With its clear blue waters, golden beaches, and stunning cliff tops, Pembrokeshire is world famous for its breathtaking coastline which was given National Park status in 1952.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path stretches 186 miles around the shoreline and provides endless opportunities for brilliant dog walks. There is captivating woodland and rolling hills to explore too.
The area has a rich and varied history from Celtic settlements to Victorian forts. Lots of the restaurants, cafes, and attractions welcome four-legged companions.
If you’re in need of an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and want to enjoy quality time with your pet, Pembrokeshire could be the perfect getaway.
Dog-friendly days out and attractions in Pembrokeshire
- Pembroke Castle, Pembroke — set on the banks of the river, the castle has a varied history stretching back to the 11th century. The fortress has seen sieges, been home to earls, and is famous as the birthplace of Henry VII, the first Tudor king. It also has the Great Map of Wales which is so big visitors can walk around it and discover some of the country’s most famous landmarks. Dogs on short leads are welcome in the castle, but are not allowed in the cafe or shop. There is undercover seating where owners can eat with dogs. For more information call 01646 684585 or visit pembroke-castle.co.uk
- Castell Henllys, Meline — take a step back in time and visit an Iron Age village. Enter the hillfort and take in the recreated roundhouses and granary which stand on the site of where our Celtic ancestors lived over 2,000 years ago. There is also a visitor centre and 30 acres of woodland and river meadows to explore. Dogs are welcome throughout the site but are not permitted in the visitor centre restaurant. However, pets are welcome to sit with their owners on the outdoor seating. For more information call 01239 891319 or visit www. pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/default.asp?PID=261
- St Govan’s Chapel, near Bosherston — built into a cliff on the southern coast of Pembrokeshire, the chapel is well worth a visit. Consisting of a single chamber, parts of the structure are believed to date back to the sixth century, when according to legend, St Govan lived on the site as a hermit. The site is shrouded in myth including the legend that if you count the steps leading down to the chapel, you’ll never get the same number on the way back up! The steps are steep so make sure your dog can cope. For more information visit www. visitpembrokeshire.com/attractionsevents/ st-govans-chapel.
- Colby Woodland Garden, Amroth — owned by the National Trust, the gardens are a tranquil retreat. Take a stroll through the woodland garden and meadow, or just relax by the stream. There is fun for all the family with lots of games and activities to enjoy including rope swings and duck races. Dogs on leads are permitted in the woodland garden and meadow only. If you wish to exercise your dog off the lead, there are footpaths in the estate woodland across the road. The tea room has an outdoor seating area where dogs are allowed. For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/colby-woodland-garden
Dog-friendly beaches in Pembrokeshire
The stunning coastline is what makes Pembrokeshire so special. From tiny, secluded bays to acres of open sand, there are loads of great beaches to explore. Some of the beaches have dog restrictions in place so check before you go. The tourist information website for Pembrokeshire has lots of information on beaches including detailed maps of dog restrictions; visit www.visitpembrokeshire.com/explorepembrokeshire/beaches
Here are three great dog-friendly beaches on the Pembrokeshire coast:
- Barafundle Bay, Stackpole — often voted the best beach in Wales, Barafundle is a pristine beach with golden sand and clear blue sea. It’s half a mile walk from the car park and facilities, but its isolation only adds to its charm.
- Newport Sands, Newport — a broad, sandy beach that’s ideal for giving dogs a good run. There are a couple of car parks where you can gain access to the beach.
- Freshwater West, near Castlemartin — sandy and rocky, the wide beach is backed by a wonderful range of dunes. One for film fans too — the beach was used in the film ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’.
Dog-friendly places to eat in Pembrokeshire
- The Ferry Inn, St Dogmaels — a riverside pub/restaurant which serves a seasonal menu of tasty, classic dishes at reasonable prices. There’s a children’s menu too. Owners can eat with their dog by their side in the bar, conservatory, downstairs restaurant, or outside. The only place dogs are not allowed is in the upstairs restaurant. Food is served between 12 noon and 3pm, and 6pm and 9pm every day. For more information visit www.ferry-inn.co.uk or call 01239 615172.
