Sandringham Gardens

A photograph of the gardens

Sandringham House is set in 24 hectares of glorious gardens, perhaps the finest of all the Royal gardens

The Sandringham Gardens cover over 25 hectares (60 acres) and are still used and enjoyed by members of the Royal Family and their guests when in residence. The main gardens are open throughout the summer to visitors who are invited to enjoy the vast areas of informally planted pleasure grounds developed in turn by each monarch since 1863 When King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra purchased the Estate. Surrounded by attractive locally quarried carrstone walls, the garden has a number of grand entrance gates, the main one being the Norwich Gates which were created in Norwich and after being exhibited at Crystal Palace in the great Exhibition, were purchased by the people of Norfolk as a wedding gift for King Edward and Queen Alexandra. A densely planted shrubbery with a shady woodland walk was instigated by Her Majesty in the late 1960’s. A collection of Rhododendron, Camellia and Magnolia trees were brought up from Windsor were planted to create more interest, shelter and privacy in the garden. Much of the planting has now matured and along with a wide range of rare and unusual trees, under planted with shade loving plants, provide a spectacular display for those who enjoy the shape, colour and texture of leaves, stems and bark though the seasons. Close to the House formal hedges of Yew and Box, flank the main drive and North End Garden, these along with three avenues of red twigged Lime trees which are pleached by hand each February, create sheltered walkways in the summer and brightly coloured stems during the winter months. Created by Geoffrey Jelicoe in 1947 for King George VI the formal enclosed areas of garden are informally planted in a cottage garden style and are usually at their best in late July where they provide a more secluded area and act as a haven for Bees and Butterflies. The West side the house overlooks a large expanse of lawn, once the site of an elaborate series of colourful formal flower beds and pathways, these were ploughed up during the 2nd World War to make way for crops as part of the dig for victory campaign. In recent years these large expanses of lawns have proved useful for large Garden Parties including one to celebrate Her Majesties Diamond Jubilee. Throughout the garden areas of informal lawn are dotted with trees of all ages many of them gifts and others planted by members of The Royal family or their guests. These include an Oak tree planted by Queen Victoria and a Giant Red Wood tree planted by Princess Christian Of Denmark. The Oldest tree in the Garden is a Veteran Oak standing beside the upper lake, this is said to be over 8oo years old. Two ornamental lakes are bordered areas of rockwork were landscaped in the 1880’s for King Edward VII by James Pulham, a landscape gardener of the time who specialised in stonework and the creation of grottoes, rock faces and stoneware which was very popular at the time. His company fashioned the rockwork using pioneering methods which are thought to have included paint colourings mixed with rock dust and cement to create a type of render, this was used to cover a mixture of objects including brick , slate and even ironwork, to create the shape of a natural rock strata. Sited on the Rockery above the upper lake is a small stone summer house, known as Queen Alexandra’s Nest, built in 1913 this was a gift to Queen Alexandra from Sir Dighton Probyn. Below the summer house is as tiny waterfall and a hidden cave created by James Pulham serving as a boathouse. Natural Springs feed the lakes and an ornamental stream planted with moisture loving plants meandering through meadow areas. This part of the garden is managed in a more naturalistic style to encourage a wide range of wildlife. Separated from the main garden by a public road is an ornamental Edwardian walled garden leading to what was once a 17 acre kitchen garden and glasshouse production area. Although the Kitchen Garden closed over 50 years ago and the original glasshouses replaced by more modern equivalents soon after, the ornamental areas are still retained and are opened to public tours occasionally allowing visitors to appreciate the scale and grandeur of what was once one of the largest kitchen gardens in the country.

Guided Garden Tours

Guided Garden Tours

Guided Garden Tours are run on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May at 11am and 2pm, and at other times by arrangement for pre-booked groups. Some of these tours include visiting the Walled Garden which is not otherwise open to the public. There is a supplement of £3.50 per person for the guided garden tours. The garden tours are themed depending on the season. The guided garden tours all start from the garden entrance. Tickets can be purchased at the Ticket Office. (Groups can be accommodated at other times by prior arrangement). If you would like to arrange a garden tour for your group please contact us.

Woodlands Walk

Woodland Walk

The Woodland Garden was re-landscaped in the 1960s by Sir Eric Savill. This area includes many examples of Camellia, Rhododendron, Magnolia and Pieris. If you’re lucky in late May the Handkerchief Tree will be in flower! This walk also passes the Norwich Gates.

Time of the year

May

Duration

1.5 hours

Finish point

Sandringham House Front Door

Water Garden

Water Garden

This garden tour includes the lakes and rockeries which were landscaped by James Pulham using his famous ‘Pulhamite’ stone, and Queen Alexandra’s Nest. A selection of marginal plants such as Hosta, Primula and the giant Gunnera can be seen, as well as others such as Astilbe and Hemerocallis, together with one of the oldest oak trees at Sandringham. The walk takes in views across the lakes and stream of Sandringham House and York Cottage. The 2pm tour will include the Walled Garden, not normally open to the public.

Time of the year

June and July

Duration

1.5 hours

Finish point

Sandringham House Front Door

Walled Garden

Walled Garden

Looking at the changes to the forecourt over the years and passing under Queen Victoria’s Oak, this is the only opportunity to view what remains of the old 17-acre Walled Gardens. As well as the Ornamental Square Garden, which is still planted with a variety of Penstemons, Dahlias and other bedding plants, visitors will see where the huge crops of fruit and vegetables were once produced. The walk passes under the pillars of an old pergola and by the old head gardener’s cottage.

Time of the year

August and September

Duration

1.5 hours

Finish point

Sandringham House Front Door

Autumn Colour

Autumn Colour

This walk takes a general look at the striking autumn colours in the garden, with a particular focus on the trees as the foliage transforms into rich auburn colours and the berries as they start to ripen. The walk follows the Woodland Walk and continues around the Upper Lake. There will also be a brief visit to the Walled Garden.

Time of the year

October

Duration

1.5 hours

Finish point

Sandringham House Front Door