Now that it’s raining buckets in London, I am sipping coffee and thinking what a great weekend we had. After celebrating our beautiful friends wedding in charming Cogges Manor Farm on Friday, we had a scenic drive to the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill on Saturday. Since we were going to be in Oxfordshire we planned the trip in advance and I was very much looking forward to our day out.
By the way, if you are going to Witney, a very beautiful little town in Oxfordshire, stay in The Blue Boar. We had such a pleasant stay and even though, the hotel is located in the centre of the town, we had a sound night sleep after the festivities. The breakfast was amazing and the staff were genuinely friendly. I loved waking up in crisp white sheets and the wooden beams above the bed.
Blenheim Palace is a fascinating place. As soon as we walked through the main entrance into the Great Court, we were greeted by the magnificent building – all you would expect from the Baroque architecture.
Even though we both were slightly hangover after having a great time at the wedding and didn’t have much energy, the walk in the fresh air through the green forests and rose gardens did us good and soothed our headache. The place was so peaceful and pleasant. So far, it’s my second favourite place after Leeds Castle. At least the grounds.
We started with the Gardens Lakeside Walk and had a refreshing stroll by the lake.
I would have loved to take a boat and float in the middle of the lake, it was so calm and soothing. But the boats were only for the fisherman and to be honest, I don’t think we had enough energy to row anyway.
The Rose Garden was a perfect stop. Vivid colours looked pretty in the sunshine and the air was filled with vibrant aromas. Just what I needed! A graceful place for some downtime.
Not long after we appeared next to the Grand Cascade and Pump House. The water feature is man-made, created by a man with a great name – ‘Capability’ Brown. The rocks in the Cascade were carefully placed to create as much movement and noise as possible as the water falls. It was very relaxing to watch the water rush through the stones and enjoy the landscape.
”At Blenheim I took two very important decisions; to be born and to marry. I am content with the decision I took on both occasions.” Sir Winston Churchill
In the summer of 1908 Winston Churchill proposed to Miss Clementine Hozier at the Temple of Diana. Their marriage lasted 57 years even though some thought it will not last 6 months. I always consider myself very lucky to have been able to see and be at places that hold precious memories of some of the greatest people.
The interior of the Palace, as expected, was very busy with extravagant details, tapestry, painted ceiling and a collection of elegant furniture.
The Long Library was one of my favourite rooms in the Palace. It’s one of the longest rooms in any British stately home and definitely most impressive. The detailed ceiling and the books, 10,000 of them by the way, looked magical in the rays of sunlight breaking through the arched windows.
I love Italian gardens, but unfortunately we couldn’t access that part of the garden this time. It was really disappointing as I was looking forward to wandering around the Duke of Marlborough’s private garden.
After a circular walk around the gardens we sneaked into the Secret Garden. It’s a secluded area and a real retreat. At least it felt like it. We sat on the bench, hidden in the trees, listened to a little waterfall and rested our feet after a 3 hour walk around the grounds of the Palace.
Towards the end of our tour, even though we walked a lot, I felt rested both, physically and emotionally.
The Winston Churchill miniature train operates from the Palace to The Pleasure Gardens – a dedicated family area. We missed the ride this time and were pretty lucky as it started really chucking it down as soon as we returned to the car.
Blessed once again we avoided the rain while wandering around this beautiful World Heritage Site.