Monthly Archives: August 2015

A day at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock England

I have been in England for about two years now. Taking a stock of the places I have explored here, I realized that I have been more of an outdoor person; trekking and hiking the cliff paths, seaside, walking across towns on long hiking trails. As fate would have, my knees caught up with over stress and have been very bad last one month. So no climbing, no hiking for next 2 months. Apparently the only travel I have been making is from home to office and back. In this gloomy scenario, my good friends lightened my dull life with a day out to Blenheim Palace in Woodstock near Oxford in England. I have never spent one full day in just one monument, this was exceptional and I still felt when we left at 6:30pm that I didn’t have enough of it.

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Entrance to Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has so much of historical significance for the English, most of which was not known to me before I visited.

This is a grand palace; built from 1705AD to 1733AD. The battle of Blenheim was won by the Duke of Malborough, John Churchill; to celebrate the success, this Manor house and parkland was gifted to him with £240,000 as a gift from Queen Anne. After this began the construction of the Palace that we see today.

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Palace grounds from inside

Designed in old English Baroque style architecture which had a short life; however the magnificence of the architecture is evident in every corner of the Palace. It resembles the Palace of Versailles in France in terms of its overall layout and architecture. I certainly could relate the similarities between them.

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The skyline with statues in typical Baroque style

The palace belongs to the Marlborough lineage. Another major reason why this palace is so significant and hogs much historical limelight is because Sir Winston Churchill was born in this palace. From his birth to his childhood, his days of youth, entering wedlock, this Palace has been witness to the life of one of the most powerful and renowned statesman the world has seen so far.

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Sculpted – Sir Winston Churchill

In the backdrop of Marlborough family tree and the life of Sir Winston Churchill, you would tour the whole palace. There are royal rooms and apartments which are open for public viewing. The rooms spell richness and royal splendor with precious collections of furniture, porcelain, tapestries, silverware and other antiques.

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One of the state rooms

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The room in which Winston Churchill was born

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Beautiful painted ceiling of one of the rooms

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One of the official Rooms of the Dukes

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The royal dining place

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And my favourite room, The Library!

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The ornate and massive organ is placed in the entrance of the Library

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The base of the organ has these operational knobs.

Last hour in the palace, we attended a 30 minute of audio-visual tour titled ‘The Untold Story’. A very enthralling dramatic set up in the Eastern Wing of the Palace which has puppets and a story that plays as a dialogue in the background. The story is of the Marlborough family set in the Palace.

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One of the rooms with the puppet

The palace sits in acres of lush green parklands and a beautiful lake.

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View of the castle from the gardens. Retro look!

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The gardens

While the palace interiors will take most of your time, there is a lot to explore outside as well, specially if you are with kids and pets. The large parks have great spaces, rose garden, botanical gardens housing exotic plants, butterfly garden which is a very cute greenhouse observatory with lovely butterflies and humming birds, a green shrub maze, a small toy train to ferry passengers, a large lake with sloping grassy lawns; you will be really spoilt for choice here.

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The beautiful scenic lake

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Lovely view of the palace from the parks

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A small toy train ferries passengers from the front of the Palace to the Pleasure Gardens

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The Maze at Pleasure Gardens. Its fun. It will take you 25-30 min of running around to find your way out.

I am sure you would have got a fair idea that how we spent one full day in the palace and its green ambiance. The Blenheim Palace is a treasure trove of English heritage. Its a must visit for anyone who is looking at visiting a great monument, a world heritage site, a wonderful family day out and learn more about the British history.

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My last shot before leaving the majestic Blenheim Palace. This photo shot reminds me of Palace of Versailles and certainly there is a similarity in both

 

Note to Travelers

  • Travel : The Blenheim Palace is not easily accessible by Public transport. Its outside the city limits. You must come to Oxford Station and take a Bus to Woodstock and further ahead a taxi. Its best to drive if possible. There is ample car park space in the Palace.
  • Food : There are quite a lot of options in the Palace. From coffee shops to restaurants there is a decent spread of quite bites and elaborate lunch options.
  • Walking Shoes : There is a lot of scope of enjoying the green spaces by walking around. Ensure you wear your walking shoes or very comfortable flats.
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Categories: castle, castles of europe, palaces, travel, travel blog, Uncategorized, visit britain, visit england, weekend trip | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The soulful town of Bangor, Northern Ireland

Sometimes the most blissful experiences in life are the simplest.

And sometimes impromptu!

For a change for this trip I was not Solo….And it was ‘We‘ who never planned, rather did not even know there is a place called Bangor that existed. Since we did not have much options in Belfast, because of a late start to the day, we reluctantly settled to take a short train journey to this almost unknown place….

And little did we know…..

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The port of Bangor

Bangor is a maritime sea town in Northern Ireland. Around 11-12 miles from the capital city of Belfast, Bangor was a historic coastal summer retreat for the English. Blessed with envious beaches, this town has been a haven for seafarers and sailors as well.

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The sails on the port. Check the Victorian houses in the backdrop

After a good walk around the port, we came to the pier. A £5 boating trip in the Atlantic Ocean! Well it wasnt really bad, rather quite lucrative. With a bright sunny day, this was going to be a fantastic ride.

Indeed it was….

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Views from the Boat ride in the Ocean

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The lovely blue swelled up Ocean, albeit quite cold.

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View of the Bangor town from the Boat. Lovely row of Victorian houses along the sea.

The Most Beautiful Walk in Northern Ireland : North Down Coastal Path

Standing on one side of the Bangor coast, confused whether to take a train back to Belfast or walk for sometime along the coast to explore.This is a long coastal path from Hollywood to Bangor. My legs were still strong and after settling for a nice whippy ice-cream, we decided to walk few miles down the coastal path.

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The starting of the coastal path from the Bangor town

Now in hindsight, I thank my stars that we decided to walk….

For me, this was the walk of my Lifetime….

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Views of the coastal walk

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The rocky coast of Bangor

And all the way we stopped to swallow a mouthful of the breathtaking scenery. What a lovely surprise Bangor turned out to be.

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Probably one of my most beautiful clicks

And we continue to walk…

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The rocks and the marine flora and fauna

Tired?? No certainly not…I was loving this walk and wanted to walk some more…so we continued…

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The green meadow walk alongside the Irish Sea

And as the evening was setting in, we enjoyed walking the beach. The beach is broken, somewhere more muddy, somewhere with more pebbles. Charles Dickens is believed to have relaxed and bathed on one of these beaches.

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The beautiful almost deserted beach

By now we had walked for more than three hours…

It was a heavenly walk. I have never in my life walked such a picturesque stretch of dreamy skies, shimmering blue sea, lush green meadows, a horizon to sit and gaze for a lifetime; walking beside someone I truly adore.

Travel gives us memories to cherish; To hold those priceless moments for a lifetime. A part of me is still in Bangor, walking that beautiful path; wishing it never ends.

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The sun about to kiss goodbye on the Bangor beach

The sea hath its pearls,
The heaven hath its stars;
But my heart, my heart,
My heart hath its love….

———-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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