Blenheim Palace

Not a bad place to grow up if you can get it.

Not a bad place to grow up if you can get it.

On Saturday we took the train west to visit J’s uncle Mark in Reading. He was very kind to wait for us at the train station and pick us up in his car (after some confused wandering around the station by us) and drove us about a half hour out of town towards Woodstock.

A view over the lake to the palace on the left hill.  Nice bridge over the lake.

A view over the lake to the palace on the left hill. Nice bridge over the lake.

There we visited one of his families favorite spots, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. A monumental country estate, it was built by the crown between 1705-1722 for the first Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill for his military victory at the battle of Blenheim. Later…..Winston Churchill was born here, grew up and married here. The tour of the inside was impressive, with Churchill artifacts, but the palace grounds were stunningly beautiful, peaceful and large!

Lower formal gardens looking back at the palace

Lower formal gardens looking back at the palace

K got many nice pictures as we walked the expansive grounds. We took a break after visiting the waterfall and had a delicious lunch of paninis and chips in the Italian garden. Then it was off to the butterfly house which had tropical plants, flowers, birds, koi and…. butterflies.

Quite the hedge maze.  more complex than you'd think, and larger.  Fun.

Quite the hedge maze. more complex than you’d think, and larger. Fun.

The grounds had several new ducklings and goslings with their mothers which J enjoyed spotting. K got an extra spring in his step when we arrived at the hedge maze. He raced around and did have to help J & Uncle M through the first stage but ultimately J&M one the race (by walking slowly). ­čÖé

Bridge over the river

Bridge over the river

Then we had a lovely long walk around the primary lake on the grounds. The weather was a bit windy at times but the sunshine prevailed. Working up a health appetite Uncle Mark took us to a great Thames side restaurant and we sat on the outside deck and watched the boats and swans. I had a delicious pork chop but pinched off of K’s plate the best chips I have ever had- much better than the ones in Belgium. ┬áThank you Uncle Mark for a truly lovely day!