10 of the best dog-friendly Norfolk walks holiday cottages

10 of the best dog-friendly Norfolk walks

Julie Smith 08 June 2023

Norfolk is a fantastic location for dog walks, with gorgeous countryside to explore, the Norfolk Broads National Park to discover and lovely coastal views to admire. So whether you prefer beachy strolls or rural rambles, there are lots of options for walkies with a four-legged friend by your side. 

To help you make the most of a dog-friendly Norfolk holiday we have compiled some of the best country parks, waterside woodland and stretches of sand to head to with a canine companion. 

Read on to discover ten of the best dog-friendly Norfolk walks and browse our range of pet-friendly cottages to find a perfect place to rest weary legs (and paws) after fun-filled days in the great outdoors. 

Whitlingham Country Park

Dog walk in Norfolk country park

Located around 15 minutes southeast of Norwich, near the pretty village of Trowse, Whitlingham Country Park is a wonderful place to bring your dog for a walk. There’s a circular 2-mile route around the Great Broad that is accessible to wheelchairs and will take you through woodland and meadows with beautiful views of the water. 

Good to know

  • The country park also has lots of open spaces where kids and dogs can run around and let off steam before you settle down for a family picnic. 
  • You’ll also find traffic-free cycle trails running through the country park and a range of water-based activities to try including canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing. 
  • Whitlingham Country Park has been designated a Local Nature Reserve by the Broads Authority as it’s home to a wide variety of plants, flowers, butterflies and wading birds so there are some areas where dogs must be kept on leads. 
  • Stay nearby: The Firs | sleeps 8 guests + 2 dogs

Blickling Estate

The dog-friendly Blickling Estate 

Covering an amazing 4,600 acres with 950 acres of woodland and parkland and 3,500 acres of farmland, Blickling Estate is a fantastic place to bring your dog for a run around. The National Trust-owned site is centred around a stunning Jacobean mansion and formal gardens that include ancient yews, a parterre and a lake. Dogs are welcome throughout Blickling’s woodland and parkland and can also join you on a lakeside walk and in the farmyard area, as long as they are kept on a lead.

Good to know

  • Parts of the Blickling Estate worth seeking out with a four-legged friend include the mausoleum pyramid and ancient woodland which is covered in beautiful bluebells each spring.
  • If you fancy joining other dog walkers, the Blickling Bounders group departs from the main car park every Monday at 10am for a wander around the estate.
  • The dog-friendly Bucks Arms is a traditional 17th-century pub that’s right next to Blickling Hall and serves hearty home-cooked food to fill you up after exploring.  
  • Stay nearby: Wren Cottage | sleeps 4 guests + 1 dog

Holt Country Park

Woodland path in Holt Country Park

Located just a short walk away from the Georgian town of Holt, on the edge of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is 100 acres of Green Flag award-winning mixed woodland in the form of Holt Country Park. Wandering around the circular trails allows you and your four-legged friend to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and with walks starting at just 0.7 miles, you can choose an option that’s most suited to your fitness and ability. 

Good to know

  • Grab a map from the Visitor Centre before you begin to decide upon your colour-coded trail. The various paths connect together if you fancy extending your walk and all the routes end up back at the Visitor Centre.
  • As well as waymarked trails through the trees, there are sculptures and carvings to discover along with a sensory garden and a children’s play area.
  • After building up an appetite during your walk you can either sit down to a picnic or head to nearby Holt where dog-friendly cafes include Charlie’s and The Folly Tearoom.
  • Stay nearby: Owl Cottage | sleeps 4 guests + 2 dogs

Holkham Beach

Dogs playing on Holkham Beach

Holkham Beach is one of the most unspoilt and spectacular stretches of sand in the country. Your dog will love a run around on the vast sands, however there are designated beach walks if you would prefer to follow a route. A lovely 2-hour walk from Holkham Beach leads you to the lifeboat station at Wells-next-the-Sea and back again, boasting beautiful coastal views on the way and woodland views on the way back. 

Good to know

  • There’s a sturdy wooden track from Holkham Beach which is suitable for wheelchair users and leads to a viewing platform with fantastic views over the sand and sea.
  • It’s also worth calling at The Lookout, a dog-friendly cafe that blends seamlessly into its surroundings on the edge of Holkham National Nature Reserve and has binoculars available to help you spot birds as you enjoy a cuppa and a cake.
  • Dogs are also welcome in nearby Holkham Park where there are a number of circular trails to try of varying lengths and difficulties. 
  • Stay nearby: South Lodge West | sleeps 2 guests + 2 dogs

Happisburgh Beach

View over Happisburgh beach

Nestled on the North Norfolk coast between Mundesley and Sea Palling, Happisburgh Beach is an unspoilt stretch of sand with miles of coastal paths available to help you explore the surrounding area. Dogs are welcome to join you for adventures on the sand, although there are some restrictions in the peak summer months. It’s up to you whether you walk along the beach or follow the Norfolk Coast Path to reach nearby Mundesley, and another popular walking option is a circular route to Walcott. 

