Press Centre

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Why visit Holkham in 2018...

Holkham Hall in Norfolk celebrates the anniversaries of two key figures involved in the history of the estate.

Discover Thomas Coke’s inspiration behind Holkham Hall and renowned garden designer Humphry Repton’s vision for the grounds.

5 March-31 October 2018

This year, Holkham Hall in Norfolk, one of England’s greatest stately homes, will be celebrating the 300th anniversary since Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester, returned from his Grand Tour of Europe. A new exhibition, ‘Treasures and Trophies: The Making of a Gentleman and a Great House’, shows how Thomas was inspired by his six-year journey to build Holkham Hall. Appealing to lovers of culture, history and families alike, ‘Treasures and Trophies’ will offer a great day out for all generations.

In addition, visitors to Holkham will have the opportunity to uncover renowned, landscape gardener Humphry Repton’s work in Holkham park with 2018 marking the 200th anniversary of Repton’s death. Frequently referred to as one of the best-loved luminaries of English garden history, Holkham’s celebration of Repton will offer a detailed insight into his important work at Holkham.

Treasures and Trophies: The Making of a Gentleman and a Great House
Over the course of six years, Thomas Coke undertook one of the longest and most influential Grand Tours of the 18th century. Whilst exploring the magnificent state rooms, visitors will have the chance to uncover the stories behind the arduous route of Thomas’s journey to Europe, how his travels turned an impressionable adolescent into a true virtuoso and architect in the making and the epic collection of paintings, statues, drawings, rare books and manuscripts that he amassed and which today attract a worldwide audience. The exhibition also unveils the influential characters Thomas Coke met, such as William Kent, who became famous as an eminent landscape architect and furniture designer. The two became lifelong friends and it was William Kent who helped Thomas shape his vision to form a ‘temple of the arts’ and eventually complete a Palladian-style mansion on the north Norfolk coast.

To bring the story and history to life, the exhibition team at Holkham has ensured that there will be plenty of opportunity for interaction. Adults and children can walk in the shoes of Thomas Coke, dressing up in costume, create a mini Palladian building from blocks, witness the food he ate and discover a replica studio of the Italian painter, Francesco Trevisani, where Thomas Coke, aged 20, sat for his portrait which now hangs in the Manuscript Library of the hall.

Humphry Repton’s Bicentenary
2018 marks the 200th anniversary of renowned landscape gardener Humphry Repton’s death. Repton is buried at the nearby Norfolk town of Aylsham. His life and work is being celebrated with a special programme of over 40 events across Norfolk this year. Repton, who is known for his influential landscape designs at Longleat House, Woburn Abbey, Kenwood House and Kensington Gardens, wanted to follow in the illustrious footsteps of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown who had transformed so many great parks in the 18th century. He produced his first iconic ‘Red Book’ for Holkham park in 1789, when Thomas William Coke commissioned him to reimagine the pleasure grounds around the lake. Humphry Repton viewed his commissions like an artist might and the Red Books he created set out his ideas and recommendations, often showing ‘before’ and ‘after’ views. Over the course of his lifetime he produced many such books which were often bound in red leather. Repton used his Red Book of Holkham to detail his plans, hints and sketches for creating walks, a rope ferry to cross the lake and a boat house, as well as several other ideas. Visitors will now be able to trace back the landscape seen today to its natural origins.

Lionel Richie's love affair with the UK continues as he announces Holkham Hall show

Tickets on sale: Friday 2nd February from 10am

“…a sincere affirmation of his real standing in pop culture as a hit-maker of the highest order.” Daily Telegraph

“…his adaptability produces a show that swings between raucous R&B and chocolate-box ballads, all of it fantastic.” Guardian

“….may just have proven himself the greatest rock star on the planet.” The Independent

International superstar Lionel Richie will return to the UK in 2018, with a show at Holkham Hall on Sunday 24th June. The date is part of a summer tour which will be visiting iconic venues across the country. Tickets go on sale on February 2nd from 10am.

Performing hits from his extensive and much loved repertoire spanning decades, all the way from the Commodores to the present day, Richie’s shows are world renowned for their party atmosphere. Fans will be able to enjoy timeless mega-hits and sing along to classics such as ‘Lady’, ‘Truly, ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’, ‘Say You Say Me’, ‘Hello’ and ‘All Night Long’.

Lionel says of his return: “I’ve been missing the UK and can’t wait to make my long awaited return and to see parts of the country I’ve never made it out to before. The fans are always incredible and they make the atmosphere at every show electric, so I look forward to singing along with them soon.”

