COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) UPDATES

Our latest updates on a careful, gradual and phased re-opening and COVID-19


Phased and cautious reopening of Holkham Park

Tuesday 16th June 2020

We are now ready to update you on the reopening of Holkham Park to visitors travelling by car. After careful planning and consideration, Holkham Park and its car park will reopen, with managed vehicle capacities, from Sunday 21st June on a daily basis from 10am to 5pm. The green spaces of the park will be available for you to enjoy, as will the toilet facilities for your convenience. Our Cycle Hire offering will also be operating on the 21st, 27th and 28th June. However, to begin with the Hall, Walled Garden, Holkham Stories Experience, The Courtyard Café and Gift Shop, Ropes Course, Boat Hire and Woodland Play Area will remain closed. Food and drink concessions within the park will be available on some days. As part of our safety policy, we ask all customers to adhere to strict social distancing, use the sanitiser provided and pay by card across the estate at all times.

We do hope you will choose to visit Holkham Park, and that when doing so you will respect our staff and their right to be given safe social distancing in carrying out their jobs. Please follow their directions as they manage a new way of working. We also ask you to respect other visitors by maintaining appropriate social distancing and being aware of tighter spaces during your visit. And please remember to appreciate and respect the surrounding wildlife, take your litter home with you and keep your dogs on leads at all times within the park.

This summer will continue to provide new experiences for us all, but by working together we can help to make it a positive one.

We will continue to provide updates here as we work towards reopening our attractions within Holkham Park, and also The Victoria Inn at Holkham and Pinewoods at Wells-next-the-Sea.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.


PHASED AND CAUTIOUS REOPENING OF OUR CAFES

FRIDAY 5TH JUNE 2020

In addition to our update last Friday 29th May, and the careful reopening of the Beach Road car park in Wells-next-the-Sea at reduced maximum capacity, we announce that the Beach Cafe in Wells will open tomorrow, Saturday 6th June. The Beach Cafe will open from 10am-5pm daily and operate in a takeaway capacity. As part of our safety policy, we ask all customers to adhere to strict social distancing, use the sanitiser provided and pay by card in the cafe - contactless if possible. The toilets at both Beach Road in Wells and The Lookout at Holkham will be open, but the cafe at The Lookout and The Courtyard Cafe and car park in Holkham Park remain closed.

As per our last statement, we again stress the importance of protecting each other during this reopening process. Please use your good sense and be respectful of our local community when deciding whether to travel to our beaches for your outdoor exercise. During the easing of lockdown, we need to strike a careful balance between offering you the opportunity to enjoy our beaches whilst discouraging unnecessary crowds that could present a health risk and put pressure on local emergency services. Therefore, please seriously think before you travel as to whether you can do so in a way that keeps you, your family and others safe.

If you do choose to visit, we ask you to respect our staff and their right to be given safe social distancing in carrying out their job. Please follow their directions as they manage these new parking and catering arrangements. We also ask you to respect other visitors by maintaining appropriate social distancing and being aware of tighter spaces when buying your parking ticket, food and drink and at all times during your visit. And please respect the wildlife that are currently nesting on the nature reserve by keeping your dogs under control and staying clear of the cordoned areas on the beach.

The next few weeks will be a new experience for us all, but by working together we can help to make it a positive one. Thank you.


PHASED AND CAUTIOUS REOPENING OF CAR PARKING

FRIDAY 29TH MAY 2020

In addition to our update last Friday 22nd May, and after closely monitoring the visitor levels over the past seven days, the car park at Beach Road in Wells-next-the-Sea will reopen on Saturday 30th May. Entry to the car park will be managed from the top of Beach Road and the car park will operate as normal on a pay and display basis, but at a significantly reduced maximum capacity. The toilets at both Beach Road in Wells and The Lookout at Holkham will be open, but the cafes will remain closed.

As per our last statement, we again stress the importance of protecting each other during this reopening process. Please use your good sense and be respectful of our local community when deciding whether to travel to our beaches for your outdoor exercise. During the easing of lockdown, we need to strike a careful balance between offering you the opportunity to enjoy our beaches whilst discouraging unnecessary crowds that could present a health risk and put pressure on local emergency services. Therefore, please seriously think before you travel as to whether you can do so in a way that keeps you, your family and others safe.

