An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
The Royal Station
A beautifully restored English legacy allowing you to step back in time and experience the magic of royal arrivals – railway heritage at its best.
Where to find it
9 miles from King’s Lynn and 8 miles from Hunstanton, the station can be found by turning off the A149 opposite Sandringham. Go straight over at the junction, past the crossing gates and signal box. The grounds, both immaculate in presentation and authentic in feel, are on your right.
The royal history
The station was operational for 107 years opening in 1862 as a single 15 mile track from King’s Lynn to Hunstanton (a town that was born from the railway and built up into a thriving resort by the Le Strange family). The same year saw Queen Victoria purchasing the Sandringham estate and in 1863 the first royal train from London to Wolferton took the then Prince Edward and his bride to their destination after their marriage in Windsor castle.
In the 1890s a new ‘downside’ (named because of its position, as in ‘coming down from London’) building was built to accommodate the many royal visitors and their guests. The station was busy; between 1884 and 1911 for instance, there were 645 royal trains that steamed into Wolferton. Royal usage continued until 1966; in 1969 the line closed and the station became a museum. It was sold again in 2000 to the present owner, Richard Brown, who decided to restore it to its former glory. Today it stands as a fine royal landmark perfectly complementing the Sandringham estate.
What to expect
The station is an understated affair with discreet signs encouraging you to walk the platform and take photos at your leisure. Richard is a joy to talk to and a mind of fascinating facts. He’s researched the history of the station right down to the finest of detail. The signal box, track bed, and downside platform have all been restored as well as the grounds where the carriages pulled up to wait for the royal arrivals. Everywhere is superbly landscaped, freshly painted and impeccably turned out.
There are postcards and souvenir train tickets available free of charge. Be sure to browse the visitor’s book too where those that have travelled the line years before are highlighted in red. It’s a shame there’s not a coffee shop to enjoy an afternoon tea in such pleasant surroundings but we must remember this is not a commercial venture. Allow yourself time though to sit on the platform and drift into a bygone world where you can hear the sound of a steam train approaching once more.
Wolferton station is an outstanding achievement by an owner who respects the history of his home and is generous enough to share that heritage with other likeminded guests.
To contact Richard directly, please email: [email protected]