Visitors will have to pay to park at Sandringham, as major redevelopment gets under way
- Credit: Archant
The Queen is planning a major redevelopment of visitor facilities on her Norfolk estate.
But families will have to pay to park at Sandringham for the first time since the country park opened 50 years ago.
Staff at Sandringham were told of the changes at a meeting this morning.
The include a "major makeover" for the Sandringham Cafe and visitor centre which will transform its look and feel.
There will also be an enlarged courtyard with new features in front of the buildings, along with a re-fit for the gift shop, which will stock a new range of products developed around Sandringham and its Royal ownership.
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Car parks will be resurfaced and given new lighting, with trees thinned, increased disabled bays and shuttle service for the less able.
There will also be new paths and the Scenic Drive will be pedestrianised. Work is also set to start on an arboretum.
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In a statement, the Royal Estate said: "Each year, thousands of people are welcomed to the Sandringham Estate to enjoy the country park, house, museum and gardens throughout the seasons.
"In recent years, the number of people and vehicles to the estate has increased significantly, particularly in the country park, which received over 500,000 visitors last year.
"In light of the increase in numbers, the estate is undergoing some redevelopments with a view to offering improved facilities for visitors, while also maintaining the landscape and environment for all to enjoy.
"The estate will implement a car parking charge from February 2020 in order to assist with the increasing cost of maintaining existing facilities and to allow funding for future developments to improve the visitor experience."
Drivers will be able to stop for up to 20 minutes for free. After that, they will be charged £3 for up to two hours, £5 for up to four and £7 per day.
Season tickets will also be on offer for regular visitors from £40 (single), £60 (couple) and (£70 (family).
A special drop-in session giving more details of the plans is being held at the visitor centre from 11am - 7pm on Thursday.