We spent a really enjoyable long day out at Blenheim Palace. I was surprised by the end at just how much I liked it, as I wasn’t expecting to completely connect with the formal style of gardens there. The palace itself is very grand but has a warm appearance because of the golden Cotswold stone. I particulary liked the cheeky female statue poking out from behind a pillar. It’s like she’s trying not to be caught flirting with the soldier!
This is the place where Sir Winston Churchill was born and is still inhabited by the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. I was particularly interested to learn that the famous garden designer Capability Brown was employed to create the magnificent Blenheim lake and the amazing views that wrap around the palace in the 18th century. The scale of the grounds is just enormous and it’s awesome to think that one man is responsible it’s topography, texture and design.
Close to the palace are the water terraces which are very formal but extremely serene to be in. Built on two levels it’s able to hide views of focal points very well with cheeky statues scattered throughout. I’m not usually one for topiary but it has been used to great effect in this garden contrasting wonderfully with the water. There is a definite Italian feel to the place with the formality and the fountains.
Next we headed on a long walk through the Arboretum. This took you through the vast grounds amongst some stunning ancient trees. The old Oaks were really awesome, they were just sooo big!!! I think this was my favourite part of the day, hugging huge trees and walking in the sunshine.
The secret garden was a sheltered glade full of lush woodland type plants and featured lots of different Japanese maples. There was a lot more colour in this garden but this had again been achieved without flowery plants and more through foliage.
Towards the end of the day we took the dinky wee train from the palace entrance to the pleasure gardens which are about a 15 minute walk away. Here there are lots of fun activities for children, a butterfly house and a nice lavender garden. The main feature here though was the Marlborough maze, which is the world’s second largest symbolic hedge maze. It’s very impressive, even Ben couldn’t see over the top of the yew hedge walls and you could run about it for hours I’m sure. However we managed to quickly race through it in 20 minutes or so and then race back for the last train.