She may spend the majority of her time living at Buckingham Palace, but it’s no secret that Queen Elizabeth II also likes to spend her winters at Sandringham House...
- Sandringham House is one of two personal and private residences owned by The Royal Family, unlike the Royal palaces that belong to the Crown – such as Buckingham Palace.
- It’s where the Queen spends the Christmas period, staying there until mid-February every year.
- In other royal news, The Earl and Countess of Wessex are hiring! Find out more here.
Where is Sandringham House?
Located in Norfolk, Sandringham House stands within a 20,000 acres estate in the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – so it’s no surprise Her Majesty enjoys being there.
It’s located in the village of Sandringham, within the town of King’s Lynn – just a three hour drive from London.
This stunning house played host to ‘crisis talks’ between the Queen, Price Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry recently, after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they will ‘step back’ as senior members of the Royal Family.
A brief history of Sandringham House – when did the Queen inherit the royal home?
The Queen inherited Sandringham from her father King George VI in 1952, following his death on February 6.
Sandringham House has been the private home to four generations of sovereigns since 1862, when it was purchased for King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, as a country home for himself and his soon-to-be wife, Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Edward VII also developed the estate, creating one of the finest shoots in England.
Following King Edward VII’s death in 1910, the estate passed to his second son and heir, King George V, who described the house as ‘dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than anywhere else in the world’. It was the setting for the first ever Christmas broadcast in 1932. George V died at the house on January 20, 1936.
The estate passed to his son King Edward VIII and at the abdication, as the private property of the monarch, was purchased by Edward VIII’s brother, King George VI.
How much is Sandringham House worth?
Sandringham House is estimated to be worth £48.5 million.
When the Queen inherited the property in 1952, The Duke of Edinburgh took overall responsibility for its management.
One of His Royal Highness’s principles has been to maintain the estate for future generations, so conservation has always been an important part of the Estate’s management practises.
The estate is also home to York Cottage and Anmer Hall. York Cottage was built by Edward VII soon after he moved in and it has since become the country home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, after Her Majesty gave it to them as a wedding gift when they got married last year. Anmer Hall is a Georgian house on the grounds. At one point it was the country home of the Duke of Kent, but it is now the country home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
When does the Queen stay at Sandringham House – and who else lives there?
Her Majesty resides at Sandringham House from Christmas until February every year.
The Queen enjoys spending December 25 there and is joined by many members of The Royal Family who traditionally visit The Church of St. Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham Estate.
In 1957, the Queen made her first televised Christmas broadcast from the house.
Prince Philip also spends much of his time on the Sandringham Estate now that he is retired – living in the cottage Wood Farm within the grounds. But it’s thought he lives in the main house with the Queen when she is there.
No other members of the royal family live at Sandringham House full time, but many of them do stay there temporarily over the Christmas period.
What are the Sandringham House grounds like?
The house is set within 24 hectares of land, providing ample outside space for the Queen and her guests to enjoy.
Each monarch to have lived at the house has put their own stamp on the grounds, adding to the wide range of shrubbery, flowers, lawns and trees.
There are also a multitude of lakes within the gardens, which are all fed by natural springs. Many parts of the gardens are cornered off by intricate walls and gates too, adding a special touch to the royal abode.
Can members of the public visit Sandringham House?
In 1977, the year of her Silver Jubilee, the Queen opened the house and gardens to the public for the first time. The house, the landscaped gardens, park and woodlands are listed Grade II* on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
However, only certain parts of the grounds and house are open to the public with its museum, lavish gardens and visitor centre, and only at certain times of the year. In 2020, the house is open from 3rd April – 14th October.
The Sandringham Estate website recommends that visitors allow at least four hours time to visit, in order to get the most out of their time there.
The Visitor Centre Restaurant offers a two-course lunch with tickets to visit the house, museum and gardens. Sandringham House also hosts a large garden show each July ensuring that this royal residence is well worth a visit, even if it’s just to see where Her Majesty pulls her crackers every year.
In fact, you can even stay within the Sandringham Estate now! If you’re visiting, you can book a room at the Park House hotel, within the estate, or you can camp or caravan on the site. Find out more here.
Looking at pics of Sandringham House, we’re not surprised the Queen likes to spend her winters holed up there!