Holt dates back to pre-Domesday book, although it is noted now as a Georgian market town since most of medieval Holt was destroyed in a great fire in 1708. The fire, which devastated a huge area of the town in just three hours caused £11,000 worth of damage – an enormous sum at that time. Thankfully donations were received from all over the country to help rebuild the town, which is now one of the prettiest in Norfolk.
Holt is famous for its shops, selling a mix of everything of the highest quality and one day just isn’t enough to explore the retail side of the town.
Shopping in Holt is a unique experience as there are hidden lanes and yards off of the main street where even more boutiques, galleries and eateries are waiting to be discovered. The biggest store within the town is Bakers & Larners whose extensive department store is situated on the Market Place, although further down the High Street there’s also a homewares department. Having existed as a business in the town since 1770’s, Bakers & Larners is often compared to the large London stores of Fortnum & Mason and Harrods. At first the Baker family business was focused more on building trades including plumbing and ironmongery, eventually becoming C T Baker Ltd. In the last fifty years the department store has developed through rapid expansion and the acquisition/merging of other family business including Larners and Betty’s of Holt.
Today the upmarket department store sells everything from clothes and footwear to furniture and sporting goods, it also has a very impressive wine cellar and food hall.
Browsing the streets of Holt you will find many Art Galleries have made this market town home. From classic oils and bronzes to contempary sculpture and prints there is a piece for every taste.
Most of the galleries have regular exhibitions from local, national and international artists so there is always something new to see each time you visit.
Combining a day out around the art spaces of Holt lends itself perfectly to lazy lunches and afternoon teas in one of the many fine cafes.
The North Norfolk Railway (also known as The Poppy Line) runs a 10½ mile round trip from Sheringham on the North Norfolk Coast, through Weybourne and into Holt.
Step back in time with a journey on historic steam trains (vintage diesel engines for some journeys) through an area of outstanding natural beauty. It may be a small trip but through the carriage windows the views include wooded hills, flowering meadows and the coast as you approach Sheringham.
The Poppy Line takes its name from the sea of poppies visible on the train trip towards the beginning of autumn.
Letheringsett Water Mill on the River Glaven just outside Holt is Norfolk’s only remaining working watermill. Built in 1802 (the current mill replaced a much earlier mill which was destroyed by fire) the property is now owned by Mike and Marion Thurlow.
Since the couple purchased the mill in 1987 the building has undergone restoration to become a much loved tourist attraction, as well as producing flour for a large number of outlets around the county. Throughout the year the mill holds regular working demonstrations and events, as well as guided tours most weekday afternoons. For more information contact 01263 713153.