Thatch Cottage

  • Dogs: 4 but flexible / reactive dog friendly

  • Sleeps Max: 8

  • Bedrooms: 4

  • Bathrooms: 3

Stunning family and dog friendly house!

“Such a beautiful cottage, inside and out.  The dogs thoroughly enjoyed the garden.
Everything we needed was here.  We will be back!”

The house sleeps 8 in a charming higgledy-piggledy, beamed selection of 4 bedrooms, with one on the ground floor with an en-suite shower toom and the other 3 upstairs, one with an en-suite bathroom.  The living room and snug, dining room and kitchen are all connected in such a way as a group of you can all have the space you need but all be together.  A perfect dog friendly and family friendly house!

  • The hedge-lined grassy track that takes you straight to the beach – approx 1 mile.
  • Eccles, Sea Palling and Cart Gap are the closest beaches – all dog friendly year round.
  • Perfect for watching sunrises and sunsets and our big Norfolk skies at night.
  • Watch the bats and listen to the owls, deer and foxes shouting from the nearby woods.
  • A short drive (or a longer but easy walk) to the seaside village of Sea Palling
  • Dog friendly pub nearby – The Star
  • The Norfolk Broads are very easy to visit from here too.  Hire a boat and watch the amazing bird life!
  • Norwich is an amazing city if you want a day out – approx 45 mins to drive/park.
  • Plenty of information about other local beaches, cafes, pubs and things to do here on the website.
  • Take advantage of some of our guest discounts and goodies – here on the website.
  • If Thatch Cottage is booked for the dates you would like maybe look at Red Roofs or Fenside.
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For the dogs:

  • Approx 4 dogs welcome free of charge (please ask if you have more – we can be flexible)
  • Dog throws for sofas and chair
  • Dog bowls, poo bags, dog biscuits in the welcome basket
  • Outside warm dog shower
  • Fitted stair gate at bottom of stairs
  • Very large, fully enclosed garden with a high fence all round – laid to grass.
  • Two crates – one large & one small (30 x 20 inches) more available on request
  • Dog sitting.  If you would like to go out for a few hours and leave the dogs but are not confident they will settle, please see our website page – It’s a Dogs Life – for dog sitter recommendations.
  • Enough freezer space for raw food.  The Raw Dog Food Company delivery to all ERC properties with a min order charge of £10.
  • Fabulous walks from the door – into the countryside or to the beach!

For the humans:

  • All bed linen
  • Kitchen and hand towels – please bring your own bath towels
  • All heating
  • Free wifi (please note this is only accessible in the main living areas of the house)
  • Tassimo coffee machine
  • Goodies in the welcome hamper and a pint of milk for your arrival
  • Hairdryer
  • Cot, highchair and baby gate on request

Plan your walk to Eccles Beach (down the lovely footpath) ….see map

About the property

All about the inside:

Entrance is through the side door and into the ….

Hallway/Utility Room
A brilliantly useful space for coats and boots and leads and all that stuff we need for our dogs!  There is a washing machine, sink, toilet and plenty of space for storing dog food etc.  There is another ceiling mounted hanging rack for drying here too. This leads into the…

A proper country kitchen with an electric Range, dishwasher, butlers sink and a wooden table with chairs and an old pine settle to sit at.  This is a very well fitted out kitchen with plenty of cupboard space.  Plus a huge American style fridge-freezer, large microwave, electric oven and hob.  Plenty of cooking utensils and pots and pans here for catering for 8.

The tiled floor makes it very dog friendly.  In front of the Range there is ‘lazy Susan’ – a clothes rack on a pulley so you can easily dry off any clothes here in the old fashioned but efficient country way!  French doors open out into the garden providing a really lovely view, fresh air and easy access. Just off the kitchen there is the …

Dining Room
In here there is a large wooden table with enough seating for 8. Lamps light the room for the evening and in the day there are window views out into the front and back garden. Practical wooden floor makes it easier to sweep up the crumbs!

