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Sandringham, PE35 6EN
Free/ entry/ Free parking
7-Mar-16 to 7-Mar-21
The wooded public section of the Sandringham Estate is a great place to walk and picnic. Whether you visit the Country Park in May when the rhododendrons are in bloom; in the autumn when the woods are bright with colour and the ground covered with acorns and chestnuts; or in the winter when the hoar frost may make the birch trees gleam white against a darkening sky, you will find yourself in a living landscape.
Set in the woodland of the Country Park, the Visitor Centre was developed to provide excellent facilities for visitors all year round, with timber buildings designed to blend into the landscape, but air-conditioned and offering every comfort inside. There is free car and coach parking, and this is where you will find the Restaurant, Gift Shop and Plant Centre, plus "Everything Outdoor", specialising in country clothing and accessories.
Times and prices are subject to change. Contact venue before setting out.
This is a brilliant day out for the family - and particularly good for days where the weather isn't so good (so pretty much most of the British summer then). We visited Sandringham just before it closed for the royal family's visit over Christmas. The children with us (aged 8 and 10) loved seeing the living room where the royals open their Xmas pressies. But what particularly brought the place to life was the commentary by the staff thoughout the house who clearly love sharing nice stories about their bosses such as exactly what time the Queen turns on the TV on Xmas Day etc.
Only the downstairs part of the house is open to visitors, so the tour doesn't take too long for fidgety children. The grounds are beautiful - plenty of places to run around (although you'll need to watch out for smaller children close to the stream and lake). But what elevated this stately home into a Top 5 favourite place for the kids was the car museum which features the pedal cars that Prince Charles and his siblings got to zoom around the grounds in - including a fantastic working scale model of a Bond Aston Martin which not only had the children, but the husbands completely fascinated by.
There's a large gift shop/garden store and cafe/restaurant outside the gates which you can visit without having to pay for entry to the house and grounds. And there are tractor and trailer tours around the grounds and adjoining county park.
You can also visit the local parish church without having to pay, which is where the royal family go every Christmas morning. An absolutely dear of a lady looking after the church there told us that although the royal pew is usually always roped off, one ardent eight year old visitor (who was blind) was brought on to the alter past the rope so she could sit in the Queen's chair and get a proper feel for it.
We loved this place and are already planning a return visit in the summer.
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