Great Country Houses of Norfolk: A Private View

This tour has already taken place and is now here as an archive
James McDonaugh

A 20% deposit of the total cost of your trip is needed to confirm your place on the tour.

This trip will show you the very best of Norfolk and its magnificent country houses. You will have private visits to Holkham Hall, Houghton Hall and Blickling Hall, as well as to a number of houses which are never open to the public. Some of the visits will be led by the owners themselves. You will stay in Norfolk’s finest hotel in the delightful small town of Burnham Market.

This study tour will include a visit to the Walpole Masterpieces at Houghton Hall from Catherine the Great's Hermitage in Russia.

Your lecturer

James McDonaugh is an art history lecturer focusing on Italy, Turkey and Greece. He has led tours for academic bodies in the UK and America including the Art Fund, The Courtauld Institute of Art and Historic New England. Combining a deep knowledge of art, literature, history and theology, his aim is ‘to bring to life some of the most beautiful objects and places of interest in Europe’. James has an MA in Philosophy and Theology from Oxford, a diploma in Art History and an MA in Architectural History from the Courtauld Institute. He runs his own travel company, Art Tours Ltd, for private clients and academic groups. James led the hugely successful tours of “Istanbul” (2009) "Ancient Greece" (2011) and “Great Country Houses of Dorset” (2012) for THE COURSE.

Marble Hall, Holkham Hall

Your Hotel

The Hoste Arms view website »
The Green, Burnham Market, PE31 8HD
Telephone: 01328 738777

A boutique retreat, situated only two miles from North Norfolk’s award winning sandy beaches. Nestled in Nelson’s county, The Hoste is surrounded by beautiful countryside, miles of unspoilt coastline, acclaimed nature reserves, picturesque villages and historic market towns. This charming hotel with its renowned Michelin Bib Gourmand and two AA rosette restaurant and beauty spa, is located in one of Norfolk’s loveliest villages, Burnham Market.

Holkham Hall from the west

The price includes:

  • Accommodation in Norfolk’s finest hotel, The Hoste Arms, in Burnham Market close to the sea. All rooms are large doubles and have baths.
  • Services of Tour Lecturer James McDonaugh
  • Services of local on-site experts
  • All ground transport by private coach, including return from London Victoria
  • All admission charges
  • The cost of seven private visits
  • All dinners and lunches, these include wine, water & coffee
  • Introduction drinks on night one
  • All tips
  • All taxes

* Those who wish to make their own way to Norfolk may do so, but we regret that we cannot offer money off for those making their own travel arrangements

The price does not include:

  • Any incidental and personal expenditure (laundry, telephone, etc)

This tour is organised by Art Tours Ltd who are responsible for all the arrangements. Please refer to Art Tours Booking Terms and Conditions which can be found on their website The itinerary is subject to change should local conditions or unexpected restrictions occur. It has also been arranged many months in advance and the private visits may be subject to amendment.

Interior, Holkham Hall

Book your place

Places are limited so please book early. For further information:

Mary Bromley
020 7266 7815
E Mail:
The Course, 105 William Court, 6 Hall Road, London NW8 9PB

Great Country Houses of Norfolk tour outline

Day 1 / Thursday 12 September

Participants meet in London and drive in a luxury coach to Norfolk
Private visit to an extraordinary Italianate palace, renowned for its rotunda filled with great paintings and furniture and with a very beautiful and early Italian garden.
Lunch at the house in a private dining room
Depart for Burnham Market
Settle into The Hoste Arms: this is Norfolk’s most comfortable boutique hotel, first established as an inn by the Pitt family. The inn was used by Horatio Nelson every Saturday to collect his dispatches during a period of unemployment between 1788 and 1793
Welcome drinks
Dinner in private dining room of hotel
Holkham Hall

Day 2 / Friday 13 September

Depart the hotel by coach
Visit to Houghton Hall: this was home to Great Britain’s first Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole, and show piece for the talents of William Kent. Robert Walpole sold his magnificent art collection to Catherine the Great of Russia to adorn the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Now, for the first time in over 200 years, this collection has been reassembled in its spectacular original setting and you will have the opportunity to see it. The Saloon also displays the extent of Kent’s abilities with wonderfully intricate and complex decoration executed in carving, plasterwork and painting. Highlights also include the seventeenth century bronze, ‘The Gladiator’. You will go in before the public.
Depart for lunch
Private lunch at an Edwardian house which contains a lovely water garden and paintings by Panini.
Private visit to a beautiful William Kent House, the greatest Palladian house in Norfolk after Holkham and Houghton
Return to the hotel
Private dinner
Holkham Hall

Day 3 / Saturday 14 September

Depart the hotel by coach
Private visit to Holkham Hall: a Palladian marvel on the outside, while the interior spaces take their inspiration from the architectural wonders of Rome, including the Pantheon and the Temple of Fortuna Virilis. Highlights include one of the most complete collections of Roman statuary in a private house in Britain and a sequence of beautiful rooms, including several libraries.
Lunch at the ‘Victoria Arms’ at the Holkham gates
Depart for Heydon

Visit Salle Church: this is one of Norfolk’s most beautiful and monumental parish churches, dating from the 15th century with wonderful medieval misericords, ‘wine glass’ pulpit and rood screen with medieval paintings of the Four Latin Doctors.

Visit St Agnes Church: The severe perpendicular architecture of the 15th century tower of St Agnes’ is in stark contrast with the beautiful and colourfully painted medieval rood screen and imaginatively carved medieval ceiling that adorn the inside. There is also medieval stained glass and misericords

Private visit: you will tour the grounds of this private Elizabethan house and your guide will be the owner
Tea at Heydon village tea room, in one of England’s rare private villages
Return to the hotel
Dinner at the hotel
St Agnes Church, Norfolk

Day 4 / Sunday 15 September

Depart the hotel
Private visit to Blickling Hall: this was the Norfolk residence of the Boleyn family and birthplace of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne. The magnificent architecture is the work of Robert Lyminge, who was chief architect of Hatfield House. Among the treasures inside is the Hall’s Library, which contains a historically significant collection of manuscripts and books, including the ‘Blickling Homilies’. Stroll around the gardens
Lunch at the Gunton Arms in Thorpe Market
Depart for London by coach
Return to London, Victoria
Blickling Hall