The Earl and Countess of Leicester commented, “We are delighted to be hosting Lionel Richie for a spectacular outdoor concert in the grounds of Holkham in June. It is set to be a memorable evening of entertainment. Our team will be working closely with the event promoters to ensure the concert is one of the highlights of the summer’.

These will be Lionel’s first UK shows since receiving glittering reviews for the ‘All The Hits’ tour which included three nights at London’s O2. The dates followed a phenomenal Glastonbury performance which drew the biggest crowd of the weekend as over 200,000 people flocked to the Pyramid Stage. Lionel’s incredible success continued as his album ‘The Definitive Collection’ topped the charts and provided his first UK Number 1 in 23 years.

Lionel went on to receive British GQ’s Icon Award adding to a celebrated career which includes four GRAMMYs, a Golden Globe and even an Oscar as well as the prestigious Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Award. In 2016 Lionel launched his ongoing Las Vegas headline residency show, ‘Lionel Richie—All the Hits’, at The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, where he takes his fans on a spectacular musical journey, performing a variety of his seminal hits. Having sold over 100 million albums worldwide he recently joined the judging panel on ABC’s American Idol.

The open-air concert will take place in the south park of Holkham with the Palladian-style hall proving a spectacular backdrop. Concertgoers will be able to enjoy their picnics or take advantage of the bespoke Hospitality Package for an evening of pure entertainment. A full traffic management plan will be in place with multiple access routes to the grounds on the night. Full information for concertgoers will also be available in due course on the Holkham website.

Tickets are available to purchase from:

Please click here to see important information about the concert.

Tickets are priced from £75 + booking fee, with a limited premium seats available.

Official bespoke Hospitality Package experiences available with Softley Events, Email: or Telephone 01603 757658

Wheelchair users and patrons with access requirements should call Ticketmaster on 0800 988 4440 (opening hours Monday-Friday 9:00am-6:00pm, Saturday 10:30am-3:30pm) to purchase tickets.

For further information please contact:
0203 327 7111

Christmas at Holkham

Enter the festive spirit at Holkham this Christmas with candlelight tours of the magnificently decorated state rooms, seasonal opera, a series of craft workshops and a special visit from Father Christmas.

Friday 1st – Friday 22nd December 2017.

Holkham Hall will open its doors this Christmas for a variety of spectacular seasonal celebrations including Candlelight Tours of the hall, magnificent music, craft workshops, a two-day Food Fair, Christmas shopping and a special visit from Father and Mother Christmas and their cheeky elves.

The celebrations begin with a sparkling evening of song with a performance of ‘Tis The Season by Diva Opera, Britain’s foremost chamber opera company. Guaranteed to put everyone in the festive spirit with a feast of arias, songs and carols, audiences will also delight at the fabulous cast dressed in finest period costume.

New for this year Holkham will be hosting a selection of Christmas themed workshops. There is a workshop to suit every member of the family, including ‘A Natural Christmas’ workshop, which will inspire children to get creative making decorations with a special Christmas sparkle using foliage and greenery from Holkham Park. Nothing quite says Christmas like putting a hand-made wreath on your front door and budding florists can try their hand at creating their own wreaths and floral arrangements at the ‘Wreath Making’ and ‘Festive Flowers’ workshops. Whilst those with a sweet tooth will love creating edible gingerbread wreaths at the ‘Gingerbread Creation’ workshop.

Holkham’s spectacular Candlelight Tours offer a magical opportunity to see the state rooms adorned with opulent decorations and beautiful flickering candlelight. The guided tours are a chance to hear how the decorations are made and about Holkham’s history from the hall’s knowledgeable guides. Visitors this year will be treated to stunning visual displays in the Landscape Room and the South Drawing Room by two talented local designers. The Landscape Room, with its collection of Old Master paintings, will form the backdrop for a show-stopping peacock themed display by local artist Kate Bagnall-Oakeley of Mock Orange Flowers. A spectacular mannequin will be decorated using fir garlands, ferns, hydrangeas and tiny lights to form a flower and garland skirt, bodice, wig and head-dress for the display. The South Drawing Room will showcase the ultimate dining experience, with the dining table ornately set for an exotic banquet. The centrepiece of the table will be a Russian wedding cake created by brilliant cake maker, Claire Owen. The cake will be hand decorated in a magical palette of colours, inspired by Holkham Hall. Claire’s background in sculpture lends her creations a distinct sculptural style, meticulously executed with detailed piping, stylised forms and bold colours.

