Holt is a beautiful market town in the north of Norfolk with strong Georgian roots, still evident today in its architecture and buildings. It is the perfect place to explore if you are staying in any of the surrounding towns and villages with plenty of attractions and activities to keep everyone occupied. One of the great things about Holt is that it is full of hidden gems and you can simply spend your time wandering around the different streets, uncovering independent shops and cafes, art galleries and boutiques or rooting out an antique or two. Aside from the town itself, there are also a number of attractions in the local area which would make for interesting and fun days out:-
Cley Marshes is owned by Norfolk Wildlife Trust and is one of the oldest nature serves in the county. It is just under 10 minutes drive from Holt so perfect if you are staying in one of the hotels in Holt Norfolk and is a fantastic day out whether you are an avid bird-watcher or you just want the chance to get up close to nature whilst visiting the area. There is an audio trail available which will lead you through the reserve’s history, the wildlife found here and what the Wildlife Trust has planned for the future and depending on which season you visit will change which species of bird you should look out for. Highlights include the avocet and spoonbill in spring and summer and the brent good and wintering wildfowl in the colder months.
Muckleburgh Military Collection
A real must visit for any military fan; the Muckleburgh Collection is easily reached from any of the north Norfolk hotels and is the largest private military collection of its kind. It is predominantly made up of tanks, guns and vehicles but there is also an impressive ammunitions display along with regular tank demonstrations, a café and shop, a play area and the opportunity to book a tank driving experience.
Owned by English Heritage, a visit to Baconsthorpe Castle offers the chance to see the extensive ruins which remain of the moated and fortified 15th century manor house which once stood so proudly here. It was owned by a prominent Norfolk family and you can follow the story of their rise and fall through society over a 200 year period. The ruins are now a very tranquil place to explore and the ideal option if you are looking for somewhere to take a picnic and soak up your surroundings. Many guests admit to being surprised and delighted by Baconsthorpe Castle so it is definitely worth considering a visit whilst you are in the area.
Stody Lodge Gardens
Besides being a superb outdoor attraction in the area, there is an interesting history to Stody Lodge Gardens in that they were once part of the Blickling Estate, birthplace of Anne Boleyn. The gardens were created over a long period of time and there is so much to see here from the impressive Azalea Walk to the Woodlands, the expansive Rhododendron collection to the Sunken Garden. Another interesting facet to the story of the gardens is that during the Second World War, the Lodge was taken over by the Royal Army Medical Corps and used as a convalescent home. One of the patients who was housed here, the late Claude Hopper, remained at the Lodge for the next 60 years taking over the maintenance of the house and gardens. His wife, Cynthia, still resides on the Stody Estate to this day.
This award-winning attraction is still a working mill and offers visitors the chance to see the last remaining watermill in Norfolk to produce flour. The red brick mill which stands here was constructed in the early 1800s and produces the speciality wheat, Spelt. The mill operates several days a week and it is possible to see it working, although this is dependent on the demands of flour production at the time. However, it is also possible to book onto a guided tour and see behind the scenes of the watermill, discovering more about the history of the building and the flour production industry. These tours must be booked and arranged in advance with the mill.
The Shell Museum
Located in Glandford, the Shell Museum is exactly what you would expect it to be, a collection of shells which were gathered from all over the world over a period of sixty years although the collection is constantly being added to. There is more to the collection than just pretty shells however, with exhibits featuring jewels, pottery, and even a sugar bowl which was used by Queen Elizabeth I. A visit here certainly makes a worthwhile diversion and the village of Glandford itself is incredibly pretty with a number of other interesting attractions including Bayfield Hall and the Arts Café.
Of course one of the final things which is almost a must-do when you are in north Norfolk is to take advantage of the stunning 40 miles of coastline which can be found here. From traditional seaside towns such as Cromer and Sheringham to salt marshes and imposing clifftops, there is much to appreciate about a trip to the coast and Holt is just close enough that you could easily spend the day walking along a golden stretch of beach, catching a boat trip out to see the largest colony of seals in the UK or simply enjoying the amusements and an ice cream, before returning back to your hotel at the end of the day, worn out from all that salty seaside air. Several of the beaches have been awarded Blue Flags and all are family-friendly, clean and safe to explore. No trip to north Norfolk would be complete without at least one trip to the coast.