If a dog is part of your family, read on… 

When a dog is part of your family, you don’t want to leave him behind. So when Nicky Phillips and her family went to Pembrokeshire with their greyhound Bear, they were delighted to find they’d arrived in the most dog-friendly destination they’d ever visited.

The coastline near where we live isn’t always welcoming to dogs, which are banned from a lot of beaches during peak season. So if, like us, you have children and a dog, and you can’t take the dog on the beach, it really changes the holiday.

Pack holidays

Nicky Phillips with her son and daughter and her dog 'bear' enjoying the Pembrokeshire coastline

Nicky Phillips and her family (and 'Bear') enjoying the Pembrokeshire coast by Nicky Phillips
In the past we’ve decided it’s too complicated and had to leave Bear in kennels, which isn’t ideal. Dogs are pack animals, and they’d much rather be with the members of their pack - even if they’re human! - than stuck in kennels.

But last summer we looked at the Pembrokeshire tourist website, which says that you can go on most beaches, and that’s what clinched it for us. And sure enough, Pembrokeshire was easier than anywhere we’ve gone before. It’s just a brilliant place for dogs.

A beach to bear all...

Two dogs playing on 'Traeth Mawr' Newport beach in Pembrokeshire

Traeth Mawr beach, Newport, Pembrokeshire by chrisjangeorge
Our favourite beach? Probably Traeth Mawr, the big beach in Newport. We could take Bear for a walk, perhaps along the coast path or up Carn Ingli mountain, and then the children could have time playing on the beach, the dog could run around, and everyone was happy. Greyhounds love beaches, and Newport has a massive long stretch, so Bear could really stretch his legs.

The town is great, too. There are so many little coffee shops, selling lovely cakes and pastries, and they all had signs up saying ‘dog friendly’, which I never would have expected. I wonder if it’s because it’s a farming area, and people are used to dogs?

The pubs were great, too – even the Golden Lion, which is posher than your average pub, was so welcoming – the dog just sat under the table. We noticed that most of the pubs left water out for dogs, and it was amazing how many people leave water outside their houses.  It really does feel like a country of dog lovers.

Dog friendly country

Nicky and her dog 'Bear' lying on Traeth Mawr beach, Newport in Pembrokeshire

Nicky and 'Bear' on Traeth Mawr beach in Newport, Pembrokeshire by Nicky Phillips
It was the same everywhere we went - places were unbelievably welcoming. There was nowhere we couldn’t go. We took Bear everywhere we went, from Cardigan to St David’s, and everywhere in between. We were amazed at how having a dog along with us didn’t change our holiday at all.

There were only two beaches we went to that had dog restrictions, and that’s fair enough because there's plenty of beaches for everyone! But we were so impressed how clean the beaches are, and I think that makes owners more conscientious - it certainly made us super-vigilant about picking poo up.

It also helps that there are plenty of dog poo bins. In some places you go there’s nowhere to put it, and you have to walk around with a bag of poo all day!

Accommodation wasn’t a problem, either. When I searched for cottages online, there were so many that are dog-friendly. We had to pay an extra £15 for the dog for the week, so it’s hardly extortionate. Where we stayed, which was a farm in Moylgrove, there was a yard out front he could run around, and the back garden was secure so he could wander there, too.

We brought his bed with us, and as long as he’s with us and he’s got a bed that smells of him, he’s happy. Quite often cottages say you can’t leave dogs locked in during the day, which makes perfect sense. But when everywhere is so welcoming, why would you need to?

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