Ruff Guide to… Norwich

The history of Norwich dates back hundreds of years but the buzzing university city retains a youthful air. Whether you’ve come to explore the ancient Cathedral Quarter, eat and drink in the Golden Triangle or shop ’til you drop in the Lanes, you certainly won’t run out of things to do here. You can also enjoy many of the city’s main attractions with your dog by your side. Read on to find out our recommendations…

Norwich Cathedral
Norwich Cathedral, as viewed from The Close

Dog-friendly Norwich: the must-sees

For more than 900 years, Norwich Cathedral‘s spire has towered high above the city skyline, and all are welcome to worship here – including dogs. There is lots to see and do at the cathedral, from marvelling at the medieval cloisters to visiting the grave of heroic wartime nurse, Edith Cavell. The cathedral is surrounded by the historic Tombland area as well as 44 acres of green space called The Close, which backs on to the river. It’s free to visit the cathedral and grounds, although donations are welcome. Guided tours are also available free of charge.

Shopaholics should check out Jarrolds department store, which has been hailed as the ‘Harrods of the East’. The business dates back to the 1770s but the grand five-storey building that exists today stocks everything from fashion to furniture. Dogs are welcome throughout the store, aside from the restaurant and wine bar. Many other independent retailers in the charming Norwich Lanes nearby also allow dogs. Norwich Market, open six days a week, is well worth a visit for the food stalls alone. Be sure to visit The Bodega for amazing sandwiches.

Torvi, the canine ambassador for Norfolk Paddle Boards, enjoys a sunset on the water
Torvi, the canine ambassador for Norfolk Paddle Boards, enjoys sunset from the water © Norfolk Paddle Boards

To see the city from a different perspective, try taking to the water. Between April and October, you can rent canoes and rowing boats from Pub and Paddle, which has four routes operating between – you guessed it! – local pubs. A two-hour paddle around Norwich city centre starts from £12.50 per person. Dogs go free, but buoyancy aids are not provided. Pets are also welcome to join their owners on Norfolk Paddle Boards, which has sessions to suit all abilities are regular events. Two-hour board hire starts from £15 and is available all year round.

It’s well worth travelling a little bit out of the city to see the Sainsbury Centre Sculpture Park, too. This is set in 350 acres of parkland in the grounds of the University of East Anglia and is home to works by artists such as Henry Moore and Antony Gormley. While dogs are not allowed in the main Sainsbury Centre building – which was designed by architect Norman Foster – they are welcome to explore all of the outdoor sights, and it’s free to access the grounds. Click here to see a map of the sculpture park and the suggested walking routes.

Eaton Park, Norwich
Eaton Park is a great place to let your dog enjoy some off-lead action

Dog-friendly Norwich: the best walks

Eaton Park, to the south-west of the city, is a lovely place to enjoy a stroll. There are more than 80 acres to explore in this council-run park, much of which is open space where you can let your dog enjoy a good run. The park – which is free to visit – also has a miniature railway, boating lake and tennis courts, as well as a Grade II Listed rotunda and bandstand. It is here that you’ll find the lovely Eaton Park Cafe, which serves everything from coffee and cakes to full meals. The cafe is dog-friendly both inside and out and has lots of seating.

Another favourite is Whitlingham Country Park, on the banks of the River Yare. This waterfront park encompasses both the Great and Little Broads, Whitlingham Woods, Trowse Meadow and Trowse Woods. While there is plenty of room for dogs to run free, they must be kept under control in certain areas – see the dog policy here. Pets are welcome at the onsite Flint Barn Cafe and the park is also close to Redwell Brewing, where “dogs are almost mandatory”. The brewery taproom and garden is open from Friday to Sunday and all the beer is vegan and gluten-free.

View of Norwich from Mousehold Heath
View of Norwich from Mousehold Heath © VisitNorwich

For fantastic views over Norwich, head to Mousehold Heath, just north of the city. This nature reserve is loved by locals – especially dog walkers – and spans more than 180 acres. It consists of a mix of woodland, heathland and recreational ground and is home to a wealth of wildlife. Since the 1880s, the area has been managed by a group of independent conservators and they have put together a walking trail exploring the site’s ancient history. See the 18 key landmarks by walking the Mousehold Heath Earth Heritage Trail.

And if you’re keen to explore more of the city centre on foot, try this detailed 1.5hr Cathedral and Castle walk recommended by tourism site, Norfolk Norwich. As the name suggests, it will take you past the city’s two key attractions, as well as down cobbled streets and interesting alleyways that you might otherwise miss. As previously mentioned, the cathedral welcomes doggy visitors but be aware that the 12th Century castle is not pet-friendly. The same website also recommends a similar-length medieval walk that takes in some of the ancient city walls.

Toby the resident dog at Carberrys, Norwich
Pop in to Carberrys and say hello to resident dog Toby © Carberrys

Dog-friendly Norwich: the best pubs and cafes

Ask anyone in Norwich about “the cafe with the dog” and they’ll know they mean Carberrys, in Wensum Street. Resident retriever Toby has been delighting customers since 2016, and dogs are very welcome to pop in and say hello while their owners grab a drink or bite to eat. Nourish, in Grove Road, is another great daytime spot and if epic all-day breakfasts are your thing, don’t miss a visit to Olives, in Elm Hill. Here, you can enjoy your food while listening to tunes from the jukebox and visiting dogs are treated to free sausages, too.

