South Wales is the perfect destination for canines and their owners looking for an adventurous getaway. The rolling hills, towering mountain peaks, winding rivers, and enchanting forests are perfect for a variety of walkies, while endless stretches of sandy beaches make for fun days of doggy paddling, chasing frisbees and sandcastle bombing.
Did you know there is also an abundance of dog-friendly attractions in South Wales too? There are mighty castles to conquer, mysterious caves to sniff out and National Trust gardens to scamper around. Or if Rover’s not as young as he once was, you could try a relaxing journey on a steam railway or a gentle cruise down the river on a canoe!
While on your next big adventure with your pack, check out some of the following dog-friendly days out in South Wales.
And don’t forget, if you need somewhere cosy to stay, we’ve got a tail-wagging selection of dog-friendly cottages in South Wales to choose from too.
Best 3 family attractions in South Wales
Brave little pups can be king of the castle at this mighty fortification in Pembrokeshire. The birthplace of Henry VII, the first Tudor king, Pembroke Castle is one of our favourite dog-friendly family attractions in South Wales. Tail-wagging pals are welcome anywhere in the castle on short leads, with the exception of the café and shop - so they can join the whole family along intriguing passageways, up the dramatic 75ft-high Great Keep, and in the grounds for a picnic in the sunshine.
Why your dog will love this: As well as exploring one of the most dog-friendly castles in South Wales, pets are also welcome at the regular daytime activities, and there are plenty of water bowls available when your doggo has worked up a thirst.
Best for: Little kings and queens – and four-pawed knights!
Happy hounds will feel like they’re in doggy heaven as they scamper through 40 acres of rolling countryside, shady woodlands and meandering rivers at Craig y Nos Country Park in the Upper Swansea Valley. One of the top dog-friendly family days out in South Wales, furry pals won’t even notice they’re still on the lead as they discover all the new sights, smells and sounds on their scenic stroll. The only restriction is that dogs are not allowed in the hay meadow while sheep are grazing in the winter months.
Why your dog will love this: The paths are gentle and easy to follow, with lots of benches and picnic areas dotted along the way for little rest stops.
Best for: Excitable four-legged friends who’ll enjoy a nice long walk in the countryside.
For the real canine adventurers among your pack, a trip to The National Showcaves Centre for Wales in the Brecon Beacons is an absolute must. Hounds and their owners can venture deep underground into three of Wales’ most incredible caves: Dan yr Ogof, Cathedral Cave and Bone Cave. Provided pups are kept on a short lead and are prepared with doggy bags, they are welcome to sniff out all three caves and the main grounds, just not the adjacent Shire Horse Centre and where the farm, play areas, and Millennium Stone Circles are located.
Why your dog will love this: In Dan yr Ogof Cave there is a natural formation of rock called the “Rasher of Bacon” – need we say anymore?
Best for: Confident pups who don’t mind the dark and are fit and able to navigate flights of steps and steep slopes underground.
Best 3 historical attractions in South Wales
One of the best-preserved medieval abbeys in all of Wales, Tintern Abbey is a tail-wagging treat for cultured canines. This 13th-century Cistercian Abbey which sits on the banks of the River Wye, is a Gothic masterpiece and a national icon. Its haunting remains of the roofless cloisters, the infirmary and the chapter house rise up to the sky and have inspired many poets and artists throughout the centuries, including William Wordsworth and JMW Turner. Dogs on leads are welcome to explore the ground levels of the abbey.
Why your dog will love this: After a well-deserved scamper around the ruins, the whole pack can enjoy a bite to eat in the pub just across the car park which warmly welcomes pups, walkers and muddy boots.
Best for: Playful pups who like their walkies followed by a scrumptious pub lunch.
Canine chums can discover more fascinating Welsh history with a roam around Caldicot Castle and Country Park in Monmouthshire. One of the top dog-friendly historical attractions in South Wales, your pack will find themselves transported back to the Middle Ages. And not only will Buster and Bella love sniffing out all the curious nooks and crannies in the castle, but they can also enjoy 55 acres of gardens, woodland and country park afterwards.
Why your dog will love this: It’s the perfect doggy combo of exciting ruins to climb and gardens to play in.
Best for: History hounds with an excess of energy to burn!
One of the grandest castles to have ever been built by a Welshman, the imposing medieval fortress of Raglan Castle is perfect for a historical doggie day out. Encircled by a beautiful moat, its magnificent turrets rise above the glorious countryside in which it proudly stands. The ruins are so impressive that they have even been used as a filming location for an episode of BBC’s Merlin.
Why your dog will love this: Fido can follow in the footsteps of Arthur, the Knights and Merlin with a magical stroll on the lead around the ground level of the castle – unfortunately pups can’t climb the towers.
