The Best 3 Dog Friendly Beaches in Norfolk & 2023 Restrictions

Norfolk’s beaches are popular tourist destinations across the year thanks to their soft golden sands, beautiful dunes, lovely seaside aesthetics and fascinating, diverse wildlife. Speaking of animals, there also happen to be plenty of dog friendly beaches in Norfolk, too. From North Norfolk to the Suffolk border, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding great spots to walk your dogs across the coast.

Norfolk does indeed have plenty of golden pet-friendly beaches to choose from but, just like every coastal region, these beaches do vary from town to town, and from season to season. Even the towns and beaches that welcome dogs generally may have to put on certain restrictions regarding dogs, during the summer months. 

Don’t worry, as we’ve saved you the trouble of having to go through website after website of Norfolk beaches for this information. Our team has sourced the nine best dog friendly beaches that Norfolk has to offer, in terms of accessibility, facilities, and incredible views.

When are dogs allowed on beaches in Norfolk?

Walkers will be delighted to hear that it’s not hard to find a dog friendly beach in Norfolk that welcomes dogs all year round. However, you may find that there are still dog restrictions in place at some popular family-friendly beaches. Many Norfolk beaches allow you to take your pets here off-lead, for example, while others will restrict this access at certain times of the year.

We’ve taken a look at the restrictions at some of the best dog friendly beach locations across Norfolk, meaning that’s more time saved for you. Definitely check out our guide of pet friendly pubs in Norfolk if you’re feeling thirsty, too.

The Best Beaches in Norfolk for Dogs

Holkham Beach

Holkham Beach is a wonderfully preserved plot of sand dunes and protected beach straits, welcoming to dogs and horse riders. There’s an abundance of beautiful flowers and wildlife for you to spy here across the year, too. Therefore, it’s instantly up there with some of the best nature reserves in the area for our money. However, while dogs and their owners are welcome here across the year, you’re advised to be respectful.

Do keep your dogs on leads around this beautiful beach land! The local authority has a ‘coastal code’ in place to help preserve the local ecosystem, wildlife, and overall look of the area. Naturally, make sure that you pick up after your dogs!

As noisier beach fun is not permitted here, Holkham Beach and Lady Anne’s Drive offer truly peaceful, sand strolls. Providing you respect the area and clear up dog messes, you’ll have a wonderful time from tide to tide. If you are looking for a truly unspoilt dog friendly beach, then Holkham is likely to hold the key to this kind of fun down in Norfolk.

  • Seasonal Restrictions: No (Leads at All Times)
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Address: Holkham Hall, Wells-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1AB
  • Facilities Near By: Toilets, car park, inns, beach café spots

Scratby Beach

Scratby is a little more relaxed than Holkham, however, that doesn’t make it any less worth visiting! This lovely dog friendly beach stretches for miles and miles, offering you fantastic connections towards Great Yarmouth as well as the Winterton on Sea Dunes. This is a semi shingle beach that is also very popular with anglers, as well as those who want to catch a few waves in the surf.

What’s fantastic about Scratby is the fact that you can bring your dogs here throughout the year. It’s wonderful for visitors to Great Yarmouth who may have pups in tow, and the views from the cliffs are magnificent. Yes, the clifftops are fairly small compared to others in the Norfolk area, it’s a nice, gentle walk around without you having to worry about losing your footing.

There’s village scenery close by, too, which means you and your pooch can watch the sunset on the coast and then wander into the local Scratby scene to mingle with the locals. One of our favourite Norfolk dog friendly beaches purely for the views. Keep aware that this beach is not the most accessible for those with mobility needs – and there are no public toilets.

  • Seasonal Restrictions: No
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Address: Scratby, Norfolk, NR29 3PD
  • Facilities Near By: Cafes, shops, pubs

Old Hunstanton

If you’ve taken the time to visit the popular holiday destination of Hunstanton before, then you’ll likely know that the main beach at the resort is a great place to enjoy the coast with your family. However, it’s normally very busy with people who want to make the most of the glorious sand stretches! Old Hunstanton Beach, meanwhile, is a superb local alternative that offers a quieter plot of dunes. That said, it is still one of the more famous sand shores on the Norfolk map, so expect other people to still be coming around!

