Posted: May 28th 2021
After what seems like weeks of rain, the sun is finally set to make an appearance just in time for a jam-pack month of events. It has been a pleasure to see the park and attractions gradually fill back up with happy visitors, enjoying tractor trailer tours, covid-secure guided tours of the hall and a wander around the gardens that are slowly starting to bloom. Let’s hope June brings the same joy and merriment as we ramp up the events and welcome you back once more.
Well, spanning the final days of May and first few of June, there will be plenty of fun to be had in the walled garden with half term activities for children. For only £6.50 a ticket, your child can clamber up and down a giant bouldering wall, race against the clock on an enormous obstacle course, solve tricky trails around the 6-acres of the walled garden, get crafty at the ‘Ed Shed’ and even settle down in the animal cuddle corner and pick up all sorts of tips on how to care for the cuddly creatures.
Go wild in the Walled Garden, click here to pre-book your tickets.
After an adventurous morning, tummies are bound to be rumbling which is why we are excited about the return of street food stalls outside the pavilion! Bring your picnic blanket or chairs and pitch up in front of the hall or down by the lake after grabbing your fill. There’ll be a different selection of stalls each day from Saturday 29th May to Saturday 5th June.
Click here to see who’ll be here and when.
Throughout the week of half term, and weekends in June thereafter, you’ll also have the opportunity to hop on board our trusty tractor trailer for a trundle around the park. Perfect for adults and children alike, our Deer and Wildlife Safari will take you on a wild ride looking out for our resident herd of Fallow Deer. Your guide will tell you all about their many quirks, habits, behaviours and more. You may even be lucky enough to spot a few fawns.
For just £5 per person, it’s a steal. Tickets can be pre-booked by clicking here.
If you’d prefer to tour on foot, June will see the start of our Deer and Wildlife Walks. Much like the safari, you’ll learn all about the lives of our fascinating deer herd as well as looking out for the raptors the soar the sky and wildlife that wallow in and around the lake. What’s more, you’ll get the opportunity to have a sneak peek into one of Holkham’s smallest, but most intriguing buildings – The Ice House.
For a walk on the wild side, secure your tickets here.
This month, there are three more chances embark on an epic Temples, Trees, Turnips and a Tipple Tractor Trailer Tour. A guided tour exploring Holkham’s parkland heritage, from the historic buildings and iconic architecture, to the modern and historical lay of the land. You’ll even get to sample some the wine from the Walled Garden’s vineyard and stop off at the ice house and the Temple for a rare glimpse inside. This tractor trailer tour recently received a rave review on TripAdvisor stating
“this tour was unquestionably one of the best tours we have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. So informative and enlightening – David, the Holkham Storyteller, was an unbelievable guide and spoke enthusiastically and engagingly for two hours. Honestly can’t recommend this tour enough and worth every penny. A beautiful introduction to the fascinating Holkham estate.”
For a trailer tour with a difference, we’ve invited a couple of experts to accompany us on three unique Explore With The Expert tours. The first tour will be led by our Sustainability Manager, Sue Penlington and will focus on our estate-wide sustainability plan – WONDER. Sue will explore with you our three key themes of pioneering environmental gain, championing low carbon living and stamping out waste. You’ll see first hand examples of how we are enhancing our landscapes, connecting habitats through farming, forestry and other responsible land management techniques, as learning how we produce sustainable food, use nature based solutions to reduce our reliance on artificial chemicals and how we heat the hall using wood from the estate. There is so much to learn and uncover on this tour and a great opportunity to ask the expert! Many of the large scale projects can be scaled down and used in your own homes and gardens!
If this is the tour for you, click here for tickets.
The second tour will focus on conservation on the Holkham Estate and will be led by General Manager of Conservation, Jake Fiennes. Seeing conservation in action and the successes of good practices is a real treat. Jake will talk you through the theories and principles behind the land management techniques he’s implemented in order to nurture the landscape and wildlife that call Holkham home.
Conserve your time by pre-booking tickets. Just click here.
The third and final tour will be conducted by our Head Gamekeeper, Mark Fitzer, and we’re sure you will have guessed what it will cover! Gamekeeping, in one form or another, has been part of Holkham life for many, many years. Mark’s tour will take you off the beaten track to show you key nesting, breeding and feeding sites for gamebirds, as well as exploring the many clumps of woodland to explain why they’ve been planted in that way. The gamekeepers also look after our herd of Fallow Deer, so you’ll learn about species management, as well as other species of deer which often frequent the park.
Get your head in the game and get your tickets here.
