Sitting right on the estuary of the River Severn, Cardiff is dog-friendly and has a brilliant waterfront area well worth exploring, while pounding the city streets with your dog is a great way to get acquainted with this young, fun metropolis. 

A huge park at its heart and plenty of dog-friendly attractions – including museums – make Cardiff a brilliant city break destination when you’re bringing your pet. Here’s everything you need to know about coming to Cardiff on a dog-friendly city break. 

Cardiff Castle Summer Room

Cardiff Castle

Landscape of the attractions at Cardiff Bay seen from the water.
Cardiff Market - Trinity Street Entrance

Cardiff Market

Landscape of the attractions at Cardiff Bay seen from the water.

Is Cardiff a dog-friendly city ?

Renowned for its friendly atmosphere and various dog-friendly venues and activities, Cardiff has numerous parks and open spaces where dogs are not just allowed, but warmly welcomed. From the lush green expanses of parks in the city centre to the tranquil trails along the Cardiff Bay, there are endless opportunities for dog owners to enjoy the outdoors with their canine companions. The city offers a variety of dog-friendly accommodation options, ensuring that both you and your canine companion can find a comfortable place to stay while exploring the city.

A view of Cardiff Bay from the water showing buildings and a big wheel

Cardiff Bay, South Wales

Explore Cardiff Castle

A great place to start any Cardiff city break is in the grounds of the medieval castle. Sitting right on top of a typical Norman motte, hemmed in by walls that date back to the Roman period, this imposing stone structure is a symbol of the city’s power throughout the centuries. Today, you get a two-for-one treat in the public square inside the old battlements, as a handsome Victorian palace shares the grounds. Have a coffee and a stroll through the grounds – dogs are welcome by your side in all outdoor areas – and then tag-team with your travel partner to visit inside both buildings. The palace has a spectacular 19th-century Arab room well worth seeking out for its ornate decor. Dogs are not allowed inside the Castle Apartments due to their historical significance. A detailed accessibility guide for visitors is available on the Cardiff Castle website.

Unwind on wonderful dog walks in Cardiff

The city offers various dog-walking options that cater to every preference whether you're looking for a leisurely stroll in the city parks or a refreshing walk along the river to Cardiff Bay. 

Based on the outskirts of the city, Collar Club provides secure dog fields, where you can book online for a hassle-free hour in a secure environment, perfect for letting your canine friend run free. Dogs can run and play in a controlled environment at Vale View Dog Park in Pentyrch, whilst Cardiff Gate Dog Park has ample space for dogs to roam and socialise (if they wish).

If you're using Cardiff as a base to explore beyond the city, you'll find some great dog-friendly walks across South Wales,

Bute Park for zoomies

Next door to Cardiff Castle is the ultimate place for games of fetch or frisbee with the dog: Bute Park is as big as 75 football pitches stitched together. Lose yourself amid its 3,000 catalogued trees and pretty plantings, or follow one of the excellent dog-friendly trails which range from digital history tours using QR codes to nature walks and tree trails (guides are available at the Education Centre). 

The grass covered ground inside Cardiff Castle with the Castle Keep in the background
Two people walking on grass past trees with a castle in the background

Cardiff Castle and Bute Park, South Wales

Hike the Bay Trail 

If you’re after a longer walk, the 6.2-mile Bay Trail is a fantastic route to follow. Start at the Pierhead Building, built in the late 1800s as the Bute Dock Company headquarters, and walk south along the promenade past the Norwegian Church, where seafarers from Norway would come to meet during the Industrial Revolution. The trail takes you through Penarth Marina, International Sports Village and along the mouth of the River Taff before heading back to Mermaid Quay where you can enjoy a hot drink at Coffi Co, while the dog sips on a ‘puppaccino’. 

Walkies in Fforest Fawr

Nestled on the outskirts of Cardiff, Fforest Fawr is a serene woodland that offers an escape from the bustling city life. Dogs and their owners can find solace in its calm environment, perfect for a relaxing wander amidst nature. The forest's gentle trails and the soothing sounds of wildlife provide a sensory delight for our canine friends, who thrive in the peaceful, natural setting. It's a place where dogs can explore to their heart's content, free from the constraints of the urban landscape.

Take a boat to the Bay

Cardiff has a compact, pedestrianised civic centre, ideal for walking your pet, but with the River Taff meandering through the city, why not take a boat? From the pier, near the Castle Street entrance of Bute Park you can catch one of the regular water taxis that makes the journey between the city centre and dog-friendly Cardiff Bay. Boats cruise along the River Taff past the Taff’s Mead nature reserve, the Wales Millennium Centre and the striking red-brick Pierhead building before docking in the bay. Book onto Princess Katharine for a guided tour, or simply hop aboard the AquaBus

Arty the dog enjoying a puppaccino
Lottie and her dog Arty looking over the water

Cardiff Bay, South Wales

Grab a snack at dog-friendly restaurants in Cardiff

Cardiff welcomes well behaved canine companions and have several dog-friendly eateries including the cosy Corner House pub, or the fashionable Heaney's restaurant which has a covered and heated outside area for a special meal. Coffi Co offers water bowls or a puppuchino for your special pooch across its chain of outlets, whilst the Secret Garden tea in the middle of beautiful Bute Park allows dogs to join their owners for breakfast or lunch. For a responsible and enjoyable visit, always remember to follow the Dog Walking Code.

Browse in the arcades and Central Market

Cardiff is well known for its excellent shopping scene, with both high street and designer stores in its pedestrianised area. While you can’t really take the dog into many of the larger department stores, there are lots of little boutiques where you can browse with them by your side. The city centre is blessed with a network of gorgeous Victorian shopping arcades, where vaulted glass ceilings and hanging lanterns make an atmospheric scene for shopping with the dog. Many of the stores and cafes within the arcades allow dogs inside, but if you're not sure pop your head in and ask. You can buy local and regional drinks in the vast Wally’s Liquor Cellar and the Fabulous Welsh Cakes store in the Castle Quarter Arcades even make dog-friendly Welsh cakes in the shape of bones.

The Victorian Central Market is also incredibly dog-friendly, with vendors often delighted to see four-legged patrons inside. Pop in to pick up everything from fresh meat and fish to Welsh cheeses and takeaway lunches. 

Lottie and her dog Arty walking through an arcade

Royal Arcade, Cardiff, South Wales

Take a history lesson at St Fagans

Set amid a castle estate on the fringes of Cardiff city, St Fagans is an ideal day out for families with both kids and dogs. This vast outdoor living museum offers a window on Wales’ past, with over 40 different buildings from all around the country re-erected on the site over the last 70-odd years. See traditional craft processes in the blacksmith’s shop where decorative ironwork is made by skilled men, and watch the whole process of creating classic Welsh carthenni (blankets) in the mill, including dyeing the wool in bright colours. 

Of course, the highlight for most will be a visit to the Derwen Bakehouse, where delicious cake and bread is baked onsite every day inside the 120-year-old Aberystwyth bakery. Dogs on leads are allowed in all outdoor areas of the museum and inside the main building. 

St Fagans, South Wales

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