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Holiday inspiration & travel tips

Dog Friendly Beaches

5 dog friendly beaches in Norfolk

A holiday in Norfolk will usually include some standards – like explorative trips of Norwich’s medieval Cathedral or meandering walks through The Wash National Nature Reserve. But the most rewarding way to absorb the county’s beauty is along the coast, most of which is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Better yet, it is a dog-friendly destination, so nobody gets left behind. 

Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells-next-the-Sea
Image Credits: flikr2502(CC BY 2.0)

This port in North Norfolk is a small civil parish that is the perfect spot to recline on the beach with the whole family (furry ones included!) It has been described – for good reason – as the best beach in Norfolk. What’s truly special about it, though, is that despite its popularity and high-ranking status, it remains calm, unspoiled and serene. The seemingly never-ending stretch of sandy beach is perfect for walking your dogs, which is largely unrestricted bar a certain section that needs to be kept dog-free. The beach-café is the perfect spot to freshen up and grab a drink – an ice tea for you, and some cold water for your pet! 

Old Hunstanton beach

Old Hunstanton Beach
Image Credits: Alan Parkinson(CC BY 2.0)

While Wells-next-the-Sea is often described as the best beach in Norfolk, Old Hunstanton is regarded specifically as the best for dogs by many a dog-owner. This is because of how unrestricted it is and accepting of four-legged friends. It is not to be confused with Hunstanton Beach, however, which although close-by and exceptionally popular during the Summer for bathers, swimmers and boaters alike, it is particularly restrictive on dogs. The expansive, soft sand on Old Hunstanton is ideal for dog-laden strolls. Hydration-breaks are a must when dog-walking, and the pub called Le Strange Arms Hotel is the port of call for that. It welcomes dogs almost as heartily as humans – even some of the overnight rooms are dog-friendly. 

Happisburgh beach

Happisburgh Beach
Image Credits: .Martin.(CC BY-ND 2.0)

Happisburgh Beach, a vital and beautiful part of this civil parish in Norfolk, is a barker’s best buddy. Between the views of the lighthouse (which is East Anglia’s oldest working lighthouse), the multi-coloured beach huts lining the sandy haven and the dogs splashing in the waves, you will feel at total peace with nature. The beach continues for miles, but if you’d rather not walk along the sand, there are plenty of coastal paths to mosey along. The coastal paths are the best for dogs, as they are littered with fresh water pools and marshes for drinking water (and a cool-down after a day of sniffling adventures). 

Brancaster beach

Brancaster Beach
Image Credits: Martin Pettitt(CC BY 2.0)

Brancaster Beach is owned by the National Trust, so you can rest assured knowing that it is well-maintained. The wide beach is best at low tide, not only because it is so sweeping but because the road can get flooded and you might be down there for a while unless you fancy a swim back to your car. The only dog-restrictions are during the Summer months, mainly because it is so popular and a great swimming destination. But even then, if you enter through the main entrance and head immediately to your left or right, where you can be away from things like kite surfers. 

Winterton beach

Winterton Beach
Image Credits: Darren Glanville(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Because it backs onto the banks of the National Nature Reserve, Winterton Beach is really large and unobstructed. It stretches so far that if you position yourself right, you feel as if you have your own little sanctuary of beach to yourself – even when it is busy, it isn’t overwhelming. The car park is very close and easy to access from the beach, which contains a café where all the necessary dog-based facilities are at your beck and call, such as taps and bins. There are no restrictions on pets and dogs simply add to the natural ambience when it’s seal season and even the seal-pups will be out basking in the sunlight.