Happy September 1st!!
(What do you mean September 1st isn’t a national holiday? It needs to be, more than anything because papa Bennett hates this song and lil bub Bennett and I would get immense joy from being allowed to play it on repeat one day a year. We need to make it happen.)
Anyway, back to the point at hand, on Sunday myself and the family visited Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. A place reowned for its rich history and splendour.
The entrance fee for the day was a whopping £92 (for that price I was expecting to take home a memento piece of silver or maybe a priceless piece of artwork, but to my utter shock even that wasn’t included in the price). To make up for this we refused to buy the official guidebook opting instead to make our own way round without the use of a guide. While we were looking around I suddenly had one of my amazing brainwaves. Why don’t I create a simple, unofficial guide which people can use FOR FREE. After all, I’m renowned for my ability to convey serious, factual information in a captivating way which never goes off the point. Camera and budding assistant (India) in hand, I got to work on producing a new, improved guide. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Blenheim Palace: The Unofficial Guide.
Blenheim was built in the 17th century although over the years it has been extended. The exterior of the palace is very grand. By being grand the palace sent a powerful message: “Oi, monarchy, don’t be messing with us, we’ve got a fine pad too.”
The most recent part of the exterior probably dates from around 1948, when the Duke of Marlbrough took a fancy to the works of Orwell:
There is also ample space for adopting the middle aged man position:
Top Tip: There’s a lot of gravel outside the front, but us oiks aren’t allowed to walk across most of it. Stick to the central section which is disinfected every night.
For a comprehensive summary of the palace’s exterior, check out this useful video where India will tour you around the important features of the palace’s architecture.
In short, there are invisible birds, flies everywhere and there is a risk you might slip through a time hole and be transported back to the Victorian era (Blenheim accepts no responsibility should the latter occur).
Inside the Palace
Inside their are two different tours of the house. The first is titled ‘Blenheim Untold’. This is an exhibition which features holograms, information boards and scary mannequins. Be warned, you will be in a room with a naked Barbara Villiers where you won’t know where to look or how to feel:
The author can’t speak for the rest of the world, but as someone who had a morbid fear of museum mannequins for about 15 years and still doesn’t like them I would thoroughly avoid traumatising your child with such a sight.
There’s also a random cake model of Blenheim Palace here. Made in the 1970s, it was the first ever Bake Off show stopper.
(Still didn’t get star baker though)
The other part of the house open to the public is a self lead affair. There are several lovely tapestries, including this one titled “What the gentlemen did while a historic battle was being fought elsewhere alias what we did on our holidays“
“My, my, what a wonderful day for watching a battle”
“Indeed sir it is. It looks so much fun down there what with the blood and fighting and all. I was briefly tempted to follow them, but then I realised that I was an aristocrat and the feeling passed. Is it lunch served yet?”
“Hey everyone, when you get a moment I’d really appreciate it if you could check out these battle plans I drew up. If you could check them out before some civilians get killed that would be great.”
There’s also some fancy silver dinner sets that only get used on Christmas day (i.e. marvel at our wealth peasants).
And there are a lot of art pieces in the rooms too. Below are a selection of personal favourites (apologises in advance for photo quality):
The first ever mother, baby selfie:
“This better get at least 10 likes”
The world record holder for sideburns:
The wife of Donkey from Shrek being crushed by a memorial:
Her death is mourned by many
There’s a massive sculpture to in the library, as you do.
You know that feeling when you’re just so fed up of having your portrait taken? There’s even a lovely art piece that summarises the feeling:
Author Recommends: The portrait of Churchill and a horse found towards the end of the Winston Churchill exhibition.
“Mum, mum! You’ll never guess what! I’m going to be in a painting with Winston Churchill! I’ve been posing for hours but it’ll be worth it. I told you I’d do our family proud.”
Top Tip: Check out this mini radiator in the library. Not for any reason in partiuclar, just check it out:
That’s not gonna dry anyone’s socks out or heat a room but I’ll let it slide because it’s so dam tiny. Cute!
Oh, and there are also hats:
The gardens outside are nice:
A nice garden.
Top Tip: Watch out for stating the obvious signs, e.g. one that tells you not to go beyond this point when beyond this point in a sheer drop.
The garden has some pretty flowers in it:
It also has the first example of photo-shopping in England.
As my assistant demonstrates, posing for such sculptures was a very hard job to do:
Top Tip: There are a lot of good paths for amateur runners.
The grounds contain an attractive man-made cascade with nature-made swan…
…and a bridge nearby that leads to no where (much to the author’s bafflement).
The garden also provides many opportunities for the keen photobomber:
Author Recommends: dancing in front of one of the door ways for no reason:
Has to be done.
There are some funky butterflies in the pleasure garden:
There is also a maze:
Which floods very easily:
Top Tip: Do not be put off by the puddles. Take a sip of tea, man up and enter:
(In case readers doubted my love of tea)
The maze contains many twisty sections, two bridges and a monster who jumps out at you (otherwise known as dad)
However that said, it was a fun experience (even if the author was beaten by her younger sibling).
Where would any tourist attraction be without its comments book? Lets take a moment to view some of the comments that will always be part of Blenheim’s rich tapestry.
When you’re so happy and excited about something that last word turns in a blur:
The very British comment:
“It was ok, not that good” Age 57
(what a unique name)
Comments from the intergalactic ambassadors:
And finally, the comment that speaks for everyone:
Great tunez they indeed were.
So, to sum up, Blenheim Palace has a lot of art, plants and a dying dragon. Shame about the lack of a free guidebook but then most normal people do actually buy them. That said, this unofficial guide should now fill that gap in the market (you’re welcome). Fun for all the family, a great day out and I’d thoroughly recommend it to all. Can think of absolutely no problems or faults with it at all, keep it the same for forever.
Overall rating: Two Stars.