Royal fruit farm at Sandringham opening for pick your own

The orchard on the Sandringham Estate opens to the public later this month. Pictured is manager Andr

The orchard on the Sandringham Estate opens to the public later this month. Pictured is manager Andrew Jarvis. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Russets, Bramleys, Discoveries, Katys, Laxton's Fanfares - the trees are full of apples everywhere you look in the Queen's orchards.

On a hill on the Sandringham Estate, close to the tower which once supplied drinking water to the Royal household, the harvest is in full swing.

Once the early apples have been gathered to be turned into sweet juice or cider, the gates of the fruit farm near to appropriately named Appleton open to the public, who can pick their own choice of eight varieties from neatly-pruned row upon row of trees.

'It's been a funny year,' said tenant farmer Andrew Jarvis, who runs the orchards. 'The Coxs are good, the Bramleys don't seem quite so outstanding. We've had it wet and warm, they aren't quite as big as I thought they'd be.'

Mr Jarvis and his team of pickers, who gather the crop by hand, are filling great wooden chests with the scarlet Discovery - a sweet variety with a short shelf life, which is crushed for its juice.

'It's been around for 50 years, that's quite new for a variety but it's still the best early apple,' he said.

The orchards were planted in 1953, after the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh took over the running of Sandringham.

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Since 1971, the fruit farm has opened to the public. Families now flock on pick your own forays.

This year, it is open from Saturday, September 17 until Sunday, October 2; 1 - 5pm Monday - Saturday and 10am - 5pm on Sundays. Apples are priced £1.20 a kilo. Follow PYO signs around the Royal Estate.

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