As you may know we’ve all been a bit poorly lately so when mum said we were having a mini-break but would be staying in our home county of Norfolk it made sense. We really didn’t want to travel too far from our own vets just in case Gizmo ate something else he shouldn’t! As it turned out Pupstar sprained his leg the day before we left and so as not to upset him we told him we were visiting the vets for the next couple of days. So armed or rather pawed with compasses and maps we set off to explore the area around Aylsham, chosen as it had plenty of dog friendly attractions to keep us amused.
We started our adventure with a visit to Blickling Hall. Now whilst we are not allowed in the house or the ‘posh’ gardens we can walk around the estate. There are 4 walks to choose from ranging from 3km to 7km, all of which are signposted and easy to follow. We opted for the 7km ‘Multi Use Trail’ as it was suitable for doggy strollers. Livestock graze freely on the estate so do be aware and follow the Countryside Code. After all that exercise it was time to partake in some refreshments so we visited the dog friendly Muddy Boots Cafe. The Buckinghamshire Arms is also dog friendly and has rooms if you fancy staying over. (Car Parking at Blickling is £5 for the day – Blickling Hall, Aylsham, NR11 6NF).
Photo: The Multi Use Trail
With tummies now full and the sun going down we headed off to Top Farm, our campsite for the next two nights. Top Farm had been recommended to us by Barking Bugle foreign correspondent Cocoa who had recently enjoyed a stay at the site and told us all about the great walks to be had. Well Cocoa wasn’t wrong! I tell you, you could walk your paws off at Top Farm – just open your door and off you go! There are 350 acres of common wood and heathland to explore and you’ll probably have it all to yourself! We really liked this site as it had a relaxed, layback feel to it and although only 3 miles from Aylsham it was very quiet – with the exception of the geese flying over and the owls hooting which made for an atmospheric evening around the fire pit. We can highly recommend this campsite and we will be back! Top Farm have permanent and touring pitches, accept tents and offer glamping. (Top Farm, Kittles Lane, Marsham, NR10 5QF Tel: 01263 733962)
We love train rides, so we were very excited when the pawrents told us we would be visiting the Bure Valley Railway and meeting Henry, the Cocker Spaniel who was in charge of operations. Henry informed us that Bure Valley Railway pride themselves on their dog friendliness. The train runs from Aylsham to Wroxham with stops at Brampton, Buxton and Coltishall and takes 45 minutes to travel the 9 miles. There is a footpath that runs alongside the railway line so we decided to stretch our paws and walk from Aylsham to the next stop at Brampton. When the train arrived we had our own carriage especially reserved for us! We felt like VIPs or rather VIDs. (Bure Valley Railway, Aylsham Station, Aylsham, NR11 6BW Tel: 01263 733858)
Photo: The path alongside the Bure Valley Railway Line
When we left the train it was just a few minutes’ walk into the centre of Wroxham where we decided to hire a boat. There are several day boat hire companies in Wroxham that can accommodate 2 to 12 humans. We hired a boat from Richardson’s Day Boats and had a very nice time cruising along the Broads with the wind blowing in our ears! If you don’t fancy hiring your own boat, Broads Tours offer regular river trips with live commentary. (Broads Tours, Wroxham. Tel: 01603 782207). If you fancy a snack the Kings Head offers lovely views over the water and is dog friendly inside.
After a short rest back at base camp we spruced ourselves up as we were going to be accompanying our pawrents out for dinner at The Black Boys Hotel in the centre of Aylsham, which also has dog friendly rooms. The Unicorn Pub is also dog friendly. Aylsham is an unspoilt historic market town with some nice shops and well worth a stroll around.
On our final day of our break we got up bright and early to walk part of the ‘Marriott’s Way’, a 26 mile path, bridleway and cycle route which follows two disused railway lines between Aylsham and Norwich through the countryside, passing villages and old railway stations. We walked from Aylsham to Cawston and back. You can get a bus at Cawston which will take you back to Aylsham – we didn’t do this and instead opted for our doggy stroller and made dad push us on the return journey. (Ayslsham to Cawston is approx. 4-5 miles each way). We’ve been going back and doing more bits of this walk and will be repawting on it in full soon!
Later that day we headed back home tired but happy dogs. We had a totally pawesome time in Aylsham – the only sad thing was we didn’t have time to visit everywhere! There are loads more walks to enjoy and other dog friendly attractions….we will be back!
I hope you found this information useful and if you visit Aylsham or any of the attractions we visited do let us know. Don’t forget to visit check out our Dog Friendly Guide for details of other pawesome places to visit in Norfolk.
Woofs Frodo and Gizmo Cavalier x