Area Guide: The Georgian market town of Holt

The high street, Holt, which has many independent shops

Holt high street, which is packed with independent shops - Credit: Mark Bullimore

Holt is a pretty market town in North Norfolk, around 9.5 miles west of Cromer and 23 miles north of Norwich. It is popular for its Georgian architecture and for its charming selection of independent businesses - many of which are tucked away off its quaint yards and alleyways.


By road, Holt is accessed by the A148 to King’s Lynn. The nearest railway station is at Sheringham, where you will also find the closest sandy beach.  

Holt town centre and it's Georgian architecture. War MemorialPicture: MARK BULLIMORE

Holt town centre's war memorial - Credit: Mark Bullimore


Holt is mentioned in the Domesday Book but is perhaps better known for its much later Georgian buildings, which make it one of the prettiest Georgian market towns in the county. 

In May 1708, the then-medieval town was destroyed by fire. Byfords survived and is thought to be Holt’s oldest building, now a popular café and deli. The Parish Church of St Andrew The Apostle also survived, despite its thatched roof catching fire, and still serves its parish today. 

Another interesting detail in the town is The Obelisk, which has a pineapple on top and is one of a pair of gateposts from Melton Constable Park. At the start of the Second World War, it was painted white to avoid helping the enemy in the event of an invasion. 

In 2017, the Holt Owl Trail was launched. It features information plaques at 24 different locations which form a loop celebrating the town’s history and architecture, including its unique flint and stone yards. 

St Andrew's Church, Holt, which largely survived the fire of 1708

St Andrew's Church in Holt survived the fire of 1708, although its roof was rebuilt - Credit: Mark Bullimore

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Holt Festival has been held each year since 2009 and celebrates music, art, literature, theatre and film.  

Each September, the North Norfolk Railway – a preserved heritage line connecting Holt to Sheringham via Weybourne – holds an immersive 1940s weekend, celebrating the wartime efforts of both allied forces and those on the homefront. 

The town has also recently reinstated its monthly Sunday market, which brings together more than 35 regional makers as well as delicious street food, outdoor dining, DJs and buskers to create a lively, thriving community at Market Place and Star Plain. 

Holt sparkles every year with its annual lights switch-on, which usually takes place in November. The town comes together for delicious food, mulled wine and live music – a great get-together to usher in the festive season. 

Independent shops and restaurants in Holt town centre

Holt town centre's mix of independent shops and restaurants make it a great place to shop - Credit: Archant


Holt is perfect for those who like to shop differently, as it’s full of independent boutiques, antique shops and, of course, Bakers & Larners – an independent department store which many consider to be Norfolk’s answer to Fortnum & Mason.  


Gresham’s is an independent school and perhaps Holt’s most famous, offering places for pupils aged two to 18.

For primary-aged pupils, Holt Community Primary and Kelling CE Primary are both rated ‘good’ by Ofsted. Langham Village School, just under five miles away, is rated ‘outstanding’.  

The closest high school is Sheringham High, which is also rated ‘good’ by Ofsted. 

Holt town centre and it's Georgian architecture. Gresham's Pre-Prep school and War Memorial.Pict

Gresham's pre-prep school and the town war memorial - Credit: Mark Bullimore


Several notable people have connections to Gresham’s, including poet WH Auden, engineer Sir James Dyson and actress Olivia Colman. 


According to Rightmove, sold prices in Holt over the past year have been 18% higher than the year before, with an overall house price of £421,713. 

Most of the properties sold in the town in the past year have been detached, selling for an average price of £490,281. Terraced prices have sold for an average of £235,710 and semi-detached properties at an average price of £300,000. 

Richard Ling, a branch manager at William H Brown in Holt

Richard Ling, branch manager at William H Brown in Holt - Credit: William H Brown


We asked Richard Ling, branch partner at William H Brown in Holt, why he thinks the area is such a great place to live. 

Why do you think Holt is so attractive to people? 
It’s a nice town, not too far from the beaches and it has some lovely small independent and boutique shops. 

What is the atmosphere like? 
Unlike a lot of coastal villages where second homeowners seem to disappear in winter, Holt has a community feel all year round. 

Where are some of Holt’s most sought-after areas to live in? 
Hopkins Homes is building some lovely individual executive homes at Cromer Road and Grove Lane, which have easy access to Gresham’s. 

Cley Road, Town Close and Pereers Close are great for retirees wanting bungalows close to the town centre – and of course any central brick and flint cottages for the second home buyers! 
Three things you love about Holt? 
The community, the individuality and the fact that the beaches are within striking distance. 

This area guide is produced in partnership with William H Brown.

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