A dog-friendly guide to Norfolk holiday cottages

A dog-friendly guide to Norfolk

Julie Smith 04 January 2021

With miles of sandy beaches to explore, lots of adventures to sniff out in Thetford Forest and a variety of pubs and eateries that will happily welcome four-legged friends, there are lots of reasons to plan a dog-friendly holiday to Norfolk.

We have compiled some of the best dog-friendly things to do around the Norfolk coast and countryside along with a selection of dog-friendly cottages where you can rest and relax after fun-filled days of exploring.

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Dog-friendly Norfolk beaches

Dog-friendly things to do in Norfolk

Dog-friendly pubs and cafes

Dog-friendly Norfolk walks

Dog-friendly Norfolk cottages

Dog-friendly Norfolk beaches

Dog-friendly Norfolk

Dogs can splash in the sea, run happily along sandy shores and generally have a whale of a time on a day out to one of Norfolk’s beaches, many of which are dog-friendly. Just make sure they don’t get too hot, have access to plenty of water and that you keep a close eye on them at all times. 


Brancaster beach

This large expanse of golden sand is owned by the National Trust and has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The beach is flat so it’s ideal for children and dogs to play on or you can lay down a blanket and enjoy a family picnic.

Facilities include beach parking and a kiosk that sells refreshments and a range of seaside essentials. 


Holkham beach

The unspoilt Holkham beach is accessed through shady pinewoods close to the grand Holkham Hall Estate. Spend time exploring the stunning parkland before heading to the sweeping bay and dipping your toes in the sea. The panoramic views and wide open spaces make Holkham Beach rather special.

Although there are facilities at nearby Holkham Hall, there are none at the beach so we recommend bringing along your own refreshments. 


Winterton-on-Sea beach

There’s so much space at Winterton-on-Sea that you’ll feel as if you have the beach to yourself. Dogs can sink their paws into the soft sand before sniffing out adventures in some of Norfolk’s finest sand dunes.

Facilities at this dog-friendly Norfolk beach include parking and a cafe.

Old Hunstanton

Old Hunstanton beach

Not to be confused with the pebbly beach at the main resort town of Hunstanton, this sandy beach is located just north of the pretty village of Old Hunstanton. It’s sheltered by distinctively striped cliffs and its shallow tidal waters and a collection of rock pools make it a great choice for children to play on.

There are a range of facilities at the beach including parking and a cafe.


Mundesley beach

Mundesley is a charming Victorian seaside resort and its long sandy beach is just right for walking along with a four-legged friend in tow. There are colourful beach huts, a raised promenade and a lovely path to follow from the cliff-top gardens at the top of the village.

There are a range of facilities around Mundesley and dogs are welcome on the beach between October and April.

Dog-friendly things to do in Norfolk

From tackling a dog-friendly agility course in the forest to taking a tranquil steam train journey and exploring the beautiful grounds of a grand stately home, here are some of the best ways to spend a day in Norfolk with your dog by your side.

Adventures in the forest

Dog friendly Norfolk


Covering more than 18,000 acres of scenic East Anglian countryside, Thetford Forest makes a perfect playground for four-legged friends. Dogs can play amongst the fallen leaves, make new four-legged friends while walking through the forest and sniff out lots of adventures on winding woodland trails.

Dogs are welcome in the High Lodge Visitor Centre at Thetford Forest where you’ll find lots of information and a cafe where you can pick up refreshments. It makes a great place to start your forest adventure and there are a selection of scenic walks in the surrounding woodland.

Energetic dogs will love burning off some energy on a free-to-use agility course which is located close to the Lynford Arboretum part of the forest. After they have tackled a series of obstacles, you call all enjoy a rest at the nearby pretty picnic area. 

