Holkham neighbours can pop in for free

Richard Parr People living near one of Norfolk's grandest stately homes will be able to view its treasures free of charge on May 17.

Richard Parr

People living near one of Norfolk's grandest stately homes will be able to view its treasures free of charge next month .

On May 17 residents of nearby parishes and with specified post codes will be able to visit Holkham Hall and the Bygones Museum, near Wells, without charge between 12 noon and 4.30pm.

Viscount Coke explained that the new initiative to invite people in for free follows the Hall's participation in the 2006 History Matters Campaign in which historic houses and other landmark buildings opened their doors free for one afternoon.

“We did not know whether we would have ten people or 200 people coming along but were delighted when more than two thousand toured the Hall and visited the other exhibitions at Holkham in that scheme,” he said.

Lord Coke said that the success of that event prompted him to feel there was an opportunity to do something similar this year, but at a local level, so that people living close to Holkham could take up the invitation to visit the Estate.

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“We look forward to welcoming people on May 17 and hope they enjoy the house, the art, the architecture and the many treasures we have at Holkham,” he said.

To qualify for free entry people will have to live in the postcode areas NR21, NR22, NR24 and NR25 and in the PE postcodes of PE31, PE35 and PE36. They will also have to produce a utility bill such as a council tax, electricity or telephone bill.

While entrance is free to those who qualify, Holkham Hall will invite visitors to make a donation to the East Anglian Children's Hospice (EACH) which runs a hospice at Quidenham in Norfolk.

Further information about Holkham can be found on its ward-winning website at www.holkham.co.uk.