By Amy Hunt
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge might live in London, at Kensington Palace, most of the time, but when they are their three children are after a countryside retreat, they head to Anmer Hall in Norfolk.
- Anmer Hall, on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, is the family's second, country home.
- The family have lived there since 2013, after Prince George was born.
- It follows the royal news that Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla spent the past year's lockdown at Birkhall, their home in Scotland.
While the royal couple and their brood, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, have their base at Kensington Palace's Apartment 1a, they also have a rather lavish country home to retreat to, when they need to get away from the city and the hectic nature of their royal engagements.
In fact, the Cambridge family even chose to self-isolate in their Norfolk home during the first lockdown of the coronavirus pandemic.
So it's clear that they love spending as much time as possible at the country pile!
We take a deep-dive look into the second home of the Cambridge's...
A brief history of Anmer Hall
The Georgian home dates back to the 18th century, and was thought to be the the seat of the Coldham family originally.
It came into the hands of the royal family in the late 1800s, after the Sandringham estate was bought by Queen Victoria in 1862 as a present for Edward VII. Anmer Hall was not initially including within the estate, but later became a part of it.
Several people lived at Anmer during that time, but in 1972 the first members of the royal family took up residence there - the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Duke being the Queen's cousin. They moved out in 1990, when the property was taken up by Hugh van Cutsem. The van Cutsem family are close friends of the royals - and Hugh was a friend of Prince Charles.
Who lives at Anmer Hall now?
It was in 2013 that the Queen allocated the plush Anmer Hall - now a part of the Sandringham estate - as a belated wedding gift for Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
The couple were already living at Kensington Palace then, but were given Anmer for use when they want to spend some time outside of London, or when they were visiting the Queen and Prince Philip at the Sandringham Estate.
And it's so far proven brilliantly useful to them.
Soon after the birth of Prince George in 2013, the couple moved in to the grand 18th century building after an extensive redevelopment on the property.
The refurbishment is reported to have cost around £1.5 million, paid for from private Royal Family funds. Reportedly, Catherine was keen to put her own stamp on the place, and the Duke and Duchess ordered a new roof, new kitchen, a conservatory, and a complete redecoration of the rooms.
A huge range of trees were also planted around the perimeter of the property, to allow the famous family more privacy.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge lived full-time in the home from 2013 until 2017, in order to be close to William's job as a pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance Service. In September 2017, the couple moved back to London (Kensington Palace specifically) permanently, in order to allow Catherine and William to become full-time working royals, and ahead of Prince George beginning school.
They now live there with their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, when they are not at their main home in London's Kensington Palace.
Often, the Cambridge family will retreat to Anmer during school holidays. They also spent many months there when the UK went into the first lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Where is Anmer Hall?
Catherine and William's Anmer Hall home is handily situated just two miles from the Queen's Sandringham home - so Granny is able to pop over to see the family any time she likes.
The Cambridge family generally stay at their home during the Christmas period too, when the royals all gather in Norfolk.
The mansion is located in the tiny village of Anmer, which is within King's Lynn, a larger town. King's Lynn is a market town that has all of the amenities the Cambridge family might need - including restaurants, a patisserie, and a number of supermarkets.
What is it like inside Anmer Hall?
It's thought that Anmer has 10 bedrooms, and is set over three floors - one being their attic rooms.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we've seen many glimpses into the royal home, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge conduct official duties via video calls in Norfolk.
The calls have given an exciting look into their home - including a recent message from Catherine, standing near a window in Anmer, surrounded by lush greenery.
The couple normally take video calls inside just one the room, so it was a different setting to the one royal fans have been used to.
Normally, the couple appear to be in some sort of dining room or office room, sat with a laptop or computer on the table in front of them. The videos show the neutral decor of Anmer Hall, with sleek white doors and stylish green/grey walls.
According to reports, the royal couple have brought the property bang up to date since moving in, with the help of modern designer Ben Pentreath. Ben, a friend of Prince Charles, is said to favour bold colours and up-to-the-minute accessories, so it's likely the Duke and Duchess' country home is as stylish as it is comfy.
Ben reportedly encouraged Catherine to get out of her comfort zone with the home re-design, and it's now said that the abode is decorated in bright colours, with modern furnishings.
However, there are some rooms which have been left classic and traditional, including Prince George's former nursery - which now likely belongs to Prince Louis, who is two.
What are the Anmer Hall grounds like?
Anmer Hall is situated within acres and acres of land.
The family regularly enjoy spending time in the private gardens on the estate, and have often photographed their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, playing there for official portraits.
In fact, a source has claimed that the family are loving the freedom of their extensive gardens whilst spending more time at home this year.
Speaking to The Sun, they said, "George, Charlotte and Louis are now relishing their freedom in the spacious gardens of Anmer Hall. Climbing frames, a climbing wall and swings are a big part of the Cambridge outdoors activity scene, and Kate will do pond dipping and note-taking to log what they have spotted."
Catherine and William have also shared an adorable video of their three kids clapping for the NHS on their social media pages - showing a glimpse of the pretty gardens.
The outside space also provides a great play area for the family's beloved dog, Lupo, a cocker spaniel they brought into the family home soon after Prince George was born.
Reportedly, Catherine and William also have various members of staff at the home - including their much-trusted nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo. The Spanish nanny began working for the family in 2013, and has been with them ever since. She's regularly pictured looking after both George and Charlotte, and follows the family from their Anmer Hall home to their Kensington Palace home, whenever they may need her.
What is the area around Anmer Hall like - how do Kate and William spend their time there?
The royal family couldn't quite have picked a better place for some privacy. The hall is of course located in the small village of Anmer - which is so rural, it doesn't even have a pub!
Reportedly, the couple are left largely to themselves, and Catherine often pops into the local shops - including her favourite Waitrose - unbothered, as the local residents so used to seeing her walking around. Prince William also regularly cycles around the country lanes, while the pair pop to the local villages for pub lunches.
The area is also just 12 miles from the market town of King's Lynn, so if the couple ever need anything, they're just a short car ride from whatever they might require.
The Duke and Duchess' close friends, William Van Cutsem and his wife Rosie also live close by—and it's said the family regularly have dinner parties with their pals at their home. And while we don't imagine the Cambridge family and their social circle will be watching the Kate and William anniversary documentary, we imagine the family enjoy plenty of movie and TV screening evenings at their lovely country home.
Is Anmer Hall open to the public?
No. Given that Anmer is a private family home for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, it is not open to visitors.
Amy Hunt is Life Channel Editor at womanandhome.com, having been with the brand since 2015. She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on either women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly, Goodto.com, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on womanandhome.com. She is passionate about everything from books, to homes, to food and the latest news on the royal family. When she isn't editing or updating articles on cleaning, homewares, the newest home gadgets, or the latest books releases for the website, she's busy burying her nose in a gripping thriller, practising yoga, or buying new homeware of her own.
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