Take to the water

Dog friendly Norfolk

Enjoy a scenic, hour-long boat trip along the Norfolk Coast to Blakeney Harbour where you can spend time watching the grey seal colony that famously lives there. Well-behaved dogs are welcome to join you onboard a Bean’s Boat and the highlight of the trip is watching the inquisitive seals swim up around the boat. You’ll also pass by Norfolk’s sandy salt marshes which are home to a variety of birdlife on route to Blakeney Point.

Dogs can also travel with you on a tranquil Broads Tours river cruise. Handsome boats with names like Belle of the Broads and Vintage Broadsman have covered saloons and open decks for differing weather conditions and experienced skippers will tell you all about the Norfolk Broads as you cruise along the water.

Travel by steam train

Dog friendly Norfolk

Known as the Poppy Line, the North Norfolk Railway runs from Sheringham to Holt with beautifully restored steam trains to whisk you through scenic countryside on your way to the coast. Well-behaved dogs are welcome to join you in the period train carriages where you can sit back and enjoy the relaxed pace of life of a bygone age.

You can also travel by steam train around the famous Norfolk Broads, with a dog-friendly day out on the Bure Valley Railway. This heritage railway line follows the path of the pretty Bure River between Aylsham and Wroxham with several pretty villages to stop off at along the way. The steam trains are very dog-friendly and pooches will be welcomed aboard by the railway’s resident cocker spaniels, Henry and Millie.

Have fun at Blickling Estate

Dog friendly Norfolk

The National Trust’s Blickling Estate is a grand Norfolk Estate that’s set within a peaceful landscape that’s made up of tree-lined lanes and lush green hedgerows. There are more than 4,500 acres of parkland for playful pups to explore and a couple of dog-friendly cafes where you can head for refreshments after you’ve tired yourselves out. Muddy Boots on the estate is a particularly good one to try as there are a variety of dog treats and even special ice cream to keep four-legged friends happy.

Dogs are welcome in all parts of the parkland but should be kept on a lead when walking around the lake and in any areas where livestock are grazing. If you fancy meeting up for a sociable walk with four-legged friends and their owners, the Blickling Bounders is a dog-walking group that meets each Monday at 10am in the main Blickling Estate car park.

Explore the grounds of Felbrigg Hall

Felbrigg Hall

Another wonderful National Trust site in Norfolk is the elegant Felbrigg Hall estate which consists of gently rolling landscaped parkland, nature-rich woodland and buggy-friendly paths which are ideal if you’re trying to take a dog and a toddler for a walk at the same time.

Though not allowed in the hall and formal gardens, dogs are welcome almost everywhere else on the Felbrigg Estate and there are water bowls dotted around to keep them nicely hydrated during your visit. Well-behaved pooches can be rewarded with a treat in the main visitor centre and shop, and are also able to join you in Felbrigg’s on-site cafe, the Squire’s Pantry, where you can enjoy a delicious cream tea.

Dog-friendly pubs and cafes

Dog-friendly pubs and cafes

Dog Inn Ludham

This dog-friendly dining pub has a wonderful location in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, just a short walk from Ludham Bridge on the River Ant. Dogs will be given a warm welcome by the friendly staff and there’s a brilliant outdoor play area to keep kids happy too.

The Mariner Inn

Enjoy real ales, roaring log fires and spectacular sea views at The Mariner Inn in Old Hunstanton. Dogs are welcome to join you inside and out; the pub’s terrace leads onto sand dunes on the beach and the atmospheric bar area includes cosy snugs and low wooden beams. 

Well's Beach Cafe

Well's Beach Cafe

Well-behaved dogs will be rewarded with a puppaccino at this lovely beach cafe which is located on Beach Road in Wells-next-the-Sea. It’s the perfect place to call in for lunch after strolling on the sand and there’s a handy dog wash outside so you can clean off any muddy paws. 

The Orange Tree

This stylish village pub has regularly been named Norfolk Dining Pub of the Year and has a lovely spot close to Brancaster Bay where you can watch the traditional fishing boats come in. Dogs have their very own menu so can enjoy a bite to eat as you tuck into some seriously good food.

