Top dogs - Dog-friendly cafes, pubs and venues to visit around the area
- Credit: CHESTNUT GROUP
What are the most dog-friendly places in East Anglia? “e asked readers for suggestions via social media
Here is just a taster of the pubs, cafes and venues across the region where your best friend will receive a warm welcome.
Due to social distancing requirements, check whether you need to book at pubs and venues before visiting and also which areas your dog can currently use.
Specialist dog cafes - and a doggy pool
Canine Dip and Dive/Star Wing Brewery, Redgrave: If you want to take your dog for a swim, you can now combine it with a beer and food from neighbouring Star Wing Brewery.
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Set in the north Suffolk countryside, this 32ft swimming pool is especially for dogs and their owners, with sessions ranging from puppy classes to senior exercise. The venue has been named Best Day Out for Dogs in the UK at the National Dog Friendly Awards two years running, and, despite restrictions this season, has still seen a high number of bookings.
At the brewery, dogs are allowed in all areas and there is a big jar of free dog biscuits on the bar, with marked footpaths around the neighbouring fields.
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Carol Anne Casta tweeted to recommend the venue, saying: “Food, few beers, buy a loaf of bread and cakes, THEN (the best bit!) take your dog to Canine Dip and Dive for a lovely swim.”
Doggy Diner, Gorleston: This well-known cafe describes itself on its Facebook page as “a cafe where your dogs are welcomed in or out, wet or dry. Specially designed for your pooch in mind as well as you!” Owner Angie Girling has just unveiled a new doggy menu including chicken meat balls, rice and grated cheese for the pups. In the past she has told how the cafe has been attracting dogs who are turning up waiting for a treat, with or without their owners!
Centre Paws, Wymondham: Describing itself as “probably the most dog friendly place in the UK,” this canine centre offers not only a cafe, but dog grooming, agility, training, canine wellness sessions and workshops, a secure exercise field, farm walks, camping and more. Treats for your pooch in the Blackberry Tearoom include pupcakes and doggy ice creams, as well as scones, cakes, snacks and hot drinks for humans. Customer Sheila Greenacre said: “You can’t beat Centre Paws in Wymondham- it’s totally geared up for dogs and is beautiful too.”
Doggie Diner, Cromer: This canine cafe offers not only coffee, cake and snacks for human visitors,but also an extensive ‘hound menu’ with ‘pupcakes’, ‘bonescuits’, and specially-prepared doggie sausages. Your pets can even enjoy their own afternoon teas and take part in “pawties”, wearing party hats.
Top in dog-friendly polls
The Dog, Grundisburgh, near Woodbridge: This pub very much lives up to its name, and was voted the top dog-friendly pub in the East of England in last year’s awards by Rover.com, after winning the national title the previous year. Judges cited its dog beds, secure garden space and welcoming approach as a winning formula. Owners Eilir and Charles Rogers said: “We are so proud to receive the recognition of just how dog-friendly we are and hopefully winning this award will encourage more doggie visitors, and their humans, in the future.” The Dog offers dog treats on the bar, water bowls on arrival- and the possibility to book a table with a furry friend in advance.
Acle Bridge Inn: This pub in the Norfolk Broads came second in the East of England in the Rover.com poll. Pub owners Phil and Vanessa Hannon say dogs of all shapes and sizes are welcome, and dogs can enjoy locally-made “borky bites” with 20p from each packet donated to the RSPCA, as well as their own ice-cream.
Mr Hannon said: “Every time someone comes in with a dog, the dog usually gets a bowl of water before the owner gets a drink.”
Twitter user Dave Gee is a fan, commenting: “The Bridge pub is fantastic!”
‘Muddy paws’ breaks
All Chestnut’s pubs, inns and restaurants are dog-friendly and most of those with bedrooms offer special dog-orientated overnight stay packages, and/or doggy menus. They are all in either the East Anglian countryside or on the coast, with plenty of options for walks.
Pubs offering dog-friendly stays include The Packhorse Inn, Moulton, near Newmarket, The Black Lion at Long Melford, The Westleton Crown, The Ship at Dunwich and The Globe Inn at Wells-next-the-Sea. Some of these inns offer “muddy paws” and “sandy paws” breaks including goodies such as dog treats, cosy blankets and balm for tired paws.
The Crown at Stoke by Nayland is dog friendly in its bar, restaurant and garden but not rooms, while The Eight Bells at Saffron Walden and The Weeping Willow, at Barrow, near Bury St Edmunds, don’t have rooms.
Pubs and cafes with dog menus, treats and more
Kings Head, Woodbridge: This 17th-century pub has its own “Mutt’s Menu”, recommended by Twitter user Jan. While owners enjoy classic pub food, canine diners can tuck into dishes including honey-dried pig snout, knotted bone, doggy sausage and ramekin of pedigree gravy bones.
The Orange Tree, Thornham, Hunstanton: Dog owner Jo Wiltshire said: “The Orange Tree in Thornham has a Canine Cuisine and Scoobie Snacks menu.” Doggy delicacies at the pub include pigs’ ears, washed down with gravy, or probiotic chicken, salmon or lamb, and water bowls are always available. You can also book for your dog to stay with you in a ground-floor room.
