Vale of Rheidol Railway dog friendly family day out

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 line from Devil’s Bridge to Aberystwyth in Wales. 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 through the Rheidol Valley, the Vale of Rheidol narrow gauge steam railway climbs 700ft in just under 12 miles. The heritage railway passes through stunning countryside with majestic red kites soaring overhead. Stopping at several smaller stations along the way, the full journey duration is around an hour.

Trees in foreground with hills in background and clouds overhead - view from Vale of Rheidol Railway

The indoor carriages have a reasonable amount of space, with room for dogs in the aisle or at your feet. Outdoor carriages are a little less spacious but we managed to fit our two large dogs beside the benches. Dogs are not allowed in the first class observation saloon. If you do travel outdoors, be sure to wrap up warm because on a breezy day, it can be rather chilly.

Steam train with steam puffing from engine on the Vale of Rheidol Railway

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 limited on how long we could spend in Aberystwyth. Nonetheless, it was a truly beautiful journey with stunning views across the valley. It was great to be able to take the dogs with us on the trains too. For full information and timetable, head to their website.

Dog friendly dining near the Vale of Rheidol Railway

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.

Devil’s Bridge

We stayed near to the Vale of Rheidol Railway at the beautiful Woodlands Caravan and Camping Park in Devil’s Bridge. It 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.

Cross in foreground against hillside with blue sky taken at a campsite in Devil's Bridge, a stop on the Vale of Rheidol Railway

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.

Sunset over hills behind metal deer statue taken at a campsite in Devil's Bridge, a stop on the Vale of Rheidol Railway

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. However, they warn you that large dogs may struggle to get through the turnstile and little dogs could struggle with 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.

Cross in foreground with sun setting over hills behind taken at a campsite in Devil's Bridge, a stop on the Vale of Rheidol Railway

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.

Dog looking out at harbour with bridge and colourful houses in background taken at Aberaeron harbour
View across Aberaeron harbour at low tide with colourful houses in background and anchor chain in foreground

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. This 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.

Small stone tower in foreground with Aberaeron pebble beach in background and cloudy sky
UK Travel - Wales | The Vale of Rheidol narrow gauge steam railway is a great family day out and dogs are welcome too. Looking at both the railway itself including prices and restrictions, and dog friendly accommodation, eateries and days out in the local area. #uktravel #dogfriendly #daysout #familyltravel

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  1. We drove through this area last summer, and you’re right, it really is beautiful. I imagine it was even more pleasant going through on a train – although you’re right, the price is steep. Sounds as though you had a great doggy day, though!

  2. Hi Nat, what a lovely Easter break you and your dogs had. I have a feeling you are going to get good use out of your camper van! What beautiful scenery the steam train ride took you through. Aberaeron looks very quaint. I love the coloured houses.