• Little Rea

The Beach Series | Old Hunstanton - Norfolk

I'm dedicating a little bit more time to this blog because Old Hunstanton comes with more than just a pretty beach, and although that's all I really care about, I know the humans need more than just grains of sand and a bouncy ball.

Let's start at the very top because there is something there that Mummy stopped to admire. The Old Lighthouse is an iconic building located on the cliffs between Hunstanton and Old Hunstanton. It's now holiday accommodation, but it's pretty to look at.

Right next to it is the car park for the beach, but also the Lighthouse Cafe, which has a big sign saying dogs are welcome ... and we are. There are water bowls outside and doggy sausages inside. They even do a gluten-free menu! A menu! Not just a 'yes, we have gluten-free bread' but an ENTIRE menu! You know what this means for me, don't you ... another place where Mummy and I can sit together in the warm, where there are sausages and tummy tickles.

Oh, there are human loos there too; us hounds still have to go outside in the cold, but one day, I dream of having my own private bathroom, so Mummy doesn't stare at me then inspect every poo that I do – as if she is going to find something new within it.

The parking space is vast but so expensive – according to Mummy's mumbled 'Jeez' as the machine ate quite a few of her pound coins. I could buy a quarter of crispy duck from the local Chinese restaurant for the price it costs to park in the Lighthouse car park. I had to weigh this up ... beach or crispy duck. Beach or crispy duck?

Well ... I could sniff that sea from above and once off the lead, flew like Mr Bolt down the path, knocking over any human obstacle that was in my way. I swear I left a crumpled trail of humans in my wake. Tummy tickles were a thing of the past because that sand and sea was a mythical mermaid calling me to gallop towards the waves.

Sand, sand, everywhere. And not just sand, but sandbanks, sand pools, and waters so far from land that we had to squint to see the waves.

I won't bore you with my usual digging obsessions, or how I obsessively chased my ball so much that my tongue looked like it was falling out, but I can tell you that if you turn right along the shores, you can walk down to the next dog-friendly cafe for your next sausage (only I am still on a diet, so I had a carrot stick instead). The walk is around twenty to thirty minutes, but we took about an hour because we like to play tag on the sandbanks and splash in the sea-pools.

The Old Boathouse Cafe is rather cute. There is outside seating for sunny days, and indoor seating when the wind whips up, or the rain pours down. It has healthy homemade doggy-biscuits which I spat out because there was no sausage ingredient, and the staff do love to give out tummy rubs if they aren't too busy. Again, gluten-free options are available, but they go even further and provide vegan and vegetarian also. It's a rather cool place to take in the sunshine.

Humans can also off-load our poop bags here in the two bins, and if you are really lucky, you might find a spare tennis ball in the memorial box.

After replenishing ourselves, Mummy dragged me up the footpath towards a carpark. I did wonder what she was doing because our car was far far away, and we'd had drinks and snacks, so there was nothing else to see. I was wrong of course. Mummy can sniff out a shop like I can the sea, and this was one I could go into too. Rolling my eyes, I followed behind her. I hate shopping, and the only pleasure I get is throwing myself at the human's feet and whimpering as if I am an abused hound, deprived of every indulgence; my acting skills have developed nicely.

The Antique, Art & Crafts Centre is all dog-friendly and full of beautiful things that made Mummy spend my pocket money. I thought I was supposed to get more while we were away, but it seems she has been embezzling it into her own pockets.

Old Hunstanton is doggy-wonderful. It has everything I need for a pawfect day out and has become one of my favourite places in Norfolk. I think Mummy likes it too and if I am lucky she might take me there one day.

Note from Julie

Old Hunstanton and Hunstanton, although next to each other, are very different experiences. Rea is going to blog about Hunstanton later this week. Our suggestion is either park on the road next to the lighthouse (free) or in a small car park next to the Ancient Mariners Inn (half the price). I've read that tide times should be checked but we turn up at any hour and find there is always enough sand to walk on. I could be wrong so best to check them (doubt I ever will).


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