Appleton Water Tower

Sandringham, Norfolk - Sleeps 2+2

About this Landmark

This exceptional Victorian water tower is on the edge of the Sandringham estate. This functional building, of the highest provenance, makes a comfortable nest among the tree tops.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Bed in Living RoomBed in Living Room
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • RemoteRemote
  • ShowerShower

Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double

  • Sleeps 2 +2
  • 4 nights from £500
  • equivalent to £31.25 per person, per night

A Royal Retreat

In 1871, Edward, Prince of Wales fell ill with typhoid while staying on the royal estate at Sandringham, as did his eldest son three years later. These were chilling reminders for Queen Victoria of the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert from the same disease at Windsor Castle. Following that tragedy, the engineer Robert Rawlinson had reported that numerous foul cesspools underlay the Castle’s drainage, almost certainly the source of the Prince Consort’s infection. Tests on the Sandringham water supply showed it to be similarly unsatisfactory. A clean, reliable water supply for the whole estate was an urgent priority.

360 degree view of the landscape

Engineer James Mansergh was appointed to oversee the new waterworks, supervised by Rawlinson. The new spring rose below the level of the royal residence, and the highest point of the estate still only a few feet above its roof. The 32,000-gallon cast-iron tank that tops the Appleton Water Tower delivered the water pressure required, and is the 60-foot Tower’s raison d’être. Work began on Mansergh’s neo-Byzantine design in summer 1877, foundation stones laid by junior members of the Royal Family.Realising the upper levels of his tower would command a dazzling view of much of Norfolk, Mansergh reserved the second-floor room as a viewing room for the royal family and their guests to use on shooting parties or picnics. From the terrace on top of the tank, protected by an ornate cast-iron railing, and from the room below, there is a view on all sides over miles of wide, open landscape, with even a distant gleam of the Wash. Today you can enjoy these views, just as the royals once did.

Floor Plan

 

Customer review:

“This was our third visit to a Landmark and our second tower, but will not be the last...

It was an exciting adventure to explore one room after the other when we arrived late in the evening. Each room is tastefully furnished and decorated with historical paintings.

The view from the rooftop is fantastic and we have seen wonderful sunsets above the beautiful landscape of Norfolk. Appleton Watertower is the best place to stay if you want to visit Sandringham and Houghton Hall.”

- Barbara Q

‘Squeals of excitement as we explored the Tower.’

‘I can vouch for the magnificence of the stars seen from the roof.’

From the logbook

Map & local info

Appleton Water Tower stands on a hilltop on the edge of the Royal estate and enjoys views over miles of wide, open landscape. From here, you can even see a distant gleam of the Wash.

Norfolk provides a wealth of things to do during your stay at Appleton Water Tower. You will be of course staying on Sandringham Estate, the private home to four generations of British monarchs since 1862. 

The stunning Norfolk coastline is within easy driving distance from Appleton Water Tower offering opportunities for a day at the beach or a trip on the Norfolk Heritage Railway - a fantastic way to experience the beautiful landscape and views. 

Norfolk Lavender is 20 minutes in the car, where you can enjoy the fields in bloom from June until August. 

Close by is the Lynn Museum (17 miles). You can gain free entry to it with a National Art Pass, which enables its 122,000 holders to enjoy free and discounted entry to over 225 museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK. The pass is presented by one of Landmark's partners, the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, which has been supporting museums and galleries for over 110 years by helping them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy. Income raised through the National Art Pass goes straight back into their charitable programme. Find more about it on the ArtFund's website http://www.artfund.org/


 For more details on these local attractions, please see our Pinterest page for Appleton Water Tower. 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Appleton Water Tower
Sandringham, Norfolk - Sleeps 2+2
Clear directions

‘Squeals of excitement as we explored the Tower.’

‘I can vouch for the magnificence of the stars seen from the roof.’

From the logbook

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    By an estate track from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Kings Lynn – 9 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes, two spaces adjacent to the tower.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is electric night storage heating and also an open fire.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker and a microwave.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a free-standing shower unit.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    There are many steep, spiral stairs in the property. The staircase is narrow.
  • Can I access the roof?

    Yes,  but we would ask that care is taken in inclement weather and that children and dogs are supervised when on the roof.
  • Is this a property for hardier visitors?

    Yes, this property is difficult to heat in winter.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is an enclosed garden. You can also walk on the permitted paths on the estate.

    Booking and Payment

  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact [email protected]
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there lavatory rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide lavatory rolls and a bar of soap, per basin but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.

A clean water supply for Sandringham

In 1871, the then Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) fell ill with typhoid while at Sandringham. Three years later, so too did his eldest son. Both royal illnesses must have vividly brought to mind the death of the Prince’s father, Prince Albert, from the same disease while at Windsor Castle. Following that tragedy the engineer Robert Rawlinson was asked to report on the drainage of the Castle (it proved to be underlain by numerous foul cesspools, almost certainly the source of the Prince Consort’s infection).

