Norfolk 2016 – Holkham Hall

Holkham house view
Holkham house view

Holkham Hall itself is not only open on Thursday during the week so we reserved it for a visit. We surfaced about 08:00 and arrived at the entrance before 10:00, the fee was £3 but I asked about the beach car park and the guy told us if we have a £6.50 beach ticket for the day it included parking at the hall, so we turned around and got a beach ticket. We planned to have a wander in the forest looking for Goldcrests and then a walk on the beach later.

The entrance fee was £15 each, which included all the venue’s. The hall itself did not open until 12:00 so we took a look at the field to fork exhibition which is a show case for the Holkham farm business. The only exhibition is interesting and very well done, the guides are very informative, and the video of the seasons on the farm is a visual treat. Next we wandered around the lake to the walled garden. By the lake there were lots of Greylag with young one pair had a brood of 8 fairly large goslings which appeared to be unusual as other pairs averaged about 3.

Marble hallway at Holkham Hall
Marble hallway at Holkham Hall

The walled garden was a work in progress the gardens were a bit sparse, and even more so as they would probably be at their best in about a month’s time, the green houses were being renovated and not open to the paying public. There was evidence of cafes but probably only open in the peak season. Back at the café we stopped for a coffee and there was a mass exodus at 12:00, I guess for the house opening, Helen browsed the gift shop while I updated the blog and drank my coffee.

The house is a real gem, photography is allowed so I made the most of it by taking a few panorama and HDR sets. There are a lot of paintings by well known artists, including Gainsborough. The rooms are better lit than many National Trust houses, all in all I would say it is a very well presented privately owned historic house. After touring the house we headed for the cafe again for a bite to eat, being out of season there was no queue and the weather which had been getting better all week was warm enough to sit outside.

The Library Holkham Hall
The Library Holkham Hall

Down by the lake there was an electric boat that did tours of the lake for £4 a head. It was a very pleasant cruise on the lake the boat hand had only started the job a week before as a rest of being in the right place at the right time. We saw plenty wildlife including what we think was a Sandpiper. We took a look at the back of the house but it is all private. Helen grabbed a cake from the cafe and went down for a wander around the beach, which was very pleasant and we were in the lee of the wind the other side of the forest. It was very pleasant sitting in the sun on a bench. We could see some birds out on the sea but even when we walked to the shore line on the way back we could not figure out what they were they were too far out for our binoculars.

For dinner we had some pesto pasta from the deli we visited the day before in Burnham Market it was almond, pistachio and rocket pesto and was very good it made a really creamy sauce. Whilst watching TV with one eye on the ponds outside the windows we spotted a Common Sandpiper, however the 16 baby mallard seemed to be done to less than 10.