- The Stowaway, Tenby — a quirky, independent coffee shop which is set into a stone arch on Tenby harbour. There’s delicious cakes, dairy ice cream, and sandwiches on offer. Four-legged friends are encouraged to visit, with free doggy treats on offer; there is a slogan above the door which reads ‘wet sandy dogs and scruffy kids welcome’. For more information visit thestowawaycoffeeco.co.uk or call 07971 783319.
Dog-friendly places to stay in Pembrokeshire
- Little Dumpledale Farm, Haverfordwest — the farm has four cottages and a caravan where dogs are not just permitted, but truly welcomed. Each property has an enclosed garden, and there is no limit to the number of dogs visitors can bring with them — the current record stands at 22! Dogs are allowed anywhere on site and can be left alone in the properties. Owners Carol and Trev love dogs, and as well as having fi ve dogs of their own, offer dog sitting and walking services too. For more information visit littledumpledale.co.uk or call 01646 602754.
- West Blockhouse, Dale — if you fancy staying somewhere a little different, how about this converted Victorian fort? The Landmark Trust property is comfortable and homely inside with four bedrooms (it sleeps up to eight people) and a spacious kitchen and living area. There’s also a large grassy area on site and a sheltered beach a few hundred yards away. Most spectacular of all is the flat roof where visitors can enjoy incredible sea views. Up to two dogs are permitted to stay when booked in advance. For more information visit www.landmarktrust.org.uk or call 01628 825925.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path walk guide
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is unmissable on any visit to the county. The coastal path is maintained by the National Park Authority, and there has been lots of work to make it more dog friendly by reducing the number of stiles on the route. There are lots of short walks on the Pembrokeshire Coast website; visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk
The national park team recommended a circular walk around Angle which includes a dog-friendly beach, pub, and cafe, as well as historic sites. You can print a map of the route by visiting www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/Files/fi les/Walk%20PDF/half_day_walks/english/angle.pdf
At a glance
Distance: 3.7 miles (6km).
Time: 2½ hours.
Terrain: Steady walking along well-maintained footpaths, roads, and tracks.
How to get there: The walk begins from the West Angle Bay car park in the village of Angle (nearby postcode SA71 5BE takes you past the car park). The village is in the south of the county and lies on the B4320 which connects the village to Pembroke town.
- Start at the West Angle Bay car park. The beach here is a lovely tucked-away cove which is dog friendly. The Wavecrest Cafe has bowls of water outside (dogs are not allowed inside). To begin the walk, leave the car park at the far end (to your right as you look out over the beach) which leads on to a road.
- Follow the road for around 200 metres as it bends slightly to the left, then to the right. You will approach a sharper right turn (about 45 degrees). Do not take the turn but leave the road and join the Pembrokeshire Coast Path on your left. Follow the acorn symbols which signpost the path.
- Head down the path for around 70 metres until you see a path on your right. Take this route as it sweeps round to the right into a field. Here follow the path as it runs along the sea front.
- Stick to the path, which follows the edge of the coast. You may encounter livestock in the fields. If you do, put your dog on a lead.
- After a couple hundred metres you will see Thorn Island out at sea. This interesting island is home to a Victorian fort, built in case of an attack by the French. The fort was decommissioned after the Second World War and is now privately owned.
- Continue on the coast path. After around half a mile, you will come to Chapel Bay Fort. Turn right and walk round the back of the fort until you reach a road. The fort was built in the 19th century and was expanded over the years. Today the site is a museum. It’s open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday every week. Dogs on leads are welcome.
- Take the road opposite the coast path which continues along the coastline. Follow the road until it bends to the left and becomes a footpath again. Stay on the path for over half a mile until you come to another road. To your left you will see Angle Lifeboat Station. Cross straight over and continue on the footpath.
- Keep to the path until you reach a road. The Old Point House pub is on your right and would make a nice stop off. Well-behaved dogs are allowed inside.
- Join the road and follow it for over half a mile as it heads inland. When the road forks, keep right and stay on the road. After 100 metres there is a pele tower — a type of fortified castle — on your left. The 14th century ruin is believed to be the only pele tower left in Wales.
- Stay on the road until you reach the main road (B4320). Turn right and follow the road straight through the village for over half a mile until you return to West Angle Bay car park where you started the walk.