Kate Middleton’s Chelsea Flower Show garden inspires new Sandringham adventure wonderland 


With its towers, elevated walkways and even places of worship, this adventure playground looks fit for a little prince or princess.

But then it was inspired by Kate Middleton’s garden at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show – and is being built for visitors at the Queen’s Sandringham estate.

The centrepiece is a 26ft tall replica of the Appleton water tower, a nearby Victorian landmark built in 1877 to improve the quality of water to Sandringham House.

An adventure playground that looks fit for a little prince or princess has been built at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate

The centrepiece is a 26ft tall replica of the Appleton water tower, a nearby Victorian landmark built in 1877 to improve the quality of water to Sandringham House

The centrepiece is a 26ft tall replica of the Appleton water tower, a nearby Victorian landmark built in 1877 to improve the quality of water to Sandringham House 

The structure, which is nearly complete, has a 46ft long tube slide, a winding spiral staircase, water play tables and talking tubes so that the children can chat to each other.

It is one of many buildings at the spectacular playground that are inspired by local landmarks. 

They include Grade II-listed St Mary Magdalene Church, which the Royal Family attend on Christmas Day, and the ruined church of St Mary, which stands near the village of West Newton.

And a secret enclosed play area due to be built is a nod to Queen Alexandra’s Nest, a summerhouse built in 1912 on a rockery overlooking the Norfolk estate.

There is also a wet play area, a zip wire, swings and picnic tables. Toddlers are catered for by two houses connected by a bridge.

The playground is replacing a smaller play area and it will be a popular stop-off for the many children among the 500,000 people who visit the Sandringham Estate each year. 

The impressive structure based on local landmarks  was inspired by Kate Middleton’s garden at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show

The impressive structure based on local landmarks  was inspired by Kate Middleton’s garden at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show

Local landmarks used as inspiration include Grade II-listed St Mary Magdalene Church, which the Royal Family attend on Christmas Day, and the ruined church of St Mary, which stands near the village of West Newton. Pictured: Sketch showing the layout of the playground

Local landmarks used as inspiration include Grade II-listed St Mary Magdalene Church, which the Royal Family attend on Christmas Day, and the ruined church of St Mary, which stands near the village of West Newton. Pictured: Sketch showing the layout of the playground

Dog walker Sue Walsh, who lives nearby, said yesterday: ‘It really is impressive. It’ll be overrun when it opens.’

The Duchess of Cambridge’s Back to Nature garden entry to the Chelsea Flower Show had a swing rope, tepee hideaway and a tree house to encourage children to immerse themselves in nature.

And they will certainly be able to do that at the play area it inspired, which is set among towering trees in a densely wooded area.

A wildflower planting scheme is also in place, with bat-friendly plants and flowers such as ivy, bramble, cherry pie, soapwort and evening primrose being grown to encourage foraging by the mammals and pollinators.

Three bat boxes and two bird boxes will be attached to trees.

An ecological appraisal for the playground stated that the National Planning Policy Framework required an improvement in biodiversity before enhancements to the estate could be approved.

The playground is replacing a smaller play area and it will be a popular stop-off for the many children among the 500,000 people who visit the Sandringham Estate each year. Pictured: The original Appleton water tower

The playground is replacing a smaller play area and it will be a popular stop-off for the many children among the 500,000 people who visit the Sandringham Estate each year. Pictured: The original Appleton water tower

The Cambridges spend holidays at Anmer Hall, their house on the estate, and George, seven, Charlotte, five, and two-year-old Louis could become regular visitors to the revamped playground.

Creating Adventurous Spaces Ltd, who designed the project, described the tower as a ‘ground-breaking new play feature fit for the Sandringham Estate’.

The planning application was submitted on behalf of the Queen in October and was approved the following month. 

It was closed for works to begin in December. It is not clear when it will open again but signs at the perimeter say it is ‘coming soon’. 

It adds that the first phase of the project – the central play area which includes the 26ft tall play tower – is due to be finished this year.

A Sandringham Estate spokesman said: ‘Any opening of the playground in the future would be when the estate is confident it is safe to do so, in line with Government guidelines in place at the time.’

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