Norfolk and dogs go together like walkies and waggy tails. It’s where the mythical Black Shuck prowls the coast and countryside; where the Queen spends time at her private home – Sandringham – along with her beloved corgis; even Admiral Lord Nelson, one of Norfolk’s most famous residents, had a dog named Nileus.
So, it’s no surprise that Norfolk is a great destination for dog-friendly holidays. There are miles upon miles of waterside walkies to be found – whether beside the Broads or along the golden coastline – as well as rolling countryside to roam under never-ending skies. Added to that are mouthwatering pubs and restaurants, unforgettable attractions and the cosiest dog-friendly cottages – all in all, it’s the perfect recipe for an epic holiday with your hound.
No one knows about dog-friendly Norfolk better than our East of England Canine Critic 2019 – Dilbert the corgi! So, as well as our favourite things to do, places to eat and trails to walk, Dilbert’s added a few tempting titbits of his own.
Let us present our ultimate guide to dog-friendly Norfolk – in the words of Delia Smith: “let’s be ‘avin you!”
What have we got to get tails wagging?
Click to fetch Norfolk's...
🐾 Top walkies
🏖️ Top beaches
🐶 Top days out
🍴 Top dining spots
🏡 Top places to stay
The best W-A-L-K-I-E-S in Norfolk
Let’s put the beaches aside for now and focus on Norfolk’s abundant walkies. Home to miles upon miles of countryside, Norfolk boasts a massive 1,200 miles of tracks, trails and thoroughfares for you to explore with your pup, including ten long-distance routes.
If you’re looking for good dog walks for your goodest boy or girl, you’ve come to the right place – here are three of our favourite Norfolk walkies.
Only a short drive from the charming market town of Holt, this peaceful country park has acres upon acres of woodland to explore, leaves to scamper through and squirrels to chase. All walks are circular, meaning whether your legs are little or long, you can find a suitable distance. It’s a great one for kids too, as they can play on the climbing frames and spot the wooden sculptures. And when you’re all walked out, there’s a tea room for a refreshing cup of tea – or bowl of water!
This 15th-century hall and estate has long been a favourite with Norfolk nature lovers and is close to Cromer, making it a great choice for a tail-wagging day out combining countryside and coast. This particular circular walk takes in open fields, woodland, a lake and the ice house, so your pup will be delighted with the range of scents to sniff! Felbrigg also joins up with the popular long-distance trail, Weaver’s Way, so you can extend the route if your dog’s the type that can run and run (springer spaniels – we’re looking at you).
With walks ranging from 1 mile to 14 miles, this enormous forest is walkies heaven. It’s not just the forest you can explore – the huge pine trees give way to areas of heathland – and the vast space means it’s a tranquil haven where you’re unlikely to bump into anyone else. Hounds will love the taps and dog bowls on the return, while humans will be happy with the free parking!
“Mousehold Heath in Norwich is a definite favourite for some serious walkies. It has woodland and heathland, hills to climb, fields to play on and if the weather is right - muddy puddles to splash in!”
Ulti-mutt dog-friendly beaches in Norfolk
With over 100 miles of coastline, Norfolk is one of the UK’s best destinations for a coastal break with your dog. While some of the beaches have seasonal dog restrictions, there are plenty of year-round dog-friendly beaches to explore, plus the 83-mile Norfolk Coast Path where your hound can feel the salty sea wind in his ears.
While popular beaches include Cromer, Mundesley and Caister-on-Sea, we’ve picked out three hidden gems for you to explore with your four-legged friend.
On Norfolk’s sunrise coast, Gorleston beach is a quieter alternative to its busier neighbour, Great Yarmouth, and at certain times of the year, it’s easy to spot more dogs than people – a great way for your canine companion to make some four-legged friends! The north end has seasonal dog restrictions but there’s plenty of space at the south end of this 2-mile sandy stretch for your furry friend to blow off some steam. Plus, there’s a lovely café on the promenade where your dog is welcome to join you in the outside seating area – or take a walk into town to dine at Gorleston Doggy Diner where pups can choose from their very own menu!
The fact that this beach is dog-friendly all year round is enough to set tails wagging, and that’s without us mentioning its extremely picturesque setting on the fringes of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The shallow water is ideal for getting salty fur and washing off sandy paws, and there’s a beachfront café which welcomes dogs inside – even smelly ones. Plus, it’s one of the only places in Norfolk where you can watch the sun set, due to its west-facing position.
This North Norfolk beach is a treat for all the senses – you have to walk through a pine wood and along the boardwalk to get to this huge swathe of sand, so it’s a sure bet that your dog’s nose will be tingling and his tail will be wagging. The beach has been the setting for many films and music videos, perfect if your pup wants to recreate Shakespeare in Ruff or All Saints’ song Paw Shores.
“Though I prefer to keep my paws dry, lots of doggies love going for a paddle in the sea when they’re on the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea. The beach is long and sandy, and there’s even a lovely dog-friendly cafe to dry off in.”
