We have found ourselves being in the position to brag about visiting Britain’s greatest palace and probably one of France’s most beautiful chateaux, Chenonceau, all in the space of about a month. Blog article about Chenonceau here.
After being back in the UK for a few weeks, after our six weeks trip to France, it was time to make the most of the English summer and head off again for a mini motorhome adventure to Oxfordshire.
Where is Britain’s greatest palace you might ask? Well, according to the leaflet printed by Blenheim Palace, it’s not Buckingham Palace but Blenheim Palace near Oxford. I have never had the honour of being invited to Buckingham Palace but I have now seen inside Blenheim Palace and the palace in London must be amazing if it’s better than this one!
Where to stay with a motorhome
There is a Caravan and Motorhome Club site at Bladon Chains, which is only a few hundred metres from Blenheim Palace so it was there that we found ourselves on a nice grassy pitch. It’s all you would expect from such a site – run with military precision, well maintained and all the usual facilities (£24.50 a night). The next morning we parked in the vast car park at Blenheim Palace where there is plenty of space for motorhomes of any size.
An advantage of staying at Bladon Chains is that it entitles you to a 30% discount off the normal entry fee of £27 (£25 for over 60’s).
Is Blenheim Britain’s greatest palace?
When the English defeated the French at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 Queen Anne gave the palace to the 1st Duke of Marlborough. It is now home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family, although he only lives in an apartment within the palace. The palace was built in 2,000 acres of stunning parkland and there is no doubt the house itself is an amazing example of Baroque architecture, but for me the fascination was the fact that Sir Winston Churchill was born here.
Sir Winston Churchill & Blenheim Palace
Despite what some people may think about Winston Churchill there is no question that through his leadership he prevented a Nazi Germany invasion and is arguably Britain’s greatest prime minister. Blenheim Palace is the family home of the Spencer-Churchill’s and it was whilst his mother was visiting the palace for the day on a hunting trip that she went into labour 2 months early and Winston Churchill was born in one of the downstairs rooms. I found it fascinating to see the bedroom where Churchill was born and we later visited the nearby St Martin’s Church in Bladon where Sir Winston Churchill was buried in the family plot.
I was overcharged and had to complain
Blenheim Palace has a couple of very nice looking cafes. Having ordered 3 coffee’s I was charged £8.55, but I soon realised that I should have been charged £7.20! For a Yorkshireman like me that’s a big deal! I politely pointed this out to the young man on the till and he called over his supervisor to rectify his mistake. The supervisor reluctantly handed over 45 pence. The ex teacher in me said “what’s £8.55 minus £7.20?” After a few seconds of waiting and a gormless look on the face of the supervisor I had to give him the answer. Without an apology he had given me the correct difference. I hate poor customer service.
Despite poor service in the cafe, I would recommend a visit to Blenheim Palace for its sheer beauty as a building and the extensive gardens. It’s also great for children as it has an adventure playground, a maze, a butterfly house and a narrow gauge railway.
Top tip for Blenheim Palace
Convert your ticket into an annual pass. It’s free. Just go to the kiosk and they will give you a credit card sized annual pass. There is so much to see and do at Blenheim Palace that we will definitely be going back.
All I need now is an invitation to Buckingham Palace so that I can say which really is Britain’s greatest palace.