Blenheim Palace ?

Old Mar 27th, 2004, 12:40 PM
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Blenheim Palace ?

I think I would like to see the Blenheim Palace at Woodstock, just out of Oxford. Has anyone toured this Palace and is it worth taking a day trip to see. Also is there many other sites to see in that area.
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Old Mar 27th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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Hi SS,

Have you been to
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Old Mar 27th, 2004, 12:50 PM
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Ah yes. I visited Blenheim Palace late last summer, and all l can say is it is a beautiful palace full of history and culture. The tour is very informative and the guide had a great knowledge of both the building, the family who live there, and Winston Churchill.

If you didn't realise, the great Winston Churchill was actually born in this palace, so there is a great exhibition about this man, and lots and lots of artifacts. There is also a Diana exhibition, in memory of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. The Spencer family are related some how to the family that currently live in the Palace, and this is the reason why there is an exhibition there.

It is well worth the visit, l feel, and it may be worth taking a picnic as you could spend all day wandering the large gardens that surround the Palace.
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Old Mar 27th, 2004, 12:52 PM
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Blenheim Palace is set in beautiful grounds, the house itself is fascinating. Since Chirchilll was born there , it is nice to combine it with a trip to Bladon , where he is buried in a simple grave in the churchyard. Bladon itself is fun to explore. Some good lunch spots in Woodstock, too.
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Old Mar 27th, 2004, 01:38 PM
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Agree with previous comments. It took us the better part of a day especially if you enjoy walking the considerable grounds. There is also a little train that you can ride. We were glad that we took a picnic type food and drinks with us.

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Old Mar 27th, 2004, 02:08 PM
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This is a clasic tourist desitnation in England and I'm sure most that have spent any substantial time outside of London have been there. it is well worth the visit. What else is in the area depends on how you're traveling. is this a day trip from London - then you probably can;t do much more. Are you doing a road trip? Then you're reasonably near tons of other sights inclding Oxfird, Warwick Castle etc.
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Old Mar 27th, 2004, 02:47 PM
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If you go to Blenheim Palace, be sure to stop at a tea room called Harriet's on High Street. They have a delicious cream tea (with scones, homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream). And the prices are much cheaper than in London!
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Old Mar 27th, 2004, 03:10 PM
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The grounds of Blenheim were designed by Lancelot Capability Brown, England's greatest landscape architect, and the view from the Woodstock Gate is awesome.
If my memory serves, you can also take a boatride around the pond for a nominal fee.

You can get a very nice sandwich made for a picnic at the butcher on the same side of the street as The White Bear. Be sure to look in the shop window with all the teapots displayed on the same side of the street.
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Old Mar 27th, 2004, 05:17 PM
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summersquash: I would repeat everything above. A very worthwhile half day at Blenheim.
So many neat little villages in the area. We particularly liked Snowshill and Stanton, Upper and Lower Slaughter and Cirencester for its Roman Museum, ruins and its pubs for lunch.
There is so much more, Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Camden, Broadway, Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury. Hard to pick. But, I would stick with Snowshill, Stanton or the Slaughters along with Cirencester.
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Old Mar 27th, 2004, 06:06 PM
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Thanks for all the great responces. I would never have thought of taking a picnic but that is a great idea. I think we will be traveling by car. My daughter is living in Ely. She has only been in England for a little over a year, so she has not learned all the places that well. We will be staying with her for 2 weeks and want to make the most of our stay. Any ideas on other little areas that we could make day trips from the Ely, Cambridge area would be great. She is going to be working some days and we will be taking the train or bus around to sight see. We are going to London the last few days we are there, but the rest of the time we want to see some of the local areas and country side. I would like to go to Bath but I'm not sure if we could do that in a day trip.
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Old Mar 27th, 2004, 06:46 PM
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I'm so glad to hear you are driving (Blenheim isn't the easiest/quickest day trip from London -- train to Oxford, bus to Woodstock, etc.)

For Ely getting to Woodstock is not a bad drive at all - and if you get an early start you will have time to see the Palace and wander around several Cotswold villages.

Oxford is marvelous -- but since you will be so near Cambridge I don't think touring Oxford would be a very good use of your limited time. Spend a whole day wandering around Cambridge and you will have had just about the same experience as seeing Oxford.

