We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our day trip to Sandringham! If anything it was a bit too warm, but no-one was complaining! We left Capel at 9.30 with a full coachload and stopped for coffee at Swaffham at the Ecotech Centre. This is next to the huge wind turbine with a viewing platform that you can actually climb up to if you have a mind! None of us did, however, and we went on to Sandringham enjoying the beautiful Breckland scenery on the way.
On arrival we collected our tickets and went our separate ways to visit the house, garden, church and grounds, pacing ourselves in the heat.
The house was very interesting with Royal photos and memorabilia in each room, and it had a very cosy, homely feel to it. Built in 1870 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, Sandringham was once described as ‘The most comfortable house in England’. There was a fascinating exhibition in the ballroom coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the Coronation. First there were numerous informal photos of the Queen , taken from different eras of her life by all sorts of people – members of the public as well as press photographers and family. Then there was the famous jigsaw, with 40,000 pieces, created by Dave Evans, from Weymouth, Dorset, who spent 35 days hand-cutting the 20ft by 8ft puzzle which features 33 images of last year’s Jubilee celebrations! It is believed the completed puzzle could be a record breaker – as the world’s biggest hand-cut wooden jigsaw. Finally there was a selection of the hand-made greetings cards received by the Queen in her Jubilee year. Apparently she was sent over 100,000, but there were about 60 or so on show. These ranged from ones designed by children to embroidered cards and beautiful collages. A stunning display!
After the house there were the gardens to walk through, and the landscaped grounds to explore with 2 beautiful lakes to sit by. Coffees and lunches could be bought at the courtyard restaurant but most of us enjoyed our own picnics in idyllic surroundings. Some of us went into the church of St Mary Magdalene, which holds regular services on the estate and is used by the Royal family when they are in residence. The church dates back to the 16th century and contains many memorials to members of the Royal family from Queen Victoria onwards.
At the end of our day there was an opportunity to have a cuppa and visit the gift shop. It was another “grand day out” for Capel Ladies!