If you do choose to visit, we ask you to respect our staff and their right to be given safe social distancing in carrying out their job. Please follow their directions as they manage these new parking arrangements. We also ask you to respect other visitors by maintaining appropriate social distancing and being aware of tighter spaces when buying your parking ticket and when walking between your car and the beach. And please respect the wildlife that are currently nesting on the nature reserve by keeping your dogs under control and staying clear of the cordoned areas on the beach.

The next few weeks will be a new experience for us all, but by working together we can help to make it a positive one. Thank you.

We will continue to provide regular updates here on our website as the situation progresses.


FRIDAY 22nd MAY 2020

During the last week, our local area has seen a significant increase in visitors who many, when faced with closed car parks, have chosen to park their cars on residential streets within Wells-next-the-Sea or along the coast road in a manner that is unsafe. In response to this and after careful consideration, planning and consultation with local authorities, we will now begin to reopen our car parks in Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea. Our approach will be phased, cautious and reversible.

The small car park on Freeman Street, at the western end of the town of Wells-next-the-Sea will open today, Friday 22nd May, and operate as normal on a pay and display basis.

The larger car park at Lady Anne’s Drive in Holkham will open at 8am on Saturday 23rd May, but at a greatly reduced maximum capacity to help ensure social distancing can be achieved for visitors travelling from their cars to Holkham Beach and back again. This too will also operate on a pay and display basis. Over the bank holiday weekend, this car park will operate reduced hours and will close to new arrivals at 4pm, with gates locked at 5pm. We hope that as the days unfold, we will be able to extend these opening times. Please note that horses, horseboxes and trailers will not be allowed at Lady Anne’s Drive during these first stages of reopening.

North Norfolk District Council have today opened their toilets at the southern end of Beach Road and, on Saturday 23rd May, we will open our toilets at The Lookout at the entrance to Holkham Beach and at the northern end of Beach Road in Wells-next-the-Sea. Our cafes both at The Lookout and Beach Café will remain closed.

The large car park at Beach Road in Wells-next-the-Sea and access by car along Beach Road to this car park will remain closed over the bank holiday weekend as a precaution and as part of the phased and cautious reopening. The decision to reopen this car park will not be made until we have seen the level of visitor activity over the Bank Holiday weekend and consulted further with others. If and when the Beach Road car park is reopened, it too will operate on a significantly reduced capacity and on a pay and display basis.

It is so important that we help to protect each other as we begin this reopening process. Please use your good sense and be respectful of our local community when deciding whether to travel to our beaches for your outdoor exercise. During the easing of lockdown, we need to strike a careful balance between offering you the opportunity to enjoy our beaches whilst discouraging unnecessary crowds that could present a health risk and put pressure on local emergency services. Therefore, please seriously think before you travel as to whether you can do so in a way that keeps you, your family and others safe.

If you do choose to visit, we ask you to respect our staff and their right to be given safe social distancing in carrying out their job. Please follow their directions as they manage these new parking arrangements. We also ask you to respect other visitors by maintaining appropriate social distancing and being aware of tighter spaces when buying your parking ticket and when walking between your car and the beach. And please respect the wildlife that are currently nesting on the nature reserve by keeping your dogs under control and staying clear of the cordoned areas on the beach.

The next few weeks will be a new experience for us all, but by working together we can help to make it a positive one. Thank you.

We will continue to provide regular updates here on our website as the situation progresses.


LET’S PROTECT EACH OTHER

Friday 22nd May 2020

In addition to our regular updates on a cautious and phased reopening, we can confirm we are complying with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19, and therefore share the following with you:

Click here to view the most up-to-date summary of our COVID-19 Risk Assessments

Click here to view the Covid Secure Declaration for Holkham Enterprises


ANNOUNCEMENT REFERENCE CLOSURE OF BEACH ROAD IN WELLS-NEXT-THE-SEA

Saturday 16th May 2020

Wells has been identified by North Norfolk District Council and by Norfolk Police as an area of particular safety concern during the unlock phase.

Coastal car parks owned by North Norfolk District Council and by the National Trust remain closed.

The Holkham Estate will not reopen car parks at Wells beach and at Lady Anne’s Drive in Holkham Village until this can be done so at reduced capacity on a pre-booked basis. This approach is key to a phased and cautious plan which puts the safety of visitors, staff and the local community as our main priority.

