Estate is on the Lookout as new Holkham visitors' centre opens
Managers of one of the West Norfolk coast's most popular tourist spots say they hope a new visitors' centre will help in the battle to preserve its landscapes.
Improved facilities, information displays and sustainable catering are among the attractions in the Lookout building on the Holkham estate.
The building was formally opened by Andrew Sells, chairman of Natural England, in a ceremony on Thursday.
The event marked the end of a six year project for the estate, which welcomes around 800,000 visitors every year, and first appointed architects in 2012.
Standing at the entrance to the estate's beach, the circular structure offers new toilets and baby-changing facilities, as well as a catering outlet which uses ingredients with plant-based compostable packaging, in a bid to reduce plastic use.
There are also interactive displays explaining the vital role of the estate's vital support for wildlife, including the diverse range of species to be found on its grazing and salt marshes, as well as its importance for birds such as wildfowl, lapwing, little tern and spoonbill.
Wardens and education are also planning a range of engagement events as part of the scheme.
Peter Mitchell, the estate’s managing director, said: “The Lookout already feels embedded in the landscape.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for us to raise awareness of the valuable conservation work on the Holkham National Nature Reserve and how visitors can play their part.
“The project’s completion highlights Holkham Estate’s continued investment in enhancing the visitor experience.”
As part of the sustainability drive, customers will have the chance to purchase a "cup for life" with any drinks they buy in the centre.
And a drinking fountain featuring a reed sculpture created by blacksmiths from the estate's Holkham Forge has also been built.