Local Information

Local things to do, places to visit, beaches and Cafes/Pubs

Places To Go and Things To Do


Want to know what you can do when you are here? Look no further!


Here are just some ideas of things to do and places to go in the area - all over the Broads and the North Norfolk Coast. Spend your time on the coast at Cromer, a boat trip for seal watching, at the internationally famous East Ruston Old Vicarage gardens, the wonderful Bewilderwood and many other places.


Visit Norfolk website

Aylsham Heritage Centre

Tour Norfolk website

Doggy Days out - Barking Bugle

The Good Dog Guide
(see our reviews on there too!)


Some of the cottages have a selection of leaflets about things to do and places to go, walks, maps, walking books etc.  We also have a digital welcome guide for most of the cottages with lots more information to help you make the most of your stay!

Dog friendly beaches near the cottages in Norfolk

The tide times for the beaches near East Ruston Cottages will be between the times shown below, varying by their distance from them.

One of the main reasons many people come on holiday here are the beaches.  So many to choose from, all of them sandy, all of them great places to walk the dogs. The coast in Norfolk is huge and the beaches are linked so you can walk from one to another along the sand when the tide is out and many of the southern ones have areas of dunes to walk in when the tide is high.

Here is a selection of the most popular ones with all they have to offer, starting in the south of the area.

Be sure to click on the links to find out much more about each beach!


Visit website  NR29 4AJ

Dog friendliness:  10/10
Awesome!  Lots of beach and acres of dunes for running and sniffing.  No restrictions all year round.
Really good for reactive dogs as you can stay well away from other dogs as there is SO much room on the beach and the miles of dunes.  Some great circular walks inland too from here.

Restrictions: There is a tern nesting colony in the summer and seals breeding on the beach in the winter but these are signposted when applicable.

Access:  Easy, slight sandy slope to beach and level access to dunes area.

Facilities:  Large privately owned car park - pay and display but not expensive.

Dog friendly pub The Fishermans Return and fish and chip shop in the village - both an easy walk.  Public and disabled toilet. Great village shop and post office which also has a little dog friendly cafe - Poppys - attached and sells take away cakes and coffee too.  There is also Seal View on the beach car park selling hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice creams. Outside and indoor seating available.

Nearest to:  A very short walk from Ruby Gem and Beachcomber  On the doorstep of Hidden Gem and Skylark.

What the locals know: Just how fabulous Winterton beach is!  When the tide is high, no need to turn for home as you can walk north or south along the dunes - meandering through a maze of paths. The area of dunes to the south of the car park is know as the Valley and takes you past some funny little 'Hobbit' houses which are part of the Hermanus holiday camp (which also has a dog friendly restaurant). For the best Winterton walks please click here.


Visit website  NR29 4EF

Dog friendliness:  10/10
Really great for dogs. Lots of beach and dunes separating the beach from a level track that runs along the back beside the marshy grazing areas.

You can do a circular walk along the beach and back along the track or do a circular walk across inland farmland and stop off at the quaint little, dog friendly pub, The Nelson's Head.

Restrictions: During the winter the beach is famous for its amazing seal breeding colony (see two useful websites here and here for much more info) and there are roped off areas and wardens during these times.  Whilst this does limit dog walking to the track and dunes, it is an amazing sight, well worth seeing.

Access:  Sandy slope to beach over dunes.

Facilities:  Large National Trust pay and display car park. Poppylands cafe (a wonderful war time themed place) on the road just before the track leading to the beach.
Nearby Horsey Windpump has a cafe and shop open in the summer.
Nearest toRed Roofs but an easy drive from many of the other cottages, particularly those in Winterton.

What the locals know:  When the tide is in you can still walk in the dunes, the best area is heading north.


Visit Website  NR29 4EF

Dog friendliness:  9/10  Very good. Lots of empty beach and a good strip of dunes.

Restrictions:  The Horsey seal breeding colony sometimes spreads down to Waxham so there are occasional roped off areas in the winter.

Access:  Sandy slope to beach over dunes.

Facilities:  There isn't a proper car park which means it doesn't get too busy! The parking is on the track leading to the beach behind the large farmhouse next to Waxham Great Barn.  The Dunes Cafe that used to be at Winterton is now here in the Waxham Great Barn yard.  Dogs are allowed inside and in the courtyard so there is plenty of seating. (If you are a repeat guest with us at ERC then we offer £10 vouchers to use at both this great cafe - they also have one on the riverside at Acle)

What the locals know:  Not a very well known beach and not a lot of parking so ideal if you want to keep away from other visitors. An easy walk from here to Sea Palling along the beach or the back of the dunes or even on the dunes, stop for an ice cream or cake and head back again!

