New sketch offers closer look into the Sandringham playground redesign

New sketch offers closer look into the Sandringham playground redesign


The Queen’s revamp of Sandringham playground will feature a 26ft-high climbing frame based on the Appleton Water Tower with a huge curling slide and a climbing wall, new sketch reveals

  • Queen, 94, to revamp play area at Sandringham into an adventure playground
  • Plans for the renovation were submitted to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Council
  • Playground will include a rope swing, a zip wire and a high-level walkway 
  • Area to have similar features to Kate Middleton’s, 38, Back to Nature Garden 

A new sketch has offered more insight into the planned overhaul of the Sandringham Estate’s playground redesign.  

It was announced on Wednesday that the Queen, 94, was planning a huge revamp of the play area at Sandringham by adding features inspired by landmarks around her Norfolk estate.

One of these structures is the Appleton Water Tower, which was built in 1877 and has stood the test of time since then.  

The spectacular new playground, which is set to replace the existing smaller play area, will be built amongst the trees and feature many similar features to those seen in Kate’s Back to Nature garden, including swings, stepping stones and treehouses.  

The Queen, 94, has unveiled plans to expand the Sandringham Estate’s play area into a multi-level adventure playground with many features similar to the Duchess of Cambridge’s Chelsea Flower Show display last year. Pictured: Sandringham House

A sketch of the spectacular playground revealed today showcases the transformation of the children’s area on the Sandringham estate. It reveals a model of the local Appleton Water Tower is to be included in the playground 

A sketch of the play area revealed today showcases a wooden tower structure with a curling slide and accessibility ramp for children in wheelchairs. 

The main feature will be a 26ft-high pair of towers based on the former Victorian water tower at Appleton on the estate.

It will include a spiral staircase and a 46ft sliding tube back to the ground as well as water play features, ladders, a climbing wall and talking tubes for children to communicate between floors.

The tower, which supplied water to the estate, remained fully functioning until it was restored in 1976. 

Many of the features are similar to those designed by Duchess of Cambridge for her Back to Nature garden in 2019

The tower is particularly famous for the panoramic view it offers, which is said to reach until The Wash, which opens to the North Sea. 

The sketch has been unveiled days after a design statement said the existing play area will be enlarged to make it ‘more adventurous’ and ‘appealing to a wider range of children and families’.  

Several of the features are reminiscent of the beautiful display Kate Middleton presented at the Chelsea Flower Show in May 2019, which the Queen had seemed delighted to visit at the time. 

The garden featured a stream, tree house, rope swing, that Kate’s three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, then six, four and 12-months-old, had been shown to enjoy profusely. 

Sketches detail the layout of the playground area-to-be, complete with a picnic area, and mutli-level miniature models of the Queen’s favourite local landmarks 

The Cambridge children, accompanied by their father Prince William, then 37, had been photographed roasting marshmallows with their parents during the flower show.  

Kate had collaborated with Andrée Davies and Adam White on the Royal Horticultural Society Back to Nature Garden, which was all about celebrating nature and childhood memories. 

The plans follow recent improvements to car parks, the restaurant, shop and the visitor centre on the 20,000-acre estate which has 500,000 visitors a year.

The planning application states: ‘The play area is a vital part of the offering at Sandringham, creating a desirable location for families with young children.

‘It was discussed that the existing offering, although successful and enjoyed by many, could be improved by adding height to the structures, increasing the adventurous nature of the play elements and also creating themed elements, distinct and unique to Sandringham.’ 

A sketch shows that the structures that will be recreated for the playground include from left to right: the Appleton Water Tower,  Queen Alexandra’s Nest, St Mary Magdalena Church and the Ruined Church of St Mary

The plans describe one bit of play equipment for children to explore as being ‘a – multilevel play structure inspired by St Mary Magdalene church’.

The Queen and other members of the Royal family attend the 16th-century church when they are at Sandringham House over Christmas.

Another feature is inspired by the medieval ruins of the St Mary’s church at Appleton while a ‘secret enclosed play structure’ is based on Queen Alexandra’s summerhouse known as the Nest and built in 1912, overlooking the lake in the garden of Sandringham House.

A new toddler’s play area will include two play houses with slides, stepping stones, connecting bridges and low level walkways allowing parents to walk alongside their children.

The planning application states: ‘This master plan for the adventure play area aims to unify the space, maintaining the current play trail, whilst making sure all new elements tie in to the existing, allowing the site to feel harmonious throughout.’

‘There is also a consideration for using high quality natural materials, this is vital for a tactile and sensory play experience. We also aim to source materials locally where possible.’

The costs of the new play area have not been revealed.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: ‘Recently submitted planning applications to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council are part of the Estate’s on-going improvements works at Sandringham’s Visitor Centre and Country Park.’

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