Rachael Winchester, Store Manager at our Holt store, tells us why this town is well worth a visit. “Holt is ideally located for the best of everything in North Norfolk; coastal walks, country walks and seaside fun. It has everything and more for the whole family.
Holt town is a gourmet’s paradise with many local independent food producers and outlets; the mostfamous being Byfords a posh B&B and restaurant – Thursday night is Jazz night and there’s not usually a vacant seat in the house.
The Folly Tea Room run by Judith and her team is tucked away in a beautiful, secluded garden. It serves amazing cakes and pastries, all made by Judith. The Folly Tea comes in many flavours; green, jasmine, white etc. all served on beautiful crockery. It’s a perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of a busy town. The Owl also has a secluded garden; all produce is homemade and can be bought from the shop to take away.
Holt Country Park, which sits on the southern border of the town, is an ideal place for a picnic and for children to play and learn about the beautiful Norfolk countryside. An activity programme runs throughout the summer with butterfly and amphibian projects for all to take part in. Dotted around the park are sculptures created by local artists which children can have fun with a map trying to locate and name.
Another great place for bird and beast spotting is the Wildflower Centre at Byfield Hall just outside town. The centre is home to a harvest mouse sanctuary and specialises in selling locally-raised wild flowers. There is a woodland trail and café (of course). During the summer months there are family bat and moth spotting evenings. Continue on the same pathway and you’ll come to Glandford where you’ll find the Art Café tea room selling local works of art and cake.
Keep walking and you finally reach the coast (almost) at Cley-next-the–sea: everywhere along this part of the coast is ‘next-the-sea’ as you have to walk just that bit further across some of the most beautiful salt marsh nature reserves to finally glimpse the sea. The lovely Pink Foot Gallery in Cley sells work by the best of Norfolk’s artists, many with international reputations. Between Cley and Blakeney is Wiverton Hall café/restaurant with amazing home produced fare.
Another secluded setting which looks out on to the salt marshes where you can spend a peaceful hour watching the bird life. Blakeney is very beautiful at any time of the year. Try the Blakeney Hotel for tea on the terrace (yes even in the winter) looking out over the harbour to the sea; mesmerising.
We’re spoiled for National Trust properties here with Blickling Hall and Felbrigge Hall on the doorstep. Both of these are a must for gardeners with beautiful walled gardens and woodland walks full of ancient oaks. One of the last steam railways in the country runs from Sheringham to Holt throughout the summer months, taking in spectacular views of the coast. Lots of events are staged here including 1940s and 1960s themed days where participants flock in full authentic dress; really fun family weekends.
Other annual events include the week-long Holt Festival with music, theatre and talks by celebrity participants, always popular it draws in large numbers of visitors. Annual classic car events, including Dubs at the Hall at Holt Hall, are fun to watch – particularly the spectacle of large numbers of vintage cars passing through the town. I could go on and on but I hope you’ve got a feel for what life is like up here in Holt.”