Venue Spotlight | Holkham Hall, Part 1
Perhaps boasting one of the most perfect postcodes in the country, the Holkham Estate is a captivating and awe-inspiring venue in Norfolk. We catch up with Event Manager, Belle Hutton, about what makes Holkham so special, her experience planning weddings, and what life is like on this idyllic estate.
Can you describe Holkham for us?
Holkham sits right upon the north Norfolk coast and is home to the most stunning coastal landscape. But you don't have to just take my word for it, as large parts of the Norfolk coast are designated as an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' and the Holkham estate encompasses much of this. As well as being a thriving country estate, Holkham is also the longstanding home of the Earls of Leicester, and thus family values are at the heart of everything we do.
Can you briefly talk us through the spaces available at Holkham?
We have six main venues here at Holkham. There are the State Rooms inside the Hall, (which is still a family home), and would have been used for entertaining in the past. Within those rooms, you have the Marble Hall, arguably one of the grandest halls in Europe. As you enter the Marble Hall it is hard not to be instantly blown away by the enormous, fifty feet high vaulted ceiling, inspired by none other than the Pantheon in Rome. It is definitely one of the highlights of my job, showing guests the Marble Hall for the first time, and watching their faces change as they take-in the space.
The Marble Hall, captured by Tatum Reid
Then there is The Saloon, with its sweeping views of the estate’s park and stunning fountain in front of the hall. It has a lovely roaring fire so it is perfect for autumn or winter events. Next is the Statue Gallery, which is surrounded by some of the best sculptures at Holkham; the first Earl brought them over from his Grand Tour in Italy.
The Saloon, captured by Kathy Ashdown.
The Lady Elizabeth Wing is one of the most versatile spaces I have ever seen in my 13 years of working in weddings, as couples can totally personalise the space. You could have a wedding with anything from 40-50 people banquet-style, through to sumptuous dinners for 250 guests. We adore seeing creativity in this space, from hanging flowers to lighting concepts and vibrant colours.
We have three marquee spaces. The Temple, which is tucked away in the woodlands of Holkham Park, and is very ethereal and romantic. Wedding marquees can also be positioned next to Holkham’s Lake with the Hall as a backdrop, which itself can be lit up at night. You can then spend the evening watching the sunset over the lake, or have your own private firework display.
Lastly, there is The Walled Garden, which is a ¼ of mile from the hall, it is currently being restored, but one of the areas is called the ‘event room’. Enclosed and protected by beautiful borders and lots of roses, it is a very private and intimate location.
What stands out about stately home venues?
What is so special about stately homes is that these historic buildings were created and designed to entertain, to show off and to be used for fabulous parties. At Holkham, we continue to bring them to life, and will continue to use them for their intended purpose for years to come. It is very special to be creating living history every day.
An idyllic spot on the estate, captured on M & J's wedding day.
What do you love most about Holkham and North Norfolk?
When people think of Holkham, they often picture Holkham Beach; miles of unspoilt coastland and white sand. A beach so vast you often feel as though you have it to yourself. Just down the road at Wells you can rent a beach hut for the perfect beach get together with friends – think picnic brunches with Bloody Marys and fish and chips!
The Norfolk coast has so much to offer, from crabbing at Wells, seal spotting from Mortson or taking a picnic to the remote Scolt Head Island. If you’re an early riser like me – there’s nothing more enchanting than witnessing the magic of the Dawn Chorus, as Norfolk’s vibrant bird life awakens on Holkham’s National Nature Reserve.