If you’re in need of a caffeine fix, head to Woods Coffee Bar, in Roundtree Close, which is well stocked with pupcakes and puppucinos for our four-legged friends. And pets are very welcome at The Bicycle Shop – a quirky, plant-filled cafe and bar in St Benedict Street. The Ber Street Kitchen, which serves doggy dinners, is also a great daytime spot. Trendy Gonzo’s Tea Room – named after the late Gonzo the pug – is well worth visiting, too. The restaurant, in London Road, claims to serve the city’s best burgers and has a fantastic roof terrace.

Ernie checks out a Fupburger from The Ten Bells, Norwich
Ernie eyes up a Fupburger from The Ten Bells, Norwich

Brilliant burgers and craft beer are also on the menu at The Ten Bells, in St Benedict Street. This is where you can sink your teeth into a Fupburger, which claims to be “Norfolk and Suffolk’s OG purveyor of gourmet filth”. Hardcore carnivores are well catered for, but veggies certainly won’t go hungry either. When we visited, burgers were buy-one-get-one-free on Mondays. Another cool venue is the Norwich Playhouse, in St George’s Street, where dogs are welcome in the bar and cute terraced garden. Look out for the quirky cityscape on the ceiling!

The Garnet, overlooking Norwich Market, is a historic pub – and shop – with lots of little nooks and crannies to tuck yourself away in. It has a ramen pop-up on Wednesdays and Thursdays but customers are also welcome to bring their own food in from the many market stalls. We can particularly recommend Brick Pizza, just next-door. You can even order food to be delivered to the pub via the Brick app. The Murderers, in Timber Hill, is another great dog-friendly pub and there’s almost always a sports game on the telly.

The Earlham pub, Norwich
The Earlham welcomes dogs

The Earlham, in Earlham Road, also welcomes pets and The Black Horse, its sister pub just up the road, serves free doggy roasts on Sundays. Pets are also very welcome at traditional Victorian pub The Unthank Arms, in Newmarket Road. Visit on a Monday or Tuesday to take advantage of their £9 pasta deal, which also includes a glass of wine. The Red Lion Bishopsgate, in the shadow of Norwich Cathedral, is also dog-friendly. Be sure to sign up for one of the aforementioned paddleboard sessions that launch from the riverside pub.

Drinkers at The Coach & Horses, in Thorpe Road, are actively encouraged to bring in their dogs, who always get lots of fuss and a free treat or two. The pub is also home to the Chalk Hill Brewery – the longest-running independent brewery in the city – so has several of their brews on tap. In the same road, you’ll also find The Fat Cat & Canary, which serves a great range of craft beer and food from The Urban Eatery. The menu often has everything from Katsu Chicken Burgers to Sunday roasts.

Bedroom at The George Hotel, Norwich
Rooms at The George Hotel have a cool, contemporary vibe

Dog-friendly Norwich: where to stay

If you’re keen to stay in the Golden Triangle, then check out The George Hotel. This independent boutique hotel is located in a quiet conservation area and has stylish decor throughout. The hotel’s dog-friendly rooms are separate from the main building and have easy access to outdoor space. Pets are welcome to dine with their owners in the cosy bar area, too. The George is around a 15-minute walk from the city centre.

The historic Maid’s Head Hotel, in the heart of Norwich, also welcomes dogs in three of its executive rooms. The hotel is thought to be the oldest in the UK so as you might expect, it is packed full of character. Dogs are not allowed in the bars or restaurants though. It’s a similar story at Holiday Inn Norwich City, although there are designated dog-friendly areas. Football fans will love staying here as a number of rooms overlook the pitch at Carrow Road.

Brooklyn-style apartment in Norwich
This Brooklyn loft-style apartment is super-cool © Airbnb

Prefer to have a bit more space to yourself? Then check in to one of the many dog-friendly holiday properties available in Norwich. I love the look of this Brooklyn loft-style apartment on Airbnb, near the trendy dog-friendly bars and restaurants of Earlham Road. The spacious one-bedroom flat is housed in a restored Victorian building and has dedicated parking – a rarity in Norwich – as well as a small outdoor balcony.

The Wellington Apartments, within easy walking distance of the cathedral, are also great options for those looking to self-cater. There are several smart properties available for short stays, ranging from compact studios to two-bedroom flats. All of the apartments welcome dogs but pet stays must be agreed in advance. For more dog-friendly accommodation suggestions, check out Dog Friendly Cottages or Dog Friendly Hotels.

Colourful stall rooftops at Norwich Market
The colourful stall rooftops at Norwich Market © VisitNorwich

How do I get to Norwich?

The city, which is approximately three hours from London by car, is well connected to both the north and south of the country. The main road routes into Norwich are the A47, A11, A140 and A146. Greater Anglia offers regular train services to the city too, with journey times of around 90 minutes from London.

Norwich is a popular stopping-off point for National Express and Megabus coaches, too. And the city even has its own international airport, located just off the A140 approximately a 15-minute drive from the city centre. Click here to find out more.

Where can I find out more?

For more information about dog-friendly Norwich, check out the Visit Norwich website. You will also find more tourist information and suggestions for things to see and do on the Visit Norfolk website and the Norfolk Norwich website.

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