Located in Norfolk, Sandringham House is one of two personal and private residences owned by the English Royal Family. The residence - which is occupied since Elizabethan times - is one of the most loved by the Queen, who uses to spend here the Christmas Day and year-end holidays.

Carlo Milani/Getty


Top choice in Norfolk

Both monarchists and those bemused by the English system will have plenty to mull over here, at the Queen's country estate. It's set in 25 hectares of beautifully landscaped gardens, and wandering around sumptuous reception rooms regularly used by the royals reveals a wealth of objets d'art and glinting gifts from European and Russian royal families.

Sandringham is 6 miles northeast of King's Lynn off the A149. Bus 35 runs from King's Lynn (£2.50, 20 minutes, hourly).

Sandringham was built in 1870 by the then Prince and Princess of Wales (who later became King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) and the house's features and furnishings remain much as they were in Edwardian days. The stables, meanwhile, now house a flag-waving museum filled with diverse royal memorabilia. The superb vintage-car collection includes the very first royal motor from 1900, and the buggy in which the Queen Mother would bounce around race tracks.

There are guided tours (£3.50, 11am and 2pm Wednesday and Saturday) of the gardens. The shop stocks organic goodies produced on the vast estate.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Norfolk attractions

1. Castle Rising

3.17 MILES

There's something bordering on ecclesiastical about the beautifully embellished keep of this castle, built in 1138 and set in the middle of a massive…

2. Houghton Hall

6.06 MILES

Built for Britain's first de-facto prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, in 1730, Palladian-style Houghton Hall is worth seeing for the ornate staterooms…

3. True's Yard

6.97 MILES

Housed in two restored fishers' cottages – the only legacy of the district's once bustling, fiercely independent fishing community – this museum explores…

4. Lynn Museum

7.12 MILES

High points here include a large hoard of Iceni gold coins and the Seahenge Gallery, which tells the story behind the construction and preservation of the…

5. King's Lynn Minster

7.34 MILES

The patchwork of styles here includes Flemish brasses and a remarkable 17th-century moon dial, which tells the tide, not the time. You'll find historic…

6. Stories of Lynn

7.34 MILES

A £2-million revamp has seen archive sources converted into multimedia exhibits, so you'll experience the stories of local seafarers, explorers, mayors…

7. Titchwell Marsh

9.94 MILES

The marshland, sandbars and lagoons of Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve attract vast numbers of birds. In the spring, listen out for the booming call of the…

8. Holkham Hall & Estate

14.69 MILES

Holkham Hall is the ancestral seat of the original Earl of Leicester and still belongs to his descendants. A severe Palladian mansion, it's largely…