The Long and Winding Road Part 2

Blog 01

Kings Arms where we stayed over night.

Saturday, 23 July

I am quickly running out of time. Today is my last day in London and I am only up through Saturday.  I may have  to take desperate measures to finish this.

Today, we got up and fairly quickly got on the road.  We had breakfast down the street and returned to the inn, checked out went down to wait for the bus that would take us to Blenheim and onto Oxford to catch the train to London.  Christina wanted to visit Bleinheim Palace.  I didn’t know what that was but, was anxious to discover something new.  My poor little brain was not prepared for the exploration on tap for today.  Last time, she took me to the Royal Pavillion to blow my mind.  This time it is Bleinheim.

Blog 02

Bleinheim Palace is the home of the Duke of Marlborough. Winston Churchill was born here and is related to the family.

I can’t begin to describe this place so I will try to let the photograph do the job.  We spent most of the morning and early afternoon touring the gardens, the palace and stopped for lunch.

Blog 03

The courtyard.

Blog 04

The front door.

 

Blog 05

The back door.

Blog 06

Exterior detail. This looks out over one of the formal gardens on the side.

Blog 07

This is the garden on that side.

Blog 08

The pathway to the Secret Garden on the other side of the palace. It was very beautiful. Quiet, serene and lush.

Blog 09

I was not the first person to do this. The branch was quite worn from other behinds sitting on it.

Blog 10

Formal garden on the other side of the palace. The secret garden is just beyond this garden. The background is one wing of the palace.

Blog 11

Finally, we got in. This is the Great Hall by which you enter the building.

Blog 12

This is the 10th Duchess, Mary. I just really like this portrait. The painting style was quite striking.. Obviously, from the 1930’s.

 

Blog 12a

I have always loved this painting and I got to see it in person. This is the 9th Duke and Duchess and their family. The boy in the middle would marry the woman in the previous portrait. The ninth Duchess, Consuelo was a Vanderbilt who was married off to the Duke against her wishes. Her mother wanted to make an aristocratic match for her daughter. Her dowry essentially saved Bleinheim Palace. Many think this story is the inspiration for the PBS series Downton Abby.

Blog 13

The Dining Room.

Blog 14

Coronation gown on the left was worn by the 10th Duchess. Middle outfit is Footman’s livery for after 6. Right: Footman’s dress livery, early 19th century.

Blog 15

After the palace walk through, Christina and I took a break. We’re both pooped.

 

Blog 16

The view of the palace from the bridge over the lakes on the estate. This is how people coming to visit would enter into the palace grounds.

This was a magnificent place to visit.  It is always incredible to me the work and craftsmanship that goes into this type of building especially when you consider this was done in the early 18th century.  It is easily understandable why these types of institutions have not survived except as essentially skeletal structures.  I am glad to be able to walk the halls and enjoy the history.

After lunch, we walked out the way we  came approaching the palace from the side.  We crossed the road and caught the bus for Oxford.  It was a quick 30 minute ride and we had originally planned to spend some time walking around Oxford soaking up the richness of that history.  However, we were all just worn and still another day to travel so, we opted to catch the train back to London and get a little rest before we begin the last week.  I am thrilled to be able to catch trains and buses and underground conveyances to get around.  I enjoy not having to deal with the car and be able to get everywhere I need to go.  That is a wonderful “get me out of my comfort zone” experience.