On the edge of the Glaven Valley and only a few miles inland from the delightful salt marsh coastal villages of North Norfolk, Holt is a small but thriving Georgian town. Holt was destroyed almost completely in 1708 by the “Great Fire of Holt”, but crisis created opportunities giving us the town as we know it today. Surrounded by common land, heath land and woodland there are also many open spaces within the town itself. Rows of flint cottages, and small scale Georgian buildings characterise the town. Courtyards surrounded by shops have become a particular feature for the visitors.
An Independent Town…
Holt prides itself on being fairly free from the multiples. Most shops are independently owned boutiques and one offs. Bakers & Larners in the Market Place have huge windows constantly attracting visitors. Currently celebrating 240 years of business, they offer everything from a delicatessen to home ware. A recent extension of their coffee shop has now opened up a roof terrace over looking their garden centre. Antiques, antiquarian books, art and craft shops are a sample of some of the other shops to be found in this picturesque town. Fish Hill is the site of a cluster of shops off the Market Place and the strange angle shown by some of the premises is said to be because they occupy the same footprint as the wooden mediaeval stores that stood there for centuries before the fire.
There are several cafes and restaurants in the town offering wide selections of delicious home cooked food as well as the recently refurbished Kings Head Hotel and the old coaching inn The Feathers. Byfords on Shirehall Plain, a former hardware store is certainly a must to visit and its not unusual to have to queue for a seat in the coffee shop or restaurant. But it’s well worth the wait. The aroma of fresh lilies decorating the waiting areas and the display of cheeses in the deli area gives more than a feast for eyes and noses!
Ideal for exploring the north Norfolk coastline
Holt is an ideal centre for exploring the beauties of the North Norfolk coast and countryside. On the doorstep of the Poppy Line steam railway, Holt Railway Station is about a mile from the town centre and has some bus links into the town. Holt Festival week at the end of July saw an added boost to the number of visitors in the town. The Festival is now an established part of the town diary.
Holt Christmas Lights
Holt is also famous for its Christmas lights with an enchanting display of white lights covering the Georgian buildings.
The Holt Christmas Lights Committee is a voluntary committee which works hard throughout the year. This is the highlight of many diaries in our region. It also brings added trade into the town in the run up to Christmas. The switch-on is for everyone and mixes family activities held in the Community Centre from clowns to lantern making, with events in the Market Place.
Business thrives but so does the community. Winner of the 2009 EDP Best Community Award (under 5000 population in 2009) it boasts a Community Centre near to the town centre. Built by public fund raising in the 1970’s it is now in need of major refurbishment. Run by a small committee of volunteers, plans are well under way for the launch of a Development Fund to make the refurbishment happen.
Holt Youth Project
Holt Youth Project, built with public fund raising just a few years ago has increased its activities to include all age groups with young helping old. It has more recently built a Health Gym and last year secured major lottery funding to progress and maintain its activities.
More recent activities has seen the Town Council buy a small town centre site from North Norfolk District Council. A volunteer team, lead by members of the Town Council are refurbishing the whole site. “We are lucky enough to have a builder, an electrician and a plumber on our Council and they have generously offered their time to get this site back in use for our community “ says Di Dann, Town Clerk.