Remember when I was whinging about not finding a place that felt like home here in the UK? I finally found it.
Blenheim Palace, home to the Dukes of Marlborough, the house established by the rather dramatic and not at all shy John Churchill — and where Winston Churchill was born. Just a little place in the country.
With a few small gardens.
And a gentle bridge.
Even these crazy eyes over the entrance seem to suit me just fine. Of course I want huge eyeballs staring at me and all visitors from a huge height over the front door. It seems obvious, now.
I’ve visited Blenheim twice in the past week, once with friends and once with the family. It was great to visit with other adults and spend time viewing the interior of the Palace — including a tour of the private apartments — and puzzling out the history of the place and people. And it was fun to go back with the kids and run all over the lawn and gardens like crazy people released from the asylum for just one day. And to see the butterflies:
The butterfly garden is warm and humid — like a teleport to someplace tropical.
Their flight is magical. They seem almost weightless. Several landed on me. I felt special.
It’s not inexpensive to visit Blenheim, but a day pass can be converted to a year pass for no added fee. For the kids, there is a train, a large hedge maze, giant chess, checker, another games near climbing and play equipment, and a huuuuuuuge lawn ready for running and rolling, picturesque groves of trees just waiting for hide and seek, a secret garden … and of course, delicious cakes and cookies in the several cafes. (In fact, we’ve found most museum/heritage places have fairly healthy options for kids — cut vegetables, cut fruit, air popped popcorn, water, simple cheese sandwiches — you’re not stuck with pizza/chicken fingers all the time.)
With special events throughout the year and wide spaces to roam, I expect we’ll be back often. It’s not everyday I find a palace that feels like home.