A lovely rural Georgian Norfolk town with plenty of unusual shops and surrounded by well-wooded parks.
An Introduction to Holt
Holt is a lovely rural Georgian North Norfolk town with plenty of unusual shops and surrounded by well-wooded parks. Having been burnt down in 1708, Holt presents a comparatively modern appearance, with a spacious market place, dominated by a fine cross of Clipsham stone to commemorate the war dead. A jumble of streets and alleyways fanout from the main High Street, offering plenty of facilities including pubs, cafes, galleries, and shops to enjoy. There is a lovely country park just to the south of Holt and the North Norfolk Railway (the poppy line) runs from Holt station to Sheringham. Holt is particularly attractive at Christmas, when all the shops adourn themselves in pretty white fairy lights, making for a really festive wonderland.
We start our tour of Holt at Byfords, a famous cafe, deli and posh B&B. If you enjoy people watching, its a great place to have a coffee and just sit and watch people wander by! The building is thought to be one of the oldest buildings in the town and pre-dates the great fire in Holt of 1708. The premises traded as a hardware store and ironmonger’s for over 100 years under the ownership of the Byford family, from which the building took its name. The building was restored during the later part of the 20th century, when much of its character and features were re-instated.
Byfords Cafe, Holt
Byfords Restaurant, Holt
Byfords delicatessen, Holt
We are now in the main shopping centre of Holt and there are shops everywhere, selling all kinds of items. All the shops are small independent traders, many hidden away in yards, alleys and lanes. See for yourself by browsing the different shops below - or even better, come to Holt and discover this shoppers paradise.
Shops in Fish Hill, Holt
The Christmas Shop, Holt
Regatta Fine Art, Holt
Antiques shop, Holt
Osokozi gallery, Holt
Pine furniture shop, Holt
A & J Young Pottery, Holt
Plant shop, Holt
Holt contains many hidden yards, which contain a fascinating mix of shops and cafe's. Make sure you get to explore these or you may miss some of Holt's best kept secrets!
One of Holt's many yards, hiding shops and cafe's
Hidden shops in Holt's many Yards
In the centre of Holt is the Market Place, dominated by
a fine cross of Clipsham stone, dedicated to the towns war dead. The London red bus takes passengers to the North Norfolk Railway station, which is a little way out of the town centre. Adjacent to the Market Places is the Gresham School and is named after Sir John Gresham, a wealthy Tudor merchant, who became Lord Mayor of London and was born and lived nearby. In 1555, when Henry VIII’s suppression of the Monasteries forced the only local school to close, Gresham persuaded the Fishmongers Company of London to finance and manage a school in Holt. This responsibility has been kept to the present day and the school still has strong links with the City of London.
Holt Market Place and Cross
The Gresham School, Holt
Around Holt you will see names and images of an owl. This refers to a local legend that tells of an owl that was disturbing the residents of Holt and whenever they tried to stop it, somehow the owl would escape! one story describes how workmen building the local church, stuffed the owl up a water spout and left it to drown, but the owl managed to escape by flying out of the top.
The Owl tea room and bake shop, Holt
Holt Town Sign, featuring an owl
When most of the town was burnt down in 1708, the buildings were rebuilt in stone and in the style of the day, which was Georgian. Many of these buildings exist in one form or another today and Holt is one of the best places in England to see Georgian architecture. The buildings have been converted to accommodate various local businesses, including a gentleman's barbers and solicitors!
Gentleman's barbers, Holt
John Shrive Estate Agents, Holt
Georgian property, Holt
Georgian cottage, Holt
At one end of the High Street you will come to Obelisk Plain, containing two curious structures. The first is a pineapple topped obelisk, which was once a gatepost at Melton Constable Park. No one knows why the obelisk was moved here to Holt, but notice the distances marked on the obelisk are all wrong, as they refer to its original location! Standing next to the obelisk is a gas lamp, which for some reason was rarely lit and therefore became known as "Blind Sam" The lamp used to stand at the other end of the High Street in the Market Place, but was moved here when the war memorial was erected.
Pineapple topped Obelisk
Gas Lamp, known as Blind Sam
Returning to the other end of the High Street, a lime tree avenue leads from the Market Place to the lovely parish church of St. Andrew. Originally dating from the 13th century, the church was gutted in the fire of 1708, when its thatched roof caught fire. It was repaired in 1727 and then restored in 1864 and is well worth a visit.
The church of St. Andrew in Holt
The entrance of St. Andrew church in Holt
The church clock in Holt
Gravestones in the churchyard at Holt
Inside St. Andrew church in Holt
Inside St. Andrew church in Holt
A little way out of the centre of Holt is the North Norfolk Railway station. This is the "poppy line" which runs steam and diesel train services to Weybourne and Sheringham. A bus runs visitors from the station to Holt market place.
Holt North Norfolk Railway Station
Diesel train in Holt NNR station
Holt station booking hall
The old station from times gone by
About a mile to the south of the town is Holt Country Park. The wood extends to almost 100 acres and contains Scots Pine, Oak and Silver Birch. Throughout the Country Park there are interesting features such as a totem pole, carved stile, play area and viewing tower.
Holt Country Park sign
Way marked country walks in Holt Country Park
Distant figure in Holt Country Park
A seat by the lake
Carved stile in Holt Country Park
Carved wood sign in Holt Country Park
Wooden observation tower in Holt Country Park
Totem pole in Holt Country Park
At Christmas time, Holt becomes a winter wonderland as all the shops adourn themselves with pretty white fairy lights. It makes a lovely festive atmosphere.
Holt is one of those MUST visit places, if you have never been, do make time during your stay in North Norfolk. It really is a shopping paradise with many small classy shops - a good time to visit is when the Christmas lights are switched on.
Hi, I think the Holt guided tour is a brilliant way to market the town and it really gives a flavour of what to expect when you visit. I am visiting with my husband and brother and sister in law in early December for the first time so was delighted to find you will have your Christmas Lights on. We are staying on a farm nearby and intend to tour the area, Holt is an absolute must and your guided tour has helped to cement that thought. I was a Town Centre Manager in Essex for 9 years so feel I have some experience to say, very well done!! Best regards for the future of your beautiful town, Lyn.
Thank you very much for the lovely pictures and wonderful information. We are about to visit Holt for a holiday and it is great to see all the fab shops. So looking forward to our visit now. Regards, Hilary, Ipswich