn and takes you and your dog on a five-mile return journey alongside Lake Padarn, passing Dolbadarn Castle and Llanberis’ twin lakes. A short stop at Cei Llydan allows time for a lakeside picnic, followed by a stop at Gilfach Ddu, where you can visit the National Slate Museum. From here you can take a five-minute stroll to the Old Quarry Hospital, which is now a museum housing a collection of medical equipment from the 1800s. Both of these museums can be explored for free and dogs are welcome on a lead.

Entry Fee: Return fares – Adults £8.50, Concessions £7.50, Child (see website for family saver rates), Dogs £1.00. Both museums have free entry

Opening Hours: Please check the website for timetables as they are subject to change

Coed y Brenin Forest Park, Dolgellau

With numerous dog-friendly trails to choose from, the sights, sounds and smells of Coed y Brenin Forest Park in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park is sure to excite your dog’s senses. Stop by the visitor centre for friendly advice on which route best suites your skill level and enjoy the beauty of the Welsh countryside. Your pooch will definitely thank you for it!

Entry Fee: Free admission, Car parking – one hour £1.00, up to three hours £3.00, all day £5.00

Opening Hours: Visitor Centre – Summer Monday to Friday 09:30 until 17:00, Weekend 09:00 until 17:00, Winter Monday to Friday 09:30 until 16:30, Weekend 09:00 until 16:30

Aberdulais Tinworks and Waterfall, Neath

Step back in time and explore Aberdulais Tinworks and Waterfall in the Neath Valley with your dog. Providing they are kept on a short lead they are able to get close to the roaring waterfall, browse the interesting exhibitions and even watch a film in the Turbine House. Although dogs aren’t allowed in the tea-room itself, there is another room where you and your four-legged friend can sit inside and enjoy purchased treats. Discover the fascinating story of how the sheer power of the waterfall has been the driving force for over 400 years of industrial innovation.

Entry Fee: Adults £5.00, Children £2.50, Family £12.50

Opening Hours: Opening times vary throughout the year, please check the website

The National Showcaves Centre for Wales, Abercrave

If you’re thinking of visiting the Brecon Beacons with your dog, a must-visit attraction is The National Showcaves Centre for Wales where you and your dog can delve underground and be mesmerised by three incredible caves; Dan yr Ogof, Cathedral Cave and Bone Cave. Kept on a short lead, dogs are welcome in the caves and the outside dinosaur park, but are not allowed in the coffee shop, the farm or the Shire Horse centre.

Entry Fee: Adults £15.00, Children (aged 3-16) £11.00, Children under two go free

Opening Hours: Open 10:00 until 15:00 seven days a week from the 1st April until the 5th November, and February half term week

Brecon Mountain Railway, Merthyr Tydfil

Discover the timeless appeal of a vintage steam locomotive as you and your dog travel in an observation carriage to Torpantau, high in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Watch awe-inspiring scenery pass you and your canine friend by in the relaxing comfort of the Brecon Mountain Railway. The full journey from Pant to Torpantau takes one hour 40 minutes, including a 35-minute stop at Pontsticill where you can stretch everyone’s legs on a walk alongside the reservoir. Dogs are welcome aboard the train; however, they are not allowed in the café so make sure you take plenty of tasty snacks with you.

Entry Fee: Return Adult £13.50, Return Senior citizen £12.00, Return Child (aged 3-15) £6.75, Children under three go free, Dogs £2.50

Opening Hours: Please check the website for timetables as they are subject to change

Usk Reservoir, Usk Valley

One of the most picturesque dog-friendly days out in the Brecon Beacons is the Usk Reservoir, a beautifully remote area surrounded by lush forest and moorland, overlooking the Black Mountain. Dogs will love exploring the eight-kilometre circular trail, which winds its way around the reservoir. A little tip is to walk around the reservoir in a clockwise direction as many of the longer slopes will be downhill, and don’t forget to keep a look out for an interesting array of wildlife including Brecon’s famous Red Kites.

Entry Fee: Free admission

Opening Hours: Daily, 24 hours a day

Craig y Nos Country Park, Penycae

Dogs like nothing better than being outdoors, running freely through the countryside, so be sure to make a stop at Craig y Nos Country Park in the upper Swansea valley. Boasting 40-acres of scenic countryside with shady woodlands, meadows and rivers, your four-legged friend will be in doggie heaven. Their only restriction is that dogs are not allowed in the hay meadow while sheep are grazing in the winter months.

Entry Fee: Free admission, pay and display car parking

Opening Hours: Daily, 24 hours a day except Christmas Day

A dog’s dinner

After a thrilling day of exploring the best of dog-friendly Wales, there is simply nothing better than indulging in a delicious meal in a welcoming pub or restaurant. Experience tasty local produce and sample some real ales with your faithful friend by your side. We have rounded up a selection of eateries where your dog will be as welcome as you are.

  • The Kings Head is Llandudnos is the town’s oldest pub, dating back to the 18th century. Dogs are welcome in the stone-flagged bar, or outside where you can watch the trams go by on a fine day.
  • The White Eagle in Rhoscolyn offers a warm welcome and has a special doggy dining room where you can enjoy a bite to eat whilst your dog munches on a biscuit or two.
  • The Sun Trevor in Llangollen is set on a hillside with fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. There is always a dog water bowl outside and they are welcome to warm their paws by the fire inside.
  • The Black Lion in Anglesey happily welcomes dogs into the bar. This 18th century Grade-II listed inn is set in beautiful surroundings so is perfect for a post-walkies treat.
  • The Bear in Crickhowell is an incredibly dog-friendly pub in Wales, so much so that the staff have been known to magically produce dog treats from their pockets, and slip bowls of freshly cooked chicken onto the floor!
  • The Dragon’s Back in Pengenffordd welcomes dogs into the bar of this 300-year-old pub, which is the highest pub in the Brecon Beacons National Park, standing at more than 1000ft above sea level.
  • The Black Lion in Abergorlech is the perfect stop after walking your pooch in the Brechfa Forest. Even muddy dogs are welcome, and it’s particularly lovely in the summer when you can enjoy the views over the River Cothi from the beer garden.
  • The Star Inn in Talybont-on-Usk is a CAMRA award-winning village pub six miles from Brecon, located next to the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. Dogs are extremely welcome, provided they are on a lead.
  • The Black Cock Inn at Caerphilly Mountain offers brimming water bowls for dogs and hearty meals for humans, halfway along the circular walk from the top of Caerphilly Mountain, a dog’s dream!
  • The Kings Head Inn in Llangennith is a pet-friendly pub offering great food and ale, and is perfectly placed to explore the wonderful tip of the Gower peninsula.

We hope that you and your pet have been inspired by all of the wonderful things that you can do together, so why not delight your four-legged friend with a dog-friendly holiday in Wales this year? Treat your canine companion to a stay in one of our cosy dog-friendly holiday cottages in Wales and make the most of this beautiful part of the country, and of course, have a pawsome time!

*Opening hours and prices of the attractions listed are correct at the time of publishing, but are subject to change

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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