Holkham Hall on a busy day from across the cricket pitch
Norfolk

Holkham Hall Review: A Fun Family Day Out In North Norfolk

Holkham Hall sits on the Royal Norfolk (north) coast. It is a great place to visit with lots to do on the estate as well as regular events you can attend. The site is a massive 25,000 acres and covers lots of walks and cycle trails.

We have been to Holkham a couple of time when staying in North Norfolk and it is a popular place to visit. 

Things to do at Holkham Hall

You’ll find lots to do, here are some of our favourite things to do and some popular events that are held annually.

Walk the deer park

The estate is massive and has a large deer park. the walk around it can be varied by the route. You can take a short 1 to 2-mile walk into the countryside or if you are feeling more energetic take a long walk to enjoy more of the estate. There is a large herd of deer that are usually found on the open fields behind the main house. You can often see them when you are driving out (they will be on your right-hand side).

If you have young children you can spot them from behind the mail play area and high ropes course. Head through the high ropes to the back and there is a large field behind where you can usually see them. 

Take a bike ride

As you arrive in Holkham for the main parking you will find a bike hire centre. There have bikes for all sizes from young children to adult bikes. You can hire them by the hour and also get helmets. The staff will set you off with a map to show you where to go. You can select an appropriate size route and see more of the estate on your ride. 

Go to the beach

The tide at Holkham goes out a very very long way! If the tide is out it is a substantial walk from the car park to have a paddle. A beach trolley is a real help here. The beach is fantastic and there is a lot of room to play and run around. Keep an eye on the tide times to make sure you leave time to get back. 

There is a visitors centre as you get towards the beach. Here is where you will find the toilets and a small cafe and ice cream van.

Notes:

1 – The beach is a good walk from the main car park for the Hall. Where you turn left for the hall turn right for the beach. At busy times they close this car park. For the next closest parking turn left towards the Hall and there is a smaller car park on the right at the top of the hill. 

2 – Check the tide times before you start the walk, if it’s high tide then there is not a lot of sand! 

Go on the high ropes course! 

You may need to book in advance for the school holidays and warmer weekends.

The high ropes course is on the left as you get into the park. It has a series of high obstacles, balancing and climbing activities. There is a zip wire at the end of each course. 

I have done the high ropes twice with an adventurous 7-year-old. He found the course at a good level and I would say a good age range is probably from 7 to 13 depending on your child’s ability to climb heights.  

Head to the walled garden

The walled garden is roughly half a mile walk from the hall. The walk takes you down around the left-hand side of the lakes that you can see from the hall. The gardens are 9 acres and are surrounded by a large wall like you will find in Victorian gardens. 

A stunning stumpery

It has 6 different sections which include grape vines that are used to produce a Holkahm wine. There are other fruits and plants growing. There is also a section that has a large area of grass, this is a great spot for a picnic. 

In the summer months, there are often events in the walled garden. We have been there for the summer games which were great fun. There were various different games dotted around the gardens and just outside them. 

Grape vines in the walled gardens

When it is busy there is a small coffee van and ice cream van just outside the gardens and a cafe inside. 

Holkham Hall events

There are a lot of things going on at Holkham all year round.

Here are some of the events you will find

  • Holkham (North Norfolk) Food Festival – Summer holidays
  • Holkham park runs, 10K & half marathon
  • Popup campsite
  • Opera performances
  • Cycling events
  • Various nature and bat walks
  • The Grand Tour Tractor Trail
  • Kids yoga

A van at Holkhams North Norfolk food festival

FAQs

Yes, you are free to walk around the grounds at Holkham Hall. You will have to pay to park if you take a car. 

There are lots to do at Holkham Hall including

  • Lots of walks
  • Cycle hire and trails*
  • High ropes course*
  • Children’s play area
  • Walled gardens*
  • Lots of events through the year

*Charges apply

No, Holkham Hall is not a National Trust property. It is a privately owned house and estate.

