Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Guide to Blenheim Palace

The grounds at Blenheim Palace, Historic house in Oxfordshire and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill
Spring 2016

During our weekend exploring the quaint villages of the Cotswolds, we took a day to tour this palace on a friend's recommendation. It comes with vast, beautiful grounds, a secret garden, Churchill museum, a human-sized maze, and, of course, exquisitely manicured gardens with fountains and Roman statues and all.

It was really windy during our visit and cold..and muddy from previous rains. I mean, what am I saying? It was England. Anyway, we wandered about with our hands crossed to our chest. It's baffling how horrible it can feel but how bright and beautiful it still looks. Seeing the photo above, you might think it was 70 degrees or warmer. Not so much.

View from the courtyard.
Surprisingly quiet on this side, most people go straight in and then head to the gardens. 
 Old family, new family...and a couple of tourists taking a mirror selfie :)

I think if I lived in this house, I would just lay on the floor for hours in each room. The ceiling shown above is of the saloon. As far as I can tell, it's spelled like an American western saloon for drinking and gambling and rough-housing. Buuuuut I think it's pronounced like salon for pinkie-up tea drinking and dancing in the Jane Austen fashion. One of the paintings on the wall is a self portrait of Louis Laguerre, the artist who painted all the frescoes. i.e. That time when a signature just wasn't enough.

An organ to swoon over

We ran around this maze longer than I care to admit. It was surprisingly easy to get disoriented! I'm pretty sure it's really for children so we were kind of the weird, loud (American) adults. Oh well.

A bit on the pricey side, I'm not sure I'd recommend this palace unless you're really hunting for something to do in the Cotswolds. There is definitely some interesting facts about Churchill and plenty a intricately painted toy soldier to gaze upon. Also, some china from China in that bright blue pattern all mom's love. Still, it's far to walk from the car lot and even farther to walk out to the maze/children area. Plus it's streaming with family and screaming babies even on a brisk spring day. I'd say skip it - have a pint and board game instead.