Wednesday 27 June 2018
Hidden Passages and Servants’ Stairs - Behind the Scenes Tours of Holkham Hall
Behind the grand state rooms that the public normally see, hidden from view, lie a labyrinth of corridors and stairways. Servants could come and go throughout the hall without being seen or heard. They would appear in the state rooms as if by magic!
These guided tours take you behind the scenes to explore some of these never-before-seen passages and stairs. But, be aware, you will need stamina and good shoes as there are 70 winding stairs to climb up and 70 more to climb down. The tour starts at the porter’s door in the servants’ wing. After a brief insight into how space in the hall was divided between the senior servants, we will climb the back stairs to the corridor which serviced the state, or royal, bedchambers.
We will climb further to the bedrooms in which the royal entourage were housed, now known as Nelson Wing today and peep into some of the bedrooms, which are still in use for visitors.
We then climb even further to explore the attics and tower rooms of Holkham Hall. Here we will see the hall’s rooftops from the windows and the courtyards far below, the newly repaired bell-tower and the attic libraries. We will see the fabric room with its many chairs waiting their turn to be restored, as well as much more which is now in storage.
The attics offer glimpses of fabulous views over the park. We shall hear the story of Lady Mary Coke, daughter-in-law of Thomas Coke, who locked herself away in one of the tower rooms and hear the tall tales of strange goings-on within the book shelves.
Finally, we shall descend via a spiral staircase which comes out by the main bank of servants’ bells near the butler’s pantry, before returning to the porter’s door.
Price: £25 adult, £12.50 child (recommended age 10+).
Location: Holkham Hall, Wells next the Sea, Norfolk, North Norfolk
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