Dog Walks – North Norfolk – England – Holkham – Brancaster – Old Hunstanton – Heacham

PET CHECK UK Norfolk Beaches

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Holkham – Brancaster – Old Hunstanton – Heacham

Beautiful walks along coastal routes and sandy beaches

Wells-next-to-sea beachHolkham beach – Brancaster beach

are situated on the East side of England, called East Anglia, on the Northerly headland of North Norfolk which looks out towards the North Sea

Heacham beach and Old Hunstanton beach

face into the large rectangular bay and estuary at the northwest corner of the East Anglia coast, called The Wash.

These wonderful Norfolk locations have sandy beaches and back shores mostly merging into the sandy dune system making them fabulous walks to take your dog all year round.

All beaches have the added addition of being fairly flat, gently sloping to the sea with ample space, even more so when the tides are out.

These beaches are dog-friendly 365 days a year with no restrictions except Holkham beach. During the winter months, large flocks of winter birds gather as part of Holkham National Nature Reserve, and owners are requested to keep dogs on leads.

Heacham beach has a flood defence bank, so if you prefer, you can walk towards Hunstanton without getting too sandy. There are car parking facilities and toilets available at North and South beaches with a few seasonal cafes and shops. The beaches face westward and are superb for afternoon sun and evening sunsets.

PET CHECK UK Old Hunstanton Beach North Norfolk

Old Hunstanton beach is part of the little village of Old Hunstanton boasting a sandy beach with some small rocks exposed that you can manoeuver in and out of, even better when dog walking when it’s low tide, with shallow waters, providing a great opportunity to take advantage of a more flat sandy beach.

Walking along to the famous Hunstanton Red Rock Cliffs is essential where the cliffs expose differing colours of chalk, the red colours coming from iron pigments and white chalk causing stripe patterns, a spectacle to be seen set between main Hunstanton and Old Hunstanton.

Dog walking beaches situated on the North of the North Norfolk Headland include –

PET CHECK UK Branchester beach North Norfolk

Brancaster beach has a small road leading to the car park for the sandy beach area and very popular with families. This road can be prone to be flooded during high spring tides so important not to use it during this period. Brancaster beach is part of the Brancaster Estate which is owned by the National Trust, the coastline designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It has salt marshes and dunes and low tide exposes mud marshes where many birds like to feed.

The beach is prone to a fast inward tide so it’s important to check tides and ensure you read all beach notices before starting your walk.

PET CHECK UK Holkham Beach aerial view

Holkham beach is a fabulous long stretch of sandy beach exposed even more at low tide with Holkham National Nature Reserve backing on. Famous Holkham Hall is no more than 2 km walk away to the beach area and the beach has a car park close by where one walks through part of the wooded Nature Reserve area for access which may be subject to closure restrictions from time to time, so checking the Holkham website may be prudent before making a special journey to visit.

PET CHECK UK Beach huts at Wells-next sea North Norfolk

However, the small town positioned easterly, Wells-next-the-sea also has car parking facilities and ramps for easy access where one can start your beach dog walk and the beach is patrolled by lifeguards during the peak summer season. There is a fast incoming tide with warning sirens, so it is important to make yourself familiar with beach notices and tide times before undertaking your walk.

You can feel safe by the water knowing that Hunstanton and Wells-next-the-sea have lifeboat stations. The RNLI has a website with helpful advice to remind yourself about sea safety.

Vets are available in case of pet emergencies close by at both Hunstanton and several family pet veterinary practices at Kings Lynn.

It’s worth taking a look at the inside of The Tack House which can be booked through Rural Retreats, the online specialist of beautiful staycation retreats which welcomes two dogs to stay, located on the beautiful Holkham Estate in North Norfolk. Rural Retreats specialise in unusual and quality luxury homes, barn conversations, and smaller properties including cottages, perfect locations for you and your dog to enjoy a welcome break.

North Norfolk Rural Retreats
THE TACK HOUSE Norfolk Rural Retreats

To get the very best out of a special day trip, do plan in advance.

  • Pre-book your car park space if necessary
  • Check all local social media before setting out including if there are traffic build-ups in the area so you are not wasting time sitting in a hot car
  • Check tide times for the best times to be on the beach. We recommend two hours after high tide allows the tide to be going out, sand and shingle drying out and gives more space on the beach.
  • Remember to buy sun creams for you and your pet before its too hot weather, apply before leaving home
  • Ensure your dog has ventilated space in your vehicle and also sunshades protecting them from direct sunligh


Beach doggie tips to remember –

  • To take lots (more than usual) of fresh water and a collapsible bowl for your thirsty dog. Seawater is salty and will make your dog even more thirsty.
  • Have old towels to dry your dog if they’ve been swimming. Provide them with towels to sit on rather than the sand, and towels help to clean off the sand before going home!
  • A sun canopy or umbrella shade is important, not just for you, but also for your dog who can catch sunburn as much as you can.
  • You may need to use a short and/or long dog lead during restriction times, and take a dog muzzle if you prefer your dog to wear one on busier beaches. They can act out character in new, unknown places often feeling anxious.
  • Please remember to take your rubbish home with you. That includes dog poop which is your responsibility to clean up at all times. 


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The recent pandemic has bought about new changes to the ways we do things. Post lockdown restrictions may require households not to travel in certain areas of the UK. Read the latest government advice. It’s advisable to check with your local council and social media websites before making special journeys. You may find that you are required to pre-book vehicle entry into popular beaches during the summer months.

Beach images courtesy Visit Norfolk and Twitter. Prices and information correct at time of writing.

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