The Sandringham water supply must have at once come under suspicion, and indeed tests showed it to be unsatisfactory. As a matter of urgency, the house and indeed the whole estate had to be provided with a reliable and clean water supply.

The engineer responsible for the design of the new waterworks was James Mansergh (he is said to have been assisted by an amateur architect named Martin Ffolkes, but there is little evidence for this). Rawlinson was appointed to supervise the construction of the new waterworks; he and Mansergh had previously worked together successfully on the Birmingham water supply.

It was decided to take the new supply from a chalk spring a mile or so from Sandringham House. The level of the spring was more than 20 feet below that of the house so a pumping station was needed. Moreover, the highest point of the Sandringham estate was still only about five feet above the roof of the house, and in order to ensure that there would be sufficient pressure for fire-extinguishing purposes a service reservoir would be needed: this is the 32,000-gallon cast-iron tank that tops the Appleton Water Tower, and it is this tank that is the 60-foot Tower’s raison d’être. Incidentally, the height and the elevated position of the Tower ensure that it is a conspicuous feature visible from many miles around.

Mansergh’s polychromic design, described as neo-Byzantine and carried out in differently coloured red bricks and local stone, exploited this position in more ways than one. Realising that the upper levels of the Tower would command a dazzling view of much of Norfolk, he reserved the second-floor room for the use of the royal family and their guests when shooting parties or picnickers required a base during the day. A floor above the viewing room accommodated the valve gear, and the two lower floors made a dwelling for either the engineer in charge of the pumping station or perhaps a caretaker. A separate entrance and stair were made within the smaller tower to give independent access to the viewing room.

Work began in the summer of 1877 – the Princess of Wales, her brother and two of the young princes all laid foundation stones – and finished about a year later. Water flowed from the spring under gravity through stoneware pipes for some 750 yards to the pumping station, where it was softened and pumped via a further 400 yards of pipes and a four-inch rising main into the tank. In winter the water in the tank was kept from freezing by the heat from the fireplaces below, the flues of which passed through the middle of the tank. From here it ran under pressure for more than a mile to the house and the surrounding cottages, via branch mains that carried a dozen hydrants encircling the house. When all was complete the hydrants were tested, with three or four jets being played simultaneously over the roof of the house, by the famously energetic and strikingly handsome Captain Shaw of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (immortalised by Gilbert in one of the songs in Iolanthe) and found to be 'to his entire satisfaction'.  Not only, therefore, had the Prince of Wales now supplied his household with a pure and wholesome water supply, but he had placed it in 'a condition of security from fire possessed by few of the great country houses of England.'

The Appleton waterworks

The Appleton waterworks served the Sandringham estate well for many years as a private concern, but eventually came to be operated by the local water authority. By 1973, however, it had become surplus to their requirements and stood empty for three years after which it was leased to the Landmark Trust, a charity that specialises in rescuing buildings of architectural and historic importance.

 

The Trust was delighted to be given the rare opportunity of saving a fully functional building of such high quality. The architects Michael and Sheila Gooch, a husband and wife partnership from Norwich, were commissioned to carry out the restoration, the builders being Fisher & Sons, a local firm from Fakenham.

The old outbuildings were demolished, to leave the Tower free-standing in its clearing in the woods. The roofs of the tank and the turret of the staircase tower were decayed and had to be replaced. The intricate details of the elaborate brickwork were all carefully repaired and repointed, and cracks in the tank’s ironwork were repaired. In addition, replicas were specially made to replace missing details of the ornamental ironwork. New windows and doors were fitted, and a new kitchen and shower room formed on the ground floor. One of the most significant changes was the construction of an extended internal staircase linking the viewing room on the second floor to the floors below, which meant that the Tower became for the first time a fully integrated dwelling. It received its first visitors exactly a century after the Princess of Wales laid the first foundation stone. Happily if fortuitously, in the same year the Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society restored the old steam engines in the pumping station.

As you see it today, however, the Water Tower has recently undergone a further rejuvenation, carried out in the light of twenty years of Landmarkers’ experiences of living in this much-loved if eccentric 'holiday cottage'. Under the guidance of the architect Will Hawkes of Hawkes Cave & Edwards, Stratford-upon-Avon, and with Linfords of Lichfield as the main contractor, the building has been fully rewired, replumbed and redecorated, and a new heating system has been installed. The ground-floor shower room and kitchen have also been refurbished. Perhaps the most practical change has been that a way was found to bring part of the top floor – the old valve room beneath the tank – into service as additional living accommodation in the shape of a much needed extra bathroom.

The old sitting room next to the kitchen on the ground floor has now become the dining room, while perhaps the best room in the Tower – the viewing room on the second floor – has been redesigned as a bed-sitting room. As a result while you are staying in the Tower you can, if you choose, spend as much as possible of your day here, gazing at the Norfolk landscape spread out below you, and in the evening watch the seabirds quietly flying home to the distant sandbanks of the Wash.

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.