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A guide to Holt in Norfolk holiday cottages

A guide to Holt in Norfolk

Julie Smith 19 April 2023

Holt is a Georgian market town that’s perfectly located for enjoying both countryside and coast during a relaxing Norfolk getaway. It’s just a short drive from popular places like Blakeney and Cromer and is surrounded by rolling fields and rural farmland.

Wander around this pretty Norfolk town and you’ll find characterful period properties, lovely independent shops and charming tearooms with acres of peaceful parkland and woodland to explore in the form of Holt Country Park.

So, if this has whetted your appetite for a getaway to this popular Norfolk town, read on to discover some of the best reasons to plan a short break or holiday to Holt.  


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Things to do in and around Holt

Holt war memorial in the market placeCredit: Visit North Norfolk

Not only does Holt have an idyllic location on the edge of the Glaven Valley but it’s also part of the North Norfolk AONB so there’s lots to see and do in and around the Georgian market town. Here are some of our favourite Holt attractions and activities:


The Holt Owl Trail

One of the best ways to discover the history and heritage of Holt is by seeking out a series of owl-adorned pavement plaques that are dotted around the town. The Holt Owl Trail features 24 different calling points and will take you around the marketplace, along the high street and to the town’s historic church. There are plenty of things to see along the way including Georgian buildings and hidden courtyards which are tucked away behind the town’s narrow streets.   


Baconsthorpe Castle

Baconsthorpe Castle near Holt

Just a few miles from Holt, lie the remains of Baconsthorpe Castle, a fortified 15th-century manor house that’s managed by English Heritage. The large grounds are free to access and just right for a game of hide and seek. If you fancy learning more about the site’s rich history, there’s also an audio guide available that you can download to learn more about the rise and fall of the family that once inhabited Baconsthorpe Castle. 


Holt Festival

The Holt Festival is a celebration of arts, music and literature that takes place each July in a variety of venues around the town including St Andrews Church, the Holt Bookshop and the Venue Community and Arts Centre. An outdoor stage is set up for live music performances with food stalls and other entertainment to enjoy throughout the town.  


Cley Marshes Visitor Centre

Bird at Cley Marshes Nature Reserve

Around 4 miles from Holt on the Norfolk coast is Cley and Salthouse Marshes, which is one of the UK’s most popular nature reserves with six bird-watching hides and an award-winning visitor centre with interactive displays. Bird species such as spoonbills, avocets and marsh harriers are attracted to the varied landscape of the nature reserve which includes lagoons, pools, grazing marshes and mudflats.     


Blakeney Point

Home to one of England’s largest seal colonies, Blakeney Point is a Norfolk nature reserve that’s just a short drive away from Holt. More than 4,000 seal pups are born at Blakeney Point each year and there are coastal trails and wildlife walks for exploring the sand dunes and salt marshes of this special place. You can also take a boat trip to Blakeney Point from nearby Morston which is the best way to get up close to the bathing seals without disturbing them.


North Norfolk Railway

North Norfolk Railway - The Poppy Line

The North Norfolk Railway, also known as The Poppy Line, will whisk you from Holt to Sheringham on handsomely restored period steam trains or heritage diesel locomotives. It’s a wonderful (and dog-friendly) way to travel to the coast and there’s lots to see and do in Sheringham when you get to the end of the line. We recommend taking a look around the William Marriott Museum at Holt Station before boarding the train and hopping off at Weybourne Station to explore Sheringham Park.    


Holt Country Park

Visitor centre at Holt Country Park Credit: Visit North Norfolk

Not far from the handsome Georgian buildings of Holt, you’ll find around 100 acres of peaceful parkland and mixed woodland that is free to access throughout the year. Holt Country Park makes a great day out for families and four-legged friends with easy-access trails, picnic areas and even a sensory garden where you can sit and relax amongst the plants and flowers. Other things to enjoy during a visit include wooden sculptures, wildflowers and a tearoom where you can stop for a cuppa and cake.


Pubs in Holt

Pubs in Holt

As you would expect from a lovely Norfolk market town like Holt, there is a wide selection of country inns and gastro pubs where you can call in for refreshments after exploring the local area. Here are some of our favourite Holt pubs:


The Feathers

The Feathers is an elegant dog-friendly pub that’s located in a characterful Georgian building in the middle of Holt’s high street. There’s lots of seasonal produce on the food menu along with steak nights and an extensive cocktail menu.


The Kings Head

This lively pub is a popular choice with locals and serves ale and lagers from the nearby Norfolk Brewhouse. There’s a cosy bar at The King’s Head for food and drinks along with a light-filled dining conservatory and an outdoor terrace for when the weather gets warmer. 


The Hunworth Bell

The Hunworth Bell pub near Holt

This charming country pub is nestled in the rolling hills of the Glaven Valley, just a couple of miles from Holt. You can relax in front of a wood burner in the traditional bar area at The Hunworth Bell or dine under the vaulted beams of a beautifully renovated original barn.   


Chubby Seal

You can sample a range of different lagers and IPAs from around the world at this beer house and bottle shop in Holt. There are always six different keg taps to choose from at the Chubby Seal with beers that are regularly changed to showcase different craft producers.  


The Red Hart Bodham

Located around 4 miles from Holt is the pretty village of Bodham, home to a traditional 17th-century inn called The Red Hart. There’s a lovely beer garden where you can enjoy an al fresco pint or even an open-air film during the summer months and a cosy bar where you can tuck into a rather good Sunday roast.


Cafes and restaurants in Holt

Eating out in a Holt restaurant

From traditional tea rooms to a Michelin star restaurant, there are lots of options for dining out in Holt. Here are some of our favourite eateries to try on your next visit to the Norfolk market town: 


The Snug

This small Norfolk bistro is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with comfortable chairs for guests to relax in and an outdoor courtyard that’s a real suntrap in the summer months and makes the perfect place to catch up with friends. Food at The Snug includes a mix of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and British cuisine on the regularly changing menu.