Clifftop Cafe, Overstrand: Reader Dave Peck writes: “We have a holiday home in Trimingham in Norfolk and we almost always visit the Clifftop cafe in Overstrand. They do lovely burgers for the dogs. My dachshund loves it.” The cafe’s website says: “Dogs on leads are welcome (we even stock home-baked dog treats by Alfie & Molly).”
The Turks Head, Hasketon, near Woodbridge: Owner Jemima Withey got in touch to say: “The Turks Head is very dog-friendly, with water bowls and gravy bones to hand. We allow dogs in our bar, snug and garden. We have 12 walk maps on our website people can download.”
Oakes Barn, Bury St Edmunds: Nicola Miller recommended this freehouse pub, which is keen to welcome its canine customers. The owners always have dog biscuits available at the bar in return for a charity donation. It also recently provided visiting pooches with natural and nutritious gourmet dog treats from local company Nibble and Nosh.
The Oaklands, Yarmouth Road, Norwich: Recommending this hotel as a place to eat, Dave Gee said: “There is a huge terrace and it’s dog-friendly. Staff are super welcoming.” The extended terrace now has heated umbrellas to welcome customers in all weathers.
Bildeston Crown, near Hadleigh: Twitter user Karl Wilkinson described the venue as an “amazing place”, saying: “The owners are dog lovers as well as excellent hosts.” Dogs are allowed in the bar area and there is a dog-friendly outdoor seating area. You can also arrange for your dog to stay at the hotel with you, and even book a dog bed if needed!
Sammy’s Bar & Grill, East Runton, Cromer: This American-style restaurant, which uses high-quality local produce, aims to create a relaxed atmosphere for diners, and also welcomes dogs who have been exploring the nearby beaches with their owners.
King’s Arms, Shouldham, near Downham Market: Twitter user Abbie Panks said: “The King’s Arms is very dog friendly and perfect for walking in the warren nearby too.” West Norfolk’s first community-owned pub, The King’s Arms has won numerous awards.
North Sea Coffee Co, Cromer: Seb Blair likes to visit with schnauzers Nelson and Barnaby, and recommended the cafe, known for its freshly roasted speciality coffees and pastries. He said: “Brilliant coffee and a biccy for your four-legged friend.”
The Fox Inn, Newbourne, near Woodbridge: This pub run by Deben Inns is keen to welcome dogs and has a suggested dog walk available to download. Its website says: “We absolutely adore dogs here at the Fox, so if you have a dog and would like to relax inside a warm and welcoming pub, then please pop in. We have some fantastic walks in and around Newbourne and we also stock doggy treats to make their visit as enjoyable as yours.”
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Have you tried these dog walk suggestions?
East Anglia is of course incredibly rich in places to go for a walk, including countryside, parks and beaches. Readers have suggested a few of their favourite spots for others to try.
Reader Cheyanne Lowther recommended her favourite places as “Holkham beach, park and walled garden, Happisburgh beach, Blickling Lake walk and Salhouse Broad.”
Felicity Berry said: “Dunwich beach and heath offer good dog walking.”
And Trimingham beach got the vote of Georgina Isherwood, who said: “It’s nice and quiet and lots of running to be had!”
Although a signposted stretch of Felixstowe beach is closed to dogs from May to September, there are other areas nearby where they are allowed all year. Bridget Burke said: “Felixstowe beach, any time of year, it’s wonderful.”
And Jo Wiltshire said: “Brancaster Beach is dog friendly and beautiful.”
Why not take your dog boating?
Jo Wiltshire’s pet dog Clarence, adopted from Norfolk Greyhound Rescue, enjoys going out on the water.
Jo said: “Richardson’s Day Boat Hire in Wroxham allows dogs on the boats, as do Beans Seal Trips.”
Richardson’s website has a whole guide to taking your dog boating, and says: “A Norfolk Broads boating holiday is the perfect break for both you and your dog. The peace and tranquillity, taking life at your own place, plus some of the best walks you can find.”
Borrowing Winston for walkies
By John Nice
My wife, Jo, and I were actively looking to get a dog from a rescue home in February – but lockdown temporarily put an end to our mission.
We toyed with the idea of getting a puppy.
But everyone else seemed to have the same idea, so new puppies were either unavailable or overly expensive. (We were quoted £4000.00 for a Cockapoo).
Fortunately, we have a family dog, so when Jo and I nipped over to see my parents in the west of Suffolk, to drop some food off when my parents were shielding, we occasionally got to take Winston the collie for a walk.
The countryside around here is surprisingly hilly and incredibly picturesque and it was great for the soul to get out of the house and breathe in some fresh air, with the family dog by your side.
The demand for dogs is still as high as ever – so our dreams of getting one of our own remain unfulfilled for now.
Fortunately Winston is always on standby, eagerly awaiting the announcement of “walkies”.