Stately Treasures - Three of Norfolk's finest Halls
Norfolk has many grand houses set within its stunning countryside with so much to offer for a day out. Here's a few of our favourites...
Houghton Hall near Kings Lynn was built in the 1720’s for Robert Walpole, the first prime minister of England. It is a fine example of Palladian architecture, with state rooms designed by William Kent and sumptuously decorated for grand entertaining, perfect for showing off Robert Walpole’s huge art collection. This was later sold to Catherine The Great of Russia to pay off debts after the late prime minister’s death and later, the house passed into the hands of the Cholmondeleys, where it remains today as a private residence for the 7th Marquess and his family.
Your day can be spent by exploring the Hall or venturing out into the gardens where you can spend many an hour wandering through the green and luscious displays. You’ll find the grounds dotted with contemporary sculptures and impressive bedding displays. Immerse yourself in the five acres of walled garden full of plants and statues, or explore the parkland and feast your eyes upon white fallow deer grazing amongst the trees. Don’t forget to visit the Soldier Museum, the largest private collection of toy soldiers in the world!!
For a Royal day out visit the Sandringham Estate. The Norfolk Royal Residence of HM The Queen and right next door to Kate and William’s country retreat, Anmer Hall. Originally built in 1870 by King Edward II and Queen Alexandra, Sandringham has been a favourite home of the Royals ever since, with their Christmas’ having been spent here for generations.
The surrounding woodlands and heath are open every day and free to enjoy whatever the weather. However, the actual house and gardens are only open in the summer months with most of the ground floor rooms being open to the public, displaying all their ornaments and some of their art collections, giving an intriguing insight into the life of a royal.
The beautiful gardens cover 24 hectares in total and you can stroll at your leisure whilst the museum has a collection of royal cars and artifacts. Don’t forget to visit the church of St Mary Magdalene where the royal family worships. Round the day off with afternoon tea in the restaurant.
Holkham Hall on the North Norfolk coast is a large palladian house built by the first Earl of Leicester in the 1750’s. It took 30 years to build and unfortunately the Earl did not live to see it’s completion, dying 5 years before it was finished. His wife continued with the construction following his wishes and the grand stately home we see today is an ode to their tenacity and endeavours.
The house still remains in the Coke family and is the private home of the present Earl of Leicester and his family. No expense was spared in its creation, offering a visually stunning masterpiece with marble pillars, ornate bedrooms, statues and paintings. Wrapping around the house is the vast parkland with a majestic obelisk standing over the park along with trails to follow and a lake to cruise or row on for a relaxing afternoon, can be enjoyed throughout the year. The grounds are expansive and home to many deer, hours can be whiled away strolling around the estate.
Holkham Hall even has its own beach a short drive away; a long private lane opens up to one of the most magnificent beaches in Norfolk or, dare we say, the UK. Walk along the boardwalk through the pine trees to the vast sandy beach perfect for a picnic and sand castles. The adjoining Nature reserve is a haven for bird lovers with various migrating birds visiting throughout the year.
Whichever Hall you choose to visit it can provide an enchanting day out with something to offer for all ages and interests. Even the dogs can enjoy the parklands.