Folly Tearoom

This lovely vintage tearoom is tucked away in one of Holt’s hidden courtyards with afternoon tea served on classic 1940s china throughout the day.  Gluten-free and vegan afternoon teas are available with the option to add a glass of fizz for an even more indulgent treat. There’s also a gorgeous garden at Folly Tearoom where you can enjoy an al fresco cuppa and cake.   


Byfords

Byfords is a restaurant in Holt

Located in the town’s oldest building, Byfords of Holt is a cosy cafe by day that transforms into a romantic restaurant at night complete with characterful exposed beams and a warming wood burner. Diners can choose between classic British dishes, sharing platters and fresh stone-baked pizzas with much of the food also available to take away. 


Charlies of Holt

If you’re planning on dining with a four-legged friend by your side, we recommend heading to the dog-friendly Charlies of Holt where you’ll find lots of fresh, seasonal produce on the menu. Dishes range from paninis and salads to a hearty shepherd's pie, with ice cream from local Dann’s Farm for dessert. 


Meadowsweet

This fine-dining Holt restaurant is located in a beautifully restored Grade II-listed Georgian building and is our top choice for celebrating special occasions. Meadowsweet has earned a coveted Michelin star thanks to head chef Greg Anderson’s tasting menu which uses the finest local produce including Cromer crab and Baron Bigod cheese. 


Shopping in Holt

Hoppers Yard in HoltCredit: Visit North Norfolk

With a bustling high street, a regular weekly market and a series of lovely courtyards that are dotted around the town, Holt is a lovely place to spend some time and indulge in a bit of retail therapy.


Antique shops

If you’re looking to find a unique gift or an item of retro furniture, there is a collection of antique shops in Holt where you can discover treasures from the past and collectable pieces. Shops to call in at for a mooch include Holt Antiques & Interiors Centre, Owl Town Antiques and Richard Scott Antiques.  


Holt Garden Centre

Couple shopping at garden centre

Nestled in the North Norfolk countryside near Holt, this lovely independent garden centre stocks a large selection of plants, gifts, clothes and outdoor furniture. There’s also an extensive food hall that’s stocked with local brands, a cafe where you can sit and watch the steam trains go by, and a play area to keep little ones happy. Holt Garden Centre is even dog friendly so four-legged friends can come along too.     


Holt Sunday Market

The Holt Sunday Market typically takes place on the first Sunday of the month and visitors can pick up everything from ceramics to gin with around 40 different artisan makers selling their wares in the town’s historic marketplace. There are also street food vendors with communal tables and chairs where you can sit and enjoy a bite to eat. 


Appleyard

Appleyard is a shopping courtyard in HoltCredit: Visit North Norfolk

Tucked away behind the main high street in Holt, Appleyard is a pretty pedestrian courtyard with cafes, hairdressers and a selection of shops including Suzy Hamilton which stocks a range of 1950s-style dresses and Neptune by Appleyard which specialises in stylish home furniture and accessories.   


Bakers and Larners

This independent department store is housed in a handsome Georgian building and has been part of Holt for more than 250 years. At the heart of Bakers and Larners is a large food hall where you can pick up Sandringham Apple Juice and Norfolk Garden jams amongst other local brands. There are also ladies' and men’s clothing sections and departments that include furniture and home interiors.   


Walks in and around Holt

Holt Country Park

If you fancy a scenic stroll while on a getaway to North Norfolk, there are a variety of walks to try on the coast and countryside that surrounds Holt. 


Holt Country Park to Hempstead Circular

This 4.5-mile walk starts at Holt Country Park where you’ll follow a blue waymarked trail through Corsican and Scots pine trees. The route includes meadows and riverside paths before reaching a duck pond at Hempstead Hall. You’ll then pass through meadows and cross the River Glaven on your way back to the country park.  


Morston Quay to Blakeney Harbour

Boats at Morston Quay

This gentle walk follows the Norfolk Coast Path from Morston to Blakeney. It’s around 1.5 miles each way and it's pretty flat so is a great choice for those with children. There’s plenty of parking at Morston Quay and the walk has views across the saltmarsh and out to sea with lots of wildlife to spot along the way. If you don’t fancy walking back to Morston Quay, there’s a regular bus service from Blakeney that you can hop on instead.


Spout Hills to Letheringsett

Spout Hills (or Spouts Common as it’s also known) is a 14-acre green space that is just a few minutes outside of town. Originally used as a water source for Holt, Spout Hills features ponds and springs with a bridge to play Pooh sticks from and a series of footpaths to help you explore. We recommend a circular 3-mile walk from Spout Hills to the nearby ford and watermill at Letheringsett where there is a good pub that you can call in for refreshments.   


Weybourne Circular

Scenic countryside around Weybourne

This 5-mile circular route starts at the Beach Lane Car Park in Weybourne and as you walk along the shingle beach here, you may well be able to watch a traditional fishing boat launch out to sea. You’ll then pass by The Quag, a popular spot for seabirds, before heading up through Kelling Heath and back to pretty Weybourne village. Keep a lookout during the walk for the handsome Poppy Line steam trains that whistle through this part of North Norfolk.    


Plan your getaway to Holt

Egg Cottage is a holiday home in HoltEgg Cottage in Holt

If you have been inspired to visit Holt and explore the surrounding coast and countryside, you’ll find a wide range of Norfolk cottages in and around this lovely Georgian market town.

Browse our collections of dog-friendly, romantic and family-friendly Norfolk holiday cottages to find your perfect East Anglian home from home.  

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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