Sniff out the best attractions across Norfolk
When you’ve walked all you can walk and visited more beaches than you can shake a tail at, it’s time to check out Norfolk’s dog-friendly attractions. Come rain or shine, there are plenty of days out with your dog on offer in Norfolk, whether you want to take to the waterways, check out some historical sites or simply admire the scenery.
Here are three of our favourite places to visit with your pup:
Have you really been to Norfolk if you haven’t seen the Broads? We don’t think so. More intrepid visitors can hire a day boat and take to the water (with their furry first mate along for the ride, of course), but we’d recommend the tranquillity (and lack of responsibility) of exploring the peaceful landscape on board a passenger boat. Dogs are welcome aboard too for an extra £1.
We promise there are loads of Norfolk attractions that don’t take place on water, but it would be impossible to list the best things to do in Norfolk without including a Blakeney seal trip. Your hound can channel his inner salty sea dog on a trip to spot the pups of the sea – the famous Blakeney seals. Only good dogs on leads are allowed on the boat, though, so best pack a little treat just in case some gentle bribery is required.
For landpuppers and rainy days, the North Norfolk Railway is a serene and sophisticated way to enjoy the rolling countryside. Voted one of the UK’s great heritage railways, you can enjoy the scenic ride from Sheringham, along the coast to Weybourne and through to Holt, taking in three Victorian stations. Best of all, four-legged passengers are welcome on board too for a small extra fee.
“Blickling Hall is beautiful and there are lots of trails you can follow round the Blickling Estate. It’s definitely worth a visit if the weather isn’t too wet! Or visit The Bure Valley Railway – a 15-inch gauge railway which runs between Aylsham and Wroxham. Children love going on the ‘little steam trains’ and dogs are allowed on too! It’s great fun for all of the family.”
Let Fido take the lead to the best places to eat across Norfolk
We know your dog will eat anything – socks, the sofa, fox poo – but that doesn’t mean you want to leave him at home while you tuck into something a little more…refined. Lucky for you both, Norfolk is bursting with delightfully dog-friendly places to eat, from fancy restaurants to charming cafes, and not forgetting cosy pubs.
Here are three of our favourite paw-friendly places to eat in Norfolk:
You don’t have to compromise time with your hound to enjoy some stylish fine dining. This trendy village gastropub welcomes gastro-pups too, as it offers a dedicated doggy menu! Canine cuisine includes meaty treats and Scooby snacks while humans can dine on pub classics, sharing platters and mouthwatering desserts all with a foodie flair and an impressive commitment to alternative diets. No wonder it won The Good Pub Guide’s Norfolk Dining Pub of the Year for five years running.
It would be rude to visit Cromer and not taste the famous Cromer crab, and you can enjoy a ten-legged feast with your four-legged friend at Jetty Café. On Cromer’s high street, this café’s crab dish featured on a food lovers’ bucket list of 50 things to eat before you die. It sources the crab from local suppliers and always has room for doggy diners!
Situated between Cromer and Blakeney, this traditional tea room in Sheringham is a great pit-stop after seaside walks and has a lovely waterside view. Don’t worry if you’ve got a soggy doggy – towels are provided for a quick spruce-up alongside a dedicated feeding station.
“I love The Stanley, in Norwich. The breakfast and brunch for humans is amazing, plus there are doggy snacks on the bar!”
Sit, stay and lie down in Norfolk's most dog-friendly cottages
The day is done and you’ve had a ball – and now you need somewhere to settle down for the night. Our self-catering holiday cottages in Norfolk not only allow dogs but welcome them with open paws and are packed with features to please all guests – whether two-legged or four.
Whether you want a cosy cottage by the North Norfolk coast, a brilliant Norfolk Broads bolthole, or a resplendent rural residence – the choice is yours.
Looking for dog-friendly accommodation in Norfolk? Here are three of our favourite places to stay with your pup:
You can’t get much closer to the beach than at this lovely bungalow, which overlooks Bacton beach. While there are some dog restrictions in the summer, your tufty-pawed tourist can enjoy sandy runs, salty dips and the fresh sea air from dawn ‘til dusk. Inside, it’s beautifully decorated with a warming wood burner for after those wintry beach walks.
This chocolate-box thatched cottage on a private estate has a substantial amount of room for your pup to roam, plus a doggy treat or two in the welcome pack! Close to the River Bure and Wroxham – the capital of the Norfolk Broads – you can explore Norfolk’s waterways on foot or by boat with your hound at your side before returning to your cosy home to doze in front of the wood burner.
Surrounded by rolling Norfolk countryside under a giant sky, this stunning barn conversion will definitely set tails wagging. Rural walks abound, or you’re only 15 miles from the North Norfolk coastline, and on your return, underfloor heating throughout will mean that toes and paws stay toasty warm!
Come and stay with us in Norfolk!
Epic beaches, endless countryside and incredible places to eat are all yours to explore on a dog-friendly holiday to Norfolk. And our range of paw-friendly properties are the perfect base for an unforgettable break with your four-legged best friend.
We’ve sniffed out the best dog-friendly cottages in Norfolk, so whether you’re after a coastal home for your salty sea dog, a country retreat for Lord Barkington or something a little more luxurious for your pampered pooch, take a look at our full collection and start planning an incredible Norfolk holiday with your hound.