West Norfolk has miles of dog friendly beaches but, if you fancy something different for a day out, why not visit one of our many parks, woodlands or tourist attractions. Find some examples below from around the west Norfolk area (all images and amended text kindly taken with permission from the Norfolk-based Barking Bugle website).
PLEASE NOTE: During these changing times, always check with venues before making a visit (each entry below has website and contact links).
Pre-booking for visits may be required, and reopening dates may well differ around the area.
Castle Acre Village
Castle Acre, Norfolk, PE32 2XD
History buffs will like the Castle Acre Priory (a well preserved monastic site dating back to 1090), the Bailey Gate and Castle (12th century), all of which are dog friendly.
King’s Lynn, PE31 6AH. Tel: 01553 631330
Castle Rising is a 12th Century Castle and Keep. Dogs are allowed on the site but not in the main castle structure.
Thornham Rd, Thornham, Nr Hunstanton, PE36 6LS. Tel: 01485 525652
40 acres of orchards and 160 varieties of apples right on the coast. Drove Orchards is family friendly and good fun for a walk around. Free parking on site. Visitors can pick their own apples and pears when in season.
Gooderstone Water Gardens
The Street, Gooderstone, PE33 9BP. Tel: 01603 712913
Water gardens and nature trails set in 6.5 acres. Well-behaved dogs on leads welcome at Gooderstone Water Gardens. Entry charges apply.
Oxburgh Hall, King’s Lynn PE33 9PS Tel: 01366 328258
This is a moated country house built around 1482. Dogs are welcome in the gardens and woodlands but not in the house.
Off the A149 between Snettisham and King’s Lynn.
Dogs are very welcome to visit but, once on the reserve, please put your dogs on leads.
Off A149, Tichwell Marsh, PE31 8BB.
Like the RSPB at Snettisham, dogs are very welcome to visit Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve but must stay on the lead. There is a nice 1 mile walk through the reserve that leads down to a quiet, sandy beach.
Sandringham Country Park
Sandringham, King’s Lynn, PE35 6EH. Tel: 01485 545400
The Norfolk retreat of Her Majesty The Queen. Dogs are not allowed in the house or the gardens but can run around in the Country Park. Dogs are also welcome to attend the many craft fairs and annual flower show when scheduled – and even visit the parish church of St. Mary Magdalene. Please check signs for reports of any cases of Seasonal Canine Illness between August and the end of January to be on the safe side.
Bircham Road, Snettisham PE31 7NG. Tel: 01485 5424
A 329 acre working farm. Dogs are allowed to visit Snettisham Park but must be on leads and well-behaved (deer and other animals are on-site). Dogs can visit the farm and the trails, but can’t go on the deer safari.
Dog Friendly Beaches
If you love walks on the beach then west Norfolk is definitely the place for you. There are beaches to suit all dogs – sandy, pebbly, marshy and even muddy! Nearly all the beaches in west Norfolk are very dog friendly. There are just a few little restrictions in some of the tourist hot spots.
This beach is a haven for nature lovers, totally uncommercialised and usually very peaceful. From the beach car park (charges apply) you can walk south along the beach towards the lagoon area of RSPB Snettisham Nature Reserve. During the summer months (April to August) pop your dogs on a lead so you don’t disturb the beach nesting birds and look out for signage and nest protection cordons letting you know where the birds are nesting and where you must not walk. At other times of year, if you enter the Reserve, pop your dogs on a lead so you don’t disturb the birds and other wildlife. On the biggest high tides from late summer onwards tens of thousands of wading birds take flight as the incoming tide pushes them off the vast mudflats. This is truly an amazing sight and is called ‘the whirling wader spectacle’. The wildlife is incredible here! There is also the option to walk along the grassy area parallel to the beach towards Heacham.
Heacham has two beaches, North and South, both of which have car parks, snack bars and toilets. From the North Beach you can walk along from Heacham to Hunstanton either on the promenade or on the beach. Like Snettisham, the beach can be very muddy in places especially when the tide is out, so do take care! You can also walk on the path that runs next to the Heacham River towards Snettisham. On South Beach, during the summer months (April – August), birds use the upper part of the beach to nest and raise their chicks. Being on a lead and looking out for signage and nest protection cordons is the best way to make sure you don’t disturb them.
Dogs are not allowed on a small section of beach from the end of the promenade by the cliffs to the boat launch ramp between the 10th of April and the 31st of October. Dogs on leads can walk along the promenade throughout the year. There are plenty of dog waste bins on the promenade. There are no restrictions on the beaches north and south of this section so there is still loads of space for dogs to run and play. The North Beach takes you to the stripy cliffs of Hunstanton which provide a stunning backdrop for holiday pics and are unique in the UK. This area is also great for paddles in the rock pools and, while you’re there, see if you can spot the wreck of a 1907 fishing boat used in WWI & WWII. Hunstanton is one of several beaches stretching from Snettisham to Holme that face west so they are very popular with those who like to watch the sunset.
This is a lovely, uncommercial sandy beach with safe water for paddles and swims. There’s a great beach café at Old Hunstanton where you will find fresh water for dogs (plus they sell some rather tasty doggy snacks). Dog waste bins can be found at The Lighthouse car park and by the Lifeboat Station.
Oher dog friendly beaches around the Norfolk area can be found on the Barking Bugle website.
Dog Friendly Walking Trails
There are several noted dog walking trails, of varied terrain, dotted throughout west Norfolk. Download our free Walk West Norfolk app (or visit the Explore West Norfolk website) for a self-guided tool to explore such trails with your canine companions.