Sandringham

Sandringham is one of my favourite places to visit. It’s about an hour and a half’s drive from where I live, so Adrian and I decided to go up there last week and take a tour round the house, gardens and museum. We also had a delicious picnic on the Queen’s lawn, unfortunately she wasn’t at home on the day we went but I’m sure she wouldn’t mind us having tea and sandwiches in her back garden. I would loved to have bumped into her and caught up on family gossip.

Sandringham House is the Queen’s country home and is situated in North Norfolk, about 20 minutes away from Hunstanton (which, might I say, is the windiest seaside place on the planet!) Sandringham House has the most amazing gardens and woods where you can walk round, it’s filled with beautiful flowers and statues. If you don’t fancy walking all that way, there’s even a shuttle that will drive you round to take in all the wonderful sights.

Sandringham House

Sandringham House

We didn’t go inside the house on this visit as we’ve been in many times before. There’s a section that is open to tourists and a tour guide will show you around each room and talk you through some very interesting facts. The bronze statue of the horse Estimate is a new addition since we came last, it stands right outside the main entrance to the house. The Queen is the first reigning monarch to win a Gold Cup when her horse, Estimate, won in 2013. You learn something new every day!

Sandringham House

Sandringham House

Sandringham House

Sandringham House

Sandringham House

Sandringham House

I had to do it, didn’t I? If there’s a place to have a slice of cake then you can guarantee I’ll be there. We went into the Stables Tearoom, which has a wonderful selection of cakes and sandwiches, I naturally choose the chocolate cake and it was absolutely delicious, I’m surprised it lasted long enough for me to take a photo. There’s also a restaurant that sells home cooked hot and cold meals, but it was extremely busy on our visit, plus I think we’d already eaten enough from the picnic we’d brought with us.

Sandringham House

Sandringham House

Sandringham House

There are so many hidden little places at Sandringham, it’s such a beautiful place to sit and relax, enjoy a picnic and take in the scenery. It’s an extremely popular place for tourists but the further into the woods you go, the less chance you’ll bump into crowds of people.

I had to have my photo take outside York Cottage, which is on the other side of the lower lake at Sandringham and will be the country home of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. I did wonder if Harry and Megan were in one of the upstairs rooms measuring up for nursery furniture, but no, there wasn’t any sign of them. Oh well, maybe next time.

Just a bit further up from York Cottage is Queen Alexandra’s Nest over looking the picturesque view across the lakes, this charming summer house was built for her in 1913. Sadly I couldn’t get up any closer as it’s not wheelchair accessible, it would have been the perfect place to chill and listen to the sounds of nature.

Sandringham House

Sandringham House

We must have walked round every inch of the stunning gardens, one of the prettiest and most interesting areas was the North Garden, where you’ll see a statue of Father Time, the Buddha Statue, colourful flowers and beautiful box hedge lined walkways. You could literally get lost in there, it’s almost like something out of a fairy tale. Whatever time of year you visit the gardens look amazing,  Spring leading into Summer is probably the best time as the displays of rhododendrons are quite simply breathtaking. On a sad note, somewhere in the grounds of Sandringham I lost one of earrings that Adrian bought me for our wedding anniversary in 2011, I didn’t notice until we got back to the car.

Sandringham House

Sandringham House

Sandringham House is absolutely amazing with the most spectacular views of the house, woods and gardens, as well as inside the house and museum. There’s also a gift shop where you can buy something to remember your visit including jams, cookies and little trinkets. I bought my Aunt a jar of Sandringham Strawberry Preserve as she loves some on her toast in the mornings, and for myself I picked up another thimble for my collection. Next door to the Gift Shop is an outdoor clothing shop, you could always pick up a pair of walking boots if you fancy an extra long walk round every inch of the woodland. Inside the museum there are all kinds of items that have belonged to various generations of the Royal family. One I found particularly interesting were these wheelchairs that belong to Queen Victoria, I’d quite like mine to have a plush royal red cushion.

I love coming to Sandringham House, it’s such a beautiful place. Each time I’ve come there’s always been something new to learn or different to see. I’ve been a few times but still haven’t quite made it to the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, it’s right next to Sandringham and is used by The Queen and members of the Royal family. You’ll be able to watch them walk from Sandringham House down to the church on Christmas Day. I’d definitely recommend Sandringham to anyone, even if you’re not a royal fan, it’s such a stunning stately home with amazing architecture and a wonderful history. The gardens and woodland are quite simply beautiful.

I can’t wait to come again soon.

Sandringham House

Sandringham House

Sandringham House

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Hitchin Lavender

A few weeks back Adrian and I spent the most relaxing afternoon at Hitchin Lavender. The last time we visited was back in 2014 and considering I only live a short distance away I can’t believe this is only the second time I’ve been. This year we made a conscious effort to go and make the most of the beautiful flowers over the last few weeks of summer.