Parking at Holkham Hall is £5 all day. 

Yes, you can walk to the beach from Holkham Hall – It is quite a long walk though – approximalety 1.6 miles. It is also uphill some of the way back! 

Other posts from our Norfolk blog

Seal Spotting In Norfolk Guide

There are many seals along the Norfolk coast and this is a key area for them breeding in the UK. It is really important that you pay attention to them and follow the rules when going to watch them. Keep back from them and keep your children back. They are big animals and can be aggressive if you get too close to them. If you have a dog with you keep it on a lead at all times. Again seals can be aggressive so keep dogs well back. I have been seal spotting in Norfolk a couple of times and find them fascinating. You do occasionally spot the odd one swimming in the sea in places like Winterton on Sea. Best Places To Spot Seals In Norfolk Here are my top 3 places! 1 – Horsey Gap Horsey Gap is a section of beach that is accessible from most of Norfolk and if you want to see seals this is the place to go. There is a car park (paid) by the beach and it is a short walk over the dues to the beach. Depending on the time of year depends on what you will see. When we went, in the summer, there were a number of seals swimming in the sea and there were not far out at all. They seemed to be playing and having fun with each other oblivious to the people watching them. There was only 1 seal out of the water sitting on the beach. In the winter when they have young there are usually a lot more of them on the beach. There is a viewing spot for this that is a right turn as you head out of the car park. The beach is closed off in parts to protect the young pups. 2 – Blakney Seal Cruises If you are further round to the north coast then Blakney is a great place for a seal spotting trip. Blakney is on an estuary so you have to get a boat out to where the seals live out on Blankey point. From the boat, you can see the full seal colony without getting too close to them. You will also see seals swimming around and playing in the water. The cruises usually last around an hour and you get to see lots of seals. This is a great way to see them in a really natural environment. While in Blakeney you can pop into the excellent 2 Magpies bakery or do some crabbing if the tide is in (we’ve rated it as the top place for crabbing in Norfolk – See here). 3 – Sea Life Center, Hunstanton The Sea Life Center in Hunstanton has a seal rescue centre inside. They have rescued and released over 750 seals. These can be from injured animals to pups that have been abandoned. They have a number of recovery bays and a seal pool where they can swim before being released. When we went they had a number of seal pups in and they were absolutely adorable. These are grey and common seal pups that they are bringing up before releasing them. Here is a video of them rescuing a seal pup If you want to get really up close then you can book a seal feeding experience where you work with the staff to feed the seals their daily fish. If you are heading to Norfolk then seal spotting is a great thing to do for all ages. If you are looking for a holiday in Norfolk we cover the best Norfolk lodge breaks on our site. Seal Watching FAQs Where is the best place to see seals in Norfolk? From our experience, the best place to see seals in Norfolk is at Horsey Gap. They are there all year round. When can you see baby seals in Norfolk? You can usualy see baby seasl in Norfolk from Novemebr to Febuary. The best spots for this are Horsey Gap and Blakney Point. Other Things To Do In Norfolk

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Norfolk beach view

Is Norfolk A Good Place For A Holiday?

