On this post I will highlight the places we visited and the best things to see and best things to do in Sandringham and around.
Last Sunday, we went to Sandringham and Norfolk Lavender with our friends/neighbours S and G and our dog Bambino.
The weather was very good, sunny but not too hot. We left our town at about 9 am and arrived at Norfolk Lavender at about 10 am.
After parking the car, we went to see the formal lavender garden that displays a collection of various types of lavender and is arranged in a very tide and well-maintained way. We walked around the garden and took various photos of the plants and fields.
Norfolk Lavender is one of the first lavender farms in the country and besides the gardens, they also have a distillery extracting lavender oil off the plants to produce a range of products, which can be purchased from their well stored shop.
It is a nice place to go and spend a few hours, especially if you have kids, as they also have an animal garden and play park open to visit. The site has a good size shop selling the lavender products and all kinds of souvenirs. The site has a cafe/restaurant with tables outside. There is also a shop with decorations and furniture for the home that stocks beautiful tables and side boards, as well as, very attractive ornaments.
After visiting the gardens and shops, we sat at the café and had some coffee and cake. My friend G had the lavender cake, which I tried and really liked. Bambino had his dog ice-cream, and everybody was happy to continue the trip to Sandringham.
In another fifteen minutes we arrived at the Sandringham Estate. The estate is formed by the Royal Parkland, House and Gardens, totalling about 20,000 acres of land. Sandringham House is the favourite country retreat of the Queen and has been regularly used by the Royal family as a private home for generations. It is not a palace but a private country home for the Queen and her family. They usually spend Christmas there and attend mass on Christmas day at St Mary Magdalene Church on the grounds of the Estate. It was there that in 1957, the Queen gave her first televised Christmas message. Since then, it became a tradition for the Queen to appear on TV every year to wish “Happy Christmas” to everyone in the country.
From the car park we walked to the Courtyard where you can buy the tickets to access the house and gardens (£23 house + gardens) We bought our tickets and my husband stayed with Bambino in the Courtyard, as dogs are not allowed in the garden or house. There is a café/restaurant and a shop in the Courtyard as well, with tables outside.
We headed to the other side of the road through the main entrance and walked through the beautiful garden and around the lake to access the front entrance of the house. Opposite the entrance there is a statue of one of the Queen’s favourite racehorses, “Estimate”, a black mare that won the Queen many races, including the Golden Cup at the Ladies’ Day at Ascot in 2013 and many others.
Upon entering the house, we were given an audio guide that told us all the information about each room we entered. The rooms were beautiful without being over the top like many of the palaces. Only the ground floor was open for visitation, no visits to the bedrooms or anywhere upstairs. The staff was also very helpful, adding to the information if asked, at each room. We really enjoyed visiting the interior of the house and the gardens and thought the price paid was fair, as we can imagine how much it must cost to maintain a house of that size, and the gardens.
We had some lunch, consisting of sandwiches at an outside table and after that went for a long walk following the Yellow Nature Trail in the Royal Parkland. This route is two and half miles long. There is a Blue Nature Trail route as well, which is only one and half miles long, but we decided to take the long one. That was an easy walk in between well-maintained parkland, great for Bambino that could run off lead and enjoy the long walk.
They have a big kid’s play area full of playground equipment which seemed to be very popular with the children (and some adults) on that day.
Overall it was a very pleasant and relaxing day, spent with friends and enjoying beautiful scenery on this elegant royal home. I would definitely recommend a visit if you want to go with family or friends, or even by yourself, to take in all Sandringham has to offer.
Below you will find a list of what to visit, where to stay and where to eat in Sandringham and around. I classified each place as follows:
BOLD – Visited, tried and recommended
NOT BOLD – Not visited or tried, but planning to visit or try and heard very good reviews
*** – Excellent
** – Good
* – OK
£££ – Expensive
££ – Fair and affordable
£ – Cheap
WHAT TO VISIT IN SANDRINGHAM AND AROUND
1 – Sandringham Estate – ***
2 – Norfolk Lavender – ***
3 – Castle Rising
WHERE TO STAY AROUND SANDRINGHAM
1 – The Rose & Crown, Snettisham – 4* – ££
2 – Linden Bed & Breakfast – 4* – ££
3 – Ffolkes Arms Hotel – 3* – ££
WHERE TO EAT AROUND SANDRINGHAM
1 – Rose & Crown – Snettisham – ££
2 – The Gin Trap Inn – Ringstead – ££
3 – The Neptune – Hunstanton – ££
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