The River Kitchen

You can look out over the Norfolk Broads from this dog-friendly riverside cafe which uses fresh local ingredients in a variety of tasty dishes and a daily afternoon tea. There’s a large outside seating area so you can make the most of the scenic spot and four-legged friends are welcome throughout the cafe.

Dog-friendly Norfolk walks

From bracing jaunts along the coast to pretty countryside rambles, there is an abundance of dog-friendly walks to try during a short break or holiday to Norfolk.

The Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads

There are around 190 miles of footpaths to follow in the Norfolk Broads so you’ll never be short of walks to try with your four-legged friend by your side. 

  • The Bramerton Riverside Walk is a 3-mile route that takes in a stretch of the River Yare, the long green at Bramerton Common and nature-filled woodland.
  • A walk from Coltishall to Horstead can be combined with a trip on the Bure Valley Railway. The route is 6 miles long and includes a pretty walk along the River Bure with lots of places to stop for refreshments along the way.
  • A 3-mile walk around the Herringfleet Hills includes a patchwork of different Norfolk Broads countryside, from marshes to heathland, with lovely views across the Waveney Valley. 

Holt Country Park

Holt Country Park

Holt Country Park comprises around 100 acres of tranquil woodland and the selection of waymarked trails to follow through the trees makes it a popular choice with dog walkers. There are a number of easy-access walks under 2 miles around the main visitor areas of the park and lots of options if you fancy getting further off the beaten track. There’s also a play area to keep children happy and a tea room where you can call in for some well-earned refreshments after your walk.

Sheringham Circular

Sheringham Circular

If you’re looking for a walk that takes in both the Norfolk coast and countryside, the Sheringham Circular features a varied array of landscapes that include cliff-top paths, peaceful country lanes and ancient oak woodland. The 6-mile National Trail route starts at the esplanade in Sheringham and follows the Peddars Way and the coast before heading through Beeston Common and Sheringham Park where you can see a dazzling display of rhododendrons in spring. 

Weavers Way

Weavers Way

This 61-mile route weaves through woodland, farmland and historic country estates taking in riverside paths and disused railway lines as it makes its way from Cromer to Great Yarmouth. Although we aren’t suggesting you tackle the whole of Weavers Way, there are plenty of smaller circular walks to try with your four-legged friend.

  • Follow a stretch of old railway line from the unspoilt market town of Aylsham and walk a circular 4-mile route to the nearby Blickling Estate.
  • Explore the North Walsham and Dilham Canal on a 3.5-mile circular walk between Worstead and Briggate. 
  • A 4.5-mile walk from Acle takes in part of the River Bure and you can call in at the dog-friendly Bridge Inn which has a prime riverside location for refreshments. Points of interest on this route include the pretty St Mary’s Church in Fishley which dates back to 950AD.

Dog-friendly Norfolk cottages

Spend time together in one of our hand-picked dog-friendly Norfolk cottages:

The Schoolhouse - Holt | Sleeps 2 guests plus 2 dogs

The Schoolhouse - Holt

This rural retreat is set within an acre of gorgeous gardens so there’s plenty of space for dogs to run around. Characterful features inside the property include vaulted ceilings and wooden beams; head outside and there are wonderful views and classic Norfolk hedgerows.

Hayloft Dersingham | Sleeps 4 guests plus 2 dogs

Hayloft Dersingham

This elegant dog-friendly holiday home has been beautifully converted from an 18th-century inn and is just 5 miles from the delights of the Norfolk coast. A peaceful location and enclosed garden make this cottage just right for canine companions.

Bure House | Sleeps 6 guests plus 2 dogs

Bure House

This detached period property features a thatched roof and gorgeous gardens with a private swimming pool to make things even more special. Bure House is located in the heart of the Norfolk Broads so is perfect for exploring with the dog.

Browse our full collection of dog-friendly cottages, from romantic retreats to family-friendly properties, and find the perfect base for your next getaway. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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