Graham Allen 2019 Holkham.jpeg

Date published: 8th November 2019

The Lookout, on Holkham Estate, has been presented with North Norfolk District Council’s Graham Allen Award, an esteemed award given each year to the project considered to have made the most significant contribution to the built environment within the district.

The new visitor centre forms a striking circular arrival to the Holkham National Nature Reserve. The building consists of a small café, orientation exhibition and conveniences for visitors through its distinctive timber cladded finishes and open, inviting layout. With the nature reserve attracting approximately 800,000 visitors per year, this stunning new gateway promises to offer a unique visitor experience for years to come.

James Bracey, General Manager at Holkham Estate, said: “We feel extremely honoured to be recognised for this award.

The construction of the Lookout has created a much needed visitor facility at Lady Anne’s Drive, Holkham. This iconic building was designed to sit subtly within the landscape, whilst creating a strong link between the visitor and the natural environment. The building intentionally provides the simplest of facilities of respite, refuge and interpretation.  

This project demonstrates Holkham’s commitment to the natural and built environment.”

The award has been running for the last 38 years to celebrate the best practice in design and conservation in North Norfolk. The results of the awards were announced yesterday, November 7, at a ceremony at North Norfolk District Council’s offices in Cromer.

Phillip Rowson, North Norfolk District Council’s Head of Planning, said: “The Lookout is a fantastic new focal point for visitors exploring the nature reserve and will encourage understanding of its sensitive habitats and wildlife. The centre offers incredible views of the surrounding landscape and it’s the relationship with its setting which makes it so special.

“The quality of this year’s entries and subsequent shortlist for judging was exceptionally high, so this year’s winners can be incredibly proud of their achievement.”

The Lookout was not the only winner on the day. The prize for Highly Commended went to The Shambles Café. The project saw the repair and conversion of a derelict Grade II Listed building in the heart of North Walsham.

The building, which dates back to the 16th Century, is one of the oldest in the town and had fallen into a serious state of disrepair. The historic building has now been lovingly restored and is a popular local enterprise which has transformed the vitality of the area.      

Fakenham also enjoyed the spotlight when The Mews on Barons Hall Lane won the Commended prize. The project saw the creation of 10 high quality new homes formed in a contemporary terrace. 

The People’s Choice Award, voted for members of the public at North Norfolk District Council’s Greenbuild event, went to the refurbishment of Little Regents Hall in Sheringham. The historic community hall has been cleverly restored into a Bed and Breakfast.

Previous winners of the have included the refurbishment of the Gunton Arms on the edge of Thorpe Market and Hootz House at Pensthorpe Natural Park and last year’s overall winner; Church Barn in East Ruston.

Last updated: 20th September 2021