Wagging through History: Exploring Dog-Friendly Castles in Wales

Come and explore the dog-friendly castles of Wales! Wales is known for its rich history and magnificent castles, and the best part is that many of these historic landmarks are also dog friendly In this blog post, we will take you on a journey to discover the top castles in Wales that warmly welcome our canine companions.

From medieval fortresses with stunning architecture to sprawling gardens perfect for leisurely strolls, there are plenty of opportunities for you and your pup to create lasting memories. So, grab your lead, pack some treats, and let’s em-bark on a castle-hopping escapade to the Welsh countryside, where both history enthusiasts and dog lovers can enjoy a “pawsome” experience together!

North West Wales 

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Beaumaris Castle

The dog-friendly fortress on Anglesey Island in Wales! Designed by renowned architect James of St George for Edward I, this castle is known as the greatest castle never built. With its impressive size, near-perfect symmetry, and unique location by the Menai Strait, Beaumaris was intended to be a crowning glory among Edward I’s castles. Although unfinished due to lack of funds and conflicts in Scotland, Beaumaris still holds a special place in history as part of the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd World Heritage Site. Explore this unique fortress with your furry friend and appreciate the vision of Edward I and the skill of James of St George. So, leash up your pup and get ready for a dog-friendly adventure in Beaumaris!

Dolbadarn Castle

Situated in a lofty and secluded spot overlooking the serene waters of Llyn Padarn, was once a crucial stronghold in the defenses of the ancient kingdom of Gwynedd in Wales. Believed to have been constructed by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) in the late 12th or early 13th century, this native-built castle guarded the strategic route from Caernarfon to the upper Conwy Valley.

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Today, the site is dominated by a sturdy round tower, which stands 50ft/15.2m tall and displays a distinct architectural style differing from the castle’s curtain walls made of unmortared slate slabs. Explore the rich history of Dolbadarn Castle while enjoying the company of your furry friend by your side. Take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and embark on a dog-friendly adventure at this historic castle. So, leash up your pup and discover the secrets of Dolbadarn Castle!

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Harlech Castle

Perched majestically on a rocky crag overlooking the dunes below, awaits the return of the tide to lap at its feet once again. With the rugged peaks of Snowdonia as a breathtaking backdrop, this castle is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular settings among Edward I’s castles in North Wales. Designated as a World Heritage Site along with Conwy, Caernarfon, and Beaumaris, Harlech Castle is a true masterpiece.

Today, conquering Harlech Castle is much easier, and it’s also a dog-friendly adventure. An incredible “floating” footbridge now allows visitors, including our furry friends, to enter the castle just as Master James intended, for the first time in 600 years. So bring your canine companion along and explore this historic marvel, where history, architecture, and stunning views await you and your furry friend at every turn.

North East Wales 

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Denbigh Castle

This historic fortress perched on a rocky outcrop above the Vale of Clwyd is not only rich in history and drama, but it’s also dog-friendly. As you cross the drawbridge into the triple-towered gatehouse, you can bring your canine companion along to explore the castle grounds with you.

Your four-legged friend can join you as you listen to the portcullis thundering down, chains rattling, and the echoes of horses and marching soldiers. With modern technology and sensors powering the castle’s dramatic features, there’s no need to worry about your pup’s safety.

As you wander through the castle’s stone walls and town walls, your dog can enjoy the sights and smells of this historic site alongside you. Take a stroll along the castle walls or explore the hidden nooks and crannies, all while your furry friend happily sniffs around.

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Flint Castle

A must-visit for enthusiasts of military architecture. As the first castle established as part of Edward I’s campaign against Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (Llywelyn the Last) in north Wales, it boasts a unique and sophisticated design. Construction began in 1277 and was largely completed by 1284, featuring a remarkable great tower (or donjon) dominating its south-east corner. This tower is like a castle within a castle, surrounded by its own moat and accessed by a drawbridge. Its thick walls and fortified facilities were designed to withstand sieges, making it a formidable defensive structure and a potential last refuge in times of attack.

Flint Castle is also renowned for its historical significance, as it was the site of a crucial meeting in 1399 between Richard II and his rival for the crown, Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV). This event was immortalized by Shakespeare in his play “Richard II.” Visiting Flint Castle allows you to admire its unique design and delve into the rich history that surrounds this remarkable fortress.

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Rhuddlan Castle

Constructed in 1277 and designed by master architect James of St George, still stands as a testament to Edward’s determination. It was the first of his revolutionary concentric castles, characterized by ‘walls within walls.’ The inner diamond-shaped stronghold with its twin-towered gatehouses was particularly impressive, surrounded by lower turreted walls, and further protected by a deep dry moat linked to the River Clwyd.

