Earl of Leicester: my favourite historic houses
Let the Earl of Leicester show you Holkham Hall...
The Earl of Leicester, of Holkham Hall, on the north Norfolk coast, pictured below with daughter Juno, Jupiter the Irish Terrier and Frank the Dachshund, gives us a guided tour of the historic houses of Norfolk…
Norfolk is a wonderful county; I am delighted that you have chosen to visit it. We are renowned for our big skies, wide open spaces, historic cities and towns, miles of beach and heathland, hidden waterways, our wildlife and our vast wild landscapes – so much is here to be discovered.
One of the jewels in Norfolk’s crown is the historic built heritage; there are a large number of beautiful historic houses and medieval churches to visit. The people who built them were at the forefront of agricultural reform in England, or they belonged to some of the great families who have shaped English history through the ages. Or, in the case of Sandringham, because the Royal family wanted a tranquil country retreat – Sandringham House is still in use by Queen Elizabeth II and her family today.
At Holkham Hall we are proud of our famous ancestor, Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester (Coke of Norfolk), who pioneered animal breeding and farm husbandry. His descendants – I am his four greats grandson – still live in this beautiful place, which has many treasures to discover, has featured in leading Hollywood films (Shakespeare in Love and The Duchess) and has the best beach in England!
Beautiful Blickling Hall was the home of the Boleyn family, whose famous daughter, Anne Boleyn, captured the affections of our most notorious monarch, Henry VIII. Another house with royal connections can be found in the serene moated beauty of Oxburgh Hall, where Mary, Queen of Scots’ embroideries, done while she was a captive of her cousin Elizabeth I, hang in splendour. Both these houses are now under the care of the National Trust.
Political might is represented by Houghton Hall, ancestral home of the Walpole family, who gave Britain her first Prime Minister in the person of Sir Robert Walpole in 1721.
Read about the Earl of Leicester's favourite Norfolk things.
Read more about Norfolk's fabulous stately homes.