Hubby and I have one or two full days together with the children each month so we have been trying to make the most of these days when they happen, using out Tesco vouchers to book quality days out that both us and the children will love.
Somewhere we have always wanted to visit is Blenheim Palace and se we took the opportunity last week, took LP out of preschool for the day and set off on an adventure. Blenheim Palace is just outside of Oxford and was built in the 18th century. It comprises the palace, park and gardens and tickets are available to all of it or just the park and gardens although if you buy a ticket to the palace, park and gardens you can return again free of charge for the next 12 months. One thing to bare in mind is that Tesco vouchers are only valid when purchasing tickets for the full palace, park and gardens option.
We walked from the car park and started off at the Palace. If you have time, and no young children with you, this would be a great place to explore. We love stately homes but due to now have LP and Little Man we can’t always dedicate time to exploring them so on this visit we had a quick walk through.
One thing I should mention is that the palace and gardens aren’t particularly wheelchair or pushchair friendly. I always appreciate that with historic buildings they can’t always accommodate wheelchairs and pushchairs however Blenheim Palace has a lift put in to allow wheelchair access – not to be used with pushchairs. The gardens, however, are pretty much inaccessible unless you can go up and down stairs or walk around the perimeter of the estate AFTER getting a code from the entrance to open a side gate. If I were visiting Blenheim Palace again I would wait until the children were older – Little Man can walk but Blenheim Palace does require a lot of walking and we needed the pushchair for such a long day out.
After the palace we went for a walk around the gardens which are undeniably beautiful, with many water features, different levels and well maintained lawns. There were also pheasants wandering around the gardens which were lovely to look at but a little intimidating for LP.
We then walked to the Pleasure Gardens to have a wander around and get tea and cake. There’s a train that runs between the palace and the pleasure gardens for 50p per adult but we decided to walk one way and get the train back. The Pleasure Gardens have a model village, a maze, adventure playground and butterfly house as well as a lot of other things we didn’t get to experience.
The maze was fantastic and took a good half hour to walk around – including two big wooden bridges with steps either side which are a great feature but again not pushchair friendly. The view from the top though was amazing and worth the effort.
After the maze the children spent time playing in the adventure playground, on the mosaic mazes and having a general run around – looking at the model village houses and playing in the sun.
The cafe at the Pleasure Gardens was lovely, incredibly child friendly and on a par with prices as other tourist attractions. We all had cake and then carried on playing.
By about 3pm the children were exhausted so we got the train back to the palace and drove home. Overall a really lovely day out with a lot of walking but a lot of fun and fresh air. It’s somewhere we will definitely visit again when the children are a little bit bigger – and don’t need the pushchair!