The main stairs to the next floor go up from this room and there is a stair gate available if you want to block them off for dogs or children.  The owners have left their lovely old dresser and side board (with some beautiful bits of china on).  The next room along is the …

Living Room
A welcoming and spacious room with a large sofa and comfy armchairs. The feature is the beamed fireplace with an electric wood burner – easier for guests to light and far less worry for the owners (thatched roof!!) With the lamps on in the evening, this is a perfect place to relax.  Obviously there is a tv, dvd player, coffee table and generally a very lovely calm and cosy atmosphere.  There is a wooden door leading to some steep stairs which take you into the Main Bedroom upstairs if needed.  These are in addition to the main staircase.  Off the living room there is …

The Snug
A great place to read a book, watch a different tv program, or just have a bit of separate space with your dogs (or kick the teens out into this space!).  Watch the TV or a DVD while loafing on the comfy leather armchairs and bean bags or enjoy the selection of books to read. French doors open out onto the garden making this a really lovely little room to be part of, but separate from, the main living area. Back through the living room and turn right into the …

Downstairs ensuite bedroom
There are 3 parts to this bedroom. The first little ante-room has the wardrobe in and is ideal for a travel cot or a blow up bed for an extra child.  This then leads into the high beamed main bedroom area with a king size bed.  Immediately off this there is the ensuite shower room, fully tiled with a walk in shower, toilet, sink and cupboard.

To get to the upstairs bedrooms, go back through the living room and into the Dining Room. The stairs from here are carpeted and easy to climb and lead to the upstairs hallway (stair gate available).  All the rooms here are under the beamed roof so have sloping walls and really do make you appreciate you are in a lovely old building. The bedrooms and bathroom are all off the upstairs hallway.

Double bedroom
Small but perfectly formed with a double bed, wardrobe chest of drawers and gorgeous view across the fields. We call this the ‘Love bedroom’…!

Twin bedroom
This room is full of character and has a single and a ¾ double as well as hanging space and drawers. Tucked under the thatched eaves with a window to look at the starry skies at night.

Family bathroom
Large bath with a shower over, sink, independent heated towel rail and, best of all, a place to sit and look out over the fields – the toilet!  This bathroom serves the two bedrooms above.

Double ensuite bedroom
King size wooden framed bed with side tables and chest of drawers and built in wardrobe.  You even have your own bookcase in this room for bedtime reading.  From the window of this bedroom there are lovely views across the front garden and fields to the farm beyond.  There is an ensuite bathroom with a corner bath, sink and toilet.

If you want to sneak downstairs for an early morning walk, a midnight snack or a wander round the garden to look at the starry skies and listen to Norfolk wildlife, then you can go down your own staircase from this room. They lead into the living room.  They are very steep and narrow but do have a door at the bottom to stop any children/dogs going up them.

All about the outside:

There is plenty of parking at the front of the house on the gravelled drive that surrounds the raised front lawn.  This area is surrounded by hedges and has a 5 bar gate across the entrance.  Enter to the right of the house, through the little gate into the courtyard (if you are arriving in the Spring you may be lucky enough to see the beautiful cherry tree in bloom) and then directly into the boot room.

At the back of the house there is a large lawned area, surrounded on two sides by a high hedge with mesh fencing within it to make it properly secure and dog friendly.   Along the field side there is a fence with additional mesh on top to give enough height to stop doggy athletes getting out.  It also allows you a great view across the fields.

To the side of the house there is a lovely big patio with a table and chairs to easily sit 8.  The patio area is charmingly planted with a beautiful cherry tree at the side.  Another smaller patio is just outside the kitchen French doors.  Lots of space for everyone and room for doggy zoomies!

Will this property suit my dogs?

If your dogs love walking miles of lovely quiet country tracks and not seeing another soul then yes!  If they are reactive then this is the perfect place for them too – very little noise, no dogs, people or cars can be seen from the garden.  There is a big area for them to run in.  If they are sighthounds or even wannabe sighthounds, it will sometimes be possible to see deer/hares in the neighbouring field but the fence height and structure makes it difficult for them to jump out.  All in all, very good for all dogs!

Want to see more of our cottages suitable for reactive dogs? Check out our blog > Want to bring your reactive dog on holiday?


Please note:

  • Arrival time is 5pm, departure time is 10am.
  • No smoking or vaping is permitted inside or outside the property.
  • Electric car, electric bike and mobility scooter charging is NOT available at this property.
  • We are unable to provide a BBQ (or let guests bring their own) due to the proximity of the thatched roof.
  • We would prefer please that dogs are not allowed on beds but guests own bed linen can be used for this – please let us know if you need this arrangement.
  • We would prefer that your dogs are not left alone in the property unless you are 100% confident that they will not get stressed.
  • If they are crate trained and you would like to use a crate, please do ask us. We know how bulky they are to pack!
  • Week long bookings are only available Friday to Friday.
  • All the major supermarkets deliver here but please arrange any deliveries for after your arrival.



Chris and Sara Haynes (and Ziggy and Heston!)

