Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blenheim Palace: Birthplace of Winston Churchill

Blenheim Palace Gardens
From Sudeley Castle we traveled to Stratford on the Avon River.  It was close to dinner time, so after we got settled in our hotel, we had dinner and then relaxed the rest of the evening.  We were going to Blenheim Palace in the morning and then spending the afternoon and evening visiting Stratford.  It was going to be another busy day.

Our hotel, Alveston Manor, was one of my favorite.  It felt almost like stepping back in time.  We stayed in the old Tudor section with beamed ceilings and multi-paned windows.  The first performance of  "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is rumored to have been performed near an ancient cedar tree on the lawn of the hotel.  Ray was not feeling well so was glad to be able to get to bed early.

Alveston Manor, Stratford

I must admit that I was not prepared for our visit to Blenheim Palace.  I knew that this was Winston Churchill's childhood home, but that was about it.  Ray was not feeling well at all and I thought he might need to spend the morning resting instead of going to Blenheim Palace.  What was I thinking?  He is such a history buff, he was not about to miss this.   Any illness that Ray had seemed to disappear as he bopped from place to place in the gardens taking pictures.  At places this large, we often go our separate ways so that we can get our own pictures. 
Here is a short slide show of the inside of Blenheim Palace.


Winston Churchill's Birth Room: (Sorry the pictures are poor. I did not have my camera set right.)
I happened to see a little boy running to keep up with his parents.  He made me think about how Winston Churchill might have run  through the halls.  When I saw Ray's pictures, I found that he had taken a picture of the same little boy.  Ray had had a similar thought.  

Winston Churchill, ca. 1880. Copyprint. Broadwater Collection,
Churchill archives Centre, Cambridge, U.K. (12.1). On right is the
little boy that reminded us of Winston Churchill.

We were unable to visit the top floor of the palace because we wanted to see the gardens.  I have some videos of the gardens and I seem to like the words 'huge, beautiful and amazing'.  Of course, the pictures, like those taken at a place like The Grand Canyon, do not do convey the beauty and size of these gardens.  When visiting Chartwell, the home where Churchill lived as an adult, we were told that his wife was concerned about the cost of renovating it.  After seeing Blenheim Palace, I wonder why she thought that he was being too extravagant.This video is of the front of the palace.

This video is a really short one of a clock chiming.  We happened to pass this clock right when it began to chime.  I was only able to record part of it.

Panorama of the Formal Gardens

Ray took a picture of me sitting on a bench looking at the pool and fountain.  I did not know he had done that.
Then I see him on the other side of the pool as I look through the arch of the fountain.
The next two videos are of the Formal Gardens.
 We wished we could have stayed at Blenheim Palace for the whole day.  We were glad that we arrived  early in the morning because only a few people were there.  We were able to see a lot and take pictures that did not include hordes of tourists.  Ray's energy was ebbing.  We still had lunch and then the afternoon in Stratford on our schedule.  We feared that Ray had caught the cold that a few of our fellow travelers had...and hoped that a lunch of soup and sandwich would help him feel better.

Ray and I in the Formal Gardens at Blenheim Palace
Anyone visiting England must take time to see Blenheim Palace.  We hope to get back there on our next trip.  Now...off to Shakespeare country!

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