Enjoy a Heart-Warming Experience in North Norfolk

Wendy Valentine, Hillside Animal Sanctuary

Wendy with pet turkeys Pacco and Rosie. Image via Hillside.

Hillside Shire Horse Sanctuary is a haven for a large range of animals and is open for visitors to explore.

Meet thousands of adorable animals who have found a happy home in North Norfolk. Fall in love with nature and end your visit with tasty vegan treats.

Wendy Valentine founded Hillside in 1995 and has rescued horses, cows, pigs and many more animals, including smaller species.

“Hillside makes a great day out for people who love animals. People from all walks of life enjoy visiting us.”


Rescue horse Sugar

Rescue horse Sugar before recovery. Image via Hillside.

Hillside was set up as a retreat for animals in need and aims to raise awareness for them. Investigations undertaken by Hillside have made it to the big screen, including on ITV’s Tonight with Trevor McDonald. Alongside this, Wendy’s passion for animals has helped the sanctuary become well-known for its values.

“I wanted to make the public aware of the suffering behind the closed doors of the intensive factory farming industry.”

Hillside has grown over the years and now provides sanctuary to 1,900 horses, ponies and donkeys. Many more animals live on-site, most of which have been rescued from the farming industry. It offers a permanent place of safety for the residents, who are treated with love and respect.

Perfect for Animal Lovers

Visitors can stop by Hillside Shire Horse Sanctuary and see the animals in a clean and happy environment. Hillside is a top-rated attraction due to its outstanding animal care.

Most people spend around three to four hours enjoying everything there is to see. From stunning animals to an interesting museum, there’s something for all ages.

Rescue Horse Casper

Rescue horse Casper after recovery. Image via Hillside.

“Meet all sorts of rescued animals and wander around the farming bygones museum. Hundreds of animals live at the Shire Horse Sanctuary, including heavy horses, ponies, donkeys, mules, cows, pigs, sheep, alpacas, ducks, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and aviary birds.”

In June 2017, Hillside even took on an extra 63 cattle after a farmer turned vegetarian.

Dedicated staff look after all of the animals and generous donators fund the sanctuary, keeping the animals fed and sheltered.

“We are very grateful to receive donations from visitors online, by post or telephone and the gift shop.”

Actor, Martin Shaw, known for his role in The Professionals, is a Hillside patron who supports and helps raise awareness for the sanctuary.

True to its animal-friendly values, the on-site café serves delicious vegan food. You can also browse the gift shop and take a souvenir home with you. It’s the perfect escape whatever the weather, as there’s also an indoor area to explore.

Additional Information

The sanctuary is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, from Easter to the last Thursday in October.

Entry for adults costs £6 and seniors £5. Children up to 16 cost £4, while children three and under go free. Dogs on leads are welcome.

Coaches and cars can park for free. There’s wheelchair access in all areas, including an accessible toilet.

Hillside discourages visitors from feeding the animals. Food for the animals can be donated to staff members.

Supporters and visitors can find out about any new arrivals through the sanctuary’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Hillside Shire Horse Sanctuary is based in West Runton, Norfolk. Follow the brown signs for ‘Shire Horse Sanctuary’ off the A149 Cromer to Sheringham Road. The sanctuary is a half hour drive from The Blakeney Cottage Company HQ.

Hillside Shire Horse Sanctuary Location