Norfolk's 9 best dog-friendly beaches – and when you can use them

Dogs on a beach. North Norfolk District Council is consulting over a plan to extend a dog ban on som

There are plenty of beaches in Norfolk where you can take you pooch for a paddle. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We all love a family day at the beach – but it can be quite tricky if you've got a four-legged friend in tow.

The open space and opportunity for a paddle is great fun for dogs, but not every beach is so welcoming of canine capers.

And while some welcome dogs year-round, others have date restrictions during the summer when you are not allowed to take your animals on.

Brancaster beach.

Brancaster beach. - Credit: Ian Burt

To help pick a suitable spot to take your furry friends, dog-friendly holiday provider Canine Cottages has crunched TripAdvisor data to come up with the nine best beaches to take your dog.

9. Hemsby Beach

The beach at Hemsby is a great spot for a picnic and a bit of fun in the sand.

Reviewers on TripAdvisor consistently praise how clean and quiet it is, so it's a good place for your dog to run around safely.

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However, dogs are prohibited between May 1 and September 30 each year, so there's a bit of a wait before you can take your pooch for a paddle at Hemsby.

8. Holkham Bay

Holkham beach.

Holkham beach. - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Holkham is one of Norfolk's most famous beaches, thanks to its Hollywood links – it was used to film the final scenes of Shakespeare in Love starring Gwyneth Paltrow, while the star-studded cast of 1976 war film The Eagle Has Landed also recorded there.

Dogs are allowed to walk in the footsteps of the stars year-round, but under new rules they must be kept on a lead between April 1 and August 31 to help protect wildlife.

So it's still a great place for a walk, but there can be no chasing a tennis ball in the summer for your four-legged friend.

7. Caister Beach

Between Hemsby and Great Yarmouth lies Caister Beach, a popular beach consisting of miles of sand mixed with pebbles.

You'll be able to see the Scroby Sands Wind Farm off shore and, if you're lucky, you might catch sight of some of the seals from the colony at nearby Horsey.

Caister on Sea beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Caister-on-Sea beach. - Credit: Denise Bradley

And if you're a dog owner, the best part is there are no restrictions on dog walking whatsoever!

6. Brancaster Bay

The beach at Brancaster is owned by the National Trust as part of the Brancaster Estate, and is also a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

It was also one of those named by travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller on its list of the 44 best beaches in the UK in February.

It's open to dogs all year long, but be careful not to venture too far out as it's quite common for people to be caught out by the tide and cut off at Scolt Head Island.

5. Heacham South Beach

A little further west, the south beach at Heacham is one of the only ones on the east coast to be west-facing.

The waters of The Wash are rather calm compared to elsewhere, making it an ideal spot to take your dogs if they love a paddle.

And you're allowed to do so year round, making it a nice summer beach destination with your four-legged companions.

4. Sea Palling Beach

A few people enjoying the beach at Sea Palling this weekend <Sun 28/2/21>. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The beach at Sea Palling. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The Blue Flag beach at Sea Palling is almost equidistant between Cromer in the north and Great Yarmouth in the east.

With cafés, amusements and a pub nearby, there's plenty for the family to do.

Dogs are allowed between October and April, but councillors recently voted to extend the existing ban on dogs during the summer months.

3. Bacton Beach

A dead minke whale, first spotted on the beach at Overstrand, has come ashore at Bacton.Picture:

Bacton beach. - Credit: Mark Bullimore

A little further up the coast is Bacton Beach, which spreads all the way from Walcott to Mundesley.

This means plenty of room for dogs to run around with freedom, except for between May 1 and September 30 – Bacton is affected by the same order as Sea Palling.

And it's best to keep an eye on them even when they can go on, as seals and their pups are a regular sight along the coast.

2. Old Hunstanton Beach

While the resort town of Hunstanton has pebbled along its main beach, a little further north there are golden sands to be found in Old Hunstanton.

Like Heacham, it faces west so is an ideal spot to watch the sunset.

There's plenty of parking and dogs are allowed year-round, so you can't really ask for much more!

1. Happisburgh Beach

Coastal erosion at Happisburgh, Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt

The beach at Happisburgh. - Credit: Ian Burt

Happisburgh is known for its famous lighthouse, but it's also home to an excellent stretch of sand – though its popularity can sometimes come at the cost of finding a place to park.

Dogs are welcome year round, so you can take your pooch for a stroll along the beach no matter the time of year.

21pc of the total TripAdvisor reviews left for Happisburgh commented on its dog-friendliness, making it the beach in Norfolk to head to with your dog this summer.

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