Sandringham Flower Show

CHRIS BISHOP New attractions and old favourites are ready to bring thousands of visitors to the Queen's Norfolk estate on Wednesday, July 25, for the Sandringham Flower Show.

CHRIS BISHOP

Soar above the crowds on a hot air balloon ride, vote for your favourite garden or take home a unique souvenir made before your eyes by some of the country's last surviving rural craftsfolk.

New attractions and old favourites are ready to bring thousands of visitors to the Queen's Norfolk estate on Wednesday, July 25, for the Sandringham Flower Show.

Now in its 126th year, the event has grown from a village fete into one of the highlights of the Norfolk summer.

More than 20,000 people, including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, visited last year's event and the Royal couple are expected to return for this year's show.

For the first time this year, visitors will be able to admire the splendour of Sandringham from the air, on board a tethered hot air balloon.

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Another new attraction sure to strike a chord with the prince is a rural crafts marquee, where carvers, weavers and craftspeople will be demonstrating their skills and offering everything from hand-carved walking sticks to chairs, trugs and corn dollies for sale.

Top designers will be competing in the Show Gardens Competition, run in association with the EDP.

As well as the EDP Trophy, judged by TV gardeners Chris Beardshaw and Alan Mason, show-goers will be able to vote for their favourite for the first time this year, in a people's choice award.

As well as the traditional displays of home-grown fruit and veg, show exhibitors include some of the region's top growers and nurseries and many of the plants on show are available for sale.

There will also be a full programme of talks and forums, including Norfolk's own gardener's question time.

A new variety of sweet pea, called Stormy Seas, is also being launched at the show.

Food, drink and the outdoor lifestyle are also well represented, while arena events include everything from sheepdog displays to the Norfolk Grand Prix, where drivers race around a track on souped-up lawnmowers.

Admission is £6 adults, £1 children. Tickets include admission to Sandringham church and museum but the house is closed to the public on show day.

For further details visit www.sandringhamflowershow.org.uk

You can save £1.50 with Monday's EDP. Each copy of the West & Fens edition will have a free copy of the show programme.

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