Best for: Canines who like their castles mighty and magnificent.
Best 3 National Trust attractions in South Wales
Four-pawed members of the family will go barking mad for this dog-friendly National Trust attraction in South Wales. Together you can all step back in time and discover the oldest surviving remains of a water-powered tin factory. Curious canines are welcome pretty much everywhere, providing they are kept on a short lead. They can get close to the roaring waterfall, browse the interesting exhibitions and even watch a film in the Turbine House.
Why your dog will love this: The attraction has set aside a room just for pups, where they can enjoy a little rest and a snooze while their owners indulge in some tea and cake purchased from the tearoom.
Best for: Dogs who want to get their wet noses stuck into everything!
This South Wales pet-friendly attraction really is a dog’s dream; playful pups can chase their favourite ball in the 90 acres of parkland, bask in the sunshine on the lawns of the formal gardens and tuck into some special biscuits and dog-friendly ice cream in the tearoom. Dog walking leaflets are available with a handy map showing the best places for a scamper, there are plenty of dog bins dotted around the site and a variety of benches and tables should you want to take turns visiting inside the house (where dogs aren’t allowed as the interiors and collections are so precious).
Why your dog will love this: The staff here are all huge dog lovers and are happy to fuss tail-wagging hounds for a moment or two if you need to use the facilities when visiting on your own.
Best for: Pampered pets who love sniffing out pretty gardens.
Another top National Trust dog-friendly attraction in South Wales, Dyffryn Gardens offer 55 acres of Edwardian gardens, formal lawns and a colourful arboretum for furry friends to wag their tails at. This floral oasis on the outskirts of Cardiff warmly welcomes dogs on short leads to explore the gardens at their leisure. Access to Dyffryn House and the cafes are restricted to assistance dogs only, however there is an abundance of outdoor seating including some sheltered tables for doggy diners and a dog lounge at the entrance to The Gallery café, making it easy for owners to take it in turns to go in the house, if they wish.
Why your dog will love this: The gardens have thought of everything when it comes to pleasing pups, with plenty of water bowls, poo bags and treats available.
Best for: Sociable packs who like making new furry friends.
Best 3 unique activities you can do with your dog
One of the most memorable ways to experience the epic scenery of the Brecon Beacons National Park with your pack is by vintage steam locomotive. Your four-legged friends are welcome to accompany you on the Brecon Mountain Railway as you chug along from Pant to Torpantau, along the full length of the Taf Fechan Reservoir. Make sure you pack plenty of tasty titbits for the pups though, as they’re not permitted in the café or gift shop.
Why your dog will love this: After all those long, tiring countryside walkies, this is a much gentler way to take in the sights.
Best for: Doggos who like to take life at a slower pace.
If you have a furry water baby in your pack, then treat them to a unique dog-friendly activity in South Wales - on a canoe! Providing well-behaved pups always promise to remain in the canoe and not cause a disturbance to wildlife and fellow paddlers, they can glide along with you and discover the beauty of the River Wye. This relaxing river adventure offers a myriad of new sights, sounds and smells, with the chance to spot a variety of wildlife in their natural habitats including kingfishers, herons and otters.
Why your dog will love this: You can combine your adventures on the river with a leisurely stroll around the bookshops, markets and historic sites in the vibrant market town of Hay-on-Wye, just a short stroll over the bridge from the hire centre.
Best for: Calm pups who don’t mind getting their paws wet.
A graceful bird of prey, the Red Kite is an iconic sight in the Brecon Beacons National Park. After a decline 20 years ago, there are now well over 300 pairs of breeding birds in South Wales and one of the best places to see their incredible aerial displays is at the Red Kite Feeding Centre in Llanddeusant. Dogs on the lead can join you in the specially designed hide only feet away from diving birds. Observe them competing naturally for the food provided by the feeding centre at regular times every day of the year.
Why your dog will love this: How often will your pups get this close to such a beautiful bird of prey?
Best for: Pets that don’t have a penchant for barking at birds.
Dog-friendly accommodation in South Wales
Which of these dog-friendly attractions in South Wales will you be visiting during your break? With so much choice, you and your pack will be needing somewhere cosy and relaxing to warm those paws and toes after your tail-wagging adventures. From rural retreats in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park to seaside escapes on the South Wales Coast, our pet-friendly cottages are tailored to every type of canine explorer.
Haven’t chosen your bolthole yet? Browse our dog-friendly cottages in South Wales.
For more great inspiration on dog-friendly days out in South Wales, you can read our guide to South Wales.
Perhaps you’re travelling elsewhere in the UK? Here’s our ultimate guide to days out with your dog in the UK.
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.