Twenty miles north-east of the ancient town of King’s Lynn lies an exquisite exercise in aesthetic delight. Nestled within wooded grounds on the Norfolk coast, sunset-hued Holkham Hall is one of England’s finest examples of Palladian architecture, ranked in the top 20 of Sir Simon Jenkins’ England’s Thousand Best Houses. It is also one of the largest English aristocratic country estates in existence.
Home to the Earl and Countess of Leicester, Holkham has been in the family for 400 years, the land bought by the lawyer (pronounced `Cook’) in the early 17th century, something more at this website.This illustrious ancestor of the present Earl not only built up the family fortune, but was also the first man to convince Parliament that it had the right to hold the King to account. He set the stage for the Civil Wars a decade after his death in 1634.
As Sir Edward is the man to whom the old adage “an Englishman’s home is his castle” is attributed, it seems odd that it was another century before the Coke family built a home impressive enough to merit such pride. Inspired by his Grand Tour of Europe of 1712-18, and especially his study of Roman architecture in Italy, Thomas Coke — created the 1st Earl of Leicester by George II — made Holkham Hall his life’s work.Visit this historical countries and learn more about them at hotel comparison best website.
Raised around a central rectangular block, the first floor of which houses the State Rooms, each corner branches out into a separate wing.The north-eastern of these is home to the family of the current Earl and Countess, who have done much to restore the house to its original glory.
Though Thomas died five years before Holkham’s completion in 1764, he left copious notes, enabling his wife to finish the Hall “to commemorate in the most perfect manner the Taste, the Elegance and the refined Erudition of its illustrious Founder”. The notes, along with sketches by William Kent, who designed much of the interior to Coke’s specifications, have enabled the present Earl to reposition the Hall’s contents and recreate its glory as his ancestor envisioned.
After the relatively austere ochre bricks and classical shapes of the exterior, visitors will be overwhelmed by the spectacular, if misleadingly named, Marble Hall. It is perhaps the grandest and most ornate entrance hall of any stately home in Britain. With columns copied from the Temple of Fortuna Virilis in Rome and the ceiling from the Roman Pantheon, the ‘marble’ is actually softer, more translucent alabaster, coming primarily from Derbyshire and Staffordshire mines, see the best prices and the best hotels to stay in whole Europe at this hotel price comparison website.
Despite the scale and intricacy of this most impressive room, the Marble Hall’s creamy colour scheme keeps it restrained and far from gaudy. The flower motifs and half dome of its ceiling, adapted from designs by Inigo Jones, are echoed through the rest of the building, from the grand Saloon to the cosy North Dining Room and alcoves in the ceiling of the Long Dining Room.