Houghton Hall


Built for Britain's first de-facto prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, in 1730, Palladian-style Houghton Hall is worth seeing for the ornate staterooms alone, where stunning interiors overflow with gilt, tapestries, velvets and period furniture. The surrounding grounds, home to 600 deer, and the 2-hectare walled garden are dotted with contemporary sculptures, making for grand but pleasant rambling. Houghton Hall is just off the A148, 13 miles east of King's Lynn.

Intriguingly, there could have been a whole other dimension to your visit, were it not for the fact that Sir Robert Walpole's grandson sold the estate's splendid art collection to Catherine the Great of Russia to stave off debts – those paintings formed the foundation of the world-renowned collection at the State Hermitage in St Petersburg.

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