‘Almost 2 years we have lived here’ my husband grumbled, ‘and look what we have missed out on! This place is amazing and so close to where we live’. Indeed. Well, it is hard to schedule everything in that we all want to do. Still we made it, and queued, and finally parked, and then walked. So far so good as there was no complaining, and the walk to the ticket office was quite far!
The birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and home to the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough is magnificent. It was a gift from Queen Anne to the 1st Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, to celebrate victory over the French in the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. It is the only non-royal house in England to be styled a palace.
Inside the stunning Baroque building the children led the way following the handy children’s plan trying to spot various items in all the rooms. We find these absolutely invaluable when we are trying to enjoy building interiors and decorations, so although we move fairly swiftly, we do at least catch the essence of a place.
Outside are 2,000 acres of park to explore, and explore we did. Designed by Capability Brown the harmonious landscape was a real pleasure to experience, with plenty of hiding places and masses, and masses, of room to run wild! The map of the grounds was slightly misleading and are party was divided to those who scaled the large ditch to find the Pleasure Gardens, and those who retraced their steps to the little train to take us there – it was my main complaint about the day – some signs to help, or a more useful map would have saved a lot of tired legs.
The miniature train dropped us outside the Pleasure Gardens and following ice cream sustenance, we got lost in the maze, played giant chess, ran amok in the adventure playground, marvelled at the exotic butterflies in the Tropical Butterfly House and in the case of my husband, caught up with some much needed sleep in the sun.
Was it worth its money? You bet it was and we’ll be back again soon!