Bath would not be an impossible day trip - but it would be a VERY long drive. It might be a better idea to add an extra day in London and take the fast train to Bath for a day trip from there.

Other places convenient to Ely would be the whole of East Anglia - a wonderful area of flower fields, windmills, waterways, and castles that is definitely "under-visited".

Lincoln cathedral is one of the best in the country (but then again - so is Ely's)

Consider a day trip to Stamford and Rutland. You can see Burghley House, Belvoir, Rutland Water, Kirby Hall and attend open air shakespeare in Stamford.

You could also do a day trip to York either by car - or better yet by train.
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Old Mar 27th, 2004, 07:50 PM
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If the parking overflows onto the grass, watch where you walk. The sheep leave souvenirs.

Also - when we were there (2000) there was a special tour of the private apartments for another slight fee. This covered the basement and first floor of the left hand wing of the mansion. Interesting - my general view, it was a very lived-in place with old well-used furniture instead of posh designer stuff or certified antiques. Of course, if you're only there 1/3 of the time, why spend a lot of time and money redecorating?
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Old Mar 28th, 2004, 12:55 AM
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Presumably you're driving. The area immediately around is stuffed with minor pleasures which, taken together, add up to a lot more than the palace.

Above all, walk or drive to Churchill's grave at Bladon, as jody says. Compare how the greatest politician of the 20th century - and without a doubt the greatest Briton since Elizabeth 1 - asked to be commemorated, with the extravagant pomposity of his relatively obscure ancestor. Or indeed with how people like Lenin or Napoleon are still commemorated.

In Woodstock, go to the small local museum (it's free). The area around had quite a few Roman villas, many of whose mosaics were destroyed in the 18th century. There'a an extraordinary tapestry of one mosaic, done before it got destroyed, and a number of other unexpected souvenirs of the area's earliest history.

While many rave over Capability Brown, he was so influential that practically every municipal park in the English-spreaking world looka a bit like Blenheim. A far more unusual example of English landscaping of the period is at Rousham, near Steeple Aston. And my own favourite historic house in England - Chastleton - is about as different from Blenheim as can be. Local tradition is that the spiders' webs are original, and key to the building's survival (see for details)

Navigate your way to the nearby village of Coombe. On a summer Saturday or Sunday, the village cricket green is one of England's most idyllic. The church next door to the green has an extraordinary range of medieval paintings: both the paintings that were ordered to be destroyed under Henry, and the more ideologically acceptable ones put up under Elizabeth and ordered to be destroyed under Cromwell.

You can very pleasantly walk there (about 2 miles each way) from the Palace, by taking the west lodge exit, or take the rather longer road.

One under visited site is the Rollright Stones, near Chipping Norton. A mini-Stonehenge you can actually walk round and through. It's been slightly colonised by almost every pagan cult around, so don't be surprised when they try to sell you diving rods, or offer you books about ley lines.

If you're a Mitford fan - or just want to see England at its best - Swinbrook. The Fettiplace memorials and the misericords in the village church are outstanding, and its cricket green is almost as lovely as Coombe's (and its handy pub a lot better than Coombe's). Walk the mile of so to the - originally Roman - church at Widford, walking through a remarkable stretch where the local bigwigs demolished a village to build an extravagant mansion - also now demolished. While in that area, Minster Lovell: the ruined abbey is just about the best picnic spot in the Eastern Cotswolds.

Sic transit....
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 09:56 AM
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Another vote for Blenheim Palace from me, it was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. We were fortunate to visit on a warm sunny day last year and the fountain terraces behind the palace were stunning to say the least. Imagine having that for your back yard! We took the little tram ride they offered and the driver pointed out the local sheep which all belong to the Duke of Marlborough (the owner/occupant of Blenheim.) We were told all the ewes were pregnant with twins (they'd all been scanned.)

Even if you didn't have a car I'd highly recommend visiting. It's not terribly difficult to reach, take the train to Oxford (about an hour out of London) then bus #20 from Oxford train station to Woodstock, and a couple blocks walk to Blenheim. I'd love to go back some day.
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