Sunday 9th August - Blenheim Palace
Jannie wanted to visit all of the palaces so here was Blenheim palace only about 10 miles from Oxford. We rolled up to the gate and paid our £36 and headed for the carpark. The huge carpark was nearly full and we parked almost at the last line and had to walk to the Palace which took us about 20 minutes, so was not that close.
As we walked down the avenue towards the Palace we could see the grounds, the bridge over the lake and the Palace itself. It looked brilliant and so big. There is over 2000 acres of landscaped parkland in the complex and it has over 300 years of history. Blenheim Palace delivers an awe-inspiring experience for visitors. The interior of the Palace is very sumptuous with the delicate detail of its stunningly huge tapestries, huge oil painting set in large guilt frames, furniture and clocks that are to die for. The scale of the place and the interior architecture with its ornate ceilings and striking stonework are a beauty to behold.
When we first entered the Palace proper we went in through these huge doors and sort of just wandered around to the left of the main entry hall which was roped off. We got round the corner and there was a queue for what we didn't know but eventually a group of 14 was allowed to go up the stairs and into an annex where there was a recording playing and a guide talking so we didn't hear too much and were issued into another room. We there was set up a sort of play with actors portraying people who had worked there 300 years ago or one lady who had been the 2nd Duchess, all in holographic images set amongst the staged props. Big trouble was the spaces were small and once through the door it automatically closed behind you and you had no idea where to get out of the place. It was well done but the 6 or 7 rooms and stories were too much and we couldn't wait to get out.
Probably Blenheim Palaces greatest claim to fame is that Sir Winstone Spencer-Churchill was born here and lived part of his life here in 1874. He was a cousin to the 9th Duke of Blenheim. We went into the Churchill Exhibition but for not very long as there were 100s of people, it was so hot that we brushed past people all studying the loads of detail and photographs to get out into the fresh air.
We had lunch and afterwards went out into the grounds to go for a walk. The wide pathways were covered in small pebbles and were not that easy to walk on so we took to the grass. We went to the rose garden and were meant to go on to the south lawn and then onto the Secret Garden and the Roundel but took a wrong path and ended up doing the lake walk that went passed the Boathouse and instead came out at the Champagne Garden and Water Terrace which was back at the Palace.
Our feet were sore and we had tired legs so decided that we had had enough. So headed out through shop to exit and had the long walk back to our car. It wasn't till we started to drive out of the Palace Grounds that we realised how close our carpark was to the Palace as ther were others parked up to 5-8 minutes drive from where we had been parked. What amazed us is that people were still arriving and the place closed at 6pm and it was already gone 3pm. We had had 5 hours and could easily have spent another 5 hours feet and legs permitting.
The current 12th Duke of Marlborough and his wife live at the Palace.