The Lady Elizabeth Wing will host a two-day Festive Food Fair with a delicious collection of Christmas food and drink from local and regional producers offering Christmas treats for food lovers, as well as an entertaining cookery theatre with demonstrations from local chefs to provide plenty of inspiration for visitor’s own Christmas feasts.

Throughout the festive period Holkham’s Courtyard Gift Shop – the perfect place to seek out Christmas gifts - will be open daily offering an array of exquisite tree and room decorations as used to decorate the hall, in addition to the shop’s usual selection of exclusive gifts from local producers and artisans. There will be a special Christmas shopping evening in November with a 10% discount on all purchases for all customers and a gift wrapping service along with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie to enjoy whilst they browse the Christmas selection.

Finally families will delight at the arrival at Holkham Hall of Father and Mother Christmas and their band of elves as they stop off during his busy schedule for a very special Audience With Father Christmas. Father Christmas will be in the Saloon regaling children with tales of wonder and magic, along with music and surprises from his elves. There will be a present for every child as well as a small biscuit and soft drink, or a glass of Prosecco for adults.

Diva Opera performances on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd December, tickets cost £40.
Candlelight Tours on select dates between Sunday 3rd and Wednesday 20th December, tickets cost £18 for adults and £12 for children, suitable for 10 years and over.
The Festive Food Fair is on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th December, free entry, £3 car parking charge in Holkham Park applies (redeemable in the gift shop or café on purchases of £12 or more).
Christmas Themed Workshops on selected dates between Sunday 3rd and Wednesday 20th December, tickets cost £5 for the children’s workshop and £40 for the adult workshops.
An Audience With Father Christmas on selected dates between Saturday 16th and Friday 22nd December, tickets cost £17 for adults and children (0-12 years) to include a small gift.

For further details and to book online:

Marston’s brewery goes back to its ‘grain’ roots with winter barley from the Holkham Estate

Marston’s Brewery have partnered with the Holkham Estate in north Norfolk to provide the grain for Marston’s beer. This agreement ensures that the grain will cover a large proportion of Burton’s malt and will be used as the backbone supply for Marston’s beers.

When Marston’s Brewery first announced that they were focussing on ‘From Burton with Love’, their plan was to stick to it. For them it was more than a marketing campaign, it was about stripping everything back to the DNA of what makes Marston’s Brewery, Marston’s Brewery. Focussing on its beers, the brand have been looking into the four main components of what makes their beers extra special and have taken steps to working with suppliers whose ideals and practices echo Marston’s Brewery’s continual strive for quality, above all else.

A perfect marriage between Marston’s Brewery and Holkham’s farms was confirmed when the Marston’s brewing team visited the Holkham Estate with its long tradition of growing both winter and spring barley for the brewing industry. Marston’s got the opportunity to go back to the roots of the source and to see first-hand the crop that helps to shape their beer range. The contract has been driven by local maltsters, Crisp Malting Group at Great Ryburgh, Norfolk, who helped secure the exclusive contract between Holkham and Marston’s and who will malt the barley from the Holkham Estate before it is used to brew Marston’s beer.

As the backbone of a great beer, and giving it much of its flavour and appearance, the grain is a pivotal ingredient that, when brewed, ferments into alcohol. For Marston’s Brewery it was key that they had the best supply and with that, they took to north Norfolk in East Anglia, for its perfect maritime, micro-climate to select their grain from the Holkham Estate, bringing it over 140 miles back to the spiritual home of brewing in Burton.

Patrick McGinty, Head Brewer at Marston’s Brewery said: “It was fantastic to meet such a great team and people who are so passionate about their product as much as we are. Our whole focus is built around ‘From Burton with Love’ and what better way to celebrate this than taking the grain from the heart of crop agriculture to the heart of Burton brewing.”

James Beamish, Holkham’s Farm Manager added: “The Holkham Estate is considered to be the birthplace of modern agriculture, with Thomas William Coke, the 1st Earl of Leicester, better known as Coke of Norfolk, renowned for championing innovation in agriculture in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Today farming at Holkham adopts many of Coke’s principles and we are encouraged that through the partnership to supply Marston’s with malting barley, we will be able to work with Holkham’s tenant farmers to secure their long-term sustainability for the estate in the barley industry. The soil and climate here are ideal for growing superlative malting barley and we are confident that our product fits well with Marston’s values for provenance and quality.”

The agreement ensures that the grain will cover a large proportion of Burton’s malt and will be used as the backbone supply for Marston’s beers. The agreement, set to extend past the 2019 harvest, and will use classics such as Pedigree and 61 Deep, to newer innovative beers coming out of the micro-brewery, DE14.