I’ve never been one to just pack a bag and go anywhere on the spur of the moment, I’m the kind of person who needs to both mentally and physically prepare for an outing, even if it is just down the road. Since I started my blog I won’t relax until I’ve got the photos I’m after. The visit to Hitchin Lavender was going to be more of a challenge than normal. I’d seen everyone’s gorgeous photos pop up all over Instagram,  I began wondering how on earth I was going to get any kind of content without having a bench to sit on and not include my wheelchair. Thanks to my very kind husband and an old picnic rug I think we managed quite well.

Hitchin Lavender

Hitchin Lavender

I’ve been to a couple of lavender farms before but none quite as large and beautiful as the one in Hitchin. There are around 25 miles of lavender rows which you can walk through and pick your own fresh flowers from. I had forgotten the amazing smell that hits you the moment you arrive, then you are immediately greeted by a sea of purple as the views from inside are quite simply stunning. The farm is well equipped for all visitors, including a gorgeous cafe and gift shop, which I obviously had to pop in before we left.

I hadn’t realised how many other bloggers came to visit Hitchin Lavender, there was a number of fashion bloggers taking photos for their Instagram and parent bloggers taking photos of their little ones collecting lavender. I was determined to get my shots too, however difficult it was.

Hitchin Lavender

Hitchin Lavender

Hitchin Lavender

It was a boiling hot day when we visited the lavender farms and I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to stay. I’ve been taking a white umberella out with me to use as a parasol, I’m sure people wonder what on earth I’m doing holding a brolly in the middle of a heatwave but it’s one way of keeping the midday sun from directly beating down on me. There are a couple of shaded seating areas right near the entrance, on the day we came it was full up with people sheltering from the heat, but it is something to bare in mind if you are planning to visit.

The first place we headed for was of course the rows of lavender, after all that’s what we came for. The entrance fee to Hitchin lavender costs £6 for each adult (£4 for wheelchair users) and £3 for a child, the price includes a brown paper bag which you can fill with lavender cuttings using a pair of scissors you’re loaned for your visit. We collected two bags full of gorgeous lavender and it’s now in a vase in my bedroom, the smell is absolutely incredible. Once it’s dried out I plan on making little lavender bags to go in my wardrobes and chest of drawers. I still have a bowl of potpourri in my living room from lavender collected on my last visit and it still smells lovely.

The farm is wheelchair accessible, however the ground can be a little uneven in places but you are in the middle of a field. We were both laughing ay how I was bouncing around in my wheelchair, that’s just our sense of humour, life’s too short for taking everything seriously and I want to make the most of every moment while I can. I’d taken a large bag with me and made sure to pack sun cream, my large flask of cold water and a few other essentials.

Hitchin Lavender

Hitchin Lavender

The view of the lavender and sunflower fields were absolutely stunning. Adrian pushed me up the slight hill to where it was a bit quieter. Being the gentleman that he is, he laid the rug down amongst the lavender and lifted me down onto the ground. These are the kind of experiences I would never be able to enjoy without him and not a day goes past when I take him for granted.

It felt wonderful to be rolling around amongst the lavender, I felt totally free. There are more than one type of lavender and you can see all the different colours as well as some wild flowers. We took loads of photos and, let’s face it, the backdrop is pretty amazing. I think we both enjoyed a little time relaxing for a while, the farm was very busy yet still peaceful at the same time. Despite the heat we headed up to the field of sunflowers, however the ground was much more difficult to get across so Adrian cut me two beautiful sunflowers to take home (which you are also allowed to pick.) For about a week afterwards they were in a vase on my desk and made me smile every time I saw them. It’s always the simple pleasures in life that seem the best.

Hitchin Lavender

Adrian and I both needed a sugar boost before we went onto the next part of the fields, I had to sample a slice of one of the delicious cakes in the cafe. I was really impressed with the choice there was, not going for my normal chunk of chocolate cake, I sampled the passion fruit sponge instead and it was rather yummy. We both sat outside the cafe under a parasol and enjoyed the views, it was too lovely to sit indoors even on a boiling hot day. It really did feel lovely being with nature, even the bees didn’t bother me too much, just be careful if you are planning on walking amongst the lavender. You can literally hear the buzzing where ever you go.

Hitchin Lavender

Hitchin Lavender is such a dreamy place to visit and close to both London and Cambridge. It’s open later in the evenings on certain days, how amazing would it be to watch the sunset over the beautiful fields of lavender. Can you imaging how amazing the photos would be? Well there’s always next year.

It really was the perfect summer’s afternoon collecting flowers from Hitchin Lavender. we felt so relaxed when we got home, not sure if it was from the gorgeous fragrance or that we’d both switched off from everyday life. I recommend this place to anyone planning a visit over the summer. On certain days throughout the year there are workshops, events and cinema nights, so you really do have a little bit of everything while you’re there.

Have you been to Hitchin Lavender or another farm just like this one? Are you planning on visiting one next year?

Top: Izabel

Broderie Anglaise Culottes: Topshop

Shoes: River Island

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