I have always wanted to see where the Queen of England lives and spends time with her family. I know most of the time she lives in BuckinghamPalace in London but the long cold English winter she spends with her family at Sandringham House in the North East of England. Sandringham House is a country house on 20,000 acres of land privately owned by the British Royal Family.
This is one huge Estate and the gardens are just fabulous! My mom and I spent a lot of time outside walking through the immaculately kept gardens with its duck filled ponds and tree lined lanes. Sandringham House is set in 24 hectares of glorious gardens, perhaps the finest of all the Royal gardens.
Every generation of the Royal Family which has lived here has added something of their own times and tastes, from the peace of the woodland walks to the drama of the carrstone rockeries, from the formality of the NorthGarden with its pleached lime avenues to the intimacy of the Stream Walk.
The Garden is also filled with a number of random statues, from a defending Angel to a giant fat Buddha next to a smiling Asian lion.
I was so excited to get to walk the same paths that I am sure the Queen walks down when she is here.
The site has been occupied since the Elizabethan era, in 1771 when architect Cornish Henley cleared the site to build Sandringham Hall. In 1862, the hall was purchased by Queen Victoria at the request of the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) as a home for himself and his new bride, Princess Alexandra, who found that the surrounding Norfolk countryside reminded her of her native Denmark.
The gardens at Sandringham were first opened to the public by King Edward VII in 1908, and in 1930 the Museum was opened with an admission charge of 3d. Her Majesty the Queen opened the House itself to the public in her Silver Jubilee year, 1977.
You actually get to walk through the ground floor of Sandringham House and see where the Queen spends her evenings and where they eat their huge Christmas meal. There are guards slash guides standing around and they are more than willing to tell you about the artefacts in each room and what the rooms are used for. Sandringham House has been the private home of four generations of the British Royal Family. It is quite interesting to see the different objects that each Queen or family member used to collect all displayed in the different rooms. Both Queen Alexandra and later Queen Mary were great collectors of objects d’art.
The walls are covered in portraits of all the previous kings, queens, princess and princesses that have lived in this Estate before the current Queen of England. An important collection of oriental arms and armour is housed at Sandringham, brought back from the Far East and India in 1876, and a special exhibition in the Ballroom is changed every year.
Unfortunately the guards are also there to make sure that you don’t take any photographs inside the building.
There are stories that terrifying echoes of the past can be found in this royal family’s residence as it is haunted.
They say that there has been apparitions of dead relatives and servants passing through the eerie property. Sandringham House is an 18th Century mansion with more than 270 rooms, narrow passages and creaking floorboards.
A courtier said: “Everyone believes there are ghosts because so many have experienced them, including Prince Charles. There are old parts of the house where nobody wants to go or be alone. If you go wandering around the house alone you could be in for a nasty surprise.”
“There have been lots of incidents in the library. There is an old clock in there and the hands move by themselves. There is a smaller part of the library where a servant once had a kip, only to be woken by books flying from the shelves.”
In 1996, footman Shaun Croasdale fled the cellar screaming after believing he saw the ghost of the Queen’s favourite servant, Tony Jarred, who had died a year earlier. The Queen invited Shaun to share his experience.
Situated a short walk from the main house is an Estate museum which you should definitely visit if you have a chance. Here they display all the Royal cars, things presented to the queen from foreign dignitaries and even a room filled with hunting trophies.
Here they also have on display mini cars that huge motor companies like rols royce had especially made for the princes as birthday gifts. These cars actually work and the princess got to drive around the estate in mini versions of their parents cars. I would have loved one of these mini cars as a kid.
You are not allowed to touch any of these very impressive and expensive cars so I tried to get as close as possible without touching it for a photo. The guard stood there staring at me, making sure that I didn’t dare touch the immaculately polished cars.
For lunch we both had very tasty choc chip chocolate muffins and tea outside in the estate tea garden. This was a fabulous day spent exploring with my mom.