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Mixing with Royalty!
Sandringham House and Gardens (Norfolk)
Member Name: mreyre
Sandringham House and Gardens (Norfolk)
Date: 16/01/02, updated on 16/01/02 (56 review reads)
Advantages: you may rub shoulders with royalty, really blows the cobwebs away, well signposted
Disadvantages: no where to shelter if it does rain, playground equipment not very well serviced, cold in the Winter!!
I live about 30 minutes away from Sandringham, and frequently go for walks there with Lucy for some fresh air. It really is a luxury to live so close to somewhere so relaxing and peaceful (even more so out of the tourist season). If you didn’t know, Sandringham is the alternative residence of the Queen and other members of the Royal family. Princess Diana spent the majority of her childhood growing up around this area.
Of course, these days, the House and Gardens are a haven for tourists, particularly during July and August. The visitor centre and country park boasts the following features:
*An air-conditioned self-service restaurant.*
I have eaten there several times – the soup is always excellent after a cold winter walk. It is often quite pricey though, and in the summer, a picnic is definitely the best option.
*A traditional waitress-service tea-room.*
Again, quite pricey and they tend to do special “deals” which aren’t really special deals by the time you get to the cash desk.
This is great for all you tourists out there (particularly American and Japanese ones). All manner of Royal souveniers are sold here, for a price of course. Sandringham tea-towels and local produced jam and honey are in plentiful supply. There is also a very good selection of children’s books. Finally, the mature cheese from the chilled cabinet is out of this world and will blow your head off!
*Royal gardens flower and plant stall*
Actually, the plants are quite reasonably priced. For the sake of a fiver or so, you can grow your own bit of royalty in your back lawn. (sort of.)
*Free car and coach parking*
Very beneficial, these days. There are also plenty of close parking spaces for disabled access, and the car parks are very well signposted.
*600 acres of woodland and heath walks*
I have been a regular visitor to Sandringham for over 5 years now and I am
still finding new walks to go on. It really does blow the cobwebs away if you have had a stressful week at work.
*Grounds in general*
There are sixty acres of lovely grounds, very well maintained, especially in the summer months. In peak seasons there is a “land train” (like a tractor with a trailer on the back) to take you round. I would advise queuing early though, as there are only limited places available throughout the day. For those of you with green fingers, there are beautiful examples of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, magnolias and fuschias.
The house was built by King Edward VII and passed down as a private home through four generations of monarchs. Now it is of course the country retreat of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. I have never seen the Queen at Sandringham, nor been invited in for cucumber sandwiches, but I have seen Phillip riding his horse in the grounds. In the house itself, which is well worth a visit are many family portraits, fine porcelain, crystals, silver gifts, bronze and marble sculptures, guns and armour and personal gifts.
This is also well worth a look. There are many interesting things to look at – I was particularly fascinated by Prince Charles’ toy cars, vintage royal vehicles, the fire engines and the carriages and coaches. There are also many weird and wonderful gifts which have been given to the Royal family over the years, which now gather dust in a cupboard!
If you are intending on visiting, Sandringham is clearly marked from the A10 / A47 junctions, head for King’s Lynn and whizz down the A47 a bit and turn right at the roundabout – follow the brown signs and you’re there!
It costs nothing to walk around the grounds, but admission prices to the House and Museum do vary throughout the season. There are also regular Craft Fairs, which are good if you are into that sort of thing, but they
do attract vast crowds – in my opinion they are best avoided! Therefore, it is best to phone before hand, especially out of season. Phone: 01553 772675 or fax 01485 541571.
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