A super dog-friendly self-catering holiday in the Norfolk Broads

Wunderdog loves Norfolk, and so do our walkies correspondents Jess and her dog Toby. Together with Jess’ human and their blind foster puppy, Amos, they spent a blissful week at Norfolk by The Sea in Winterton-on-Sea

A dog-friendly holiday has always been the stuff of dreams for me: so many places that are “dog-friendly” have such caveats and loopholes that you question how friendly towards dogs they actually are.

We were invited to spend five nights at Norfolk by The Sea, which certainly got the paw-stamp of approval from my boys. The hosts of these self-catering barns provide throws for the sofas, so well-behaved pooches can make themselves at home too; there are dog treats provided in the Welcome Hamper, and even emergency doggy bags can be found under the sink.

Left: Toby, on his blanket from the barn, realises he packed the wrong hat Right: The boys just remembered the can’t have hot chocolate in the beach café, but have also just spotted some gravy bones

My Border terrier Toby and our blind foster dog Amos, my partner and I set off for our first family holiday together to the idyllic Norfolk by The Sea, staying in their exquisitely converted barns in Winterton-on-Sea.

The holiday homes are a short walk away from gorgeous beaches, which we made use of every day of our stay. The beaches were peaceful and the dogs had the best time, and even when the weather was against us. There is also a fantastic café near the beach called Dunes, where we headed after most beach walks to warm ourselves up with a delicious hot chocolate. The dog-friendly huts outside the café are perfect for sandy, soggy pooches to sit in and warm up after a run on the beach.

This was also a first for Amos as he has never been on holiday before. He has been with us for almost three months as a medical foster dog, because he has been blind from birth. It was great to allow him to explore in the peace and tranquillity that envelopes this stretch of Norfolk.

There is plenty to do at Norfolk by the Sea to occupy adventurous pooches and their humans – or pooches who like a relaxing mooch and whose humans are also looking for a more relaxing treat. I was lucky enough to have an appointment with Vicki at the Lavender Room, a holistic treatment Room located within the Norfolk by the Sea property. It was such a refreshing and relaxing morning – I would highly recommend anyone in the area to spoil themselves and have a treatment. There is a wide range of treatments on offer. have exceptionally sensitive skin, but all of the products used were gentle and I had no problems (my face felt and smelt amazing).

Good thing the dogs aren’t steering the boat through the Broads

One of the highlights of the holiday was taking the boys on a boat trip, which was a short drive away from Norfolk by the Sea. We had a few hours sailing on the Norfolk Broads with the dogs (the boat hire company were very dog-friendly), and both our dogs took to boat life almost immediately.

We used Broadtours for our trip; they were reasonably priced and very friendly – we had so much fun we were tempted to go back the following day for another go.

On the sunniest day, Toby and I visited the beach at Winterton-on-Sea (blissfully peaceful as always) for a game of Frisbee and for a general mooch and explore before we headed back to wake the less adventurous couple of our foursome.

Just the original duo of Jess and Toby, playing while their blind friend relaxed at home with dada

We also spent an afternoon at Horsey beach, which is renowned for its seals. We were so lucky to see some of them as we climbed up the dunes and were greeted with the sight of a large group of seals on the beach. We spent a few hours watching the seals and playing on the beach with the boys.

We had a fantastic pub tea in the Nelson’s Head, which was a short drive from the barn (it might even be walkable, but perhaps not with a blind pup). Our barn was equipped with a helpful folder containing a list of locations around the area that are dog-friendly. On the flip side the kitchen in the our barn had everything one could possibly need to whip up a good meal.

There was plenty of space for the dogs to stretch their legs and explore within a few minutes’ walk of the barn: there was the choice of the beach or the dunes, the open green spaces that surround the holiday lets and even a woodland walk to church ruins.

We had the most amazing stay and were made to feel exceptionally welcome and at home. We certainly cannot wait to go back and will be heading there again next year. We give Norfolk by the Sea a big ‘paws up’ and thank you for having us – it was just perfect.

Disclaimer: Jess and the gang were invited by Norfolk by the Sea to stay. 

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