It’s amazing to see that so many places offer dog friendly accommodation these days. But sadly, finding somewhere to stay is often the tip of the iceberg. So, I thought I’d share the a dog friendly family day out we had over the Easter break at the Vale of Rheidol Railway. Not only is the railway itself dog friendly, but there are some lovely pubs, beaches and campsites in the area that welcome canine family members.
The Vale of Rheidol Railway
Running from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge, the Vale of Rheidol narrow gauge steam railway climbs 700ft in just under 12 miles. It passes through stunning countryside with majestic red kites soaring overhead. Stopping at several smaller stations along the way, the full journey lasts around an hour.
The indoor carriages have a reasonable amount of space, with room for dogs beside you in the aisle or at your feet. The outdoor carriages are a little less spacious but we managed to fit on our two large dogs beside the benches. If you do travel outdoors, be sure to wrap up warm because on a breezy day, it can be rather chilly.
The return journey cost us £66.50 for two adults, two children (aged 3 and 5) and two dogs. There is a supplement for taking pets on board, charged at £3 each. Bicycles are also permitted for a £5 fee as long as there is sufficient space. I personally thought this was quite a high fare, particularly as the timetable meant we were quite time limited on how long we could spend in Aberystwyth. Nonetheless, it was a truly beautiful journey and great to be able to take the dogs with us. For full information and timetable, head to their website.
Dog friendly dining
We travelled from Devil’s Bridge to Aberystwyth, where we stopped for lunch before heading back. After asking around for somewhere dog friendly to eat, we ended up at the White Horse. This spacious, friendly pub is happy to allow dogs in. Food was cheap and cheerful, with a nice children’s menu. The staff kindly brought a bowl of water over for the dogs and didn’t mind when they got into a verbal ‘discussion’ with the pooch at the next table.
Back at Devil’s Bridge, we loved the Hafod hotel. We didn’t manage to eat there, but went indoors for a drink on comfy sofas where the dogs could relax on a rug. It’s an incredibly friendly place and the food menu looked delicious. Located a short walk from the train station, it’s the ideal place to grab something to eat and drink if you find yourself with time in Devil’s Bridge.
We stayed at the beautiful Woodlands Caravan and Camping Park. This has static caravans, a glamping pod and pitches for tents, caravans and camper vans. We stayed on a hard standing pitch with an electric hook up. The pitch was huge, we had plenty of space for both our van and drive away awning.
Facilities were second to none. Warm, clean and the sort of place that thinks of every detail. The girls loved the fact there was a special toilet and sink for little ones to use. Of course it was dog friendly too, with gorgeous walks nearby and plenty of dog bins around the site.
Devil’s Bridge itself is well known for the three bridges constructed on top of each other during different eras. You can take a walk to see both these and the Devil’s Bridge Falls. Dogs are welcome to do these walks on leads, but they warn you that large dogs may struggle to get through the turnstile and little dogs could struggle with all the steps. We didn’t attempt the walks because Pluto isn’t great on steps at the best of times and there really are a lot of them.
A day trip to Aberaeron
No holiday would be complete without going to the beach, so we headed to Aberaeron for a dose of vitamin sea. A beautiful little coastal town, this was the perfect place for a stroll along the sea front and a poke around in the rock pools. We can highly recommend the local honey ice cream, the flavoured varieties are particularly good.
With pretty coloured houses, a quaint little harbour and a pebbly beach that gives way to soft sand when the tide is out, it’s the perfect seaside town. There is a pay and display car park by the sea front which was the ideal starting point for a walk around to the harbour. It is worth knowing that dogs are banned from the South beach from 1st May to 30th September.