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Holt

A lovely rural Georgian Norfolk town with plenty of unusual shops and surrounded by well-wooded parks.

An Introduction to Holt

Byfords
Fish Hill
Holt Sign
Holt Yard
Holt Country Park

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. Holt is an excellent choice as a base for a short break or weekend away.

Hoseasons Cottages

Holt Map

Holt Map Cley next the Sea Sheringham Fakenham
 

Holt Guided Picture Tour


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 other people! 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
Byfords of Holt
Shirehall Plain
Shirehall Plain, Holt
Byfords Cafe
Byfords Cafe and Francois Bouttier Studio

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 for yourself.
Fish Hill Holt
Shops in Fish Hill, Holt
Moochi Modo
Moochi Modo, Gift Shop
Fairfax Gallery
Fairfax Art Gallery
Osokozo Gallery
Osokozi Gallery, Jewellery
Pottery
Past Caring, Vintage Clothes
Old Guys Rule
Old Guys Rule, Men's Clothing
Nicholsons
Nicholsons, Ladies Clothing
Jeremy Barlow Fine Art
Jeremy Barlow, Fine Art
Joules Clothing
Joules Clothing Store

One Holt store that has survived over 100 years of trading is Bakers and Larners, having been founded in the year 1900 by the Baker family. The Bakers family shop in Holt survived two world wars until the death of Jimmy Baker in 1958. It then suffered a period of decline until a younger family member, Michael Baker decided to revive the family business in the mid 1970's. He bought Larner's store in Holt and set about re-developing the site, which has evolved and flourished into the fabulous department store we see today - well worth a visit while in Holt. Bakers & Larners also have several other stores around Holt.
Bakers and Larners
Bakers and Larners of Holt
Bakers & Larners
Part of Bakers & Larners store in the Market Place
High Street
Bakers store at the other end of the High Street, adjacent to Richard Scott Antiques and The 28 Cafe

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! Try and find Chapel Yard, Hoopers Yard and Appleyard.
Holt Yard
Chapel Yard, one of Holt's many yards, hiding shops and cafe's
Hoopers Yard
Hoopers Yard, Holt
Owl Town Antiques
Owl Town Antiques in Chapel Yard
Appleyard
Appleyard, Holt
The Barn Cafe
The Barn Cafe, hidden in Appleyard

After all the shopping, you will need to find somewhere for a refreshment. Thankfully, Holt is well blessed with places offering holt and cold meals and drinks. The main pub is the King's Head in the High Street, but if you prefer there is plenty of cafes and restaurants dotted about the town.
Holt King's Head Pub
The King's Head in Holt

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 Routemaster bus takes passengers to and from the North Norfolk Railway station, which is a little way out of the town centre. Adjacent to the Market Place 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
Holt Market Place and Cross
Gresham School
The Gresham School, Holt
Holt Adnams
Adnams Holt shop, near the Market Place

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.
Owl Tea Rooms
The Owl tea room and bake shop, Holt
Owl Town Sign
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. Many of the buildings have been converted to accommodate various local businesses.
Georgian Cottages
Row of Georgian Cottages in Albert Street
The Tonsorial Artist
Gentleman's Barbers, Holt
Georgian Shops
Georgian Shop Fronts in Holt's High Street and Market Place

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.
Holt Obelisk
Pineapple topped Obelisk
Gas Lamp
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.
Holt Church
The church of St. Andrew in Holt
Holt Church
The entrance of St. Andrew church in Holt
Church Inside
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 Station
Holt North Norfolk Railway Station
Holt Station
Diesel train in Holt NNR station
Holt Booking Hall
Holt station booking hall
Holt 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 and a viewing tower. It's a great place to stretch the legs, get some fresh air and walk the dog. Holt Country Park also has a good children's play area. While entry is free, the car-park is pay and display.
Holt Country Park
Paths in Holt Country Park
Totem Pole
A Totem pole in Holt Country Park
Lake Seat
A seat by the lake

Finally, you should try and visit Holt at Christmas time, as it becomes a winter wonderland when all the shops adourn themselves with pretty white fairy lights. The lights are usually switched on from late November and it brings a lovely festive atmosphere to the town.
Fish Hill Lights
Christmas Lights in Fish Hill Holt
Christmas Lights
Christmas Time in Holt
Christmas Clock
Bakers & Larners Clock at Christmas Time

Destination
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Holt summary of what to SEE and DO

Browse the many shops and galleries - you are bound to find something you like!
Explore the numerous yards and lanes, there are plenty of hidden surprises
Enjoy a refreshment in Byfords or one of the other excellent cafes in Holt
Visit the medieval parish church of St. Andrew
Ride on the North Norfolk Railway to Sheringham
Take a walk in Holt Country Park
Visit in December to see the Christmas Lights

Our Verdict

Holt is one of those MUST visit places - and if you have never been to Holt before, do make time to explore the town for yourself. It really is a shopping paradise with many small classy shops - a good time to visit is when the Christmas lights are switched on. Car parking can be a problem - the largest car-park is the one adjacent to Budgens.
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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
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