Holkham parkrun is a completely stunning one-lapper around the grounds of Holkham Hall in Norfolk. If driving, use postcode NR23 1RH – this will get you to the entrance gates of the property, in Park Road. Drive in towards the Hall and you should be met by a member of staff who will direct you to parking. The parking for parkrunners is actually on a grassy area opposite the car park. I think the car park itself is reserved for paying visitors. As a parkrunner, you get free parking until 10.30am which is plenty of time for most people to complete the course and get some refreshments. If you want to stay beyond 10.30am you will have to move your car to the official car park and pay (£3 for the day, September 2018).
Everything you need is really close together. The car park, the Courtyard Café, toilets and the start/finish are all within a few hundred meters of each other – all by the Hall – so it’s all very easy. At the start, the RD very kindly stood on the back of a truck and used a megaphone so that we could all see and hear. They use that truck to transport the equipment around and I saw that parkrunners were able to put their belongings on it for collection after the run.
The course itself is one lap and undulating. It starts on tarmac, between the Hall and the lake, and is a fairly wide path with grass either side, so plenty of space for everyone. After a few hundred metres you reach a cattle grid, but the pedestrian gate will have been propped open for the runners to use. It’s single-file here but then it widens out again as you run through farmland on hardened gravelly paths, which you will be running on for the first half of the course. It is quite undulating and the ascents, although not especially steep, are fairly lengthy. About halfway along the course you go back into the park and onto tarmac and run a long ascent to the Obelisk followed by a long descent to the finish, which is at the same spot as the start. An extremely enjoyable final 1km, all downhill and a view of the Hall the whole way. I even saw some deer as I neared the end.
I enjoy one-lap courses anyway, but this was one of my favourites due to the scenery and the super-friendly team. We were informed by the team that the resident family of Holkham Hall quite often join in with parkrun and the Countess of Leicester did indeed run the course with us that day. Holkham parkrun is definitely worth a visit – the grounds are superb and the Courtyard Café is lovely.
Official Event Page: Holkham parkrun
Nearby postcode: NR23 1RH
Hills: Ascent/Descent metres 57.0
Subjective PB potential: 6/10 – hard surfaces but undulating