Sea Palling

Visit Website  NR29 4EF

Dog friendliness:  10/10  Really good. Best for dogs that are happy with other dogs around as this is a popular doggy beach. Lovely, flat sandy beach protected by a rock reef which gives areas of quiet, shallow sea - ideal for dogs (and humans!) that like to swim.

Restrictions:  From 1 May to 1 October half of the beach is restricted for dogs but only to the left of the access ramp.  To the right is available all year round and is the better part of the beach. You can do an easy walk to Waxham or a longer one to Horsey.

Access:  Concrete slope to beach over the dunes at the end of Beach Road.  Various other access points over dunes.

Facilities: The perfect amount - the very dog friendly Sandy Hills cafe and Beach Rock Bistro, fish and chips, toilets, a small amusement arcade - all at the beach end of Beach Road.  At the other end of the village there is a shop/post office.

A children's play area and plenty of council pay and display parking - long and short stay.

What the locals know:  This is a very popular beach so best avoided on sunny weekend days. If you can't walk on the beach when the tide is in it is worth having a little wander along the road at the back of the dunes heading north and looking at all the funky little chalets and holiday houses.   In the summer there are often little plant and produce stalls outside the village houses and the village shop is very friendly, well stocked and useful.  For more local shopping, Cooks Farm Shop and Causeway Butchers are both close by.  (If you are a repeat guest with us at ERC then we offer £10 vouchers to use at both these lovely local shops!)

Cart Gap

Visit website NR12 0QL

Dog friendliness:  10/10 Very good. Lots of beach when the tide is out. Quiet most of the time.

Restrictions: 1st May - 1st October there are supposedly restrictions for dogs on the beach but in reality these are not enforced and locals and visitors use the beach all year round.

Access:  Concrete slope down from the car park.  Left takes you to Happisburgh beach and right to Eccles beach.

Facilities:  Pay and display car park, toilets and the very lovely Smallsticks Cafe just a short walk inland.  One of our favourites with some lovely little (heated) beach huts with tables in for you to enjoy with your dogs. Also plenty of tables in the grassed enclosed yard outside.  The RNLI shop is also here - a very cause to support.

Nearest toDormy and Sand Drift a short walk.  The nearest beach to Wag-Tail Cottage.  A longer walk from Edelweiss, Corner Cottage and Manor Barn, also from White Cottage and The Crib.

What the locals know:  The lifeboat practices are well worth watching.  A tractor tows the lifeboat from the boat sheds on the car park and launches it into the sea then reverses into the waves to recover it after training. Usually Tuesday evening and Sunday morning  If the tide is in then you can walk along the cliff top to the Lighthouse at Happisburgh and back along the track that runs parallel to the beach.


www.happisburgh.org.uk  NR12 0PR

Dog friendliness:  10/10 Really good. Lots of beach.

Restrictions: 1st May - 1st October there are supposedly restrictions for dogs on the beach but in reality these are not enforced and locals and visitors use the beach all year round.

Access:  Sand slope down from the car park. This does suffer from the weather/sea and can get damaged and closed from time to time but the council work hard to keep it open.

Facilities:  Pay and display car park, toilets. The village also has the very dog friendly Hill House pub, small shop/post office and a really good fresh fish shop a little way inland - very worth a visit!

Nearest to:  A short walk from White Cottage and The Crib.  A longer one from Corner Cottage and The Walnut, The Peanut and Bumblebee Cottage - all in Happisburgh Common. 

What the locals know: Happisburgh is a great place to view from high up - both the iconic lighthouse and the church have open days where you can climb to the top.  The village has a lot of interesting history and the village is ancient, falling into the sea in parts but still a thriving community.  There have been some regular and amazing prehistoric finds so if you are interested in dinosaur bones and mammoth teeth, hand axes and fossils of all sorts keep your eyes peeled!!

When the tide is out you can walk from this beach to Walcott...

Walcott / Bacton

Visit Website NR12 0AP

Dog friendliness:  Great! Especially out of season.  Can be busy at Walcott but not so much at Bacton.   There has recently been a multi million pound sandscaping project which has built the sand up on the beach and changed it to a really wonderful, high level of sand with low breakwaters.

