Dogs on Board! How to have a fun and safe day on the Norfolk Broads with your dog

How to have a fun and safe day on the Norfolk Broads with your dog

A trip to Norfolk isn’t complete without a cruise round the beautiful broads. Here’s how to make it safe and fun for your dog too!

Dogs want to explore just as much as we do when we venture on our holidays, and as dog lovers ourselves, we know that you want them to enjoy their East Ruston Cottage holiday to the full! There are many dog friendly options in the picturesque Norfolk countryside, but the beautiful Norfolk Broads is definitely somewhere no one or no pooch should miss. The bonus is that most of our East Ruston cottages properties are situated close by!

Let’s take you and your doggy family on an adventure along our winding water networks, stopping off to stretch legs and sniff those new smells and country air shall we? All aboard!

Dogs safety while boating

Firstly, we love them, so we want them safe. Here are our top safety tips for dogs while boating on the broads.

  1. Do a little research into dog friendly boat hire on the Norfolk Broads. Look at the reviews and what customers have said about their experiences taking their dogs. Here are some doggy friendly day hire suggestions, starting with our top recommendation – Martham Ferry Boat Yard – read down to find out why we love this little boat yard so much!
  1. In case you have an extra inquisitive, water loving furry friend (we’re looking at you Retrievers and Springer Spaniels!), make sure you develop a plan in case your dog goes overboard. Cut the engine, call them, work out how you’d get them out of the water, and most importantly check who to call in case of emergency before setting off. Low banks mean that your errant pooch will probably be able to get to dry land fairly easily so don’t be tempted to go in after them. The broads aren’t deep but there can be some fast undercurrents. Think about it ahead of time and you’ll panic less if it happens.

2 How to have a fun and safe day on the Norfolk Broads with your dog

  1. Consider investing in a doggy life jacket. It’s important for your dog to have a life jacket before you take them out onto the water. Your dog might be a strong swimmer, but you won’t know how strong the current is, especially if weather conditions are poor. A lot of life jackets also have a handle, making it easier to grab them if needed.  You won’t need to do this if you book with Martham Ferry Boat Yard as they provide all sizes for free!

We like the Ruffwear Float Coat

And the EzyDog Micro Dog Life Jacket 

  1. Give your dog the opportunity to investigate and become acquainted with the boat before venturing out. Especially if it’s their first time. Some dogs just aren’t good travellers and feel anxious in unfamiliar settings. The last thing you want is an upset doggie on a boat. Think about a short test run first.
  1. Have a first-aid kit on hand. Include an antibiotic ointment for minor grazes, a contact number for your vet, a towel and a blanket to keep them warm in case of trauma. Plus, any medications your dog needs on a day to day basis. Might also be worth looking at pet insurance to make sure vet bills are covered. Obviously, this is worst case scenario but it’s never a bad idea to be prepared.

Martham Ferry Boat Yard are our top tip!  Why?  Firstly because they are totally focussed on keeping dogs safe on their boats.  They provide all sizes of doggy life jackets and are very flexible about dog numbers and sizes (just like our cottages then!!)  They have electric boats too and dogs do seem to relax more on these – no noise and engine vibration!  From their tucked away boat yard you can access some really quiet parts of the Norfolk Broads – lovely Hickling Broad, Horsey Broad (with the restored windmill and little cafe) and Potter Heigham.   If you want a dog friendly stop here, mooring is right next to Bridgestones Cafe and Norada Grill & Tavern (good value, family and dog friendly pub with seating overlooking the water!)  And in addition to all this they offer our guests a discount!  Pop over to our discount page to see what the code is and get your day trip on the Norfolk Broads booked!  Definitely something to look forward to while you are here!  Many guests report it as being one of the highlights of their holiday.  


Need to stretch your legs?

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It’s important to make regular stops so that your dog can stretch their legs and relieve themselves. There are also a number of dog-friendly walks via public footpaths direct from the broads, not to mention country pubs such as the Bridge Inn at Acle, the Swan Inn in Loddon, the Maltsters at Ranworth, The Lion at Thurne and many more!

Salhouse Broad has a generous mooring area that leads to a small beach, a woodland walk and a park. It’s dog friendly and a great place to stop for a picnic.

If you need supplies (or icecream) take a break at Ludham Bridge or Potter Heigham Bridge where there are cafés and shops to explore.

The pretty village of Horning is often busy but well worth a short break if you can find space to moor. There’s a small green with a café that serves delicious local ice cream, several local shops and The Ferry Inn and The Swan Inn are both dog-friendly pubs whilst the New Inn welcomes dogs to the pretty outdoor terrace.

Coltishall also features a large green for ball throwing with the dog-friendly Rising Sun pub just a few steps away.

So are you ready to take your four-legged friends on Broadland adventure? Now you are! Have fun and be sure to tag us in your social media pictures.

Tag us on Facebook using @EastRustonCottages

Tag us on Instagram using @eastrustoncottages or use our hashtag:  #dogsofeastrustoncottages