Bit of advice, when you visit Blenheim palace, pack your walking shoes!
I wish I knew this in advance (not that I packed an extra pair of shoes anyway) but boy does your feet get a serious workout here!
Blenheim Palace is so conveniently close to Oxford city centre that when you find yourself visiting Oxford, its well worth popping in to see Blenheim Palace – as we decided to at the last minute in Oxford before heading off to our next stop.
Blenheim Palace is as grand as it sounds and spans acres and acres of land, with absolutely stunning gardens and grounds to boot. Visiting reminded me of Downton Abbey and I just couldn’t get the theme song out of my head the entire time we were there (even more frustrating as the song had no words so I roamed the ground humming out of tune all afternoon).
Inside the palace, you get a tour taking you through all the different family rooms and even to the room Winston Churchill was born in – which bizarrely had locks of his hair (from when he was around 5 years old – he’s a red head, as it turns) framed in the room.
Walking through the palace leads you to one grand room after the other! It’s absolutely incredible and a true showcase of British architectural and design splendour.
Even their family library is OTT and you can probably see why the whole Downton Abbey theme song was stuck in my head while we were here.
I mean, look at the ‘family chapel’ – humongous!!
Outside the palace are the gardens, which are perfect for a picnic (which we didn’t pack) and also particularly great for a good old run around!
When we first arrived, we’d noticed on the map that there was a maze here (the Marlborough maze) and I can’t remember properly being in a maze so I figured I had to check this out. What I didn’t count on was how far away from the palace the maze was and after walking for what felt like hours (and getting lost along the way), we finally found the maze (along with other sights and gardens).
By the way, if you wanna head over to the maze, you’re better off getting back into your car and driving over to the entrance of the maze rather than walking to it.
By the time we got to the maze, I was starving and it was one of those moments where you just think to yourself “Let’s do this quickly so I can get some food…” except I totally under-estimated the maze. The photos made it look so tame and so easy yet somehow, we managed to get well and truly lost in the maze. (You can only imagine how much my tummy was starting to rumble from hunger pangs by this point).
I also always assumed that if I got lost in a maze, I’d just jump up high and try to figure things out that way. Turns out, you can do that here and you can’t even cheat by just walking through the hedges (they’re far too thick for this)… and so we carried on and on until we finally made it to the middle of the maze, which has a platform, allowing up to try to calculate the fastest way outta there and get closer to finding food (oh, also the café here was closed so there wasn’t even the chance to get a quick snack here either).
Okay, enough about food, or the lack thereof!
We finally broke free of the maze and headed off straight to Cambridge, where thankfully, I’d managed to get my Alumni card sent to my college (instead of rushing to pick it up by the 5.30pm Friday deadline).
Card picked up and hotel checked into, we headed straight for dinner which came in the form of a delicious steak and another dessert favourite – sticky toffee pudding (my first proper dessert love).
The rest of the evening was spent trying out different microbrewery ales and resting my weary feet in preparation for the sights of my old home and alma mater of Cambridge!