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Britain > West Norfolk > Sandringham

One of the mansions belonging to the British royal family, set in parkland in rural Norfolk

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House
Gardens
Museum
Church
Country Park
Sandringham House is one of the mansions belonging to the British royal family. It stands in the Norfolk countryside, and acts as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of London.

Sandringham House
The house has belonged to the crown since 1862, when Queen Victoria bought it for her son, the future King Edward VII, and his new wife. Shortly after moving in, though, Edward decided that it just wasn't big enough, and so the entire building was razed to the ground, and built again. This new building was finished in 1870, and has remained ever since.

Part of the front of Sandringham House
Since that time, Sandringham has been passed down to four new monarchs, eventually ending up in the possession of Queen Elizabeth. All of these rulers, included Her Royal Highness, have become exceedingly fond of the Norfolk mansion. It is still the place where the Royal Family spend Christmas and New Year, and has therefore been the location of many of the Queen's Christmas speeches. This includes her very first Christmas message, broadcast live on the radio in 1952.

The entrance to Sandringham House
Given that the house is so well used by the monarch and her family, you may be somewhat surprised to learn that much of Sandringham is actually open to the public. When the royal family are elsewhere, visitors are free to look around the main ground floor rooms, which are still furnished in a very traditional Edwardian style. The furniture and decorations include some fabulous treasures, many of which were gifts from the monarchs of other countries. The house is staffed by guides, who are happy to answer any questions you might have about the house, or its contents.

Sandringham House Drawing Room
There are more beautiful and interesting artefacts at the nearby Sandringham Museum, which is housed within the old stables. There are all sorts of bits and pieces here, from photographs, to carriages and motor vehicles. Another place that's worth seeing is the church of St. Mary Magdalene, a beautiful building which the Royal Family usually visits on Christmas Day.

The Sandringham Museum

Royal vehicles are on display in the museum

Sandringham's St Mary Magdalene Church
Sandringham House is surrounded by sixty acres of beautiful gardens, full of sights and smells. These have been enhanced or modified by every monarch who has lived here, making it a diverse and fascinating place. You can see flowers, lakes, rockeries, and streams, with free reign to explore as you please.

Part of Sandringham's extensive gardens and lake

Budha Statue at the end of an avenue of trees
Outside of the house and gardens, there is a vast country park, full of pretty heath and woodland. There are two nature trails, marked out for convenience. If you don't fancy walking, you can hop aboard one of the tractor tours, which offer an easier way to see the sights. Alternatively, you can just go ahead and wander around in whichever direction you like. Maps and directions are available at the visitor centre, which also has restaurants, caf├ęs, and shops selling everything from souvenirs, to foods and plants.

The visitors centre at Sandringham Country Park
The Country Park is open all year round, but if you're planning to visit Sandringham itself, then it's worth checking ahead. After all, it's the Queen's house, and she wants to use it sometimes!
Visitor Information
Car-parking can be found at the Sandringham Visitors Centre.

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