Norfolk is regarded as one of the most dog-friendly areas in the UK, owing to its abundance of dog-friendly attractions, activities and places to stay. The main draw for dog owners, though, is the stunning coastline with its long sandy beaches, which are perfect for walkies, games of fetch and paddling in the sea.
Many of the beaches in Norfolk allow dogs all year round, but several destinations have dog restrictions in place during the busy summer months. It’s best to visit the area’s dog-friendly beaches at mid to low tide when there is more space to run around and explore.
If you’re looking for coastal hotspots to visit during your holiday with a canine companion, look no further than these twelve of the best dog-friendly beaches in Norfolk.
1 . Cromer Beach
If you’re looking for a fantastic dog-friendly beach to visit, Cromer should be high on your list. While dogs are banned during the summer months, canines are allowed to run free on the golden sand at other times of the year. Those who visit outside of peak season will be rewarded with a crowd-free sandy beach to explore. It’s a beautiful spot for walks on the beach or even for a dip in the sea if you’re feeling brave.
Cromer is one of the most popular holiday towns on the north Norfolk coast, with plenty going on for visitors. The town’s main attraction is its historic pier which is a great location to admire the coastal scenery. The good news is that dogs on leads are allowed on the pier as well as the promenade overlooking the sea.
Cromer doesn’t disappoint in terms of food and drink either, as there is a fantastic range of dog-friendly cafés and pubs where you can grab a bite to eat or a drink. All in all, this holiday hotspot is the perfect place for a relaxing seaside break with your dog by your side. Simply choose one of the many dog-friendly cottages in Cromer and book a stay in this wonderful dog-friendly destination.
2 . Waxham Beach
Within easy reach of the popular seaside town of Sea Palling is this beautiful natural beach. Waxham beach is an idyllic spot for a stroll with your dog. It is a long expanse of sand with plenty of open space for your pet to run around, as well as sand dunes to explore.
This beach is also a great place for swimming, surfing and fishing. It’s no wonder that Waxham is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. So make sure you head to this beautiful beach for some relaxation time with your family and four-legged friend while in the area on holiday.
There are a couple of dog-friendly cafés in the small village of Waxham, as well as a wide choice of eateries and pubs that welcome pets in nearby Sea Palling. Holiday accommodation in the area includes camping, caravanning and B&Bs, as well as some superb self-catering holiday cottages in Sea Palling.
3 . Holkham Beach
Beautifully unspoiled Holkham beach is a long expanse of sand, backed by dunes and pine forest. It’s a lovely walk through the trees along a boardwalk to this dog-friendly beach which is also a haven for wildlife with an abundance of birdlife to be seen.
There are no facilities at the beach, so make sure you pack a picnic and some dog snacks if you want to make a day of it. Dogs are allowed to roam free on most areas of the beach throughout the year but there are some ‘on-lead’ areas to protect nesting birds during the summer months in this national nature reserve.
Dog walkers should make use of the car park in the village of Holkham, where there are also several cafés, a pub and some dog-friendly holiday cottages for those who choose to stay in this attractive coastal community.
4 . Happisburgh Beach
Happisburgh beach is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a quiet, secluded beach. The beach is located close to the village of Happisburgh and is a good spot for fishing, bird watching and walking. It’s also one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Norfolk, so there’s no need to leave your furry friend behind.
With an impressive backdrop of cliffs, topped by a red and white lighthouse, it’s a beautiful spot for a stroll or a day out at the beach. For longer walks, there are impressive cliff-top trails with connecting footpaths through the local countryside.
In the village, there’s a lovely coffee shop and a dog-friendly pub serving delicious food and drinks making it a great spot for a rest after walking with dogs. There are also a number of holiday cottages to rent in Happisburgh and neighbouring Walcott.
5 . Thornham Beach
Thornham beach is another vast sandy beach where there are no dog restrictions. From the village, a footpath leads along a raised embankment past the picturesque old habour to this quiet beach.
A little further along the beach is the Holme Dunes Nature Reserve, which is an important habitat for nesting birds. Thornham is a wonderfully serene location where dog walkers can wander in peace for miles.
There are no facilities at the beach, so stop for lunch at one of the village pubs or stock up on supplies for your outing at the local deli. To stay near this beach, choose from one of the many dog-friendly holiday homes in Thornham.
6 . Horsey Gap Beach
Next on our list of Norfolk’s best dog-friendly beaches is this wonderfully laid-back stretch of sand on the north coast. This popular dog-walking location is a lovely sandy beach in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Although there are no dog restrictions in place at Horsey Gap, dog owners should take extra care in the winter when a colony of grey seals make a home on the beach for the arrival of seal pups. But in summer, dogs can run free along this wild and quiet beach.
With a beach car park, plus a tearoom and pub in the village, it’s a convenient beach to visit for a day out on the Norfolk coast. Horsey is known as the village where the Norfolk Broads meet the coast. While in the area, pay a visit to the Horsey Windpump – a scenic windmill that was once used to pump water from the broads.