Good to know

  • Happisburgh Beach is on Norfolk’s Deep History Coast and footprints dating back 850,000 years have been discovered at Happisburgh - the oldest evidence of humans outside Africa's Great Rift Valley. 
  • The red and white striped Happisburgh Lighthouse is an iconic Norfolk site worth seeking out during your dog walk - it’s also the oldest working lighthouse in East Anglia.
  • The dog-friendly Smallsticks Cafe is just a short stroll from the beach and comes with an enclosed garden, homemade cakes and views across to the lighthouse.   
  • Stay nearby: Phoenix Cottage | sleeps 6 guests + 1 dog

Felbrigg Estate

The dog-friendly grounds of Felbrigg

Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate is simply beautiful, complete with its lake, 520 acres of woodland and waymarked trails, is a wonderful place to bring the dog for a day out. We recommend the 2.5-mile Church and Ice House Walk that passes through lovely fields and woodland on the way to a hidden lake. Along this lovely circular walk, you'll pass fascinating historic buildings dating back to the 1700s as well as lots of interesting plants and trees. 

Good to know

  • Felbrigg is a National Trust site and dogs are welcome in most parts of the estate, including Squire’s Pantry where you can sit and enjoy a cup of tea.
  • Felbrigg is just a few miles from Cromer and you can take a 6-mile circular walk from the popular seaside town through the Felbrigg Estate and onto the Weavers Way National Trail.
  • There’s much to see and do on a visit to Felbrigg and highlights of the large estate include a pair of tree-lined avenues within the woodland that are known as the Victory V and a 14th-century church. 
  • Stay nearby: Horseshoe Cottage | sleeps 3 guests + 2 dogs

Salhouse Broad

Path at the Norfolk Broads

On a visit to Salhouse Broad, you can explore the outstanding beauty of marshes, woodland, water and wildlife with a four-legged friend by your side. The 40-acre Broad lies within the Salhouse Conservation Area and is part of the Broads Executive Area, which is a member of the National Park family. It’s open all year round so you can visit Salhouse Broad during spring, summer, autumn or winter to walk your dog and enjoy a day of relaxing peace and tranquility.

Good to know

  • One of the most popular routes is a 3-mile walk along the broad to Salhouse village where you’ll find a dog-friendly pub, The Bell Inn.
  • Salhouse Broad comes with a beach-style area that slopes gently towards the water and is perfect for pooches to have a play and a paddle.
  • It’s also well worth taking a short walk to nearby Woodbastwick where you’ll find a lovely village green, thatched medieval churches and the Bure Marshes National Nature Reserve.
  • Stay nearby: The Old Post Room | sleeps 5 + 2 dogs 

Brancaster Beach

Brancaster beach in Norfolk

This beautiful beach is part of the National Trust’s Brancaster Estate and boasts vast swathes of golden sands that are perfect for a dog walk. Brancaster Beach stretches as far as the eye can see and you’ll always have lots of space for walking, whether that’s for a summer evening wander or a breath of fresh air in the winter. 

Good to know

  • Brancaster Beach is at its best when the tide is out; the sand rolls out endlessly towards the water and the remains of an old shipwreck can be seen.
  • Almost the whole of Brancaster Beach is dog-friendly; there’s just a small fenced-off section for nesting birds that can’t be accessed between May and September.
  • You can enjoy a wonderful 4-mile circular walk from Brancaster to nearby Burnham Overy Staithe which is known for its wildlife and tower windmill. 
  • Stay nearby: Hemingford Cottage | sleeps 6 + 4 dogs

Sea Palling and Waxham beaches

Sea Palling beach in Norfolk

Awarded the Blue Flag status, Sea Palling Beach is a fantastic location for a dog walk during the wintertime when it is very peaceful and quiet. It can however be fairly busy during the peak summer months as the beach is a popular choice for families. A good option for a peaceful stroll during summertime is nearby Waxham Beach which is hidden by trees and sand dunes with lots of space for stretching your legs.

Good to know

  • There are plenty of facilities at Sea Palling Beach including toilets, cafes and amusement arcades but you’ll just find a secret stretch of sand at Waxham.
  • It’s well worth taking a 3-mile walk from Sea Palling to Horsey Gap on a stretch of the Norfolk Coast Path that’s sheltered and popular with birdwatchers with far-reaching coastal and inland views.
  • Dogs are also welcome to explore the nearby Horsey Windpump Estate - the sails of the iconic drainage windmill now turn once more thanks to a recent renovation by the National Trust.   
  • Stay nearby: Santa Monica | sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Sheringham Park

Path surrounded by flowers at Sheringham Park

With almost 1,000 acres of land to explore at Sheringham Park, it’s up to you whether you take a short stroll through the pretty parkland or enjoy a longer walk in the sunshine with a four-legged friend by your side. There are four waymarked walks to follow, ranging from 1 - 5 miles, which will take you through varying habitats of the park including woodland trails and coastal paths.  

Good to know

  • Repton's Walk is 2 miles long and will take you through landscaped parkland with lovely countryside and stunning coastal views. Try this trail in May and June and you’ll also see vibrant rhododendrons and azaleas.
  • A wonderful way to get to Sheringham Park is by catching a dog-friendly North Norfolk Railway steam train from Holt to Weybourne and then taking a scenic walk through Weybourne Woods.
  • There are plenty of buggy-friendly paths at Sheringham Park for a family-friendly day out with picnic benches available and plenty of space to lay out a rug to relax on after your walk.
  • Stay nearby: Fisherman’s Cottage | sleeps 6 guests + 1 dog

Plan your dog-friendly Norfolk getaway

Dog on beach in Norfolk

If you have been inspired to bring your dog to Norfolk to try out some of these glorious dog walks, you’ll find lots of lovely holiday cottages where you can rest your head after days of exploring the coast and countryside. 

Why not browse our collection of dog-friendly Norfolk cottages and start planning your next UK holiday to this wonderful part of the world?

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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