UK: Blenheim Palace-Woodstock

Friday, December 6, 2013

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It’s a new dawn, a new day, it’s a new tourist attraction for me and I’m feeling good. Today’s plan is to visit Blenheim Palace; a World Heritage site and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. We begin with a leisurely peaceful drive from Stratford-upon-Avon through the quaint countryside village of Woodstock.

We enter the Palace Park through Woodstock Gate; one of two entrances. The cost of admission to the Palace, Park & Formal Gardens is 21 GBP. It’s a short walk from the parking area to the entrance into the East Courtyard.

Up front near the Flagstaff Information Point, people can drive in and purchase locally grown trees for the holiday.

At the entrance to the Palace, you will walk through the strategically placed East Courtyard shop in the Visitor Centre. Here you can find many souvenirs and other knick-knacks. Located next to facilities are lockers which visitors can use to store their bulky items without carrying it all around the Palace grounds, it’s a great convenience!

The walk across the East Courtyard leads you through the gateway to the Great Court. Here you can see the English Baroque style architecture and take in the full grandeur of this countryside palatial residence. And that’s only the exterior of the Palace!

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Before you walk through the main entrance into the Palace, look upwards-the seeing eyes are looking back at you!

Once through the doors, you can either join the free guided tours of the State Rooms or walk through leisurely at your own pace. This is a great place to visit during the holidays; the front hall and many other open spaces are decorated with colorful ornaments, poinsettias and festive Christmas trees!

The flow of the tour goes through the State Rooms with its sheer opulence of hand carved furniture, priceless works of art and rich tapestries.

Take the time to walk through the Winston Churchill Exhibition; it a commemoration of the life and times of Britain’s greatest politician. It also showcases many of his personal artwork.

The Great Hall houses the long library and the extremely large Willis pipe organ. This room was cleared of all its furniture for an upcoming event. In the center of the room across from the fireplace stands a beautifully decorated tree complete with presents and huge free standing cards.

We make our way across the Palace to the Water Terrace Café for a quick pick me upper; coffee, tea and sweets.

We exit the Palace and continue with a stroll around one of the Formal Gardens-the majestic Water Terraces.

The Garden Walk takes us along the lake towards the Rose Garden. It’s a quiet peaceful setting with fallen autumn leaves strewn about and wild pheasants roaming freely around the picturesque Palace grounds.

We cross the South Lawn for the return to the Palace and make a quick stop at the wishing well before exiting the grounds. It never hurts to make a wish, sometimes they do come true!

While walking back to the car, the clouds gives way to the sun which allows the striking golden rays of lights to sweep its way across the lake and surrounding lawn areas-WOW!

On our way out, we make a short stop at the Pleasure Gardens to check out the Marlborough Maze but we’re too late, it’s already closed!

We end the day by taking a short walk around Woodstock; it’s a little historic town with Cotswolds stone buildings filled with specialty boutiques, art galleries, antique shops and stores, cafes, pubs and restaurants.

For dinner, it’s pizza night at Pizza Express with Gelato ice cream for dessert at Hooray’s.

If you have more time, follow the map below for a longer walk around Woodstock. Thanks again to Sister #10 for this wonderful day!

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