Tag Archives: Gardens

Rhododendrons at Sandringham

As spring gets underway, the Norfolk countryside bursts into life. Trees sprout bright green leaves, migrating birds return to our fields and waterways and wild flowers dot the countryside. Nowhere is this more evident than in Sandringham Country Park. Famous for its manicured gardens, woods and open areas, the park is the perfect place to experience the joys of spring.

In May, Sandringham’s rhododendrons erupt into their annual display of colour. One of the highlights of the park, these enormous shrubs attract visitors from far and wide every spring. If you’re visiting Norfolk this May, or if you live in the area and want to experience one of the county’s most famous sights, here’s how to make the most of Sandringham’s rhododendrons this spring.


Snapshot of Sandringham
Built in 1870 by the then Prince and Princess of Wales, later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, Sandringham was once described as ‘The most comfortable house in England’. Its gardens where designed in the 20th century by famous planner and landscape architect Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe and have been attracting admiring visitors ever since.

In 1968, an area of 142 acres of Sandringham Park was opened to the public. This has since been enlarged to a whopping 243 hectares, giving visitors an enormous slice of stunning Norfolk countryside to explore. The most impressive rhododendrons at Sandringham are located within the park. Take a woodland walk through the estate in May and you’re guaranteed to come across a number of outstanding rhododendron displays.

Where?
Rhododendrons can be found throughout much of Sandringham Park. The estate is located to the north of King’s Lynn, around five miles from the King William. The nearest train station is in King’s Lynn. From there you can either catch a bus or cycle to the estate.

When?
Sandringham Park is open to the public throughout the year. It’s free to enter and you can pick up information about walking routes and activities in the park from the visitor centre. From mid April to the end of October, the private gardens at Sandringham are available to visit. Opening times are between 10:30am and 4:30pm.

Various events take place in Sandringham throughout the year, so check what’s going on in advance if you want to make the most of your visit.

Norfolks’ great big skies – Get romantic – go star gazing

star-gazingStargazing in Norfolk
With its enormous skies and low levels of light pollution, it’s no surprise that Norfolk is one of the best places in the country for stargazing. The north of the county is an especially good place to explore the galaxy, with stargazing events regularly held across the area.
Around 90% of the UK population is unable to fully see the stars thanks to light pollution, so it’s no wonder that thousands flock to the Norfolk coast every year to see the constellations. Whether you’ve set up a telescope in our expansive countryside or you’ve found the perfect spot on an idyllic East Anglian beach, Norfolk is a fantastic place to lie back, relax and watch the universe go by.

Stargazing in Norfolk
Though stargazing has always been a popular activity in Norfolk, the BBC’s recent series Stargazing Live, has brought the pastime into the mainstream. One of the programme’s presenters, and the astronomer on The One Show, Mark Thompson is also the president of the Norwich Astronomical Society. The show has helped to inspire a whole new generation of stargazers, with many of Norfolk’s best locations now teaming with amateur astronomers.

The best places to see the stars in Norfolk
Whether you’ve been recently inspired to take up the telescope, or you’re an old hand when it comes to identifying Orion, The Plough and the Seven Sisters, you’ll find plenty of locations to explore across Norfolk. Regular events take place at Kelling Heath, one of the best known stargazing spots in the county. Other popular Norfolk locations include Salthouse and Cley, but great views can be enjoyed from pretty much any rural spot in the county.

Getting involved
If you’re just in the county for a holiday, check with the local tourist board to find out about events that are taking place during your stay. If you live nearby, or want to find out a little more about stargazing while you’re in the area, drop into the Norwich Astronomical Society for one of the group’s weekly meetings and get a taste of what stargazing is all about.

With countless beaches, country parks and protected areas to explore, there are more than enough excellent stargazing spots in Norfolk to keep you busy. If you are heading out to the beach to have a go – or even want to nip out into our back garden just see our constellation maps on the pinboard or ask a member of staff for a copy.

