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Things to do at Sandringham House estate Norfolk - England UK HubTrail

Updated on August 6, 2013

A little about Sandringham

Sandringham House is owned by the British Monarchy and is described not as a palace or castle, but as a comfortable home where the royal family enjoy spending their time relaxing. I, along with many others who live in Norfolk and in the neighbouring counties am lucky enough to have Sandringham House on our doorstep.  

Sandringham as we know it today was built in 1870 replacing the original building which Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later known as King Edward VII) purchased in 1862.  Following his marriage to Princess Alexandra and the increase in family members it was decided that the house was no longer large enough, and so he instructed architect AJ Humbert and builders Goggs Brothers of Swaffham to build Sandringham House as we see it today.

The Sandringham Estate covers an immense 6400 hectares of farmland.  Farmers rent out 4000 hectares of this land while the rest is made up of woodland, orchards and small village buildings.  The overall responsibility of the Estate was taken over by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1952 when her majesty began her reign over the British Isles as Queen Elizabeth II.

Views around Sandringham

Park House, Birth Place to the late Diana, Princess of Wales
Park House, Birth Place to the late Diana, Princess of Wales
St Mary of Magdalene Church, Sandringham
St Mary of Magdalene Church, Sandringham

Visiting Sandringham

If you happen to decide to visit Sandringham (which you should) you will be in for a very pleasant surprise. Unlike most family outings these days, a trip to Sandringham can cost you nothing. All car parking is free, and there is ample of this. On very nice days people will even park their cars on the roadsides as you approach the Estate entrances. These areas are very much in the direct sunlight for most of the day making them a very idyllic place to have a picnic. If you decide to park your car in the main car park and this happens to be full (not unusual on a nice day) then you should be able to find space in the overflow park which is just the other side of the main green (actually nearer to the children’s play area).

Once the car is parked you will find the main visitors area a pleasant sight with a restaurant that caters for all needs, a smaller café that does lovely cakes to go with your afternoon tea.  Ice-cream booths outside where there are benches scattered around, and the before you head off home you may like to take a look in the gift shop where you can find everything from food produce (all made locally, if not on the Sandringham Estate) too books and toys.  

Sculpture trail carvings

Felix and his beaver greet you at the start of the sculpture trail.
Felix and his beaver greet you at the start of the sculpture trail.
An Owl carving overlooking the walk
An Owl carving overlooking the walk

What can you do while at Sandringham?

A total of 243 hectares of the Queens Private Estate has been designated as a Country Park. This was first done in 1968 when 142 hectares were made available for the public, but gradually over the years more land has been made available for the public. There are various ways of viewing the parkland, one of which is the two waymarked walks, the blue and yellow trail. The blue is the shorter walk of just 1½ mile, while the yellow is 2½ miles. While on these trails you will be able to look out for some of the various wildlife as well as looking at the beautiful wild rhododendrons, which usually flower in May and is truly a wonderful sight to see. If a shorter walk is needed then why not try out the sculpture trail which is ideal for little legs as you walk through a wooded area viewing the woodcarvings that have been exhibited. If you do not feel like walking and would prefer to hear a little history of the park as well, then why not try out the tractor and trailer rides, which operate from April through till October. These wind themselves through the estate showing you views of Park House, birth place of the late Diana, Princess of Wales and of Sandringham House. If you are lucky you may see some deer, but you should definitely see plenty of birds and maybe a squirrel or two. There is a small charge for this ride at Adults - £4, seniors - £3 and Children - £1 which is payable to the driver when you get on. The driver gives a running commentary of history and facts regarding the estate that is well worth listening to even if you don’t think you’re interested.

Entry Prices to Sandringham

Should you decide that you would like to see inside the House and gardens then there is a fee for this, which is detailed below.

2013 Admission Prices for the;

House, Museum & Gardens

Adult £12.00

Senior Citizen/Student £10.00

Child (5-15) £6.00

Family (2 adults and 3 children) £30.00

Season Ticket from £30.00

Guided Garden Tour £2.50 Supplement

Museum and Gardens Only

Adult £8.00

Senior Citizen/Student £7.00

Child (5-15) £4.50

Family (2 adults and 3 children) £20.50

Guided Garden Tour £2.50 Supplement

Car and coach parking are free of charge. Dogs (except registered assistance dogs) are not admitted in the Gardens but are welcome in the Country Park.

