Sunday, 9 September 2012

Blenheim Palace big day out

Blenheim is only a stone's throw away from home, and for the past 8 years I've only ever gone there 5 times, 3 for craft show type things and twice for a meeting. As I've a bit more freedom at the moment I invested in a season ticket [and bonus got a golden 15 month ticket and a free piece of cake via the Oxford Mail] as I'm hoping to take Baby J over there for some walks around the parks and garden on a regular basis. Since buying the ticket in July I've been 3 times with a 4th planned for this week. If you are planning on going with Baby / buggy / pram there are some things to take into consideration.... Baby changing, only 1 very small narrow toilet with baby changing in the main palace bit that we could find, in the pleasure garden there was one unit that was slightly more roomy but with only a lock on the toilet cubicle and not on the main door bit. In busy times you can imagine queues building and with only a narrow space to wait, lots of disgruntled rude people pushing past! When walking round the grounds be aware of cars and vans that come flying past at high speed, several times myself and 3 other slummy mummies had to dive out of the way, it would be a nightmare if you had small children, there is a speed limit but it appears noone adhears to it, which is a huge shame as you need to have your wits about you at all times, which made me feel on edge the whole time we were walking round. On the plus side you can follow the tarmac paths so no need to worry about wellies in wet weather. Not all parts are buggy friendly, I asked the staff how I access the gardens and was told to go via the resturant and up/down the stairs.... yes that's really easy with a baby in a buggy. I am hoping there are more accessible routes and next time I'll ask someone else if pointed in the same direction, luckily I had someone with me to help me up and down the 12+ steps, but it would of been a nightmare otherwise, and to be honest I would of given up and trundled back through the resturant and home. On the plus side the paths are wide enough for people to walk past without having to go up on the verge. Butterfly house is one way, and other visitors got annoyed by our convoy of 3 buggys... babies loved it and were taking interest in the birds and butterflies, but again the exit through the gift shop also cause some others to get wound up and were rude towards us....I ended up getting out the shop as quick as possible....leaving behind a puppet of a pirate that Baby J had taken an interest in. The train, you can't take a buggy on with baby in it, there is a small carrige where you can fold down the buggys and put it on board only if a wheelchair user isn't using it! We did ask a member of staff if it'd be safe enough to leave the buggy's by the side of the platform and she advised us not too, so again this might cause a headache if you want a ride on the little train. We took the babies on and they loved it especially Baby L & Mummy N who were in high spirits the whole way round. I'd also recommend taking a waterproof picnic blanket with you, as on the walks there are few places to sit down. I'd also suggest taking your own cold drinks as these seemed highly priced in the food places, whilst tea and cake were reasonably priced and tasted lovely! Surprisingly the gift shop wasn't over priced and there was a nice range of items for all pockets [the staff didn't give service with a smile though] All in all, I'm still really happy that I bought a season ticket and I'm sure that over the next 13 months I'll be there as frequent as I can.

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