This beach is dog friendly all year round, meaning many people with their pups make a beeline here (if not for the Holkham National Nature Reserve). The sands here are nice and gentle, and it’s a lovely, cool, sheltered spot at certain times of the year. We think everyone deserves to see the sunset in Old Hunstanton at least once!

There’s a brilliant cafe close by, and visitors will find parking nice and easy up at the clifftop. This popular stretch is wonderful to visit all year round, whatever the weather. It makes up just a portion of the best dog walks in Norfolk.

  • Seasonal Restrictions: No
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Address: Old Hunstanton Beach, Hunstanton, Norfolk, PE36 6JJ
  • Facilities Near By: Public toilets, beach cafe, car parks

Sea Palling

Sea Palling Beach might be a bit of a hidden gem to some new visitors! However, you and your dog are sure to delight at the golden sands and sparkling waters. It’s actually a Blue Flag Beach, which is as close to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation as many beaches get! This is a family beach in many ways, and it’s also one of the safest beaches down this corner of England, largely thanks to the extensive RNLI coverage. Lifeguards patrol here during the popular season.

This is a great plot of curving beach where you can walk your dog throughout much of the year. However, there is a restriction zone here between May and September, so be very careful not to walk your dogs here close to the Clink Road car park.

This beach area is well-loved by family visitors thanks to the local arcade, as well as the fact that the sands here are absolutely perfect for digging and building castles. Why not go kite surfing here when you get the chance, too?

  • Seasonal Restrictions: Some (May to September, small area)
  • Lifeguards: Yes (Summer)
  • Address: Sea Palling, Norwich, Norfolk, NR12 0UH
  • Facilities Near By: Cafes, pubs, amusement arcade, toilets, car parking

Wells Beach

Moving on from the beach at Holkham, Wells Beach is actually part of the same estate, offering a lovely beach stretch for you and your dogs to enjoy that are relatively close to the local nature reserve. That means you should be able to spot plenty of wild birds as well as the usual gulls! This is a very accessible beach, meaning that it’s dog friendly and wheelchair access friendly, too.

Dogs can visit Wells across the year, but there is a small zone where you won’t be able to walk them. This is towards the entrance close to the main promenade section. However, you’ll be able to walk them down from the pine forest onwards, providing you keep them on a lead down to the beach itself.

Wells Next The Sea itself is a lovely seaside town, perhaps a hidden gem down in this corner of the UK. It’s only a short distance from this dog friendly beach, meaning that when you’ve had enough sand walking for the day, you can head into town and sample the local tourist fare. Book yourself into the beach huts while you’re here!

  • Seasonal Restrictions: Some (200 yards restricted all year)
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Address: Wells-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1DR
  • Facilities Near By: Car park, hotels, toilets, shopping

Gorleston On Sea

Down in Great Yarmouth, you should certainly make a point to explore the dog friendly beaches – and Gorleston on Sea happens to offer a varied yet classic seaside experience. It’s close to plenty of fun and entertainment up in Great Yarmouth, but this beach tends to be one of the cleaner, and often quieter stretches for dogs. That is, compared to some of the pleasure beach stretches just up the road!

Gorleston Beach remains dog friendly during the off-peak. Dog restrictions here come into effect between May and September, which is of course the big tourist season. This might actually work in your favour, as it means the beach stretches will likely be quieter when dog restrictions are lifted! That said, lifeguard cover only applies during the peak season, so take care from walk to walk.

There are lots of lovely facilities and attractions along this one mile stretch of sand, meaning you can easily grab an ice cream and enjoy the coast views at your leisure. This is a popular Great Yarmouth beach for kite surfers, watersports enthusiasts and dog walkers alike. It’s definitely one of the top Norfolk beaches you and your dogs should consider.”

