Sandringham House, UK – the Queen’s private home

The Queen’s private home  – Sandringham Estate

Sandringham Estate was bought by Queen Victoria in 1862 for her eldest son Edward VII.  He was the Queen’s great grandfather. The entire estate has about 8000 hectares of land and includes the main house, a 16th century church, vast gardens and woodland and many other smaller properties rented out to tenants. Queen Victoria paid £220k for it back in 1862, which in today’s money is about £27.4m!!! Today, the estate is estimated to be worth £48.5m!!!

This is the Queen’s country retreat and apparently, she really enjoys it here. It is therefore not surprising that she normally spends Christmas here with her family every year.
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THE FRONT ENTRANCE

During summer, the house is open to public and this is a great way to see how the other half lives in England. The house has three floors, but only the ground floor is open to public. Sadly, no photos were permitted inside so I can’t show you what it looked like. I’ll have to leave you at the front entrance.
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Having done a tour of the Queen’s private home, I can report the house is old but not drapey.  You can feel it’s someone’s loving home although not the type of home you and I are accustomed to. I think it’s probably the nearest the general public can get to the Queen, to see how she lives. Which to be honest, isn’t that much different from everyone else. Having your family by your side, gathering around the dinner table. The thing that amused me most, was the Queen’s prized trophy from one of the major horse races (I can’t remember which one). The Queen keeps it on the dinner table as part of the silverware and uses it as a fruit bowl! Even the Queen likes to show off her proud moments!!

THE REAR OF THE HOUSE

Considering this is the Queen’s house, it actually isn’t large, especially when you compare it to Buckingham Palace which has 775 rooms. This is the rear of the house and the tour included rooms on the left hand side up to the green dome part.
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THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE

And this is the side of the house. It’s two rooms deep, even though you can see three windows on the side. You have to remember, you can’t compare the size of the rooms at the Queen’s private home with the rooms in our house!!!
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THE GARDENS

The garden outside the house covers around 24 hectares and is included in the price of the house tour. The landscape has changed over the years as each monarch has added his/her mark to it. I probably didn’t spend as much time here as I should because it was getting a bit late after I came out from the house tour. I strolled around the North Garden which extended out from the side of the house.

Then I  walked across the rear of the house, around the lake looking back to the house. The view was gorgeous from this angle and I can imagine how enchanting it would look in the winter when the snow falls on the trees.
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ST MARY MAGDALENE CHURCH

Another must visit location on the Sandringham Estate, is the 16th century St Mary Magdalene Church. This is where the Royal family attends their Christmas service, and has baptised many royalties. This included the King Olav V of Norway who was the great grandchild of Queen Victoria. Other royalties baptised here were Princess Diane, and her grand daughter Princess Charlotte.
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Due to social distancing, there was a short queue to go inside the church. I didn’t have to wait very long as the church was quite small and people don’t spend that much time inside.
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And once inside, it felt very relaxing. It’s quite a low key church in my non church goer opinion, save the silver bling altar and the beautifully decorative panels on the sides.
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This pair of plaque honours the Queen’s parents. Her father King George VI died at Sandringham when she was away on a state visit to Kenya in 1952. He lay in state in this church for two days before moving back to Westminister Hall in London. That’s another reason why Sandringham holds special memories for the Queen as she was not present when her father passed away.
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England’s has a plethora of  grand houses that belongs to the wealthy and noble. In the past I’ve been to quite a few such as Ham House,  Chatsworth House,  and Basildon Park.   However, apart from Buckingham Palace, Sandringham House is the closest I’ve come to royalty.

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