Another event which celebrates the natural world around us, is a special foraging course let by expert Kerry Bowness of The Foraging Course Company. Kerry will walk with you through the many habitats on the Holkham National Nature Reserve to teach you how to identify some commonly growing foods worth foraging for! She will impart a whole host of hints and tips of where best to look and more importantly, how to avoid the poisonous lookalikes!
Places can be booked on The Foraging Course Company’s website. Click here to go foraging.
Whilst we are on the Holkham National Nature Reserve, we have a fantastic opportunity to join Will Clennell, our expert guide, for a three hour jaunt through a plethora of habitats looking in depth at orchids and wildflowers present on the reserve. From sand dunes, to pinewoods to salt marsh, many species of flora are rarely seen in other areas of the UK and the riot of colour from the flowers is well worth your time.
Spaces are limited, so click here to pre-book.
We are certain you will have heard about our brand-new, highly anticipated event for June, and if you haven’t…where have you been hiding?! The Picnic, set amid the iconic Temple at Holkham brings you the ultimate VIP treatment, with your own fairy lit pergola or picnic area, coupled with a summer festival vibe, incredible local grazing food, drinks aplenty and live (YES, live is back) entertainment on the outdoor stage from the likes of Tom Seals, comedy acts, disco yoga, new music and emerging talent, gospel, musical theatre, Wilderland Wildlife Film Festival and heaps more!
Gather your family and friends and get booking at thepicnic.com
Heading swiftly over to the hall, we are heading down to the cellars, up to the attics, through the stunning state rooms, behind the scenes and into the private parterres! Phew – one tour at a time though, please!
First up, discover a working world beneath your feet in the Holkham courtyards and cellars. Our Historian and Librarian, Dr Mac Graham, invites you to take a journey back through time, peeling away the years as you discover how the bygone servants used the courtyards and cellars to discreetly move from place to place and complete their daily chores and tasks. As you find your way through the warden of cellar corridors, from the old bakery and laundry room, to historic boilers and early refrigeration stores, you’ll learn that there is so much to explore and uncover about the historic and modern workings of this 18th century masterpiece.
Book your cellar tickets by clicking here.
From the cellars to the attics, Mac’s behind the scenes tours uncovering the hidden passages and servants’ stairs, has always been a sell-out and we are sure this year will be no different. Not one for the faint hearted, you’ll climb right up to the highest tower rooms and attics discovering hidden doors and passageways used by servants in the past on your way. In the attics, you’ll see hidden treasures, antique furniture, book collections, fabrics and more. The views from the top are well worth the climb, but perhaps best of all, Mac will show you what lies behind the beautiful ceiling of the iconic Marble Hall as you walk above it! The craftmanship is something to behold and Mac will tell you all about how it was made.
Don’t miss out, book your tickets by clicking here.
Back inside the incredible staterooms, our Collections Coordinator, Katherine Hardwick, invites you to a Country House Party. Holkham Hall has been host to a number of great balls, parties and soirees over the centuries and even has a wing dedicated to hosting guests, or ‘strangers’ as they were known in 18th century parlance. Right from the very moment of the Hall’s conception, entertaining guests has been key. Thomas ‘Coke’ of Norfolk became known for holding large scale events, where up to 500 guests would be in attendance. On this tour, Katherine shares with you and shows you where the guests would have been accommodated, what and where they ate and how they were entertained.
Best not be late to the party – book your tickets here.
Have you ever wondered how a house such a Holkham runs? The days of servants are obviously long gone, but a strong team of men and women (and a dog or two) keep the cogs turning in this home. This very team has devised a tour to share with you the many secrets and stories that come with their intriguing roles, from the housekeepers, housemen, the butler, the librarian and hall manager to the archivist, collections coordinator and many others. You’ll learn how they care for the collections, manage the hall on visitor open days, and keep a family home running smoothly and privately.
Secure your visit with a ticket, just click here.
And last but certainly not least, we are back with Dr Mac but this time, we glean from him some fascinating tales from the terraces on a History and Architecture Walk. There is much to learn from Holkham Hall’s exterior on this new, exclusive walking tour. Why was it built in Palladian style? Is it truly symmetrical? Why are there four wings? How many floors are there really? And what tricks with bricks and windows were used? With special access to the Coke family’s private gardens, Mac reveals all as you circumnavigate the hall’s exterior examining grand elevations and looking into nooks and crannies not normally seen by the public.
Click here to take a walk with Dr Mac.
Phew, it’s going to be a busy month but the team are raring to go! Of course, many of our attractions are open daily such as the Holkham Stories Experience, Walled Garden, Courtyard Café and Gift Shop. The hall is open for guided tours on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays and adventures await on high days and holidays with Holkham cycle hire and ropes course.
We hope to see you in June!