Play area is fit for a Queen - and her young guests
The Queen has a right royal treat ready for little ones who visit her Sandringham home from next week.
The children's adventure play area has been given a majestic makeover during lockdown with some spectacular features inspired by familiar landmarks on the estate and by the Duchess of Cambridge's garden at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show.
Set in a wooded area with towering trees, the centrepiece is a 26ft tall replica of the Victorian Appleton water tower which was built in 1877 to supply water to the estate. The tower structure will have a spiral staircase and a giant tube slide.
There is a secret enclosed play area based on Queen Alexandra’s Nest, a summerhouse built in 1912 on a rockery overlooking the Royal gardens and parkland.
And other landmarks reproduced in play area style include Sandringham's St Mary Magdalene Church and the ruins of the church of St Mary, near West Newton.
There is also a wet play area, a zip wire, swings and picnic tables and toddlers have their own feature in the shape of two houses connected by a bridge with wonky ramps, stepping stumps and a lookout deck.
It draws inspiration from Duchess of Cambridge's Chelsea garden which featured a tree house and hideaway to encourage children to enjoy nature. This theme will be echoed with bat and bird boxes and a wildflower plant scheme.
The playground, due to open on Monday, is replacing a smaller play area which was always popular with children among the 500,000 visitors who come to the estate each year. A design statement released when plans were submitted said that the aim was to make it more adventurous and to create themes distinctive and unique to the estate.
An estate spokesperson said: The new children’s play area forms part of improvement works across the estate, with a view to offering better facilities for visitors, whilst maintaining the landscape and environment for all to enjoy."