Ever get stuck with what to do on a weekend? Bank Holiday weekend? Or simply want to escape to somewhere different. Sandringham Estate is a lovely idea for all ages and mobility. The Queen of course loves it!
The Estate is made up of tidal mudflats of the Wash, wetland, woodland, livestock and fruit farms. Her Majesty The Queen treasures Sandringham Estate as her main Christmas retreat and we often see her and the rest of the Royal Family walking up to the church on Christmas day. This is also from where she broadcasts her Christmas message.
The house itself consists of 24 hectares of perfectly managed gardens nestled in the heart of 8,000 hectare Sandringham Estate. The woodland and heath of the Country Park make up 240 hectares.
The Visitor Centre is positioned across the road from the main entrance and has ample free parking, café, restaurant and well-stocked gift shop. Here you will find local delicacies and great gifts for those that could not make it along for this visit.
There are also tractor and trailer rides available for a small charge that take those not up for the 1 mile and 2 mile walks, around the Country Park and provide excellent commentary. These have access for those who need assistance as well as well-chairs.
Once across the road at the main entrance to the estate you can choose to take a short walk up to the house or have a short wait (approximately 20 min) for the shuttle ( golf cart) to take you through the gardens to the house. The rooms available for view are limited to the downstairs area and ballroom opposite but the most interesting is chatting to the guides. Many of who have indeed worked for the Queen and have wonderful bits of information about the activities enjoyed by the Royal Family (not breaking their trust of course), the history of the furniture and all the trinkets.
There is a short walk from here to the Museum that houses many of the Royal Families’ cars as well as the historic Fire Engines and an opportunity to have a reviving cup of tea at the Stables Tea Room.
If you feel like walking back through the gardens, there are many benches scattered along the path should you need a rest and want to take in the vistas. The North Garden, West Terrace and especially the Lake are beautiful. Queen Alexandra’s summerhouse, the “Nest”, overlooking the lake will definitely allow for some daydreaming. From the delightful Stream Walk at the eastern end of the gardens you will get a view of York Cottage, once the bachelor quarters for King Edward’s guests, later the much-loved home of King George V, and currently the Estate Office.
When you are heading back to the main entrance try not to miss out on the parish church of St Mary Magdalene. This is a country church of outstanding historic interest, with memorials to many relations of the Royal Family from Queen Victoria onwards.
Sandringham Church is considered to be one of the finest carrstone buildings in existence, and dates back in its present form to the 16th century.
To enjoy all Sandringham Estate has to offer it is best to set aside 4 hours. A place with this much history and beauty deserves to be enjoyed at a country pace.
For more information it is best to go the Sandringham Estate website.