Everything you need to know for a dog friendly holiday on the Norfolk Coast!
Shh, don’t tell anyone, but Norfolk has the best beaches in the UK and is possibly one of the best dog friendly places to visit in the UK too!
There are lots of dog friendly beaches, dog friendly restaurants and many options for dog friendly accommodation too.
Earlier this month I took Cookie on her first holiday. I was a little nervous as it would be her first time in a hotel, first time in restaurants and probably the longest car journey so far.
I didn’t need to worry though as she was the best dog and absolutely loved her little holiday in Norfolk.
A Dog Friendly Holiday on the Norfolk Coast
We were in Norfolk for 3 days and up until someone wrote off my car it was a brilliant holiday. We visited many beaches, benefited from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme with lots of discounted meals, and were blessed with perfect, hot, sunshine weather!
FYI This was not a press trip and we paid for everything ourselves!
Dog Friendly Accommodation in Norfolk
We visited the Norfolk Coast at the start of August and though we started looking about a month ahead, we really struggled to find decent dog friendly accommodation… Or in fact any available accommodation at all! I blame Covid and Summer holidays in one. We lucked out in the end though with a couple of dog friendly hotels.
I went with two friends and we were originally looking for a small cottage or house to stay in, but there was just nothing available. I would have loved to stay in one of these luxury houses by Barefoot Retreats, but they were all fully booked. Every single house of theirs is dog friendly and though not the cheapest, they all look unique and beautiful.
Briarfields Coastal Hotel
In the end we found a lovely dog friendly hotel, really near to one of the best beaches in Norfolk. We had two nights at Briarfields Coastal Hotel in Titchwell.
The hotel has a number of dog friendly rooms, each with two doors. One that goes out to a patio area that leads to the carpark, and the other that opens into a courtyard which leads back into the reception and restaurant area of the hotel. Perfect for dogs so they go straight outside from your room.
My friends stayed in a huge two double bed suite with separate bedrooms and a shared bathroom. My room was a little smaller, but fine for Cookie and I.
They left poo bags, a blanket and dog biscuits for Cookie and some tea, coffee and biscuits for me too.
The hotel has a large restaurant, including a dog friendly bar area and big outside decking area. They have a great menu with lots of fresh fish for lunch or dinner and lots of choices for breakfast too.
It was a great spot for two nights on the Norfolk Coast, as we were a short drive from pretty much everywhere we wanted to visit!
The Dabbling Duck, Massingham
We spent our final night inland at the Dabbling Duck pub and hotel in Massingham. The Dabbling Duck had a couple of dog friendly rooms at the end of the garden. Our room was unique and spacious with a huge bathroom.
Massingham is a small village about 40 minutes from the coast. The pub serves delicious food, including having a wood fired oven for freshly made pizzas and even their own gin!
Apparently it is frequented regularly by HRH Prince William and family, who live down the road. We didn’t bump into them though!
Most areas of the restaurant are dog friendly and there is plenty of seating outside or in the barn area too.
Dog Friendly Beaches in Norfolk
The beaches in Norfolk are possibly the best in the UK. Wowee! So beautiful! There are areas of beach that are almost empty too. All you have to do is walk a bit further away from the car parks to get completely empty areas of beach all to yourself.
Hunstanton Beach was the first beach we visited on our way to Titchwell from Kings Lynn. There is a huge car park right next to the entrance to the beach.
Hunstanton beach is famous for its eye catching red and white striped cliffs. If you walk towards the striped cliffs you will find lots of small rock pools and also the remains of a large trawler boat that was used in both World Wars.
The area nearest the car park was quite busy with families setting up beach camps for the day but you don’t have to walk far for much quieter areas.
Cookie loved her first time on the beach, running, rolling around in the sand and jumping on rocks. She hasn’t quite made it into the sea yet though!
Like Hunstanton, the first area you reach from the car park can get quite busy on sunny days. It amazes me how much people take for a day at the beach, but if you don’t plan on leaving all day it probably makes sense to ensure you have everything to keep the kids entertained, whatever the weather!
