Lily’s work experience at Holkham

April 15, 2024 | Learning | 7 minute read

Lily joined us for her work experience during April 2024, spending four days learning about Holkham and what goes on behind the scenes. Read more about what she got up to during her time at Holkham in her post below, or find out more about work experience here.


I arrived at Holkham feeling a little bit nervous, but very eager and excited to meet the team and find out what each person does. I was warmly welcomed by Alex Triplow, Holkham’s Head of HR, who explained the plan for the day before dropping me off to Sophie Denny, Holkham’s Events Operations Manager. Sophie and I then drove to Wells-next-the-Sea and The Lookout to catch-up with the team that work there. Sophie explained how important it is to ensure that the whole Holkham team, especially those based in different sites, are connected and involved in shaping the future of the estate.

From there, we drove back to the hall where I was welcomed by Laura Ballantyne-Taylor and the wonderful stewards who showed me around. I was able to talk with them about the rooms in great depth and learned about the hidden gems of each one. The tour guides’ passion stood out and I really felt at home talking to them about the history and art of the hall, as these are things I take a great interest in. Being able to immerse myself into their environment is an experience I will truly never forget, and I hugely enjoyed the time with them.

As the day went on, I was introduced to the maintenance team and met Lisa who told me about all of the tasks they undertake and showed me around the attics and some of the guest bedrooms. This really interested me and reminded me that Holkham is home to the Coke family, and that so much more goes into ensuring that the hall runs as smoothly as possible.

I then met Jack who showed me around the basement and behind the scenes of the hall as we locked up the building together. This was one of the highlights of my day as I was able to get a closer look at the treasures that Holkham holds. Seeing some of the rooms that aren’t visible to the public were so fascinating and something I didn’t imagine I’d be able to do.


On Tuesday, I met Emma and Niobe from the marketing team who gave me a warm welcome. Marketing is something I’ve been interested in for a while now, and it was inspiring to see how much meticulous planning goes into each post, sign, email etc. Niobe was wonderful in teaching me about social media and how to plan and create an Instagram post and reel. I had never made a reel before, so it was fun to video parts of the gift shop and entrance, and put them together to make a reel which was posted to the Holkham Instagram page.

Niobe and I then headed out in the pool car to sort out the A-boards around the estate. This was also a good opportunity to take lots of photos of Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea and Wells Beach, which is somewhere I had never been before – we even got to meet a few furry friends whilst we were out! We finished our journey at Holkham’s Walled Garden and enjoyed a stroll which was a real pleasure on such a peaceful and sunny day.


On Wednesday, I completed my time with the marketing team by creating some online listings for Holkham events. I then headed out to ride around the estate on an electric bike and visited St Withburga’s Church. This is a beautiful part of the estate and it was lovely to overlook the parkland. Inside the church, it was so quiet and it was wonderful to walk around and spend time here taking everything in.

I cycled back to the office and passed the resident geese and deer on the way. After lunch, I met with Alex and told her all about my experiences and showed her some of the photos I had taken. Alex explained the many things that the HR department does at Holkham and after our meeting we took the pool car down to The Vic where I met with the manager, Ben Hunter-Watts. He told me about how The Vic is run and all the different aspects of the job that must be considered. Lauren then took me around some of the gorgeous guest rooms and it was interesting to see how a hotel and restaurant operates within the estate.

Once we arrived back at the estate office, I helped Jane Heasman to write up the briefing for the next day at Holkham. It was so interesting to see what each department works on and highlighted the sense of community at Holkham.


Thursday was my last day at Holkham (though I could have easily spent another week!). I met Lucy Gillett, Holkham’s Learning and Engagement Officer, and after a warm welcome we headed to the hall briefing for the Springtime Superheroes event, which was taking place the following week.

We began setting up for this, putting out chocolate bars for the hunt and collecting sticks and twigs for the children’s activities before meeting up with Sophie at the ‘Ed Shed’ where we cleaned everything up and set out the tables and chairs.

After lunch, we set out the signs around Holkham Stories for the hunt. Sophie and I grabbed some A-frames and some markers and I was trusted to make signs for the Springtime Superheroes event. This was such a huge honour, as I was given free rein to design these boards and I wanted and I tried my hardest to make them as neat and fun as I could.

Saying goodbye to everybody at Holkham was sad, but I hope to have the opportunity to return at a later date. It was such a privilege to have been able to come and work with such an amazing community of people and being able to see and experience all the little details and elements of hard work that go into keeping Holkham such a unique and special place.

If you are a local school or college student interested in doing work experience with us at Holkham, you can find out more information here. 

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