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I have a raster file in which each cell has a numeric code which indicates that the cell is directed towards one of its eight neighbours.

I am using QGIS to display each of the eight possible codes using a different colour right now, but wonder if there is a way to display symbols, such as little arrows, as well, especially at high zoom levels.

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You can do it this way (don't know if there's a more direct approach):

  1. Convert your raster to points using r.to.vect algorithm in Processing.

  2. Set symbology for points (points are generated with the corresponding cell value). Define a Categorized style and assign an arrow icon to each point value, rotated a different number of degrees.

The result is something like this (my points have only 4 values):

enter image description here

You can of course set scale dependent visibility for both your point layer and your raster layer, so that in general scales you only observe the raster, but in detailed scales you observe the arrows.

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