The one-mile approach road to Wells beach is a private road and the Holkham Estate has a responsibility for the safety of people using this land.

The prospect of 100+ cars parking along this road raises significant concerns for safe access to and from the beach. It also raises separate concerns for the coastal emergency services in the area.

Holkham joins with North Norfolk District Council and others in requesting that people do not drive to Wells and to Holkham in order to enjoy access to the beaches.

Pedestrian and cyclist access to the beach from the town continues unaffected.

More information, regular updates and further news about Holkham‘s planned, phased and cautious approach will continue to be added to our website as we move towards reopening the car parks.


4pm, Thursday 14th May 2020

Since lockdown started, we have had a team dedicated to planning how we will re-open in line with the evolving government guidance. In doing so, we have been working closely with Norfolk Police, the local authorities and others to ensure our planning benefits from their expertise.

Following Sunday’s announcement and the further details that have been released, we are now shaping our plan for a gradual, carefully-considered, phased opening. We hope that in sharing this thinking with you, you will understand and support our approach and its emphasis on protecting each other from the risks of reopening too soon or too quickly.

Main beach car parks at Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea
Remaining closed until the end of May as we make preparations

We understand how eager many of you are to visit the beaches again. We ask for your patience to wait a little while longer to allow us the time to make all necessary preparations for a sensible, gradual and phased approach to re-opening. There are many aspects to organise to allow us to operate safely at intentionally-reduced levels of activity. The team are working to organise risk assessments, protective equipment (PPE), staffing plans and briefings, advance ticket purchasing, safe routes, all the signs needed to explain how the new arrangements work for visitors, and the communications needed to deter too many from arriving. It’s clear that all this is essential if safety is our priority.

We know some people will be impatient to get back to normal but we hope even they will understand it’s vital to avoid the alarming and unsustainable scenes at destination hotspots across the UK which we witnessed over the weekend before lockdown.

Whilst the car parks remain closed, we urge you to not to drive to Holkham or Wells-next-the-Sea, and to respect the importance of keeping our staff and the local community safe. You may also be interested to know that there are unusually high numbers of breeding birds nesting this year in places which would usually have high footfall – and our team are creating signs to help us all be aware of areas to steer clear of when we are back on the beaches and pathways.

During these final weeks of closure of the car parks, we must stress the importance of not parking cars on Holkham private land, which includes the mile of Beach Road heading out to the beach carpark in Wells, as well as all areas within Holkham Village and the entrance to Lady Anne’s Drive and around The Victoria Inn. The emergency services have asked us to do all we can to enforce no parking in the areas reserved for the Lifeboat and Coastguard teams so they are not obstructed in their response to coastal incidents. Thank you for your cooperation.

Holkham Park

We hope to reopen to visitors arriving by car in mid-late June.

Our Cafes at Beach Road in Wells, at The Lookout and at Holkham Hall Stables Courtyard

We do not expect to reopen these before mid-late June, even as take-away operations.

Holkham Hall, Walled Garden, Holkham Stories Experience, Cycle and Boat Hire, Ropes Course, The Victoria Inn and Pinewoods Holiday Park

We do not expect to be able to reopen these before 4th July, and in terms of The Victoria Inn it could be longer. We will provide updates as we learn more.

In conclusion

As with every organisation over the last eight weeks, so many of our own plans have had to be re-thought or scrapped as events have overtaken us all. We know this may be the case with some or all of the plans we have outlined here too, but we think it’s helpful to share this current thinking.

We want to thank you in advance for your patience and support for this gradual, cautious, phased re-opening. We also want to thank the hundreds of people who have got in touch with us or contributed to our social media pages. In particular, the appreciation for the new HOLKHOME campaign has been a boost to the Holkham team who have brought these on-line features to life during lock-down.

We will now continue to move forward with all the planning and preparations for reopening in the right way as swiftly as we responsibly can - and we look forward to seeing you soon.


An update on our plans

10am, Tuesday 12th May 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s statement on Sunday 10th May and the follow-up information from Westminster, we welcome the early signs that England is starting to move cautiously towards the first steps out of lock-down.

As a result we are revising and working through the detail on our plans to gradually and cautiously re-open our main car parks later this month to make it easier for individuals and household members to access Wells Beach and Holkham Beach. The safety of our staff, our visitors and the local community continues to be our clear priority as we shape these plans.

