Thursday, 8 July 2021

Blenheim Palace

                                                          The approach to the Palace

We first visited Blenheim (and Woodstock) last November and thoroughly enjoyed it, even though the interior was closed at the time and the weather was quite grey. The visit of a friend from the US gave us an opportunity for another look. We walked up from the car park to the imposing main entrance gate, the East Gate.

This leads into a large courtyard which in turn give way to the Great Court, in front of the Great Hall.

After a short wait we went through the main door to discover just how high the Hall is. Looking through the doorway, you can see the Column of Victory (1727-30) in the distance.

We followed the interior route which featured a number of clothing designs by Osbert Sitwell - not really my thing. But near the end of the route we emerged into the astonishingly vast Library, now sometimes available for social events.

Leaving the Hall we came upon the Chapel, a small rather awkwardly shaped building designed by Sir John Vanbrugh as a memorial of the First Duke of Blenheim, commissioned by his wife. The chapel was not finished when the duke died in 1722, so he was buried in Westminster Abbey, but was reinterred in the crypt underneath the chapel alongside his wife after her death in 1744.

We now went round the side of the Palace buildings to visit the formal gardens. If you are alert you can spot a couple having a photo shoot.

There was no way of exiting the Palace other than retracing our steps, but this did give us a fine view of the buildings to the left of the Hall in beautiful sunshine.

We exited via the East Gate and walked around the side to at last see the range of buildings in their full splendour.

We walked away from the Palace down to the see Vanbrugh's magnificent Palladian style bridge, which separate the two parts of the lake.

It was interesting to find an area left aside for butterflies and we were delighted to spot a few we hadn't seen so far this year (Marbled White, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper). Finally, there was a lovely view including both the bridge and the Palace.

Another discovery, when writing this, was that Blenheim is a World Heritage Site.

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