Treasures and Trophies - The Making of a Gentleman and a Great House at Holkham Hall
Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays from 25th March to 31st October 2018
Thomas Coke, creator of Holkham Hall, was, in 1712, an impressionable teenager tempted by gambling and cock fighting. Under the instruction of his guardians he was sent on one of the longest and most influential Grand Tours of the 18th century. The Grand Tour was the precursor to today’s package travel and allowed young English gentlemen the chance to experience the arts, culture, society and history of parts of Europe.Over the course of six years he travelled through France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and the Low Countries.
Leaving to gunfire and fanfare from Holkham, Thomas undertook a journey which inspired him to create the house you see today. Delve into the archives and witness the arduous route he travelled, meet the entourage who accompanied him, discover how the people he met, such as William Kent, became a lifelong friends and helped shape his vision, learn about the epic collection of paintings, statues, drawings, rare books and manuscripts he amassed which now attract a worldwide audience and form his ‘temple of the arts’. Undertaking lessons in horse riding, fencing and music, Thomas Coke had language tutors who encouraged him to fully immerse himself in the culture of his surroundings, he pursued his interest in architecture and witnessed grand operas, theatre and balls of the period, turning an impressionable adolescent into a true virtuoso and architect in the making. In 1734 work began on his temple of the arts, and in 1744 became 1st Earl of Leicester of the first creation.
To bring the story and history to life there will be plenty of opportunity for visitor interaction. Adults and children can walk in the shoes of Thomas Coke, dressing up in costume, create a mini Palladian building from blocks, witness the food he ate and discover a replica studio of the Italian painter, Francesco Trevisani, where Thomas Coke, aged 20, sat for his portrait, which now hangs in the Manuscript Library of the hall.
Tickets: ‘Treasures and Trophies’ is included in a visit to the hall.
Holkham National Nature Reserve Ramble at Holkham Hall
29th March – Lady Anne’s Drive
26th April – Lady Anne’s Drive
31st May – Burnham Overy Staithe
28th June – Lady Anne’s Drive
26th July – Wells, Beach Road
30th August – Lady Anne’s Drive
27th September – Lady Anne’s Drive
25th October – Burnham Overy Staithe
29th November – Lady Anne’s Drive
27th December – Lady Anne’s Drive
Join one of our Wardens on a guided walk around the Holkham National Nature Reserve, the rich variety of wildlife at Holkham NNR means that there is always something of interest to see throughout the year. Well behaved, sociable dogs on leads welcome. Each walk will last approximately 2 hours.
Tickets: £5 per person*. To book visit our website, or telephone Holkham ticket office on 01328 713111.
For the Lady Anne’s Drive walks please meet by the car parking hut. For the Wells walks we meet at the Beach Café and for Burnham Overy walks meet at Burnham Overy Staithe harbour car park. *Car park fees are included as part of the £5 ticket for the duration of the walk. Any time spent in the car park afterwards will need to be paid for.
Hidden Passages and Servants' Stairs: Behind the Scenes Tours of Holkham Hall at Holkham Hall
Wednesdays 25th April, 30th May, 27th June, 11th July, 29th August, 26th September and 31st October, 11am-12.30pm
Behind the grand state rooms that the public normally see, hidden from view, lie a labyrinth of corridors and stairways. Servants could come and go throughout the hall without being seen or heard. They would appear in the state rooms as if by magic!
These guided tours take you behind the scenes to explore some of these never-before-seen passages and stairs. But, be aware, you will need stamina and good shoes as there are 70 winding stairs to climb up and 70 more to climb down. The tour starts at the porter’s door in the servants’ wing. After a brief insight into how space in the hall was divided between the senior servants, we will climb the back stairs to the corridor which serviced the state, or royal, bedchambers.
We will climb further to the bedrooms in which the royal entourage were housed, now known as Nelson Wing today and peep into some of the bedrooms, which are still in use for visitors.
We then climb even further to explore the attics and tower rooms of Holkham Hall. Here we will see the hall’s rooftops from the windows and the courtyards far below, the newly repaired bell-tower and the attic libraries. We will see the fabric room with its many chairs waiting their turn to be restored, as well as much more which is now in storage.
The attics offer glimpses of fabulous views over the park. We shall hear the story of Lady Mary Coke, daughter-in-law of Thomas Coke, who locked herself away in one of the tower rooms and hear the tall tales of strange goings-on within the book shelves.
Finally, we shall descend via a spiral staircase which comes out by the main bank of servants’ bells near the butler’s pantry, before returning to the porter’s door.
Tickets: £25 adult, £12.50 child (recommended age 10+). To book visit our website or telephone Holkham ticket office on 01328 713111.
Parking is included in the price. Please wear suitable footwear and clothing for climbing stairs. Photography is not permitted. Please be aware that the tour will incorporate staircases (there will be 70 stairs to climb), confined spaces and heights therefore if you are unsure whether this tour is suitable please contact us. Due to the nature of this event, we are unable to accommodate wheelchairs or buggies and we recommend that the tour is suitable for children aged 10 and over.
Teatime Teaser at Holkham Hall
Thursday 29th March, 3pm
Thursday 26th April, 3pm
Thursday 31st May, 3pm
Thursday 28th June, 3pm
Thursday 26th July, 3pm
Thursday 30th August, 3pm
Thursday 27th September, 3pm
Thursday 25th October, 3pm
Thursday 29th November, 3pm
Thursday 20th December, 3pm
Come along to the Courtyard Café for our monthly ‘Teatime Teaser’ to raise funds for our local day care centre Heritage House, in Wells-next-the-Sea. Not only will you have an entertaining afternoon, but you’ll also be in with a chance of winning a cream tea for each member of your team.
Entry: £1 per person. No need to book, just come along. Note that parking charges apply in Holkham Park.
Treasured Manuscripts at Holkham Hall
Meet the curators and discover more about the ‘Treasures and Trophies’ exhibition with this special event in Holkham Hall including a rare opportunity to see, first-hand, a selection of important examples from Holkham’s incredible collection of manuscripts. The exhibition curator, and Holkham archivist, Lucy Purvis will take you on a guided tour of the exhibition and reveal insights into the ideas that Thomas Coke explored on his Grand Tour and how they have shaped Holkham. Delve into our unparalleled manuscript and early book collection with our manuscript curator, Dr Laura Nuvoloni. In these specially-devised illustrated talks, Laura will be focusing on the medieval and early modern collections in the Holkham library.
Friday 18th May, 11am-1.30pm
Buying and Selling Manuscripts and Early Printed Books
Thomas Coke made some very important purchases on his six-year grand tour. Hear how books and manuscripts came to be available to collectors, including the very different stories behind major purchases Thomas made in Lyon, Padua and Venice.
Friday 13th July, 11am-1.30pm
The Story of Book Production
Using volumes collected by Thomas Coke, you will explore the history of book production from early manuscripts to the first printed books (incunabula) and beyond.
Friday 7th September, 11am-1.30pm
Inspiration from the Classical World
Explore the depth of Thomas Coke’s interest in the classics and ancient history, particularly his passion for Greek and Roman antiquity. You will hear how Coke gave financial support for the publication of the Etruria Regali, a major seventeenth century work on the history of the Etruscan civilization.
Tickets: Adult £25, Child (ages 10 years and over) £12.50. Tickets include car parking and coffee and biscuits. To book telephone Holkham ticket office on 01328 713111.