There are plenty of reasons to visit Norfolk; from the vast beaches and marshlands to the buzzing coastal towns, it’s a seaside holiday spot, filled with old world charm. The Norfolk Broads and unspoilt river estuaries provide a brilliant canvas for you to build a lovely pup-friendly holiday. Dogs will love crabbing and rockpooling at the coast as much as you and there’s plenty of little flower-filled villages and cobbled streets to wander together for a truly relaxing break away. Whatever the weather, and whatever you’re after, dog-friendly Norfolk’s got it!
To the coast!
Norfolk is easily accessible from the South East and there are plenty of areas worth visiting and spending a day or two in to soak up the different feel of the region. One of the more charming coastal villages is Blakeney, which prioritises lazy long lunches over rushing around. Located within Norfolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the North Norfolk Coastal Path travels along its quayside, providing a great walkies opportunity right on your doorstep.
Sheringham Park is a stone’s throw away in the car; a 1000-acre Humphry Repton-designed National Trust garden renowned for its rhododendrons and azaleas. There are plenty of marked trails between one and five miles to enjoy with your tail-wagging pooch and dogs are more than welcome to roam around (they are only excluded from the Bower). Just 15-minute drive from Sheringham Park is the dog-friendly Red Lion pub in Cromer that boasts views of the coastline. Sit back and relax with your pup overlooking the famous pier and promenade. If visiting outside the summer months, after lunch take a walk on beautiful dog-friendly Cromer beach (it operates a summer pooch restriction that usually runs from Easter until the end of summer).
Blakeney Hotel is a delightful resting spot. It is well-located by the seaside and from the first floor you can start to enjoy superb views towards Blakeney’s moored boats, creaks and the wonderful salt marshes. The hotel has a traditional, welcoming feel. Dogs are allowed in the main house and the Granary Annex and there’s also a large garden for them to enjoy. At special request, the hotel’s chef will make your pup a lovely dish straight from the kitchen!
Nearby Holkham is just as lovely and is a short drive from Blakeney. While there are plenty of dog-friendly beaches in Norfolk, Holkham beach is one of our favourites as it is right next to Holkham Nature Reserve and both beach and the Reserve are dog-friendly! There are no seasonal restrictions at Holkham beach and you’ll be able to access the pine forest and dunes of the reserve, too, which are simply stunning. Take care if you’re visiting Holkham in the spring as it’ll be nesting season. The beach here is miles and miles long and if you walk west you’ll reach Burnham Overy. Holkham Hall is also worth the visit as it is surrounded by 3,000 acres of scenic parkland that is pooch friendly, as is the shop (which sells dog treats) but not the Hall itself. There are designated visitor walks that take you to monuments like the Coke of Norfolk and a famous obelisk so you’ll be well occupied.
If you’re looking to spend the night near Holkham, we suggest popping into nearby Burnham, a pretty little market town where you can cosy down at the Crown Hotel, a characterful hotel that welcomes dogs to stay in a limited number of rooms for a small fee, which includes bedding, towels and biscuits. The Hoste is another lovely option and is made up of a Georgian-era Vine House, and Railway House, a former train station. Pups are allowed in rooms, the bar and conservatory.
From seaport to seaside
Further west there is the seaport town of Kings Lynn. Culture vultures will love the different mix of history here and if you’re after boutique souvenirs and antiques, Kings Lynn shouldn’t disappoint. There’s plenty of castles to spot here and even a couple of monasteries. We recommend heading over to Sandringham House which has over 400 acres of parkland that your pup is welcome to explore (just not the gated gardens) which makes for a lovely afternoon out.
The countryside around Kings Lynn has a lot of dog-friendly pubs which are great for getting some rest and a drink before setting off on another adventure. We love the Dabbling Duck at Great Massingham, which has library themed dining areas and a great menu. Dogs are allowed in the front restaurant and at the rustic elm bar – and there’s even a dog menu!
If you fancy staying near Kings Lynn, Congham Hall is a fabulous spot. A well-preserved Georgian Manor house, the rooms here are prettily decorated and there’s a very relaxed atmosphere, and spa treatments are available. They do ask that dogs are kept on leads, but they’re allowed to eat with you in the bar area and there’s a small number of dog-friendly rooms available so it’s worth booking well in advance to secure one.
A little away is Titchwell Manor hotel, a colourfully boutique hotel, that overlooks the local RSPB reserve, and has won awards for its hospitality. What was once a converted Victorian farmhouse is now a stylish establishment. Dogs can stay in the hotel’s Garden Rooms and you’ll receive a bed, bowls and treats to get weary tails back wagging again.
Explore the Norfolk Broads
Getting to the famous Norfolk Broads from the western areas is just over an hour’s drive, so you can very easily do a day-trip here. The Broads are simply charming and you’ll have access to Great Yarmouth, too. Definitely head to the beaches: the South beach at Great Yarmouth is dog-friendly all year round, while the North beach has some restrictions.
With so much to do and outstanding areas of natural beauty to see, there’s only one thing for it. Pack up your pooch and head to Norfolk!
Updated June 2019