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Mid Wales

Bronllys Castle

Repaired in response to the uprising led by Owain Glyndŵr, who in the early 15th century, was a prominent native leader. However, the castle eventually fell into disrepair and ruins. Today, in addition to the tower, remnants of walls and a deep fosse (dry moat) can still be observed at the site.

Originally constructed as a rudimentary ‘motte-and-bailey’ castle in the late 11th or early 12th century, Bronllys Castle’s existing stone tower was built during the 13th century. The tower, which still stands today, offers visitors the opportunity to ascend its three floors and take in panoramic views from its highest levels, showcasing the castle’s strategic significance in the disputed Marches border territory where it changed hands between English and Welsh forces multiple times over the centuries. 

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Dolforwyn Castle

Built by Welsh lord Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1273, was a source of contention with King Edward I. Despite the king’s orders to halt construction, Llywelyn persisted, but the castle was eventually captured in 1277. Abandoned in the 14th century, Dolforwyn Castle’s remains were uncovered in recent excavations. Today, it welcomes visitors and their furry companions!

South East Wales

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Grosmont Castle

Part of the famous “Three Castles of Gwent” along with Skenfrith and White Castle, was built by the Normans to control a troublesome border region. Originally an earth-and-timber stronghold on a “gros mont” (French for ‘big hill’), it was later rebuilt in stone. Throughout its history, Grosmont Castle underwent reconstructions in the 13th and 14th centuries, including the addition of a gatehouse and circular towers. It saw conflict during the rebellion led by Welsh leader Owain Glyndŵr in the 15th century.

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Raglan Castle

A grand Welsh fortress-palace, was built by Sir William ap Thomas in 1435. Its imposing Great Tower and unique gatehouse with flared ‘machicolations’ which was designed to impress rather than intimidate. Over the years, Raglan Castle was transformed into a magnificent country seat with a long gallery and Renaissance gardens. However, during the Civil War, it fell to parliamentary forces and was deliberately destroyed. Treasures, including Tudor wooden panelling, were looted but some have been preserved and are on display in the visitor centre.

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Caerphilly Castle

Located in the town of Caerphilly in South Wales, Caerphilly Castle is known as the most dog-friendly castle in Wales. It was built in the late 13th century by Gilbert de Clare, a powerful Marcher Lord, as a defensive fortress. With its leaning tower, impressive gatehouses, and fortified walls, Caerphilly Castle is one of the largest castles in Wales and a masterpiece of medieval military architecture.

Today, visitors can bring their dogs to explore the castle grounds, including the Great Hall, which is one of the largest medieval halls in Europe, and the impressive moat, which is surrounded by a series of islands. Don’t forget to snap a picture of your pup by the castle’s famous leaning tower, which leans at a greater angle than the Tower of Pisa!

South West & West Wales

Criccieth Castle

Perched on a rocky headland with breathtaking views of Cardigan Bay, Criccieth Castle is a castle that captures the imagination. Painted by Turner, it was built by Welsh princes Llywelyn ap Iorwerth and Llywelyn ap Gruffudd but was later destroyed by Owain Glyndŵr.

The castle features an immense gatehouse and D-shaped stone towers, added by Llywelyn the Great and Llywelyn the Last, respectively. Despite improvements made by Edward I, including a stone-throwing machine in the north tower, the castle fell to Owain Glyndŵr in 1404, leading to its burning and subsequent abandonment. Today, it stands as a picturesque ruin, a testament to its tumultuous history.

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Oxwich Castle

Perched above Oxwich Bay, is a Tudor manor house that may deceive with its castle-like appearance. Built by Sir Rice Mansel and his son Edward, it was more about social climbing than defense. The intact south range was used as a farmhouse for centuries, while the extravagant south range with its sea-facing long gallery now lies in ruins. The castle also features a grand dovecote with 300 nests, showcasing the Mansel family’s affluence. Remarkably, Oxwich Castle is still owned by Mansel family descendants.

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Wiston Castle

Believed to be built by an early Flemish settler named Wizo, is one of the best-preserved motte-and-bailey castles in Wales. First mentioned in 1147, it was attacked by the Welsh and had a short but eventful history. It was attacked again in 1193 and ultimately destroyed by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) in 1220. The remains of the stone shell-keep, a later addition to the motte, still stand up to 13ft/4m high in places, largely unbroken except for a possible section brought down during Llywelyn’s attack.

Have You Visited Any Of These Dog Friendly Castles?

Wales is a treasure trove of dog-friendly castles that offer a perfect blend of history, architecture, and breathtaking scenery for both humans and their furry friends to enjoy! to discover more dog friendly places visit


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