After a flurry of a day in Oxford yesterday, we stepped it down a couple of gears, well Sophie and Liam did. Lachlan was kicking, grabbing and rolling around with his cheeky giggle gaggle. Eloise had been complaining about a sore ankle all morning. The type of sore ankle that does not let you walk up hills and through supermarkets, but does let you bound around a playground. They have both been so good throughout Oxford. This morning was playground time, there just happened to be one opposite Caroline’s apartment. Lachlan was still kicking and flapping about. Meanwhile, Eloise had found the world’s slowest slide.
We all jumped into the car and headed to Blenheim Palace. When we arrived the weather was better than expected so we thought we would start with the outside attractions. It was a nice stroll past a gaggle of geese, after a bit of 4×4 driving we made it to the Harry Potter Tree.
The Blenheim Harry Potter Tree is a Cedar of Lebanon tree that has been living on The World Heritage Site of Blenheim Palace estate for hundreds of years! It’s one of the most iconic and recognisable trees here due to its hollow nature and the gaping hole that is seen on the front. It’s a whopping 55 feet tall and 20 feet in diameter too! But, in this century, it has now grown to fame and has been officially named The Harry Potter Tree as it featured in the Harry Potter movies. Potterheads from all over the globe now visit to see the spot that featured in Snape’s Worst Memory.
After a quick sausage roll from The Oxfordshire Pantry, it was now time to check out the enormous Blenheim Palace.
Lined with artistic ceilings, paintings and ornaments throughout. Sophie, Caroline and Liam took turns admiring the decor while keeping a close eye on Eloise running about.
Blenheim Palace is a country house in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England. It is the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough and the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace. The palace, one of England’s largest houses, was built between 1705 and 1722, and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The palace is named after the 1704 Battle of Blenheim, and thus ultimately after Blindheim in Bavaria. It was originally intended to be a reward to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough for his military triumphs against the French and Bavarians in the War of the Spanish Succession, culminating in the Battle of Blenheim. The land was given as a gift, and construction began in 1705, with some financial support from Queen Anne. The palace is notable as the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill. Following the palace’s completion, it became the home of the Churchill (later Spencer-Churchill) family for the next 300 years.
Impressively, there was a complete set of thirteen lithographs illustrating Shakespeare’s Hamlet from Paris between 1834 and 1843.
Inside the palace was the birth room of Sir Winston Churchill.
In the square, they were filming a Bollywood zombie apocalypse film. We will have to watch it when it is released, probably a lot of Eloise frolicking in the background.
The gardens were vast and equally impressive. There was a Sir Winston Churchill history path and Monument, at the end of the path it read “1965 Buried at Bladon”. How strange, we had never heard of Bladon. It was not far away. We assumed he was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey, next to Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Dickens, or somewhere equally grand. We had to check it out.
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill KG, OM, CH, TD, DL, FRS, RA (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, during the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Best known for his wartime leadership as Prime Minister, Churchill was also a Sandhurst-educated soldier, a Nobel Prize-winning writer and historian, a prolific painter, and one of the longest-serving politicians in British history. Apart from two years between 1922 and 1924, he was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1900 to 1964 and represented a total of five constituencies. Ideologically an economic liberal and imperialist, he was for most of his career a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, though he was a member of the Liberal Party from 1904 to 1924.
There was an impressive rose garden that reminded us of our front garden and all those long days of deadheading and pruning.
We walked past another stunning English Oak tree before meeting Razz, he/ she/ it had Liam’s full attention. Razz, has been added to the project tinkering list.
We made our way back towards the palace and checked out the firetrucks and stables. Sadly Eloise had fallen asleep, she would have loved the interactive displays in the stables.
Blenheim Palace is a must-see for movies buffs. Some of the major productions filmed here are: James Bond Spectre (2015), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), The Avengers (1998), Cinderella (2015), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Gulliver’s Travels (2010), Hamlet (1996) and many more.
Unfortunately, the Walled Garden and miniature train were closed as they were preparing for an Autumn festival next weekend. Perhaps a blessing in disguise because Lachlan will be able to enjoy the big hedge maze, trains and entertainment next time too. The tickets are valid for a year so we will have to come back with our Aussie tourists soon.
We headed towards this tiny little mysterious town, Bladon, to see what we would find. After driving up a narrow Lamb Lane we arrived at the church where Churchill was laid to rest, The Parish Church of Saint Martin Bladon. He had the most well-kept headstone and was with his family. Inside the church, there were a few Churchill displays including a beautiful stained glass window.
On the way back to the hotel, we passed our trusty ASDA petrol station, which did not let us down. Luckily, it seems like prices have not been affected by the shortages at the bowsers.
Tonight, we had dinner with Caroline at Suwanna, we were all craving Thai food. Hopefully, we will see more of Caroline sooner rather than later.
An early night for all. Tomorrow is another big historical day which we had on our travel list before we left Australia.