Where is Sandringham - and can you visit?

The Sandringham Estate is where the Royal Family traditionally celebrate Christmas

A view of Sandringham House
(Image credit: Alamy)

Many are curious to know where is Sandringham, the estate where the Royal Family traditionally spend the festive season.

Much like royal fans are keen to know where is Balmoral (opens in new tab), the Scottish residence where the late Queen Elizabeth II chose to spend her summer break, many are also curious to know more about other royal residences.

From Bagshot Park where Prince Edward lives (opens in new tab) and Gatcombe Park where Princess Anne lives (opens in new tab), there are many historic homes owned by the Royal Family, some of which are open to the public. Find out here where is Sandringham and how you can visit the estate where the royals spend the colder months.

Where is Sandringham?

The Sandringham Estate is located in Norfolk, in the village of Sandringham and close to the town of King's Lynn. It is situated within the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The closest beach is Snettisham, which is close to the RSPM Snettisham Reserve and is known for being one of the few places on Britain’s east coast where you can watch the sun set over the sea.

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Sandringham was bought by Queen Victoria in 1862 for her eldest son and heir to the throne Edward VII, who was then Prince of Wales. Unlike many of the other royal residences such as Windsor Castle (opens in new tab) and Buckingham Palace, Sandringham is not owned by the Crown but personally by the monarch, and is passed down from each to the next.

How far is Sandringham from London?

Sandringham is roughly 100 miles from London. The journey takes around three hours to drive, but typically the Queen would make the journey by train.

In 2019, the late Queen was pictured arriving at King's Lynn train station after taking the Great Northern service from London King’s Cross. A police search was conducted at King’s Lynn railway station before the monarch’s arrival, with sniffer dogs and officers doing a thorough check of the platform.

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In her later years however, the Queen would travel by helicopter to Sandringham, following advice by doctors not to travel by train. In 2020 and 2021, the Queen was unable to travel up to Sandringham for Christmas - as was traditional - due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and flew there in late January 2022 instead.

How big is Sandringham Estate?

The Sandringham Estate covers 20,000 acres of land and houses many other properties - many of which are rented out - though it's not known how many rooms the main house has.

One of the properties at Sandringham is Wood Farm, a secluded farmhouse cottage with five bedrooms that was Prince Philip's home during the final years of his life. The cottage reportedly has only a small team of staff who don't wear any uniforms and is situated around two miles from the main house at Sandringham. It is said to have a view of the Norfolk coastline.

According to the estate’s website (opens in new tab), more than 200 people make their living from the Sandringham estate, which is also a working farm that grows wheat, rye and barley, timber, and organic vegetables and soft fruit.

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Who lives at Sandringham?

Sandringham has no full-time residents, but it is the estate where the Royal Family traditionally spend Christmas.

The late Queen Elizabeth II would usually arrive at Sandringham in mid-December and stay there until early February, and it is said that Sandringham had particular significance for her at that time of year, because it was where her father King George VI was born and where he died.

It was also where the Queen gave her first televised Christmas speech, in 1957, to mark the 25th anniversary of her grandfather George V’s first royal Christmas broadcast via radio.

In 2017, King Charles took over the management of Sandringham, though it is not clear whether he will remain in charge of the estate now he has ascended to the throne.

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Is Sandringham open to the public?

Sandringham Estate is open to the public. The grounds can be explored by foot or on bike. There are also pre-booked tours available for which tickets can be bought on the Sandringham Estate website (opens in new tab), as well as a gift shop, restaurant and cafe to visit.

There are also many public events that take place at Sandringham throughout the year, including the Sandringham Flower Show (opens in new tab), and the winter light trail, Luminate Sandringham (opens in new tab), which allow the public to explore the grounds.

However, the estate is currently closed for a period of official Royal Mourning, following the death of Her Majesty The Queen. Those wishing to pay their respects can still do so at the Norwich gates.

Can you go inside Sandringham House?

Members of the public can buy tickets to visit inside Sandringham House, but these must be pre-booked.

The house is usually open between 11am and 4.45pm from mid April until late July and then early August until November. During October and November the house closes at 4pm.

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