Queen opens Sandringham Estate to the public for exclusive winter event

The public can visit the monarch and Prince Philip's Norfolk home this winter

The Queen Attends Church At Hillington In Sandringham
(Image credit: Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images)

The Queen and Prince Philip have opened their private Sandringham Estate to the public this Christmas. 

The Sandringham (opens in new tab) Estate is not part of the Crown Estate property portfolio and is privately owned by the Queen. The Duke of Edinburgh (opens in new tab) himself manages it, having reportedly been asked to take on this responsibility by the Queen when she ascended to the throne in 1952. This decision to open the grounds to the public is a break with tradition for the couple, who usually celebrate Christmas there. 

But with the ongoing effects of the pandemic meaning that the monarch has decided to celebrate “quietly” at Windsor Castle (opens in new tab) instead, this Christmas will be a little different (opens in new tab) in more ways than one. 

Now the Queen has decided to launch another festive first - right at the heart of her private Norfolk estate...

What event has been launched on the Sandringham Estate?

Running nightly from 17 December until 17 January, excluding Christmas Day, they have launched Luminate (opens in new tab). This month-long event is ticketed and will provide some much needed winter joy for visitors. 

Luminate’s website suggests that the public can expect to enjoy “a spectacular illuminated trail, full of wonder and intrigue”, all “nestled deep within Her Majesty’s private Estate”. 

They suggest that the dazzling mile-long trail will “delight and enthral” the senses. The “stunning light elements” and “fabulous light play” are all set to be accompanied by ambient music. 

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With so many festive and winter events cancelled this year, this magical event is sure to add that bit of seasonal sparkle back into this year and early 2021.

It’s also thought that the new move might help the Royal Family to recoup some money after the Sandringham shop and cafes were forced to close their doors throughout much of this year due to the pandemic.

These services help provide valuable revenue that supports the running of this impressive royal Estate.

Sandringham Estate

(Image credit: keith beeson / Alamy Stock Photo)

Which royals might get to experience the Queen’s new winter light trail?

Whilst the Queen might have sadly been forced to cancel the Royal Family’s traditional Christmas gathering at Sandringham, many of her relatives could be close enough to pay this festive trail a visit. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (opens in new tab) have yet to announce where they will be spending their Christmas break. 

Whilst it’s thought likely that the couple will celebrate with Duchess Catherine’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, it could be that they retreat to their own Norfolk home, Anmer Hall (opens in new tab).

Anmer Hall, home to Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

(Image credit: Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)

Situated on the Sandringham Estate, Anmer Hall was gifted to Prince William and Duchess Catherine by the Queen after their wedding (opens in new tab)

If the couple do end up spending any of the coming month at their country home, it seems certain that their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis would enjoy this light trail.

With Christmas just around the corner this certainly makes for a magical winter experience.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.