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    Holt has traditionally been the jumping off point for visitors to the North Norfolk Coast, so it is a bit of a honey pot and can get busy, however it is well worth a visit. It has some good shopping and a few, homely places to eat and have cup of coffee, combined with a visit to the marshes of Stiffkey nearby and the glorious sandy beaches at Wells-next-to-the-Sea and Holkham slightly further west, it is a good day out.



    Holt is a thriving North Norfolk town – a Georgian gem populated with independent shops and a great place for a spot of lunch. The town is known for the independent school Greshams, which has a large site that has added greatly to the economy in the town during the last couple of centuries. There are a few pleasant cafes and pubs and good places to eat. Byfords, has good coffee and the home bakery is a reliable source for picnic ingredients for the beach later. Take a stroll around Bakers and Larners to pick up more supplies and experience a department store from a bygone era. Stocked with everything from great local cheeses to a well-stocked selection of wines it houses more than good food. Remember those boxes of glacé fruit that only came out at Christmas, Matchmakers, or gentlemen’s relish… well they’re waiting for you at Baker’s and Larners. There are many galleries, book shops and independent stores in Holt – some of our favourites are  Old Town clothing promoting utilitarian chic fashions made to order and made on the premises; Simon Finch Rare Books is the bookshop manifestation of Voewood – well worth a visit during its literary Festival which happens every August; The Cold Press is a fascinating gallery space showing cool, contemporary art and high-end crafts by northern European and Asian artists (no painted wooden seagulls here); and just a short trip out of Holt towards Cley do call in at The Old Stables at Bayfield Hall – a fabulous interiors emporium in a converted stable selling an eclectic assortment of specialist lighting, textiles and furnishings. There is also the Holt Festival each July with a well-deserved reputation for presenting great arts and cultural events.


    The Stiffkey Stores are a good place to pause and pick up some picnic supplies as you wander through this charming village. A great place for lunch is the Red Lion –  one of the best places for seafood along this part of the coast and at reasonable prices.


    There is more to see and do here than most places along the coast and the family friendly beach is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon, but it means that Wells can get busy. There is a very large beach side car park as well as a small gauge railway from the town out to the beach. Take a look a this guide for more information. Our recommendation for eating out would be The GlobeFrench’s fish and chips (just follow the queues) and Wells Deli to stock-up for that beach picnic.


    Holkham is home to the Earl and Lady Leicester and is one of the great houses of England. Do check before hand whether it is open, it is still a private house so sometimes has events that are closed to the public. Check their website to see the variety of activities on offer, but be sure to visit the beach, accessed by a road off the main coast road out of Wells. The beach here is vast and sandy – take a picnic and nestle down in the dunes or stay back nearer the wooded fringes you soon loose the other visitors. Book lunch or an early supper at the Victoria to end a perfect day here.

    All text and imagery Tinsmiths House © 2017 Photography throughout by Paul Barratt & Paul Vater. We are grateful to ©Annabel Bluesky and ©Dave Kelly for additional pictures. Website created by