  • Seasonal Restrictions: Yes (May to September)
  • Lifeguards: No (Only during the non-dogs season)
  • Address: Gorleston-On-Sea, Norfolk, NR31 6DX
  • Facilities Near By: Promenade, shops, cafes, car park

Blakeney Point, Morston Quay

Blakeney Point is a really interesting twist on dog friendly beaches near Norfolk. Quite unlike the tourist beaches listed so far, this is more of a nature reserve and one that many beach lovers will want to head to if they’d like to spy a few curious creatures or watch local birds. It’s a four-mile trek covered in dunes and shingles, and what makes it one of the best dog friendly beaches Norfolk has to offer is the fact that it’s off the beaten track.

In fact, part of the nature reserve isn’t even open to the public! All of Blakeney Point is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. You can charter boat trips around the Quay to watch seals and other sea life in the area, though do remember that if you are really in it for the dog walk, you’ll only be able to walk dogs here between late August and March. This is because birds in the area are usually nesting at other times! Keep your dogs on leads here regardless of when you visit.

  • Seasonal Restrictions: Yes (April to August)
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Address: Blakeney, Holt, NR25 7BE
  • Facilities Near By: Car park, toilets, National Trust site

Happisburgh Beach

This beautiful beach is home to a famous red and white striped lighthouse, which is said to be the oldest functioning structure of its kind in the UK. Open to the public, you can climb your way to the top of the lighthouse and take in the spectacular views that Happisburgh has to offer!

This sandy beach is open to dogs year round and is indeed a popular dog walking area, due also to the green cliffs that back the beach. The coastal erosion is quite prominent on this beach so if you are spending the day there, do be careful to place your dogs on leads while you trail the cliffs. It’s one of the best dog friendly beaches in Norfolk for sheer views alone, however, so be sure to take in the natural beauty as safely as possible.

If you are planning on spending the day here with the family, then you will be happy to know that there are toilets and a car park nearby, as well as a nice pub walking distance away.

You and your dog can spend a lovely time walking along the gorgeous cliffside and dipping your toes in the sparkling sea water, where you may even see some grey seals!

  • Seasonal Restrictions: No
  • Lifeguards: No 
  • Address: Happisburgh, Norwich, Norfolk NR12 0PR
  • Facilities Near By: Toilets, car park 

Winterton on Sea

The seaside resort town of Winterton is an absolute must-visit.. This dig friendly beach is perfect for long strolls in the soft, golden sand. This wide beach is also great for walks when you would just like to be alone with nature. Even during the hotter months, Winterton on Sea Beach is still relatively quiet, making it great for a day out with your dog. There are other dog friendly beaches that are perhaps more exciting, but can’t beat a pleasant, peaceful stroll.

Your dog won’t be the only animal enjoying the beach however, as Winterton Dunes National Nature Reserve is considered to be a Site of Specific Scientific Interest as well as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Along your walk through the dunes you will likely come across some interesting looking toads and beautiful birds. On the beach itself, especially during the colder months, you may be able to spot some mother seals with their pups!

Most importantly, your pooch is welcome on this beach year round and will absolutely love the space that they have to run around in and the new views, scents and animals they will get to discover. There are no dog restrictions you’ll have to worry about here. Come enjoy some Norfolk sunsets down here in Winterton.

  • Seasonal Restrictions: No 
  • Lifeguards: No 
  • Address: Winterton-on-Sea, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR29 4DE
  • Facilities Near By: Disabled facilities 

Staying in Norfolk

If you are thinking of a mini-break or longer holiday, then stay at one of these Norfolk cottages and bring your furry friends, you won’t be disappointed.

Last Word

We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to the best dog friendly beaches Norfolk has to offer! There’s a wild and wonderful selection of sand and shingle stretches out here, with a traditional UK seaside backdrop you’re sure to enjoy. Check out our guide to dog days out in Norfolk too, if you’re keen to explore further.

It’s well worth heading out east to enjoy some of the best dog friendly beaches in Norfolk. Make sure to check out those dog restrictions, as always, and use this guide as a starting point. There are plenty more dog friendly beaches in Norfolk you’re sure to discover as you trail around. Check out West Runton, for example, and take a walk or two with your dogs through the pine woods inland, too. There’s more than just beaches in Norfolk!