The house itself has been described as the most comfortable house in Britain. There are guides in all rooms that are full of knowledge and willing to answer any questions you may have about their designated room. The gardens are an expanse of beauty, with spring fed lakes and woodland walks cover an

A little clip of Sandringham

Sandringham Estate has its own church St Mary of Magdalene where the royal family worship regularly when in residence here, which is usually at Christmas time.  The church is built of Carrstone and deemed to be one of the finest in existence.  It is thought to date back in its present form to the 16th century.

King George V planted many orchards during his reign at Sandringham and these are now harvested for the apples and to make apple juice.  The park also grows many arable crops as well as vegetables which are used in the visitor restaurant.  Many of the other products, such as plants, shrubs and herbs can also be purchased in the visitor shop.  The Sandringham Beef and Lamb can be purchased exclusively from Great Bircham Foods.

A map showing Sandringham in Norfolk

A
Sandringham House:
Sandringham, Norfolk PE35, UK

get directions

A Country retreat for Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family

The Sawmill at Sandringham is open to the public from Monday – Saturday with times varying so it is best to check before you go.  At the sawmill they use wood that has been purposely harvested from the estate to make gates, fencing etc. 

Another of the Sandringham Estates great assets is the Royal Stud, original established in 1886 by Edward Prince of Wales.  Over the years the stud has proved to be highly influential with the breeding bloodlines of thoroughbred racehorses.  The Queen herself takes great interest in the horses and has been rewarded on the racecourse.  One of the Royal Studs most notable accomplishments in the racing world was Persimmon, who won the St Leger and the Derby in 1896. The statue of Persimmon can be seen at the entrance to the stud.  

What else happens at sandringham?

There are many events held at Sandringham House during the year and all of which are well worth a visit. One of the most popular locally is the annual flower festival and craft fair, both good days out. You can also see Carriage Driving were The Duke of Edinburgh can be seen taking a keen interest, sometimes doing some of the judging.

If you would prefer to visit Sandringham House Norfolk for a weekend then why not take a look at staying in one of the local hotels or B&B’s or if you prefer camping or caravanning then there are two sites to choose from. The Camping and Caravanning Club Site and the Caravan Club Site, both of which are to the usual standards that both clubs expect of their sites.

Conclusion of Sandringham

The conclusion of Sandringham House is that it is a place that is worth visiting whether you are a royalist and wish to see how the royal live and have lived in the past, or whether you just want a cheep day out and a place for the children to stretch their legs and burn some energy.  Of note is that dogs are more than welcome here as long as they are under control at all times (goes without saying really).  I hope you come and visit this great estate soon.

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    • nasus loops profile imageAUTHOR

      nasus loops 

      7 years ago from Fenland

      Thanks for dropping by bumpers3. I am pleased you enjoyed the hub and found it interesting. I noticed this weekend that they have updated the playground and now put a small slide in there with multiple ways to get up. I hope to add photos and details soon.

    • profile image

      bumpers3@aol.com 

      7 years ago

      Very nicely written and you did a great job keeping it interesting

    • nasus loops profile imageAUTHOR

      nasus loops 

      7 years ago from Fenland

      Hi MickS

      I am pleased you liked the guide, although I am looking at adding to it soon.

      Unfortunately I do not have anything on Flag Fen, maybe this is another project for me. A good place to go visit maybe with my son.

    • MickS profile image

      MickS 

      7 years ago from March, Cambridgeshire, England

      Nice little guide, somewhere to have a look at next year.

      Do you have anything on Flag Fen?

      best

      Mick

    • nasus loops profile imageAUTHOR

      nasus loops 

      7 years ago from Fenland

      Hi D.A.L. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my hub, I really do appreciate your comments. I am pleased that you enjoyed it and the photographs.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 

      7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      nasus loops thank you for producing this very informative well written hub. The photographs brought your work to life. Really enjoyed this visit.

    • nasus loops profile imageAUTHOR

      nasus loops 

      8 years ago from Fenland

      Hi leni sands.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting on the hub. I pleased you enjoyed it.

    • leni sands profile image

      Leni Sands 

      8 years ago from UK

      I used to live and work in Norfolk - never did get to see the sights so I appreciate this hub. Thanks for sharing.

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