We’ve been to Blenheim a couple of times before and had a great time, but we’d never previously been with Joshua.
So when we were offered the chance to go back to give our thoughts on the place and how well it suited a 4 year old we thought it would be well worth another visit.
We visited on a Friday in August, so expected it to be busy, but having battled our way through the usual A34 traffic it didn’t feel too overcrowded on arrival. We made our way through the payment booth and into the car park within a few minutes and strolled into the entrance area.
As it was nearly 1pm by the time we got there we decided to head in for lunch first. Quite a few people had brought picnics, but we headed into the Water Terrace Cafe. Although the food was lovely in there, and the outdoor setting was lush, it wasn’t the most relaxing place we’ve ever eaten unfortunately!
There were separate counters for hot food, cold food, hot drinks and payment but as soon as a few people joined the hot drinks queue it became pretty hard to battle through to the cold food and drink fridges and people weren’t really sure which bit they were in the queue for!
The Cokes in the fridge and the napkins had run out and tables were taking a long time to be cleared. A couple of extra staff and a better layout would have fixed it, but by the time 2pm had arrived it was all back to normal so hopefully this was just a one-off due to the volume of people.
When we next go in the school holidays we’ll try one of the other cafes (there’s one that does pizzas which we spotted later), or eat earlier or bring a picnic to make things more relaxing.
Aside from the cafe everything else was great. The grounds there are huge and you could easily spend a day strolling around by the lake if you wanted to. Not quite as relaxing with a 4 year-old in tow, but even he managed to clock up a few miles during the day and really seemed to enjoy it.
We didn’t actually go inside the palace this time, as Joshua still doesn’t quite have the attention span for it (and isn’t yet particularly fascinated by Churchill) but they offer a range of audio and guided tours as you’d expect and we’ll definitely give it a go on the future. Even without actually going inside, it’s pretty stunning to look at from the outside…
They’ve also launched a Blenheim Palace app and offer free Wi-Fi so you can access information, audio guides and maps from your phone as you wander round to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Even without going inside we still found plenty to do and were rushing around towards the end trying to pack everything in before it closed at 530pm.
Things For Kids
Aside from the cafe and the lake, there is plenty to do for little ones, with a miniature train ride taking you to the Pleasure Gardens. Joshua loves trains so he very much enjoyed the short ride on ‘Winston’.
There you’ll find a really decent adventure playground, a maze, and the usual selection of swings, slides and climbing frames.
There’s also a butterfly house, which Joshua really enjoyed.
They also offer a Family Forestry School for a couple of sessions each day where little ones can play and explore the wildlife there.
The scenery is lovely, with cracking views pretty much whichever way you look, with the lake, waterfalls, gardens, water terraces, temples, statues and trees. You could easily spend the whole time taking photos of different views and just get lost in the place.
As there’s so much to pack into just one day it’s quite handy that every day visit ticket enables you to get a free card giving you unlimited access for the next 12 months. So we’ll definitely be back both with Joshua and on our own so we can actually have a look around the Blenheim Palace itself next time.
All in all, we’d definitely recommend a visit to Blenheim as aside from the chaotic cafe we all had an awesome time!
For more details of dates, times and prices visit https://www.blenheimpalace.com
We received complimentary entry to Blenheim in exchange for writing an honest, unbiased review, but all opinions are mine.