Restrictions: 1st May - 1st October there are restrictions for dogs on the beach between certain groins but much of the beach is dog friendly year round.

Access:  Steps from the pavement and a wooden boat launch ramp.

Facilities:  On road parking and privately owned car parks, toilets.  Really good village shop and post office, Kingfisher Cafe (very popular and dog friendly), fish and chips next door - both right on the sea front.  A lovely little old fashioned ice cream van is often parked up in the summer and there's a good selection of ices too at the Kingfisher Cafe. The Poachers Pocket pub towards Bacton is very dog friendly with good food and a little further along the coast at Bacton there is the dog friendly Watsons cafe.  In the other direction is the great Lighthouse Pub (on the coast road out of the village)  The lovely owners offer all ERC guests 10% off their first meal here.

Nearest to:  A short drive from all the Happisburgh and East Ruston properties but you can walk here from the Happisburgh properties along the cliff top or beach.  Seaview Cottage overlooks the beach!

What the locals know:   It's not the most glamorous of villages but it has a great heart; the village folk rallied round amazingly well when it was badly hit by storms and a tidal surge several years.  With two pubs, three lovely cafes, two shops,  2 chippies and a Chinese take away, there's a lot of places to eat and drink.


Visit Website

Dog friendliness:  Really good. Lots of beach. You can walk miles along it to get away from the small area in front of the main part.

Restrictions: 1st May - 1st October there are restrictions between certain groins but not beyond these.

Access:  Various points but main access is concrete ramp by the Ship Inn which takes you down to the promenade and then steps to the beach.

Facilities:  Mundesley is a busy little seaside village so there are all sorts of facilities. Cafes (many dog friendly including The Corner House) and amusements along the sea front, a couple of sea food sales vans, and a pub, The Ship Inn, is right on the cliff with a great dog friendly garden with splendid views up and down the coast. In the village itself there are various shops, a hotel, Chinese takeaway.  There's a tourist information centre and a tiny Maritime Museum too - plenty to see and do in Mundesley.

Nearest toSwallowdale, Rooster Barn and Farthing Cottage

What the locals know:  That there's no point walking when the tide is in but there is a park with play area that can be used for a run around. Head a little way in from the sea front to find a useful selection of independent shops and the tourist information centre.


Visit Website  NR27 0PP

Dog friendliness:  Really good. Lots of beach and pretty quiet. Great for a walk to Cromer along the beach and back along the cliff top (or vice versa, depending on tides)

Restrictions: 1st May - 1st October there are restrictions for dogs on the beach between certain groins.

Access:  Long concrete walkway down from the car park.

Facilities:  Pay and display car park, toilets.  The village also has a great little cafe - The Cliff Top Cafe and the Lobster and Crab shack; brilliant for fresh crab and lobster.  The local pub - The White Horse - is very dog friendly and whilst it is a bit expensive a la carte, the bar food is very good and very reasonable.

Nearest to:  Swallowdale, Rooster Barn and Farthing Cottage

What the locals know:  I don't think they know anything that they are prepared to tell. It's a very elegant and quiet village with lots of historical houses.
An easy escape from the wonderful old fashioned sea side busy-ness of nearby Cromer!

Beaches further afield

So many more lovely beaches further up the coast.  Cromer and Sheringham both have all the facilities you would expect of a seaside town and both have an old fashioned charm.  The beach at West Runton has a great dog friendly cafe, the beach at Holkham is almost certainly 'the biggest beach in the world' and all of the beaches along the top of the northern part of Norfolk, between Cromer and Hunstanton are well worth a day trip.

Rather than re-write what others have done already, here are some links so you can find out more about our great beaches!

The Barking Bugle have a great post here!





For full and accurate details of the beaches with council enforced restrictions see here.

And this great website tells you about the beaches all the way round the coast here.

Dog Friendly Pubs & Cafes in Norfolk



Greyhound Inn in Hickling.
Is within very easy walking distance of Red Roofs and along a quiet lane from Spinney Lodge too. Totally dog friendly and a real cosy country pub.


The Butchers Arm in East Ruston.
The nearest one to The Lodge, Vineyard Cottage and Badger's Retreat as well as Bristow's Barn. About a mile or so walk but you can get there along the beautiful Weavers Way footpath or the quiet village lanes.  Mostly does takeaways since Covid.  About a mile from Brian's Cottage too.


