Sunday 16 November 2014

Blenheim Palace

We went to Blenheim Palace last week to see the Ai Weiwei exhibition, but we had such a wonderful walk in a very small part of the grounds, that I would like to post about that first.

It was a mixed day weather-wise: lots of clouds but when the sun broke through the stone of the building glowed

and it looked wonderful.

The water terrace looked as inviting as ever


the topiary in perfectly trimmed condition.

Unfortunately they have erected this white monstrosity in order to extend the restaurant and that really did spoil the views - it's awful


In the summer when the construction is taken down you can sit around the water terrace and have a drink or lunch - it's a real treat.

We walked to the side of the house where we could just see Weiwei's installation Bubble, but decided to leave that for later as we wanted to walk


The grounds are massive. You need lots of visits to cover everything. We know the place quite well because they have an offer where once you buy your ticket you can convert it to a card that allows you to visit as many times as you like for a year for free, and we had such a card in 2009 when we must have visited at least 7 times. 
Capability Brown was commissioned in 1764 to remodel the gardens and the parks. He worked in the park for 10 years. He designed a natural landscape and such landscapes in Brown's opinion always had a water feature so he created a spectacular lake. The lake was our destination.

Our first stop was the rose garden

and it was here that we got a first glimpse of the lake

The sun was out again 

 and some of the trees turned golden.

We followed the path

and it was a real delight

the grounds are truly beautiful.


Some ancient monumental trees,

some that are beautifully shaped

 some in elegant clusters

and some covered with gorgeous red berries.


We then reached the lake


and the cascade.

Capability Brown damned the River Glyme in order to create the lake. He dragged out and shaped the contours of the land to accommodate the water. At the site of the dam the rocks in the Cascade were carefully placed to create as much movement and noise as possible as the water fell.

The view from the bridge

It's all very pretty

The path leading to the cascade was curved so that people heard the dam before they saw it. (We did the walk in the reverse order so failed to experience this). By so doing, Brown hoped to raise a sense of expectation for the family and their visitors.

Looking down from the top of the cascade

We then took the path that would take us back to the house

which we could see in the distance

looking back

but it's always best to look forward, particularly when it's a path as lovely as this one

we really enjoyed this walk

and the light was wonderful

and now we could see not just the house but also the boat house that we would soon reach


I love views of water through trees and foliage


so here's another one

the boathouse

and then we'd come full circle back to the water terrace


lots of Grecian-style statues here


one more view of the water terrace

Ai Weiwei's Bubble


a different view

looking closer



the Italian garden

which is private with no access to visitors.

Even walking back to the car park was a delight.



  1. It's looking lovely. We have not been back to Blenheim since we lived in Oxford in the early 70s!

    1. The house doesn't interest me at all, Olga - so much conspicuous consumption, so busy, to cluttered - but we love the grounds which are very beautiful. It's a great place for nice long walks.