Many people have commented in recent days that coming out of lock-down will be more complicated than going into lock-down and this will be true for Holkham too. The re-opening of our car-parks and the access routes to the beaches will need to be gradual and phased. One of many things that will need to change is that our car parks at Beach Road in Wells and at Lady Anne’s Drive in Holkham will both need to operate at reduced capacity during the phased opening and steps will also be needed to discourage more visitors than can safely fit within the limits we set for safety reasons.

When we re-open, it will be a different experience for our staff and for our visitors and we know how important it will be that everyone has confidence in the new arrangements. When we do re-open, we will need the on-going support of everyone involved to enable us to operate the new arrangements and keep the car-parks and access routes open safely. Until these plans are put into effect we will continue to operate a no parking policy in Holkham’s car parks in Wells and Holkham Village and on Holkham-owned land.

We will be updating the Holkham website with details of when the phased re-opening will start and how it will work. Thank you for your patience and your support.


A message about our car parks

5pm, Friday 17th April 2020

The experience of the weekend of 21-22 March was that Holkham and Wells beaches, plus Holkham village and Wells Town, were the destination of choice for nearly two thousand people. This number of visitors was problematic and would very soon become an unacceptable health risk for COVID-19 infection.

We looked carefully into the feasibility of various measures (i) to limit vehicle numbers, (ii) to encourage social distancing, (iii) to change or eliminate ticketing, and (iv) to allow only local residents or Annual Pass-Holders to park. Unfortunately, it became clear that none of these measures would work without a substantially increased level of staff intervention and an increased likelihood of customer dissatisfaction and, sadly, even confrontation. We were not willing to put our staff at risk in this way.

Feedback from our local community and local MP expressed great concern about visitors coming to the immediate area and we felt a duty to help protect those that live and work here.

We took the decision on Monday 23 March to close the car parks. In the hours and days after that, we all learned of the closure of car parks at major visitor beauty-spots and attractions across the UK, of tightened guidelines from UK government and onset of lock-down.

The recent advice to police from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, allowing members of the public limited car-use in getting to and from permitted daily exercise, has prompted several enquiries about the possibility of re-opening car parks at Holkham and Wells beaches on a limited basis. Our view is that this is currently not the right thing to do because of the likelihood that the issues faced on 21-22 March will re-occur.

We will continue to have dialogue with Norfolk Police on issues of public safety as well as with other site owners. We will be keen to re-open the car parks and restore easy access to Holkham and Wells beach as soon as this can be done safely for our staff and our visitors


A message for our Annual Car Pass holders

5pm, Friday 27th March 2020

We are aware that the closing of the car parks may be particularly disappointing for our annual car pass holders and in consideration of this, to ease the disappointment, we will be offering all holders an extension to cover the duration of forced closure free of charge. Further details will follow once we have a better understanding of the period of closure.


A message from our Managing Director

3pm, Monday 23rd March 2020

We’ve made the decision to close our car parks and Pinewoods Holiday Park, in addition to the hall, attractions, cafes, shop, walled garden, ropes course, cycle hire, the Woodland Play Area and The Victoria Inn. Our events programme has also been postponed for the next three months. The decision to close has not been taken lightly, but in this complex and fast changing climate we feel it is one that is essential to help protect the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers and visitors.

However, we are acutely aware that people living locally will need fresh air and exercise during this crisis, so our park and beaches will remain open for local people to enjoy in a safe and sensible manner, on foot, for as long is suitable. Toilets, though, will remain closed.

I am proud that before the announcement of government wage support, Holkham announced it would protect the employment of its year-round staff. Holkham is also conscious of its key role within the local community and, as such, our ‘Go Help’ team of local members of staff are working out how the Estate can provide meaningful help for those in need in our local area.

In the coming weeks, we will use our digital platforms - more than ever – to share the rich nature, landscapes, heritage and people stories of Holkham, so that, even when our physical movements are restricted, you can still enjoy Holkham virtually.

On behalf of Lord and Lady Leicester, and the whole team at Holkham, I wish to thank you for your continued support and wish you the best of health until we can welcome you back to Holkham once more.

Kindest regards,

Peter Mitchell

Managing Director