The official visitor website for Norfolk
Search this website
Holkham beach

Your Holkham Beach experience just got better!

The Lookout provides new facilities for the 800,000 people who come to visit each year, including an education centre, refreshments area and lavatories.

Holkham National Nature Reserve on the north Norfolk coast was designated in 1967 due to the range of habitats and wildlife it supports. Much of the reserve is former saltmarsh that had been reclaimed since the mid-17th century by the Coke family and the Holkham Estate for grazing sheep and cattle. Today the grazing marshes are nationally important for wintering wildfowl and breeding birds such as Lapwing, Little Tern and Spoonbill.

Holkham Lookout facilities

There can be few people who have not been moved by the sheer scale and beauty of the beach and the wide variety of wildlife found on the reserve.

In 2012 Holkham Estate appointed architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) to work on plans for a visitor centre that would provide lavatories and a modest refreshment facility, but most importantly, to provide a centre to inform and educate visitors of all ages about the diversity of the reserve and to increase awareness for the need to protect these special habitats.

Hollywood comes to Holkham

Norfolk's top 10 beaches

Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea beaches


Holkham National Nature Reserve is one of the most important nature reserves in the country and a second important principle behind the project has been to provide a centre to inform and educate visitors of all ages about the diversity of the reserve and to increase awareness for the need to protect this special habitat.

The reserve is best known for its stunning panoramic beach and the rich and varied wildlife found on the grazing and salt marshes. Within the building visitors can find out about the reserve through a variety of visual, interactive and informative interpretation, along with three television screens highlighting the wildlife to be seen from photos and video footage. Outside high-tide times are displayed and the reserve’s bird sightings are displayed.

The reserve’s wardens and estate’s education team will be planning engagement events to inspire and educate visitors. For birdwatchers, there are spectacular views out over the grazing marshes with opportunities to see some of the many species of birds that the area is renowned for, whether a single rare migrant or the spectacular sight of thousands of pink-footed geese.

Holkham Lookout facilities


The Lookout is located at the entrance to Holkham beach and was completed in mid-August. This uniquely-designed, circular structure is aesthetically pleasing and sits happily within the landscape. The building provides a modest catering facility committed to reducing single-use plastic using 100% plant-based compostable packaging. Visitors can purchase a ‘cup for life’ with drinks.

A feature of a central sculpture of reeds created by local blacksmiths at Holkham Forge on the estate, will supply free water at three different levels for customers. An electric vehicle serves the business with two electric charging points installed close by.

The Lookout serves freshly cooked and locally sourced food and a ‘wrapper free’ ice-lolly machine is sure to be a highlight over the summer and hot soups in the winter. The café also offers much-needed lavatories for the area; comprising five lavatories, including an accessible lavatory and baby-changing facilities.

Holkham Hall