Sandringham Gardens

Sandringham House

One of Norfolk’s most famous addresses, Sandringham House has been one of the Royal Family’s favourite homes for generations. Beautifully designed, peaceful and surrounded by Norfolk’s stunning countryside, the house is one of the most picturesque in the country. And though there’s plenty to see in the house itself, the gardens that surround the stately home are also well worth a visit during your stay in the area.

If you’re planning a country retreat at the King William this summer, a trip to Sandringham Gardens will make a wonderful addition to your trip. Just a 15-minute drive from our front door, the gardens are a great place to relax, unwind and take in Norfolk’s sensational countryside.

Sandringham Gardens
Opened to the public by King Edward the VII in 1908, Sandringham’s gardens cover 24 hectares of elegantly landscaped and painstakingly maintained lawns, woodlands and formal areas. Taking in some of the most beautiful views in the county, the gardens are surrounded by the 240-hectare Sandringham Estate which takes in woodland, wetland, arable land and farmland – a must see for anyone interested in the Royal Family, landscape design and nature.

The gardens themselves contain two lakes, an expansive rock garden, a woodland garden and a secluded enclosed garden which was designed for George VI in 1947 by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe. Various features have been added by each generation of the Royal Family over the years, and today visitors can explore Queen Alexandra’s summerhouse, the formal North Garden, the delightful Stream Walk and the avenues of rhododendrons, azaleas and lavenders. You’ll also see a number of commemorative trees as you explore the gardens, giving you a sense of the house’s history and the important role it’s played in royal life over the years.

sandringhamgardens2Visiting Sandringham
Though the country park is open to the public free of charge throughout the year, you’ll need to buy a ticket if you want to visit the gardens themselves. Opening times vary so make sure you check the current schedule before you plan your trip.
One of the best ways to see the gardens is with a guided tour. Tours are available on Wednesdays and Saturdays though it may be possible to have a tour on another day if you book in advance.
A wonderful way to learn more about Norfolk’s history, and to explore it’s beautiful landscapes, a trip to Sandringham Gardens will be a highlight of your stay at the King William.

East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden

East ruston old vicarage 1Here at the King William, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to attractions. You’ll find some of the country’s most beautiful stately homes, country parks and historic sites on our doorstep, with a number of pretty villages, characterful market towns and pristine beaches just a short drive from our front door.

One of the most remarkable attractions in the local area is the East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden. Just over an hour from the King William, this stunning garden showcases the best of British creativity, eccentricity and ambition.

The East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden
When owners Alan Gray and Graham Robeson arrived at the Old Vicarage in 1973, the garden was a blank canvas. Over the years, they’ve worked incredibly hard to create a spectacular garden, filled with rare and beautiful plants and offering a variety of landscapes, themes and settings.

Covering 32 acres of arable land, just a few miles from Norfolk’s North Sea Coast, the garden is sheltered from the worst of the British weather by a belt of Monterey Pine trees that help to create a unique micro-climate in which the garden can flourish.

In the East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden, you’ll find an enchanting array of different areas to explore. Visit the Californian ‘Desert Wash’, the Exotic Garden or the large cornfield sown with poppies, marigold and cornflowers or stroll through the formal gardens and admire the collection of sculptures and artworks on display from local artists.

A selection of lovingly cultivated plants is available for purchase at the garden’s shop, giving you the chance to recreate an authentic slice of East Ruston in your own home.

east ruston old vicarage 2Visiting East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden
The East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays throughout the summer months. There’s a charming tearoom on site to keep you going as you explore the lawns, paths and wooded areas, and guided tours are also available from the garden’s designers.
Special events take place at the garden throughout the summer, so make sure you check what’s going on before you plan your trip. Check out the website on http://www.e-ruston-oldvicaragegardens.co.uk/

Combine your visit to the East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden with a trip to the characterful town of Cromer or the stunning beaches of Norfolk’s coast for an unforgettable day out.