Sandringham, Norfolk, England, UK

Sandringham, Norfolk, the country retreat of Her Majesty the Queen

We went to visit my brother, Eddie, who lives in Dersingham, Norfolk, right next to the 24 hectare (59 acre) estate that belongs to the Queen. When she is not in residence, the grounds, and parts of the house, are open to the public; so we didn’t hesitate to pay a visit.

Eddie and David standing in front of the imposing gates to the grounds

Queen Victoria bought Sandringham in 1862 for her son, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, as a private retreat, so he could escape to the country from time to time, and it has been in the royal family ever since. Interestingly, Sandringham is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as “Sant Dersingham, the sandy part of Dersingham, which became shortened to Sandringham.

The gardens are exquisite, and beautifully maintained

I love photographing reflections, so I was in my element, given all the lakes!

There are other houses dotted about the grounds, 
apart from the main one, like this pretty little gatehouse...

…and York Cottage

This was originally built as a bachelor pad, and for any overflow of Sandringham House guests. It was subsequently named after Prince George, the Duke of York (later King George V), when his father, (the future King Edward VII, then the Prince of Wales) gave it to him as a wedding gift. Although it is called a cottage, the building is large and said to resemble "three Merrie England pubs joined together." Today, York Cottage contains the estate office for Sandringham; apartments for estate employees, and some vacation accommodation.

A bronze statue of Estimate, commissioned from the sculptress Tessa Campbell- Fraser

We came across several interesting statues in the grounds. This one of Estimate, was one of the Queen's favourite horses. Her Majesty The Queen loves horse racing, and takes a particular interest in bloodstock breeding. Estimate was given to Queen Elizabeth II as part of an 80th birthday present from the Aga Khan, who bred the horse in his own stud.

This statue of Buddha was bought in China by Admiral Sir Henry Keppel in 1870, 
as a gift for the Prince of Wales.

They say, if you rub the Buddha’s tummy and make a wish, your wish will come true. Naturally, we had to try that.

Old Father Time sits at the end of the North Garden at Sandringham. It was bought by Queen Elizabeth (the late Queen Mother) in 1951. The statue is believed to date from about 1800

The gardens at Sandringham show nature at its best, 
everything seemed so perfect, even this drake!

We also saw trees of every colour

This was a wonderful day out, to be highly recommended. Of course, we did go into the house to see all the wonderful treasures, but unfortunately photography is not allowed, so you will just have to make the trip and see for yourself. Thanks, Eddie, for showing us around this magnificent piece of English history.

Elizabeth Coughlan

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