From sunsets on all-year dog-friendly beaches to secluded churches, walks in the wild, evenings by the fire, delicious local food and even a dolphin safari, join me in "The Motherland", Pembrokeshire/Wales, for an adventure with Sykes Holiday Cottages at the occasion of my 5th barkday!
We love to travel together, and we love the companies that accommodate - or even better welcome - dogs. With a wide selection of cottages for couples and families with one or multiple dogs - easily selected by looking at the dog friendly section on the website - Sykes Holiday Cottages is one of those. We were delighted to be contacted for a "corguide" (corgi guide, my travel addict nickname) visit for one of their cottages this Summer and to experience dog-friendly "alternative bucket list" activities nearby , encouraging UK residents to discover more of our gorgeous country (just like we're doing).
Of the stunning areas suggested we decided to pick Wales (where I was born) and the Pembrokeshire region (where my breed, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, originates from) which we barely knew - the date of the trip coincided with my 5th barkday after all!
After a night at a Newport hotel on the way (note for humans - make sure that the Severn Bridge is open before deciding of your itinerary, especially if travelling at night!) I was treated to breakfast (complete with local cheese) in Caerphilly (dogs on lead can even visit the castle where bowls of fresh water await for them!) before we headed to our cottage situated at the border of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, near the seaside town of Broad Haven.
The perfect base for a quiet week in the countryside (car definitely recommended in the area), 4 Rogeston Cottages is a pretty stone cottage situated within a terrace of holiday homes (but fear not the entrances are all separate, and it felt as if we were alone). It is the perfect romantic hideaway for a couple and one dog with its open fire, open lounge and kitchen, and private outdoors area.
The cute ground floor cottage boasts everything you need and more - bed linens, towels, an equipped kitchen (with cutlery, fridge, oven, microwave and induction stove), dishwasher, modern shower, built in storage...
The owners have prepared a folder with suggestions of activities and information for residents including those with four legs - Maman and Papa were very reassured to even find the details of the closest vet and emergency numbers in it, as well as instructions for when walking around the property (there is a working farm nearby so dogs have to be kept on lead for example).
Le (Dog-Friendly) Alternative Bucket List Activities
Skrinkle Haven (Address: Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Manorbier, Tenby SA72 6DY - free car park & café at the youth hostel)
*** Access depends on tide - best at low tide ***
Skrinkle Haven and the neighbouring Church Doors are two small coves separated by a limestone headland. Church Doors (a little cove where two high-arched caves in the sandstone cliffs resemble the doors of a church) is made of rocks and some sand at low-tide. Mostly sand backed by high cliffs of limestone and old red stone, Skrinkle Haven is the better and larger of the two.
A (free) car park is situated on the cliff top adjacent to the coastal path and can be reached by turning off the B4585 (Manorbier Road) in Skrinkle village and continuing past the artillery range and youth hostel to the very end of the road. It is listed as a Dark Sky discovery site (an area largely free from light pollution, suitable for star gazing). From the car park, there is a coastal path to follow westwards for about 300 yards. Access to Church Doors cove is down steep concrete steps, leading to a metal stairway (140 steps in total). Whilst dogs are allowed it is safer to carry them on the metal stairway (as it has open-tread steps). Skrinkle Haven can be reached by walking around the limestone headland at low tide, or by a narrow, slippery cave.
Only Papa did get to visit Skrinkle Haven as the humans are not used to tides and so did not think of checking those, so we stayed mostly on Church Doors.
St Govan's Chapel (Address: St. Govan's Head, Bosherston SA71 5DR- car park available but no toilet)
*** This route enters the Castlemartin Firing Range area - and are therefore advised to ring 01646 662 367 after 16.30 the day before you visit to check access for your safety. Please ensure that you obey all notices displayed within the range ***.
A truly remarkable place, this tiny chapel is built into the cliffs, with waves crashing on the rocks below. St Govan was a sixth century hermit who reportedly lived in a fissure in the rock. The chapel was built in the fissure in the 14th century and is situated within a few minutes from the car park, accessed via a flight of uneven but fairly easy to use steps.
Near the chapel, we highly recommend a walk along the coastal path to admire the cliffs and spectacular beaches and coves.
Other Dog-Friendly Activities Nearby (not sponsored)
We also visited the following which are within up to 1h30 drive from the cottage.
A Dolphin and Seal Spotting Safari (many thanks to mon ami @gimli_chihuhua's humans for the tip)
Whilst the speedboat ride won't be to everyone's taste (it gets VERY rough for humans and hounds) we will never forget this magical evening!
Pembroke Castle (& Pub)
The castle welcomes dogs on leads and two nearby pubs do too. We had dinner on the terrace at the Freshwater Inn. The pub serves simple, classic meals until 9pm.
A stunning walk and secluded beach especially around sunrise and sunset. Voted one of the top beaches in the world (rightly so). Clear blue water and even a "parking for dogs" by the restrooms!
The Blue Lagoon, Abereiddi
A former slate quarry abandoned and flooded in 1910 - now a cliff diving site (also popular for coasteering) bordered by beautiful beaches and craggy rocks.
Broad Haven & Little Haven
Two adorable seaside towns and beaches - cafés, shops... and steep roads!
Carew Castle & Tidal Mill
The castle can be visited with dogs and there's a lovely walk around the castle and tidal mill (and spot to take a dip ;) )
Sandy Haven Beach
A really pretty beach and creek with sand and rocks. Convenient car park within a 5 min walk of the beach.
Safety first! Make sure that dogs are kept on lead near cliffs and areas you do not know.
Check the tides (Maman and Papa always forget!)
Make sure to carry change for the car parks
A great location outside of Summer months too as all the bans for "dogs on beaches" are lifted between mid September and Easter or May.
*** We received a complimentary week of accommodation from Sykes Holiday Cottages in Pembrokeshire/Wales in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are our own and are honest and not influenced by this - we only post when we liked and would recommend a company or destination***