Day out: Blenheim Palace

12 Mar

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.

Hello, mariposa!

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.

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16 Responses to “Day out: Blenheim Palace”

  1. Sarah March 12, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Really??? £52??? This is my only problem with sight-seeing in England. We are members of the Trust, the Heritage, and even have Merlin Passes – but I still have to spend that much to get into another historic place? Bah HUMBUG! (I can say that, I’m a Christmas.)

    BUT I am so glad you’ve found a place you love! Priceless!

    • Monique March 12, 2012 at 10:40 am #

      Ah, I believe my husband said the exact same thing … for most of the day … “£52? Really? £52????!” But it’s close enough we can go back several times a year (Insert husband: “For £52 you bet we will!”). Hey, to the girl who grew up going to the FREE Smithsonian museums all year round (that would be me), the UK museum/heritage/sightseeing costs are insane

  2. Ruth March 12, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Beautiful!

  3. lizzybradbury March 12, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Loving this post – You do make me chuckle!

    Makes me want to visit the palace very much although the eyes are a little scary. Where about’s is it? i.e. county?

  4. Zazzy March 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    So I need to set aside a small fortune for when I move to England to play tourist for a year or two? Sure, I’ll add that too my list. I’m glad you found a nice place to call home!

    • Monique March 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

      I’m sure there are ways to be more clever than we are with deals, and things add up with three kids … that said, a small fortune is always nice to have!!

  5. Neda March 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    I have not been here yet but am looking forward to going! Was it 52 pounds for your entire family?

    • Monique March 12, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

      It’s 52 for two adults+two children. Under 5 is free. (I swear I do not work for the visitors’ center, ha ha)

  6. Skipping Stars Productions LLC March 13, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    Reblogged this on British Heritage Club.

    • Monique March 16, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

      Cool! Thanks for the share.

  7. Kristin Barton Cuthriell March 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    I am glad that I found your blog. I look forward to reading more.

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