In 1996 we purchased the cottages from Sara’s father (who was actually born there himself and later lived in one when first married Sara’s mum, Jackie in the sixties). The two of us along with our English Pointer, Bodie converted the houses back into one dwelling again. For twenty-three years we raised our three (now grown) children along with our two current dogs, Heston the Jack Russell and Ziggy the rescue Collie. Thatch Cottage was a very happy family home and loved affectionately by us all (and still is!)

Our daughter now lives in London and twin boys are at University so last year, following the death of Sara’s father, we took a big step and moved in with Sara’s mother locally. Doing this has enabled the Cottage to become a super holiday property perfect for our fury friends. Ideally located near a secluded section of beach, unlimited rural walking, at the heart of the Norfolk Broads and of course only a short drive from Norwich itself.


Parking is on the gravel drive right outside the house.  Access through either front/side door does involve a step up and narrow doorways.  It is possible to enter through either of the French doors at the back but some gravel will need to be negotiated and a small step.

The downstairs bedroom and ensuite shower room does make it a more accommodating house for those with limited mobility* but wheelchair use in the house would be difficult.  As an older property, doorways are narrow and there is there are small steps in some doorways.  The property does not cater specifically for mobility, audibly or visually impaired guests but please do contact us if you would like to know more –

* Please note, fire exit from this bedroom is through the window if the bedroom door cannot be used so anyone staying in this room must be sufficiently physically able to use the window as an exit.

Reviews / Testimonials


And if you want to read more independent reviews, check out these sites too..

Facebook  | Edog Advisor |  Dotty4Paws | The Good Dog Guide | Dog Friendly

“From the moment you turn into the driveway at Thatch Cottage you know you’re about to experience something special.  Thatch cottage is stunning.  We found it spacious enough for 5 adults, 2 children and 2 spaniels and we still had space to do our own thing or come together – enjoying meal times and games evenings together. The house is very well equipped and very much a home from home.
We all enjoyed the garden, being blessed with stunning weather.  Brodie and Bonnie in particular loved the huge, secure space in which to ‘spaniel’ and the humans enjoyed several games of football and cricket. We all loved the proximity to Happisburgh beach and the easy walk from the cottage. We have already booked for Easter next year and cannot wait.
Thank you to the ERC team that make our dog friendly holidays pawsible 😉.” -Helen


“What a wonderful house!  It even featured on a global webcast, impressing colleagues around the world!  Perfectly set up for all the family, it’s like moving from home to home….. only nicer!  We also found the games and had huge amounts of fun!  Thank you!” – Rachael, Korsten, Anna and Samuel with their dogs

“Thank you for allowing us to share your beautiful home, we feel privileged to be the first to write in your book and be amongst your first visitors. Thatch cottage surpasses all expectations and humans and dogs alike had a wonderful time, especially playing in the garden. The house has everything you could possibly need. Thanks so much from all of us!” – Grannell/Parr families

“The booking from start to finish was so easy. Sue at East Ruston Cottages was lovely to deal with communicated with us at each stage of the booking. I don’t know where to start regarding Thatch Cottage. I can honestly say it is the best accommodation we have stayed at. It is truly enchanting and so dog friendly. The owners paid such attention to detail and the welcome basket was such a lovely touch. We did not want to leave and will certainly return. I cannot recommend this cottage enough. Thank you to all involved for ensuring we had a wonderful holiday.” – Jayne and Paul Shaw

“Thank you SO much for letting us stay in your beautiful house. Where do I start? Everything about it was stunning. The gardens, the decor, the doggy goodies… the little touches made it so much better for us. The pooches loved the long evening strolls and we had everything we needed nearby. We will be back, it just depends on when I can convince The Boss (husband) to give me more time off!” – Karen, Tom, Rufus and Dave (the dog).

“We stayed in September with our dogs and parrot and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. All dog owners need to know that the gardens are safe and secure when they book a holiday cottage and the properties that Sue manages for East Ruston Cottages provide this. The Thatch Cottage is across the road from an easy walk to the coast. We even asked for particular Ordnance Survey maps to be available and they were there waiting. In summary faultless accommodation.” –  The Clark Family.




How to find us

Thatch Cottage, Heath Road, Hempstead, NR12 0SH
What3Words location: ///



From A149, at Stalham, turn off on the road past the Tesco store. Follow the road over the speed bumps to the mini roundabout. Straight on at this andd keep going until the Ingham Swan. Turn left here and through open countryside and then into village. Left at the next junction and on into Lessingham. Then take the first right onto Heath Road. The bends go past a farm on the left and the house is the first one on the right.