7 . Winterton-on-Sea Beach
Another amazing dog-friendly beach is waiting to be discovered at Winterton-on-Sea. Although it’s only a short distance from Great Yarmouth’s pleasure beach, this long sandy beach is wonderfully quiet whatever the season.
With miles upon miles of sandy beach to explore, Winterton is perfect for dog walking as pooches are allowed year-round. During the winter months, though, it’s sensible to keep dogs on leads as grey seals are often found basking on the beach. Alongside the beach is the Winterton Dunes National Nature Reserve, which is home to a wide range of birds, as well as rare Natterjack toads.
Winterton beach café makes a perfect stop for dog walkers, where you can enjoy a meal with views of the sea and coastline. if you’re looking for a holiday in the area, here are many dog-friendly places to stay in Winterton-on-Sea.
8 . Wells-next-the-Sea Beach
No list of Norfolk’s dog-friendly beaches would be complete without mention of Wells-next-the-Sea. This is one of the most beautiful and popular north Norfolk beaches, with no dog restrictions for much of the year so it’s a perfect spot for family days at the beach as well as long walks along the golden sand.
This coastal beauty spot is famous for its colourful beach huts which attract a lot of visitors to this popular resort town. It’s best to visit this dog-friendly beach at low tide when the sand opens up into a vast area to enjoy and explore. For longer dog walks, continue on to Holkham Beach with its impressive sand dunes.
There’s a beach car park at the far end of town, where there’s a wonderful dog-welcoming café for treats and snacks. From here it’s a short walk to the shore or along the promenade overlooking the water.
During the summer, Wells is a lively town bustling with holidaymakers. There are plenty of places to stop for a bite to eat with your four-legged friend. What’s more, Wells-next-the-Sea also has one of the largest collections of coastal dog-friendly cottages in Norfolk. Discover your pet-friendly retreat in Wells-next-the-Sea.
9 . Heacham Beach
This popular dog walking beach is actually split into two – Heacham North and Heacham South – which makes it doubly special for strolls with your canine companion. As a west-facing beach, it’s also one of the best places on the Norfolk coast to watch the sunset.
If you want to avoid sandy paws, you can still enjoy a walk along the flood defence bank which runs alongside the beach. There are car parks at each beach, so it’s a convenient place to visit if you’re staying elsewhere in Norfolk.
Heacham is a vibrant coastal town with all the facilities you could need for an enjoyable stay. There’s a great selection of cafés, pubs and shops, as well as many self-catering properties for stays in Heacham.
10 . Brancaster Beach
Brancaster is one of our favourite dog-friendly destinations in Norfolk. With miles of golden sand, natural pools and sand dunes to explore it’s an obvious destination for walking dogs. This beautifully scenic beach is fantastic for photographers who love to snap the remains of a shipwreck, which emerges from the water as the tide recedes.
Just a few miles along the coast path is RSPB Titchwell Marsh, which is a haven for native and migrating birds. Well-behaved dogs on leads are permitted for bird-watching walks through this important nature reserve.
There are a number of quality restaurants in the area, as well as several gastro pubs where dogs are most welcome. There is also a good supply of holiday homes to rent in Brancaster, making it an outstanding destination for a coastal break in Norfolk.
11 . Hunstanton Beach
With its coloured cliffs, rock pools and sunsets, Hunstanton is considered one the finest Norfolk beaches. With no dog restrictions in place, the beach is dog friendly all year round. Dog walkers can choose to stroll along the shore, across the cliff-tops or take a long ramble on the Norfolk Coast Path to neighbouring Heacham.
Hunstanton, or Sunny Hunny, is an elegant Victorian resort, with a wide range of attractions for visitors. There are well-kempt public gardens to explore, as well as a children’s play park, bowling green, crazy golf course and a sea life centre.
It’s a lovely place to stay, especially in the summer when the town comes alive with many events and things to do with visitors. To stay in the area, choose from the wonderful dog-friendly cottages and holiday homes in Hunstanton.
12 . Caister-on-Sea
Last but not least is delightful Caister-on-Sea beach. This long sandy beach is one of the most pet-friendly beaches on the Norfolk coast with no dog restrictions at any time of the year. Here you can walk your dog for miles in either direction along the Norfolk shoreline or wander through the streets of this friendly seaside town.
Located less than a mile from Great Yarmouth, Caister is a lot more laid-back than its glitzy neighbour. It’s a well-provisioned town with a plethora of places to visit with a trusted pet. If you want an inland adventure, it’s only a short walk to Ormesby Broad, which has a lovely dog-friendly restaurant overlooking the tranquil watery scene.
For a dog-friendly holiday in this sought after destination, select one of the convenient holiday lets close to the beach in Caister-on-Sea.
Book a Stay Near a Dog Friendly Beach in Norfolk
So now you know where the best dog-friendly beaches in Norfolk are, you are ready to research places to stay on this wonderful coast. Luckily we have hundreds of dog-friendly cottages in Norfolk for you to choose from. Simply pick a beach and search for holiday homes nearby that welcome dogs. See you on the beach!