Blenheim Palace, Bladon churchyard, a near miss and Winston Churchill

I adore London with all of my heart, but sometime all it takes is a 4 word message from a good friend to make me yearn to leave it. “New car, road trip?” did the trick beautifully in September last year, and before we knew it Kelly’s smurfmobile was packed full of gluten-free snacks, blasting Katy Perry and cruising down the twisting country lanes through Gloucestershire.

As two Kiwi princesses (for the weekend at least), we made it our epic quest to visit as many castles as it was humanly possible to fit into two days, and though to begin with one of the more infamous – Blenheim Palace. Imposing, ornate and fascinating we tagged onto one of the free tours to learn as much as we could soak in.

“Home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir
Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is a true masterpiece of 18th Century
Baroque architecture.”

Each corner is another unveiling of a beautifuly ornate new wing. Gilding, luscious fabric, stately rooms (converted during the war into childrens schoolrooms and dormitories), cases of tin soldiers, breathtaking oil portraits, dizzyingly high ceilings, broad libraries, collections of stately robes, candid family photographs, Winston Churchill mementos and dragon insignias scattered through the public rooms make for fascinating wandering.

 

What would it be like to grow up with such ornate surroundings?

 

  

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us…” Sir Winston Churchill

 

Once exiting the impressive edifice, we partially explored the 2,000 acres of Capability Brown designed parkland and gardens, before hoofing back to our valiant smurf mobile. 

Happening upon a google search, we followed Kelly’s rather unreliable SatNav to the teeny village of Bladon (about 7.23 minutes drive) and paid our hushed respects to the gravestone of the greatest British war-time leaders.

It was all told a fascinating morning; not your average Saturday.

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