Why ‘Georgian’? The extensive Great Fire of Holt in 1708 sparked a rebuilding programme that has come to characterise the town. Although it’s perfectly possible to explore Holt by simply strolling around its compact centre, here is Our Norfolk’s top 5 things to see and do.
1.The pineapple-topped Obelisk
On the High Street, one of a pair of gateposts moved from the nearby estate of Melton Park (therefore all road distances are wrong! ). The other was given to Dereham and, in order to avoid assisting the enemy during an invasion, they flung theirs down a deep well! Holt whitewashed theirs, thus its good condition has been preserved. It is the iconic emblem of The Holt Society. The neighbouring Lamp Post was given to the town during Queen Victoria’s Jubilee year of 1887. Originally situated in Market Place, its nickname is ‘Blind Sam’ as due to the town’s sporadic gas supply, it was often not illuminated.
2. The Methodist Chapel Gardens
It is opposite the entrance to Albert Street Car Park and a perfect place to enjoy a picnic lunch. Compile your own with bakery bits from Bull Street’s The Crusty Loaf, fruit from Crowes greengrocers virtually next door and deli delights from Byfords.
3. Spout Hills
A nature reserve for a relaxing stroll… Just yards off the High Street, a special place of streams, ponds, marsh orchids and wild mint. Walk past Obelisk Plain (see above) and continue right leaving the High Street. Immediately opposite, you’ll see a wide entrance with houses and cars parked. Cross the road, walk straight ahead, and Spout Hills will open up before you! You can read about Spout Hills, a High Street oasis in another Our Norfolk story online!
4. North Norfolk Railway
The station setting and watching the train is as fun as the ride to Sheringham itself! Read Bruin’s railway adventure in his blog. A fifteen minute walk from town, follow the high street left around the war memorial, and the Post Office on the left. Keep walking, past Gresham’s school and a wooded area. The station will be found on your left.
5. Independent shops and galleries
Holt is well-known for its lovely boutiques and independent shops, and proud of it too. ‘Our Norfolk’ favourites include the High Street’s ‘Richard Scott Antiques’, an ‘institution’ of china, Lees Yard’s ‘The Red Dot Gallery’, because everything Colin does is simply ‘just so’ (he wrote a story for Our Norfolk – ‘Apple inspired art‘ a few years ago). And Holt has a new addition this month: Tess Ainley gallery (November 2016, add images soon). Very exciting to visit the working artist’s space soon!
For a good read, ask Miss Willey for their ‘newspaper’, ‘The Evening Star’! …And what’s your favourite shop and hideaway in Holt?
…And did you spot Holt’s Lion?