Blenheim Palace/Hever Castle

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Feb 6th, 2009, 01:13 PM
  #1
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Blenheim Palace/Hever Castle

Is Blenheim worth the detour during a day trip to Oxford? We'd leave Paddington around 8 or 830 and return to Paddington late afternoon or early evening. We probably cannot do a late return to Paddington because we'll have our toddler with us.

Is Hever worth a visit for a non-Anne Boleyn/Tudor history expert? I've read elsewhere on the forums that the Castle is a bit limited as a tourist attraction and is better from the perspective of enjoying the fact that "Anne Boleyn was here."

Thanks in advance for your input.
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Feb 6th, 2009, 01:57 PM
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hi Russ,

Blenheim is a fabulous palace with beautiful grounds, gardens, rooms, etc. etc. so I'd definitely take a day to visit it.

as for Hever, i used to live near there and though it's nice, were I visiting London, there are other places such as Hampton Court or windsor that I would go to first.

regards, ann
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Feb 6th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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"Is Blenheim worth the detour during a day trip to Oxford?"

In your case, absolutely not.

Click on me, and you'll see I think the eyesore should be torn down anyway (Blenheim, that is, not Oxford), and the corrupt timeservers who allowed it be built retrospectively prosecuted. So maybe I'm a bit biased on the subject.

But the weekday 0851 train doesn't get into Oxford till 0952. The first bus connecting is 1010, which gets to Woodstock at 1053. Allowing 90 mins (the absolute minimum to appreciate the sheer horror of the Churchills' almost Liberace-like vulgarity and the banality of Cap Brown's garden design, which you can see cloned in any municipal park, anywhere), you can't be back in Oxford till 1357, which is when the 1253 from Woodstock arrives.

Assuming you need to leave about 1630, you've got two hours to see one of the world's two outstanding medieval university cities. And you've left youself so little time because you've been stuck on the S3 as it trundles round Oxfordshire - all to realise how much better Las Vegas is at building tasteless tat than Vanburgh.

Some might disagree with my aethestics. No-one can take issue with my maths.
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Feb 6th, 2009, 02:08 PM
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Hever has amazing gardens/grounds - but not much original remains of the castle itself. It is sort of what an Edwardian era American millionaire created as a personal castle/home. Still a very nice place to visit.

Blenheim is gorgeous (once flanneruk sees your thread - THAT will be seriously disputed ) Plus there is an adventure playground/butterfly house/excursion train your child would love.

But I honestly do not see how you have nearly enough time - especially w/ a toddler along. Blenheim really takes a minimum of 3 or 4 hours if you visit anything in the grounds. Adding in the travel time to/from Oxford by bus, you would have little time left for Oxford itself.

One can't see/do everything if they are just taking a day
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Feb 6th, 2009, 02:12 PM
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oh come on flanner, don't hold back, tell us what you really think!
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Feb 6th, 2009, 02:14 PM
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I was posting the same time as flanner -- wouldn't ya know!!!
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Feb 6th, 2009, 03:35 PM
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Blenheim is beautiful and worth time to visit. I would make an absolute point of seeing the town of Wooodstock too!
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Feb 6th, 2009, 04:12 PM
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Blenheim really takes several hours to see. If you are going to go there, you won't have much time for Oxford and vice versa.

In short, you need to choose based on your priorities.
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Feb 6th, 2009, 04:48 PM
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Blenheim has much more to see/do than Hever (interesting but not that great). But you can;t do Oxford and Blenheim in one day with public transit - you would need to rent a car and start early.
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Feb 6th, 2009, 06:31 PM
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I agree you don't have time to visit Blenheim.

While I would go back to Oxford in a heartbeat, I really didn't care for Blenheim Palace; ostentatious is an understatement. The gardens were lovely, though, and Mr. Pickle liked it.

Lee Ann
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Feb 6th, 2009, 06:53 PM
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I happen to like Blenheim - a lot, but I also don't think you can see Oxford plus Blenheim as a day trip from London, with or without a toddler, and I would choose Oxford over Blenheim. We spent a night in Oxford, toured Oxford the next morning, Blenheim in the afternoon, then returned to London.

Hey, Flanneruk, even when we are in complete disagreement, I appreciate people who know what they like and who have opinions, especially when they seem to have actually given the subject some thought. I loved Liberace; so over the top. It would be fun traveling with you. I am sincere in that. What great discussions one could have with you.
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Feb 7th, 2009, 02:30 AM
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You don't have time to see Blenheim anyway.

But you miss something.

Blenheim is the largest heap of megalomaniac, sophomoric, tasteless kitsch on earth, only rivalled by Villa Eephrussi de Rotschild near Nice.

I think I have started something with this remark.
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Feb 7th, 2009, 02:54 AM
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Children, children! Be nice!

Blenheim is _supposed_ to be excessive. If you don't like excessive, you will hate it.

My wife and I are going to see/hear Anna Netrebko in "Lucia" this afternoon. I fear that it will be _insufficiently_ excessive. I _want_ scenery chewing in "Lucia". But I wouldn't want to live with that excess all the time!

But you don't have time to do both in any case.
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Feb 7th, 2009, 02:56 AM
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I have never been to Blenheim Palace. This thread has made sure that will soon change.

(I had ancestors that fought at Blenheim and we didn't get given any bloody palaces. Not even a council house. Who do I write to?)
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Feb 7th, 2009, 03:24 AM
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CW, methinks that would be the Duke of Malborough. Good luck, chap, and let us know if you hear anything back.

BC, a fan of Blenheim
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Feb 7th, 2009, 03:25 AM
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"Who do I write to?"

Too late.

It was that Queen Anne who decided to hand the place over to the Churchills. Local girl she was too, in a way (her mum's dad owned the spread next door) so she ought to have had a bit more civic pride than to let the riffraff in. She even handed over my house as part of the deal. But it would probably have been too bijou for CW's ancestors.

Anyway you can't complain to her any more, since she's dead. I read that on this site. Amazing what you pick up on the web.
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Feb 7th, 2009, 06:05 AM
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I just finished reading this book on the Wives of Henry VIII (by Alison Weir). It seems like while these days, Hever Castle is touted as the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, I found out that Hever was given to Anne of Cleves (along with many other manor houses) after her marriage was annulled. Anne of Cleves spent most of the rest of her life between Hever, Richmond, and Bletchingley.
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Feb 7th, 2009, 12:52 PM
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I did Oxford and Blenheim in a day from London. It is "doable," but depending on how much time you want to allocate to one or the other, might not be advisable for everyone.

We took the bus, rather than the train, to Oxford because the cheap day return fares from London were not available until 9:30. Taking the bus to Oxford (left from Victoria around 7:30) got us to Oxford before we'd have been on the train in London, and got to Blenheim just before it opened at 10:00 a.m. When you get to Gloucester Green station in Oxford, you simple walk over a few steps to the parking bay for the 20 or 20A bus, both of which will deposit you at the entrance to Blenheim.

If you rate Blenhiem and Oxford equally from a time allocation stanpoint (and I'm a Churchill buff, so Blenheim was a must for me), then this is feasible. However, if there are a lot of specific sites you want to see in Oxford, and Blenheim only somehwat interesting, then doing both in the same day is not a good idea.
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Feb 7th, 2009, 01:01 PM
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Well we liked Blenheim and the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Each to their own, eh?

We spent all day at Blenheim, lots to see there though I wouldn't recommend the upper floor inside, a bit odd and dull. The gardens are lovely.

Kay
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Feb 8th, 2009, 02:54 AM
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Queen Anne is dead?
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