Queen Elizabeth II: Here's everything you need to know about her favourite beach destination

When speaking about Norfolk and the Royal Family, many are quick to think of the Sandringham Estate, but there is another Norfolk destination that was much-loved by the late Queen.

Queen Elizabeth II: Here's everything you need to know about her favourite beach destination
© Karwai Tang / Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II: Here's everything you need to know about her favourite beach destination

The late Queen Elizabeth II, like many royals before her, shared a great love of Norfolk, both for the Royal Family’s country retreat of Sandringham but also for Holkham’s vast sandy beach.

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Sandringham Estate

In Norfolk lies the late Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham Estate, the much-loved country retreat for the Royal Family. Sandringham Hall is nestled in the middle of 8000 hectares of land, of which 24 hectares, known as the Sandringham Royal Park, is open to the public every day of the year.

As stated on the Sandringham Estate website, the Estate was purchased for Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1862. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert decided that their eldest son and heir needed a house of his own.

Since then, the Royal Family have had a long love affair with Norfolk and Sandringham.

King George V wrote:

Dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than anywhere else in the world.

While King George VI wrote:

I have always been happy here, and I love the place.

From the time spent at Sandringham Hall, it is evident that the late Queen Elizabeth and her descendants also enjoyed their time at this country retreat.

However, another destination in Norfolk held a special place in Queen Elizabeth’s heart.

Holkham Beach

Holkham is a small coastal village in Norfolk, England, approximately 40 minutes from the Sandringham Estate by car.

According to BBC News, its attraction for Royal guests began in 1835 when the town prepared for itself for a significant guest. When a sixteen-year-old Princess Victoria descended upon the seaside destination with her entire Royal entourage, a relationship was forged and passed down through the generations.

Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth, and King Charles III loved the vast sandy beach. Prince William and Princess Kate also took Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis to play among the dunes for their 10th wedding anniversary.

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The sheer size of the public beach allowed the Royal Family a certain amount of privacy. It is also a horse and dog-friendly beach, which might have aided harnessing the Queen’s appreciation.

On the BBC documentary Elizabeth at 90: A Family Tribute,Princess Anne reminisces fondly about the time she and her brothers spent exploring the sand dunes on Holkham Beach. The Princess Royal describes the beach as ‘off the beaten track’.

An unexpected encounter

Shortly after the Queen’s death, multi-award-winning writer Thom Goddard recollects a chance meeting he had with the Queen near Holkham.

At Easter time in 1994, he was walking in the area with his family when they stumbled upon a Range Rover and a horsebox which were stuck in the mud.

Per the author’s recollection, as they approached the vehicle, the Queen rolled down the window and said:

I have no connection. Would one mind giving one a push?

Her Majesty had apparently gone for an early morning ride on the beach. The author claims that, after he helped Her Majesty out of her predicament, Queen Elizabeth drove off without so much as a thank you.

Sources used:

- BBC News: 'Queen Elizabeth II: The beach loved by the Royal Family'

- Sandringham Estate: 'HISTORY'

- Holkham.co.uk: 'Visit Holkham'

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