The Crown at Trunch
Just down the road from Rooster Barn, Farthing Cottage and Swallowdale.  Great beers, good menu and a good village pub atmosphere.


The Gunton Arms at Thorpe Market
Wonderful location and building, amazing art and interior excellent food and a dog friendly bar.  The Gunton Arms is in a lodge in a deer park just outside North Walsham.  You can walk here from Farthing Cottage, Swallowdale and Rooster Barn - it is a long walk but a good one, mostly across fields and well worth it!


The  Poachers Pocket right by the sea at Walcott and The Lighthouse Inn a little further inland.  Both are properly dog friendly. Good food in both, locally popular and friendly.  The Lighthouse Inn has a coffee shop too and great staff.  Poachers Pocket is a very easy walk from SeaView Cottage and Rose Cottage and now has a Lebanese theme to the menu.  You can walk to The Lighthouse along the cliff top from Happisburgh too.


Hill House at Happisburgh.
Historic pub tucked away in the village, near to the coast.  A very short walk from The Crib.  A very easy walk from White Cottage too.


Nelson's Head at Horsey
Great to visit after a walk to see the seals and not far from Red Roofs and Boundary Lodge. Well-behaved dogs welcome (there are often quite a few of them!) in the bar area. Lots of parking and on a great circular route where you can take in the historic restored windmill too.


Reefs Bar at Sea Palling (currently closed until further notice, Jan 2024)
A great little bar, very dog friendly with plenty of tables outside.  Dogs welcome inside and out.  Pub food and friendly staff. Popular with locals and holiday makers.  A very short and easy drive from Wag-tail Cottage and Boundary Lodge and the Happisburgh and East Ruston Cottages.


California Tavern at Scratby
A seaside pub that is popular with locals and holiday makers.  Great for Sunday roasts!  An easy walk from Brig Cottage and Woodpecker Lodge.


The Ship Inn at Mundesley.
Has a huge garden with great views up and down the coast. Short drive from Farthing Cottage, Swallowdale and Rooster Barn.


Fishermans Return, in Winterton
A short walk from Hidden Gem, Ruby Gem, Jack's Shack, Beachcomber and Skylark. Dog friendly throughout!  Very popular with locals and visitors.


The Farmers in Ormesby.  A very short drive from our Scratby and Winterton cottages.  Good food, great atmosphere and dogs very welcome.

Pubs Further Afield

The Red Lion
in Brook Street, Cromer is right on the seafront, with great beach walks and just yards from the start of the Peddars Way long distance path.  Dogs are allowed in all public areas.


Foundry Arms
Church Street, Northrepps, gives a warm welcome to all visitors with dogs and is nice and close to Cromer.


Kings Arms
Main Road Fleggburgh - bar and outside are dog friendly.  Excellent food.


Bridge Inn
Acle Bridge, Acle - Water bowls given to dogs and dogs allowed in bar


The White Horse Pub
Upton, is a community pub and the couple who run it for the village could not be more friendly and welcoming.


The Ship Inn
South Walsham - Happy to welcome dogs in the bar and bar dining areas.


The Lion Inn
The Street, Thurne - welcomes dogs. Great pub with good beer and gin! Lovely outside area with individual "greenhouse pods". Right on the Broads.


The Dog Inn
Ludham Bridge Dogs welcomed inside and out.  On the Broads.


Kings Arms
High Street, Ludham. This 400-year old pub welcomes dogs everywhere except in the restaurant.


White Horse
The Street, Neatishead.  Dogs are more than welcome in the main bar, upper bar and snug areas at all times. Water bowls and occasionally treats provided.  Great food and they take their beer very seriously!

Many more dog friendly pubs in the county can be found on the Dog friendly pub website.

CAFES further afield

The Whelk Coppers Tearoom in Sheringham
Dogs are very welcome, and the cafe caters for gluten free diets.
Its rumoured that the wrought iron gates at the cafe were designed by Walt Disney who was a friend of the original owner.


Buttercups Tearooms 5 High Street, Cromer,
has some great feedback on their website.


The Old Rock Shop Bistro  10 Hamilton Road, Cromer
does some great coffee and cakes


Blue Sky Cafe  Runton Road, Cromer
Allows dogs inside as well as outside


Rocket House Cafe, Cromer
with great views of Cromer Pier and a lovely menu.  Dogs allowed on the balcony areas.


Eating Out In Norfolk 
A whole website dedicated to finding good places to eat in Norfolk with a really good postcode based search function.