Which county boasts some of eastern England’s most popular seaside resorts, has windmills galore, vast waterways, and acres of heathland and countryside? It can only be the incredibly diverse Norfolk.
This area is ideal for a dog-friendly holiday or a short break to get away from it all; if your perfect trip involves spending lots of time in the great outdoors you certainly won’t be disappointed if you decide to pay a visit to this part of Britain.
Norfolk is home to some very well known towns and villages — Norwich, Walsingham, and Great Yarmouth to name a few — so why don’t you head on over?
Dog-friendly days out and attractions in Norfolk...
The landscape in Norfolk is very diverse and unique; here you’ll find historic heathlands, ancient grasslands, wetlands, farmland, and marshlands.
On the border with Suffolk lies Thetford Forest which has a wonderful mixture of pines, heathland, and broad leafs, and is a great destination for walking — there are 26 walking trails around the forest — as well as cycling, horse riding, and even orienteering if you’re up to the challenge.
Norfolk is one of several counties that encompass the Fens — originally low-lying marshlands and wetlands. The ancient Saxon town of Downham Market is one of Norfolk’s oldest towns and is considered by many to be the gateway to the Fens. Visitors will be amazed by the vast space and quiet that’s only found in the Fens; truly a place to get back to nature with your dog.
The Norfolk Broads is probably one of the county’s most iconic areas. This magical network of waterways is the UK’s largest nationally protected wetland and an important area for wildlife; the Broads is recognised globally for its wildlife, as well as the distinct and precious character of its environment.
If this sounds appealing to you make sure you spend a few days exploring the many rivers and lakes, and the charming, unspoiled villages and market towns that sit on the water’s edge. Instead of exploring by foot why not hire a boat and see everything from a different perspective? Places to stop off at along the way include Wroxham, the delightful village of Woodbastwick, and Potter Heigham.
Sailing along the Broads is also a great opportunity to glimpse many of the old and historic churches, plus the four-storey, red-brick Horsey windpump, recently restored and open to the public for part of the year.
There’s also plenty to do back on solid ground, visit some of the many tranquil coastal locations as your next destination. Fun for all the family can be had at popular beach resorts such as Great Yarmouth — where dogs are welcome on North Beach all year round — if you prefer quieter traditional seaside towns you should head to Cromer, Sheringham, Wells-next-the-Sea, and Holkham.
There are many places where dogs and owners can enjoy walking together; dogs are welcome on the Pedders Way national trail, and on many Norfolk beaches including those at Hunstanton, Heacham (outside the main resort), and Snettisham.
Bacton Woods walk guide
There are many beaches to explore in East Anglia but if you fancy something different, head to Bacton Woods, in Bacton, Norfolk.
Managed by the Forestry Commission, the wood is a huge conifer plantation mixed with over 30 species of trees. It has a BronzeAge pot boiling site, a Bronze Age burial mound, open spaces, and a pond. Dogs are welcome as long as they are under control.
There are three marked trails — red, yellow, and blue — which vary in length up to two and half miles. However, for a longer route that takes in all the main sites follow these directions:
1. Exit the car park to the left following the red waymarkers.
2. At a crossroads turn right and follow the path until it starts to bend to the right. You will pass the pond on your left-hand side.
3. As the path initially bends right, take the path to your left, almost turning back on yourself. On the corner you will pass a ‘grandparent’ sessile oak tree which is over 200 years old.
4. Stay on the path as it bends right, until you reach the end. Take a left. Continue forward before taking the second path to the left. To your right is the Bronze Age burial mound (tumulus).
5. Continue on this path until it ends. Turn left and continue straight on until the path splits.
6. Head right. Next turn left. Then take the first path on your right which immediately splits. Take the left fork which heads past the pot boiling site.
7. This way leads to a junction where your path and four others meet. Take the path opposite (the third exit if it were a roundabout).
8. Stay on the path, following the blue and yellow waymarkers, before taking the fourth path to the right which heads back to the car park.
For more information visit: www.forestry.gov.uk/ forestry/EnglandEastAngliaNoForestBactonWood
Dog-friendly pubs in Norfolk
The Mermaid Inn
A 16th Century traditional Norfolk village Country Pub. We have full disabled facilities and welcome well behaved children, dogs and young farmers.
Located in Elsing, nr Dereham, Norfolk.
Tel: 01362 637640
The Park Hotel, Bar & Restaurant
The Park Hotel is an East Anglian Hotel located within walking distance of Diss town centre. It is centrally located in the beautiful East Anglian countryside, between Norwich & Ipswich, making it an ideal base for exploring the many Towns, woodlands and pretty villages that surround us.
Tel: 01379 642244