Famous for its title as England’s premier example of fine Palladian architecture, Holkham Hall has been the home to the Earls of Leicester for nearly three centuries. Its construction on the Holkham Estate, which had belonged to the Coke family since 1609, was financed by the first Earl of Leicester, Thomas Coke. The stately home currently remains the home of the Earls of Leicester but is nevertheless open most of the year to visitors. A real life Downton Abbey.
Famous for its title as England’s premier example of fine Palladian architecture, Holkham Hall has been the home to the Earls of Leicester for nearly three centuries. Its construction on the Holkham Estate, which had belonged to the Coke family since 1609, was financed by the first Earl of Leicester, Thomas Coke. The stately home currently remains the home of the Earls of Leicester but is nevertheless open most of the year to visitors.
… BUT IT WAS WORTH IT
Following his strong desire to finish the masterpiece (and as such leave a grand mark of his legacy to be seen by all) before his death, Thomas Coke practically ruined his family’s savings and investments. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1759 only five years before the home was completed, having never recovered his financial loss. The emptying of the Cokes’ account meant that, for many generations, the house could not be fully furnished or refurbished and left many of its inhabitants living in expansive, beautiful rooms and halls tht were not actually all that functional. When the family’s wealth was more stable, it was decided that the house would be left largely the same, only being furnished enough such that living in it was not a chore rather than a luxury.
THE MARBLE HALL
The inside of the house brings Palladian styling to heights rarely seen throughout any other structures across the globe. This grandeur is obtained through a distinct absence of the normal amount of furnishings that would normally be found throughout a building of its size. The finest example of this can be seen when first entering the house into the Marble Hall, which is modeled on a Roman basilica with a ceiling that is fifty metres from the floor. A broad set of gilded steps leads to the upper gallery that surrounds the entrance floor. It is here that many of the family’s various artifacts, collected from their travels, can be seen. Most of these works of art are remnants or heirlooms of ancient Roman, Greek, or Egyptian sites while the surrounding floor is styled after the Pantheon in Rome.
Palladianism is a strict and oft severe style of architecture based on the stark designs of the 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio. Inspired by the buildings of ancient Rome, Palladio designed many plain but architecturally beautiful masterpieces that regularly included columns and pediments (the characteristic triangular stonework above many Classical British and Roman buildings) that were supported by pillars above a building’s entrance. The overarching theme throughout all Palladian structures is their symmetrical values that are often only blatantly obvious if viewing the buildings from above.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
The Sandringham Estate, Double Lodges, Sandringham
Norfolk, England, PE35 6EA
+44 (0)1485 542 555
- Address: A149, Holkham, Wells-next-to-the-Sea, Norfolk, England, UK, NR23 1AB
- GPS: 52.9498517,0.8036773000000039
- Phone: 0044 (0)1328 713 111
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: NR23 1AB
- Entrance Fees: Charges Apply
- Disabled Access: Fair
- Visibility from Road: None
- Image Credits: Lesley Rigg