Holkham Bay on elite list

With huge skies, endless sand dunes, and beaches too expansive to ever be crowded, Holkham Bay is one of Norfolk's top beauty spots, even finding fame in Hollywood films and music videos.

With huge skies, endless sand dunes, and beaches too expansive to ever be crowded, Holkham Bay is one of Norfolk's top beauty spots, even finding fame in Hollywood films and music videos.

And now a survey of tourists slamming some of Britain's best-known attractions such as Stonehenge and Buckingham Palace has ranked the beautiful beach as one of the country's must-see sights.

Paul Dickson, spokesman for Norfolk Tourism, said: “Anyone who lives in Norfolk knows it's an incredibly beautiful place with amazing views. When it was featured at the end of the film Shakespeare in Love, people from across the world saw the long-running, impressive beaches. Since then whenever people come to visit Norfolk they always know about the beach.

“It's absolutely fantastic news. We're lucky to have such a great place nearby and now there's the recognition that people from across the world are realising it too.

“It's an honour to be ranked in such high company.”

The survey of more than 1,000 tourists was carried out by Virgin Travel Insurance, and top of the chart on the most disappointing attractions was Stonehenge, which was described by one disgruntled visitor as “an isolated pile of rocks in a usually muddy field.”

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Angel of the North, in Gateshead, came second, and was closely followed by Land's End and Blackpool Tower. Also ranked among the biggest let-downs were Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, Big Ben, and the White Cliffs of Dover.

But voted as the top-ten must see sights were Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland, which is the setting for the first two Harry Potter films, The Royal Crescent, in Bath, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in South London, and The Eden Project, in Cornwall.

And at number six is Norfolk's very own Holkham Bay, which has featured in the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love starring Gwyneth Palthrow, the music video for band All Saints' song Pure Shores, and has most recently appeared in ITV series Kingdom.

Travel expert Felice Hardy, who compiled the list, said Holkham, which is the largest nature reserve in Britain, incorporating salt marshes backed by pines, stood out because the beach is so photogenic.

Resident agent at the Holkham estate, Richard Gledson, said: “It is always pleasing to hear that visitors are enjoying the Holkham estate, and in this case the beautiful beach at Holkham.

“National recognition such as this is bound to encourage more visitors into the county which can only be good for the region's tourism industry.”

t THE 10 MOST DISAPPOINTING ATTRACTIONS IN BRITAIN

1. Stonehenge.

2. Angel of the North, Gateshead.

3. Blackpool Tower.

4. Land's End, Cornwall.

5. Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, London.

6. The London Eye.

7. Brighton Pier.

8. Buckingham Palace.

9. White Cliffs of Dover.

10. Big Ben.

t THE 10 MUST-SEE SIGHTS

1. Alnwick Castle, Northumberland.

2. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim.

3. The Royal Crescent, Bath.

4. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Southwark, South London.

5. The Backs, Cambridge.

6. Holkham Bay, Norfolk.

7. Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast, Devon and Cornwall.

8. Tate St Ives gallery, Cornwall.

9. Isle of Skye, Scotland.

10. The Eden Project, Cornwall.

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