We walked to the right along the beach and found a spacious area between the sand dunes to enjoy some quiet reading time in the afternoon sun. Well I tried… but actually spent most of my time chasing Cookie around the beach and stopping her from digging in the sand right next to our heads! (see video below!)
About 5pm we walked further along the beach and pretty much had the place to ourselves. When the tide is out there is plenty of soft sand to run in and during the summer the waves weren’t high if you fancy a dip in the sea. Once we were away from the crowds we let Cookie off the lead to run around. She had a blast!
Holkham Beach was by far my favourite. I’m glad we visited them in this order as they just kept getting better.
You can get to Holkham beach either from parking in Wells and walking left or parking at the Nature reserve and walking through the woods and over the flats before you find the beach. Both ways it’s quite a long walk but let me promise you it is worth it!
Again you don’t have to walk far from the crowds before you find areas where there isn’t another soul. The beach seems to stretch for miles. When the tide is out it is wide, with loads of soft sand to build sand castles in. Or in Cookie’s case… lots of sand castles to destroy by running through them!
Holkham beach is absolutely beautiful. Rach, Niki and I spent most of our time discussing how we could find a way to find a holiday home in Norfolk so we could visit this beach as often as possible! I will certainly be returning.
Seal Trip to Blakeney Point
OK so the beach filled with seals is definitely not dog friendly, or human friendly. However I was excited to find out the Blakeney Point boat trips were dog friendly.
We’d read that a boat trip to see the seals was a must on any visit to Norfolk. I happily booked our boat trip for our first morning in Norfolk only to realise the night before I had totally forgotten about Cookie. New doggy mama!
Luckily they are happy to take dogs on board so the four of us hopped aboard and enjoyed an hour long journey to see the seals at Blakeney Point and back.
We booked with Bishops Boats and there was plenty of space on board with social distancing in place!
Watch our short video to see more of Norfolk’s amazing dog friendly beaches.
Best Dog Friendly Restaurants and Cafes in Norfolk
There are lots of dog friendly places to eat in Norfolk. On the whole I find Norfolk very dog friendly and didn’t find Cookie to be a burden at any point. There was the odd shop or cafe that didn’t allow dogs inside, but most places were fine with her.
There were many other restaurants we had hoped to try, but again due to Covid (more people holidaying at home!), it being summer holidays and the Eat Out to Help Out deal, most places were fully booked. We had unintentionally booked our holiday for Monday to Wednesday, so despite struggling to book some places, we still found lots of tasty, bargain meals!
The Orange Tree, Thornham
This was the fanciest place we ate and probably my favourite. The Orange Tree in Thornham was only allowing outside seating due to Covid and had a strict one way system and outside portaloos.
The menu all looked delicious and though I was tempted by the lobster we all went for the slow cooked beef rib and I had a chorizo and scallop starter too.
Both were scrummy and the beef ribs absolutely huge, served with chips, coleslaw and I had a side of BBQ beans. Yum! Cookie even got to enjoy the big bone I took home for her. Winning all round!
Eric’s Fish and Chips
Eric’s Fish and Chips is a famous stop off after a busy day at the beach. There is a fish and chip shop, pizza place, ice cream parlour and a few boutique shops.
Lots of outside seating makes it a perfect dog friendly spot for delicious award winning fish and chips! Washed down with a bottle of Prosecco or two!
Bang in Wells
Bang in Wells is a colourful dog friendly cafe, bar and accommodation in the centre of Wells-next-the-sea. They have lots of seating and a cute sun soaked courtyard too.
They have a yummy menu which includes DIY crab sandwich, falafals, burgers and more. They do a tasty looking brunch until 12pm too.
Lighthouse Cafe, Hunstanton
The Lighthouse Cafe was our first stop for food in Norfolk. A simple cafe on the cliff edge before you head down to the beach. They do a wide range of simple tasty treats, from ham, egg and chips, to fish and chips or sandwiches.
We really did have a lovely few days on the Norfolk Coast and I can’t recommend it enough for a UK Dog Friendly holiday. The beaches are blissful, the restaurants tasty and there is plenty of dog friendly accommodation too!
Have you been to Norfolk? Any other places you recommend?