Queen unveils designs for Sandringham Estate play-area with spectacular climbing frame

This is the first look at the planned overhaul of the Queen’s Sandringham Estate playground redesign; set to include ‘landmarks’ of Norfolk estate.

A new sketch that was submitted as part of the planning application for the play area shows the extent of the huge revamp.

Last Wednesday it was announced that the Queen, 94, was planning to give the play area at Sandringham a complete makeover.

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 Middleton’s Back to Nature garden, including swings, stepping stones and treehouses.

A sketch of the play area 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.

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’.

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.’

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.’

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‘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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