Sustainable practice, with a real strive for quality in all areas, is a big part of Marston’s brewing process, with heritage and innovation playing major parts. Looking towards helping to complete a lifecycle of the grain, Marston’s Brewery’s efficiency initiative includes utilising the by-product of the grain after the brewery process which is collected and sent to local farmers to be used as highly nutritious cattle feed.

2017 North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival – this weekend!

The 2017 North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, one of the region’s premier local produce events, will take place in the splendid Walled Garden of the Holkham Estate this weekend on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd September by kind permission of the Earl and Countess of Leicester.

Attracting around 10,000 visitors in 2016, this year’s festival will welcome 55 stall holders to the two-day celebration. The range of produce on sale will include local real ales, fresh meat, vegetables, honey, fruit, ice cream, cheese, juices, cakes, puddings, tarts and much more, all grown, reared, caught, produced or sold in North Norfolk. Entry to the festival is free but a car parking charge applies. Just outside the Walled Garden a food court area will provide everyone attending the event with outstanding local food and drink for consumption on-site. Nine concessions will take part including Arthur Howell offering his famous hog roast, Duck Truck with fragrant pancakes, Fruit Pig Co. with sausages in buns and the Malt Coast Brewery with fine artisan beer, to name but a few.

It is all about the producers - the festival showcases its stallholders and celebrates their success and is delighted to showcase Winbirri’s ‘Bacchus 2015’ wine which won the Platinum Best in Show medal at Decanter for best value white wine made from a single grape variety. Also, local coffee roaster Grey Seal based at Cley along the coast, has won eight Great Taste Awards in 2017. Enjoy their coffee in the concession area. New entrant ‘Malt Coast’ Brewery uses locally grown, award-winning, malting barley to create craft beer which is unfiltered and unpasteurised for a fuller taste. Visitors will have the chance to try IPA in bottles and Pale Ale in cans. Butcher to top London chefs, The Fruit Pig Co, has launched a rosemary and garlic salami and are just about to launch a 3rd beef jerky. Their other two flavoured jerkys both have two great taste award stars. Essence Foods, also known for their mustards under the ’Montys’ brand has launched ‘Beetella’- a healthy and delicious chocolate beetroot spread -no palm oil, nuts, lecithin and reduced sugar when compared to other products which might end in ’tella’! This innovative product contains cocoa butter, coconut oil and a high cocoa percentage dark chocolate.

The ever popular Cookery Theatre in its trade-mark octagonal tent will see demonstrations from an exceptional line-up of chefs which includes Richard Bainbridge of Benedicts, Norwich, Richard Hughes of the Assembly House, Chris Coubrough of the Flying Kiwi Inns in partnership with Arthur Howell of Howell’s Butchers and Fran Hartshorn of The White Horse at Brancaster to name but a few. The Cookery Theatre is organised and hosted by Mary Kemp. A full list of who will be participating can be found on the festival website. Demos start at 11am each day.

As well as being headline sponsor Kettle Foods will once again be offering a business mentoring prize of £1000 to one of the attending stall holders. Emily Norton of Nortons Dairy, last year’s winner says:

“The business mentoring prize from Kettle Foods has been great for Nortons Dairy in our 10th anniversary year. Seeing how an established champion of Norfolk food operates and innovates has been inspiring for us as we look to grow our own business. Kettle Foods have been truly generous in offering this support and I hope our businesses will remain friends for a long time to come.”

Ashley Hicks, Kettle Foods MD says “I highly recommend a visit to the festival; it’s a great opportunity to try some of the best food and drink that our region has to offer. Whilst you’re there, make sure you come to the ‘Create & Donate’ area on the Kettle stall and have a go at making your own limited edition potato chips in aid of our local charity partner, The Feed.”

The Feed is a social enterprise based in Norwich that supports homeless people and vulnerable adults to find their confidence again and get back into employment. It uses food as a catalyst to inspire and motivate people to achieve and live a more fulfilling life.

A new initiative this year is the Kinnerton Cake Competition running across both days. The public are invited to make a cake and bring it to the Chairman’s tent. The only requirement is that it contains chocolate in it or on it. Entries must be in by 12 noon on both days. Saturday’s entrants must be 14 years or over and Sunday is for under 14’s. Winners receive a fancy mixer!

The North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival is organised by a festival committee.

Festival gates open at 10am and close at 4pm. Holkham park, the Field to Fork Experience, the Courtyard Café and Gift Shop and children’s woodland adventure play area are open both days from 10am to 5pm. Holkham Hall is open on Sunday 3rd September from 12 noon until 4pm (last entry).

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