A dog-friendly holiday cottage company in north Norfolk has won a national award.

Sue Allen has won a Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday Award for East Ruston Cottages located in the Stalham and Happisburgh area.

She founded her business in 2008 after years of holidaying around the UK with her friends and their dogs.

Eastern Daily Press: Ms Allen founded the business in 2008Ms Allen founded the business in 2008 (Image: Sue Allen)

She quickly realised that 'dog-friendly' does not always mean 'dog welcoming', with holiday lets often imposing restrictions on where dogs can go within the property and not offering a secure garden for them to play in.

Ms Allen now welcomes around 250 dogs per month at 40 cottages, ranging from cosy lodges to large family homes. 

She believes Norfolk's dog-welcoming nature and exciting landscapes are part of its appeal for her guests.

“Once people come to Norfolk with their dogs, they keep coming back," she said.

“Our guests love the fact that there are over 90 miles of dog-friendly beaches, but also stock free fields and easy walking and the abundance of dog-friendly cafés, pubs and activities.

READ MORE: Holkham beach named one of UK's best places to walk dogs

"Norfolk is by far and away the most dog-welcoming county in the UK - I know the area and the cottages really well so I can help our guests choose the best place for their holiday, based on their needs and their dogs.”

The Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday Award is arranged by Theo Paphitis, the entrepreneur best known for Dragon's Den.

Each week, Paphitis chooses six businesses that pitch their products and services to him via social media. 

East Ruston Cottages has also won the Dog Friendly Magazine Award for UK Self Catering Properties five years running.