From the resplendent Norfolk Broads to its magnificent coastline, Norfolk is a spectacular place to holiday. Historic towns and pretty villages sit alongside magnificent nature reserves, undulating landscapes and spacious beaches, ready for families and friends. Whether you prefer your sands, tidied and civilised or wild and free, Norfolk’s coastline offers plenty of both and is dog-friendly too. Perfect for fun both indoors and out, there’s all the space, gardens and scenery you need for rousing hikes and cycling, strolls, watersports, golf, fishing and more. For indoors, there are aquariums, zoos, stately homes, galleries, theatres and artisan crafts. Norfolk’s crowning glory, Norwich, is a feast of elegant history, green spaces and a buzzing market town. Indeed, church-rich Norwich is said to have more pubs than churches! Rural experiences are interspersed with waterways, marshes, castles and lively towns, such as Holt and Burnham, so there’s always something to keep you entertained. Luxury cabin accommodation that’s dog-friendly with longs walks, beautiful scenery and more fit perfectly here. Even the Queen likes it – her beloved Sandringham Estate is located in Norfolk. Don’t forget Kate, Wills and the children escape here too. Here’s all you need to know about the best places to visit in Norfolk for the best place to holiday this year. What is good about holidays in Norfolk? Best Norfolk Beaches: Norfolk’s beaches are a delicious tale of two halves with gentrified, legendary beaches in the North, such as Cromer and Great Yarmouth, alongside gorgeous wilds in the east, such as Horsey and Waxham – there’s something for every day. You can enjoy the best of both amidst the tantalising blue of the North Sea. Dog-friendly, blue-flagged and spacious, unlike Cornwall or Devon, you can run free, spread out in peace and soak in the gorgeous blue sea. Fly a kite, visit Norfolk’s popular crabbing spots or take long walks over the sand dunes, along the coastal path in autumn and then, of course, there’s the wildlife. Best Norfolk Wildlife: Norfolk is as famous for its wildlife as its beaches and picturesque rural scenery. Here you’ll find grey seals, with pups easy to spot in winter alongside stunning rare birds, butterflies, otters, nightjars and more. Best Norfolk Nature Reserves & Gardens: Norfolk is home to lots of beautiful gardens and nature reserves. Its biggest, Blakeney National Nature Reserve, will head straight for your heart on your numerous visits because you’re guaranteed to return. Located by the coast, alongside the cute grey seals at Blakeney Point you’ll find the beautiful wildflowers and birds which inhabit Blakeney Freshes, the untouched wilds of Friary Hills, Stiffkey Saltmarshes, magnificent Wentworth Castle Gardens and more. Best Norfolk Historical Places to Visit: There are a large number of fascinating stately homes to visit in Norfolk, such as Houghton Hall and Bickling Estate, as well as the Queen’s historic Sandringham Estate. You’ll also find castles, such as Norwich Castle and monumental Norwich Cathedral. Why not head to vibrant Norwich where you can explore towering Norwich Cathedral, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery and the elegant town itself? Packed with artisan boutiques, great shopping, tons of gorgeous foodie outlets, endless entertainment, the River Wensum and of course, pubs – you’ll be back! Best Norfolk Family Days Out: There’s something for every age on a holiday in Norfolk and nothing is better than an indulgent picnic on the beach or the Broads. Historic Cromer Pier, the UK’s last proper pier with traditional entertainment, is a must but if you want big thrills for the little ones stop off at Amazona Zoo, Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure or BeWILDerwood. For the big kids – it’s Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach of course! Sure it’s been there for a while but Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach is brimming with traditional and contemporary rides plus a 4D cinema, aquarium, restaurants and more. It’s still the best family day out in Norfolk with enough rollercoasters, candy floss and rock to ensure everyone comes home sticky and happy. Best Places To Stay In Norfolk: You are spoilt for choice looking for Luxury lodge accommodation in Norfolk. You will find breaks with hot tubs, golfing and more, which is the perfect retreat for this phenomenal rural location. Browse gorgeous luxury Norfolk lodges for families and couples, including dog-friendly cottages. Whether you want to relax in a sumptuous hot tub after a long day or unwind with a tranquil fishing lake or golf course just outside your door. Alternatively, keep the children fully entertained with thrilling play areas and pools, find your perfect Norfolk cottage for a glorious holiday in Norfolk. To luxury Norfolk cottages in Yakham, Burgh, Suffolk and more Latest posts from our Norfolk blog Norfolk Crabbing Spots In Norfolk Norfolk and Suffolk are crabbing hot spots with the coast littered with various towns and harbours to crab from. Wells on Seas on the north coast is a very popular place along with places dotted along the coast. Cromer pier …

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Blankey Quay - The best crabbing spot in Norfolk

