Sandringham Travel Blog› entry 2 of 3 › view all entries
Another place that brings back childhood memories for me. My grandparents ran an old peoples home in the small City of Ely,Cambridgeshire in the 80's. We used to bring the residents to Sandringham to see the Royal Family go to Church during the Christmas Holidays.My sister and I roped in to push wheelchairs.
It meant we got front row views of the Royals and I vividly remember seeing Diana on her first visit and getting a close up view of what an attractive lady she was.
Sandringham has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862. The house is set in 24 hectares of gardens, is perhaps the most famous stately home in Norfolk and is at the heart of the 8,000-hectare Sandringham Estate, 240 hectares of which make up the woodland and heath of the Country Park which is free to visit all year round.
The House of course has a charge for entry but incudes the Museum too. Built in 1870 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, Sandringham was once described as 'The most comfortable house in England'. It has been passed down as a private home through four generations of British monarchs and is now the country retreat of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.
The main ground floor rooms, regularly used by the Royal Family, are open to the public and the decor and contents remain very much as they were in Edwardian times. Both Queen Alexandra and later Queen Mary were great collectors of objets d'art.
Members of the Russian and European Royal Families were frequent guests at Sandringham and brought gifts of enamel, silver and silver-gilt: Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany gave a fine Dresden porcelain chandelier and mirror frame. The walls are hung with family portraits by the leading contemporary court painters. 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.
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.