Yesterday was absolutely beautiful weather here in England and thus the perfect day to grab a friend and take my first excursion out of Oxford. Kelsi and I didn’t want to do a weekend trip, so we decided to take an afternoon and go to Blenheim Palace 8 miles away in the town of Woodstock.
For anyone who likes history, here are some interesting factoids about Blenheim Palace. It is the home of the Dukes of Marlborough, the Spencer-Churchills (yes, that Spencer, and yes that Churchill). They are currently on the 11th Duke, whom we did not get to see unfortunately. Elizabeth I was imprisoned here in Woodstock though not the palace for a year when her sister Mary was deciding whether or not to cut off her head. And Hitler frequently said that when he took over Britain, Blenheim was going to be his center of government in England. Interesting stuff!
We spent the early afternoon walking around the lake and the paths through the rolling fields, including the rose garden (Mom, so not as impressive as Hatfield or even that random family’s), the anti-climatic Secret Garden, and saw into the private Italian Garden with a Bernini sculpture. Weather like that is such a wonderful treat in England that we had to take advantage of it!
We still had time to kill so we took a guided tour of the state rooms in the house. Our tour guide was a very sweet older woman who was amazed by my intimate knowledge of British history. Then we went to the gift shop and bought a bunch of really cool sounding alcohols that came in cute bottles such as Cherry Brandy Liquer (had it last night, so good!), Blackberry Wine (also amazing), Apricot Brandy Liquer, and Blackcurrant something. I also bought Blackcurrant Sloe Gin Jam which I used on my PB&J this afternoon and Blenheim Palace Lemon Curd. Kelsi was super sweet and bought me Oxford Lemon Curd a few days ago so we are going to have to do a lemon curd taste test!
And then it was TEA TIME! I had my first cream tea in England this time around 🙂 and I have to say…Harvington Hall with Mom and John was a lot better.
But it was a lot of fun to be the youngest people in the tea and the scones were pretty good (they even gave us each another one to go so we know what I had for breakfast!). I will say though, service here is atrocious. We had tea scheduled for 4:15 and didn’t get out of the palace until almost 6 pm, leading to…
THE ADVANTAGE OF BEING A GIRL, pt 1. (part one because I’m assuming that another advantage will come up in a future post)
We had taken the bus to the palace and the bus stop was right outside the main gates so we walked back there to get out. Turns out, the gates were closed and no one was there to open them for the poor little Americans so we had to walk all the way back to the palace with no idea where we were going or how to get to the bus stop. We decided that instead of walking six million miles trying to find a way out, we were going to ask people for help. We found this nice group of people who told us that it was quite a long walk to the exit and that basically we were screwed. They said it more refined of course. Once we looked absolutely heartbroken and they found out we needed to get to Oxford, they graciously offered to drive us most of the way there as they live in Oxford themselves! I’m sometimes so amazed at how friendly and willing to help the people here are. I mean neither of these two families knew us and they just went out of their way to make sure we got home safely. And the kids were adorable. The two little French girls were so excited to practice their English with me and loved my one sentence that I can say in French. They thought it was very well spoken.
Stay tuned for last night’s bop stories as well! But right now it is off to dinner time at Teddy.