A day out: Blenheim Palace

You think this is impressive? This is the back of the house.
After finishing my degree at the start of June, I had a week left of term to really enjoy the sights around Oxford that I'd never before had the time to see. Top of my Oxford Bucket List was Blenheim Palace, a stunning stately home constructed in the 18th century by the first Duke of Malborough after his military victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession.  

Nothing says "I'm awesome" more than an enormous column with your statue on top
The Duke was given the money to construct the Palace by Queen Anne after his exploits in war, and he is commemorated by a large statue positioned at the top of a small hill, in line with the house's courtyard. On the statue, the Duke is shown wearing Roman military costume (the obvious choice). The Palace is actually still home to modern day Duke of Malborough, James Spencer-Churchill, and his very dishy polo-playing son. The family still reside in the private wing of the Palace.

Me (on the right) and my two lovely friends, Charlotte and Mirjam, who made the trip with me
You've probably heard of a few other members of the family who own this illustrious mansion. Sir Winston Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace in 1874, and the late Diana Spencer, former wife of Prince Charles, also had a familial connection to the Palace. At the Palace currently there is an exhibition commemorating the life of Winston Churchill, which alongside the tales of his actions as Prime Minister, tells the touching story of his romance with his wife Clementine. Also included in the exhibition is Winston Churchill's very own onesie. I'm not kidding.

Photographic evidence of the onesie!

Exploring the Great Court

Posing on the steps

As you'd expect, the inside of the Palace is just as opulent as the exterior. Almost every available surface is sculpted, painted, or gilded. The image below shows the painting on the ceiling of the entrance hall, which supposedly shows the first Duke of Malborough, supported by the personification of Victory, laying out his battle plans. Excessive? Yes. Gorgeous? Definitely.

Start saving your pocket money and you might be able to afford one of these ceilings in about 284139494592 years
If that ceiling wasn't enough, one of the free tours put on by Blenheim Palace's staff will take you though to the state rooms, all of which are decked out with family portraits and crystal chandeliers. Those ceiling adornments are 24 carat gold.

Just one of the state rooms
One of my favourite items from the Palace's state rooms are the so-called chaperone couches. A couple who were courting would sit on the main part of the red sofa pictured below, and their chaperone would sit on the little section at the end, making sure that no funny-business, which might compromise the lady's modesty, could take place. Can you think of a more awkward arrangement? I certainly can't.

No cheeky smooching with bae on one of these couches
Naturally, as is the case with most all days out in good old Blighty, it started to rain towards the end of the day, so we took refuge in one of the Palace's colonnades. The incoming thunderstorm meant that we weren't able to visit the Palace's formal gardens, but as we converted our day tickets into yearly passes (which is free to do on the day and takes just 5 minutes), we will definitely go back and explore the bits we missed. Blenheim Palace provided a really gorgeous day out and I will be returning!

Sheltering from the inevitable rain
 Pros: 
  • Plenty of indoor space to explore if it rains
  • They offer a student entry price of £12.60, and this can be converted into a yearly pass for free
  • Some tours are free
  • There are 150 acres of gardens to see if the sun is shining!
Cons:
  • Eating in one of the cafes is EXPENSIVE, so take a packed lunch
  • You have to pay to go on some tours (£5 for adults, £4 for concessions) and the areas of the house which these tours show you are not otherwise accessible

The day wouldn't have been complete without another posey photo

Getting there:
It's very easy to get to Blenheim on public transport. Take the Stagecoach S3 bus from Gloucester Green in central Oxford, and you can get dropped off right outside the Palace gates. If you're driving, the Palace can easily be found from Oxford, Birmingham, or London.

I hope you enjoyed this mini-tour of Blenheim Palace! Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Until next time,

A x

© Abbey Louisa Rose. Design by Fearne.