Welcome to Holkham and to what is still very much a lived in, family home. My ancestor, Thomas Coke, the first Earl of Leicester, conceived the Palladian Hall as his vision of an Italian villa on the windswept north Norfolk coast. Our family has lived in this house continuously since the 1750s, though at Holkham since 1612. We take great pride and joy in sharing the house and its treasures, the deer park and Holkham beach, with our visitors.
Holkham is still privately owned and is the centre of a thriving 25,000 acre agricultural estate which provides resources both to maintain the house, and to ensure that the social fabric of rural life remains intact. However, we have not stood still – we have worked hard to move with the times. In recent years, our enterprises have expanded to include a holiday park, several shops, property development and an internationally acclaimed inn. Like our forebears, we remain closely involved with agriculture, running our own farming operations.
Since 2006 we have held open air concerts by well-known artists like Sir Elton John, Jools Holland and Status Quo. We employ more than 200 people and are constantly striving to ensure the estate continues to prosper and bring joy to future generations of family, employees, and visitors alike.
I am passionate about renewable energy. To date, the estate has installed three bio-mass boilers which use woodchip from our woods as well as a ground source heat pump for our new offices and a large photovoltaic solar field producing electricity. Additionally an anaerobic digestion plant producing gas for the National Grid is fed with maize and rye grown on the estate.
In 2008 my late father, the seventh Earl, retired to another property on the estate. The same year my wife Polly and I, with our four young children, moved into the hall. We do not treat the house as a museum. We encourage our visitors to walk on the carpets and to get close to the ancient statues and treasures, as we do.
We are very fortunate to live in such an unspoilt part of the country and we invite you to share Holkham with us – whether by enjoying a break at Pinewoods Holiday Park, a delicious meal at The Victoria, or simply strolling on the golden sands of Holkham beach.
In 2012 we resumed control of the Holkham National Nature Reserve and now run it in house. It is arguably one of the most important reserves in Britain. We hope you find time to explore it.
In spring 2016, we opened our new visitor facilities with a refurbished and enlarged Courtyard Café, a new shop and a new exhibition; Field to Fork, charting my family’s close association with agriculture. It explains how many of the crops we grow become food on your plate. The old Victorian bowling alley that became the Holkham Pottery factory and twentieth century shop has been converted into a very impressive wedding and events space, The Lady Elizabeth Wing, which can accommodate functions and events for 60 to 400 people.
We hope that you enjoy finding out about Holkham on this website and that you will visit us soon.
Earl of Leicester
The photograph on this page shows
My wife Polly, the Countess of Leicester, and me with our children (from left to right): Lady Hermione Coke, Lady Juno Coke, Lady Elizabeth Coke and Viscount Edward Coke.