Thatch Cottage, Lessingham

Sleeps 8 in 4 bedrooms

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 selection of 4 bedrooms, with one on the ground floor and the other 3 upstairs.  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 house for family, friends and dogs!

** Dogs love the HUGE garden, the great countryside walks and the space inside to flop out anywhere they like with their humans!**


When you arrive… There is plenty of parking at the front of the house on the gravelled drive that surrounds the front lawn.  This area is surrounded by hedges but does have an open gateway, so isn’t totally secure for dogs …but the back garden more than makes up for that!  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.  Or you can go in through the front door and porch where you can hang your coats and leads. So let’s assume you have gone in via the front door, you will now be in the….

Living Room:  A welcoming and spacious room with a large sofa and comfy armchairs. The feature is the beamed fireplace with an electric woodburner – 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 atmosphere.  There is a wooden door leading to some steep stairs which take you into the Main Bedroom upstairs if needed but this 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 you next get to the…

Dining Room: 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) which give you plenty of room to bring food through from the….

Kitchen:  A proper country kitchen with an electric Rayburn, 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. The tiled floor makes it very practical for dogs.  In front of the Rayburn 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 lovely view and easy access. Just off the kitchen there is the …

Back door/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.

Go back into the living room and then through the door 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/zip and link bed.  Two people can sleep separately or together here.  Mirror, side tables and lamps and a chest of drawers all in this room too.  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 into the Dining Room. The stairs from here are carpeted and easy to climb and lead to the upstairs hallway. 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. From the hallway into the…

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’…! (see why from the photos!)

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 eaves with a window to watch the starry skies through 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! At the end of the hallway there is….

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 are very steep and narrow but do have a door at the bottom to stop any children/dogs going up them from the living room.

Outside:  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.  Along one side there is a fence with additional mesh on top to give enough height to stop doggy athletes getting out but to allow 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.

Please note:

  • Definitely no smoking please due to the thatched room and our insurance limitations.
  • 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.
  • Week long bookings are Friday to Friday / Short breaks available out of season.
  • Arrival time is 4pm, departure time is 10am.
  • All the major supermarkets deliver here but please arrange any deliveries for after your arrival


What do our guests love about this house?

Walking miles of lovely quiet country tracks, not seeing another soul.
The hedge-lined grassy track that takes you straight to the beach in under a gorgeous, bird-song filled mile.
Eccles, Sea Palling and Cart Gap are the closest.
A wander along the quiet country lanes to the Lessingham Star, the best dog friendly pub in the area.
Watching sunrises and sunsets and our big Norfolk skies at night.
Watching the bats and listening to the owls, deer and foxes shouting from the nearby woods.

Although it is deep in the countryside it is only a short drive (or a longer but easy walk) to the seaside village of Sea Palling with cafe, pub, shop, amusements and play areas for children.  Nearby Stalham has a good selection of shops and the Norfolk Broads are very easy to visit from here too.


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.

We Provide:

This is how dog friendly we are!

  • Dog throws for sofas and chair
  • Dog bowls, poo bags, dog biscuits in the welcome basket
  • 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
  • Fabulous walks from the door – into the countryside or to the beach!

What else we provide for you!

  • All bed linen
  • All heating
  • Free wifi (please note this is only accessible in the main living areas of the house)
  • Kitchen and hand towels – please bring your own bath towels
  • Goodies in the welcome hamper and a pint of milk for your arrival
  • Barbecue and charcoal in the outside shed
  • Cot and highchair on request

Plan your walk to the Lessingham Star pub (very dog friendly!) ….see map

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


Max No. of dogs: 4 ish. But we can be flexible.

Short breaks available in winter months


“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.


“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


Availability & Book Online

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Location & Directions

How To Find Us:

Thatch Cottage, Heath Road, Hempstead, NR12 0SH

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.



Some of the fabulous comments from the Thatch Cottage guest book!

"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

“Our first time at Hidden Gem but not East Ruston Cottages.   The cottage is absolutely wonderful and has a very homely feel.  We have had a really relaxing holiday in a stunning location and Hidden Gem is like a home from home.  The beach and dunes are beautiful and the garden has been perfect for our two hounds!  A very dog friendly holiday cottage. All the extra little touches and the welcome gifts have been much appreciated!  We will definitely be back!! "

Phil and Clare with Pepo and Molly
Testimonial for Hidden Gem (Dog friendly holiday cottage in Norfolk)

“Our first stay at Red Roofs and we will definately be returning. Beautiful house and location. Garden is perfect for the dogs, house is well equipped and the welcome pack is a great gesture. We will be back next year ..... just hope you aren't fully booked!"

Vicky and Colin
Testimonial for Red Roofs

“Thank you so much for allowing us to be your first guests in Corner Cottage. My first impression was "WOW!". The cottage is amazing, you have thought of everything (even supplied fantastic weather!). The decoration is lovely, beds so comfortable. It was so nice to be able to bring the dogs so they could have a holiday with us and experience the beach for the first time."

Sandra and Steve
Testimonial for Corner Cottage
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Dog Friendly | Holiday Cottage | Norfolk

We are members of The Holiday Home Association (formerly EASCO - English Association of Self Catering Operators). Book with the confidence that you are using a bona fide and reputable business that has committed to the HHA Code of Practice. In the unlikely event of a complaint that cannot be resolved with us, you can use the HHA Dispute Resolution Service that provides for low-cost arbitration.

East Ruston Cottages Limited
Reg.No. 10048164 at Companies House, Cardiff

Registered address:

Sea Lows, Crowden Road, Eccles, Norfolk NR12 0SJ