Crabbing Spots In Norfolk

Norfolk and Suffolk are crabbing hot spots with the coast littered with various towns and harbours to crab from. Wells on Seas on the north coast is a very popular place along with places dotted along the coast. Cromer pier is the most famous of all the crabbing spots and they sometimes hold the UK championships there. Having been to many of these spots I will list you my best spots to go to. Due to the location most of these are on the north Norfolk coast rather than further down near Great Yarmouth. Top Crabbing Spots In Norfolk! Here are my top spots starting with my favourite. Further down the page, you’ll find my top crabbing tips! Crabbing Hot Spot – Blakney As well as being my top-rated crabbing spot, Blakney is a lovely traditional village on the north Norfolk coast. The crabbing is on a small estuary and you need to be there as the tide is coming up. It does get busy in the summer holidays and on warmer weekends. There are usually people swimming and paddleboarding in the water too. Take a folding chair and get your spot early, usually around an hour and a half before high tide works well. Look for gaps in the boats and for any deeper spots you can see as these will be the best spots. While you wait, if someone keeps your spot, head to the bakery by the car park for delicious pastries and cakes. Where to buy bait: There is a fishmonger by the Spar on the main road down to the harbour. There is also a coast shop just next to the Kings Arms further down the high street that does bait and crabbing equipment. Where to park: You can park in a couple of places in Blakney. The easiest place to get a space is at the village hall. This is on the main triangle in the middle of the village. Thre are some toilets here and a play area. You can then walk down the high street to the quay and pick up your baits on your way down. Can you beat us? Our current record at Blakney is 181 crabs in a day, using 2 drop nets. We used the bait from the coast shop that is pre-packed and found a good deep spot between 2 boats, the crabbing was relentless. We eventually gave up our spot to someone else before the tide went out. Next Best – Wells-Next-The-Sea Wells if also up on the North Norfolk coast and is further round the Blankey. It’s not too far from Holkham Hall which is also a great place to visit. In Wells, there is a harbour front that is very popular with crabbers. I’ve never personally had a go here but have seen people with buckets full of crabs and them being caught regularly. This is a real hot spot on the key. Again, you want to look for slightly deeper water if you choose a spot. There’s lots more to do in Wells with the beach not too far away. There are seaside shops and eateries to visit. The only challenge with visiting can be finding a parking space in the school holidays. A lot of people park alongside the road above the town and walk down as it is easier if you spot a space here. The traffic in Wells can also be bad in the summer so parking just out of the town can help avoid crawling around trying to find a space. Where to buy bait: Wells is bigger than Blakney and has a more seaside town vibe. There are a number of shops along the quayside that all sell crab bait – they’ll usually have a sign in the window so you know what is on offer. You can also pick up nets and buckets from these shops if you do not already have these with you. Patience Needed – Cromer Pier Cromer Pier hosts the “world” crabbing championships in August every year. I have crabbed at Cromer and it was the least enjoyable place I’ve ever crabbed! The quays are much easier to crab from than the incredibly buy pier. When we went the pier was packed with people and it took us 15 minutes waiting for someone to leave to get a decent spot. It is a VERY long way from the pier to hit the water! It is a lot of winding if you want to keep pulling up to see if you have caught anything. My tips for crabbing at Cromer Pier Get your water before you go up – There’ n where to get water on the pier so get down to the water first. Always remember to walk back down with your bucket and release the crabs carefully into the water near the pier again – Do not pour them in off the pier! Get there early – Arrive before high tide to get the best spots – As close to the end of the pier as you can get. Spread out – This is just so you don’t get in tangles, people will just come in and sit right next to you. Don’t go if it’s windy – As mentioned it’s a long way to the water and on windy days your net could end up anywhere! Be patient: When we have been we’ve never seen anyone with bucket loads of crabs. Most people catch a few while the are there. These are the 3 top spots in Norfolk. If you are heading for a Norfolk lodge holiday then why not have a go at crabbing. It is a very popular pastime and kids love it! Latest posts from our blog

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