Monday, August 4, 2008

Woodstock, featuring Blenheim Palace

Guess how much it costs to enter the house and grounds of Blenheim palace, home of the 11th Duke of Marlborough (and birthplace of Winston Churchill), through the front door? Thirty three dollars.

Guess how much it costs to enter the grounds through the tiny hidden secret residents' entrance a half mile down the high street in Woodstock? Zero dollars. 

I'm so sneaky I hardly know what to do with myself. 

After a couple of hours writing down Bulgarian vocab after lunch today I was in the mood for adventure, so I headed for the Oxford Bus Station and boarded a double decker bound for the Cotswolds, specifically the village of Woodstock. Besides at least a dozen tea shops and some ridiculously quaint flower strewn lanes, Woodstock offers the energetic visitor the chance to wander one of the most beautiful landscapes I've laid eyes on, and to visit the palace that sits on it too, if you're into that kind of thing. The famous "Capability" Brown laid out the Blenheim Palace grounds, and the winding lakes, scattered sheep, rolling hills, and floating swans still do him justice many years later. Though I hope he wasn't the one who enclosed many of the fields with electric fences - one of which I actually stepped over before I knew it was electrified! I can only imagine what a disaster that could have turned into. That near miss didn't stop me from spending a lovely afternoon wandering on the paths through the park and reading by the lake. I am a lake-starved girl at the moment, missing my Minnesotan waters, so it was the perfect gift for Woodstock to give me. The fact that I felt I had outwitted the ticket agents only added to my fun... 

Check out the Palace Website for more history and photos at: 

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