So this October we took a week long trip "down south". Well not that far south, but south Birmingham!
Our First stop was two nights at the Caravan Club's site at Bladon Chains. The site is set just outside of the walls of the grounds of Blenheim Palace, birth place of Sir Winston Churchill. On our arrival we were greeted by the friendly warden on duty that teatime who informed us much of the site was waterlogged and our choice of pitch was limited to one grass spot. "Great" was the first thing that sprung to mind, we didn't much fancy getting stuck on a boggy grass pitch at the start of the trip. It turned out that the pitch in question although a little muddy in spots wasnt that boggy and we had no issues on that front.
We were set up on the pitch within 10 minutes of arriving on site, hubby was duly evicted from the Van with orders to switch on the gas so the obligatory brew could be made before we decided what to do for during our stay at Bladon Chains.
Getting ready for bed was simple - Baby slept on the bottom bunk at the rear of the van and so we were able to lounge about at the dinette/sofa area and watch tv before climbing up into the overcab bed for a great nights sleep. The headroom above the cab is very spacious and makes the bed ideal for adults so that smaller groups needn't make the dinette into a bed in order to go to sleep.
Day 2 was a sightseeing extravaganza. We were limited to only two nights at this site due to availability and so only had one night in order to visit Churchill's grave at Bladon Church and then take a tour around Blenheim Palace.
Bladon Church is a beautiful little church set in the heart of the picturesque stone-built village of Bladon. Its a very unsuspecting church, It's not particularly grand and certainly not where you would expect the likes of Sir Winston Churchill to have been laid to rest. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll of about 20mins from the Caravan Site to the Church following the instructions of the warden to head towards the village pub and then up a little footpath to the church - blink and we could have missed it. The church yard was much like any other, with some larger monuments closest to the church which were the graves of the Churchill Family. It was very moving to see the wreathes and memorials left by many well-wishers and organisations from all over the world. Inside the church had many displays of Churchill through the years and his links to the church and area. After a brief stop in the church we moved on to Blenheim Palace which was accessed by going back towards the Caravan Site and then on to the town of Woodstock.
The walk from Bladon Church to the main tourist gates of Blenheim Palace was around 40 minutes (20 minutes from the Caravan Site). Immediately on entering the drive leading to the palace you are greeted by a little man sat in a box charging for entry - no free walks around the grounds here! Entry costs £20 per adult (or approx £14 with your receipt for your stay at the Caravan Site), less if you just want to go around the grounds and not the Palace building itself. Its a long walk down the drive to the Palace passing by numerous carparks to one side of the drive where there is plenty of room for you to park your motorhome safely.
Blenheim palace is entered through a gift shop and cafe which is a fairly new addition to the courtyard built/converted in the last few years. Once through into the grounds facing the main buildings of the Palace the scale of the Palace really hits you. Vast stone steps lead up to the main door where the two "exhibitions" are both accessed from. The first is a recommended route that winds around the Palace visiting many of the public rooms and the room the Sir Winston Churchill was born in. The second tour takes you up to the upper floor where there is an experience that tells some of the untold stories from the houses history through the eyes of the maid of the first Duchess of Marlborough. Both trips around the Palace were very interesting and worthwhile doing.
Unfortunately we didnt have time to go around the gardens which are vast and extremely beautiful having been designed by "capablity" Brown in the 1760's. Luckily the Palace offer all day visitors the opportunity to upgrade to a years visitors pass absolutely free so we have taken advantage of this and hope to return again on our next voyage "south"
South Lakes Motorhome Hire
based in Barrow-in-Furness on the edge of the Lake District National Park. Follow our adventures in our Motorhome when its not on hire. :-)