I love our Blenheim Palace annual pass, and we certainly make the most of it. I noticed that over Easter (yes, I’ve only just got round to writing up my Easter goings on) Peter Rabbit was going to be appearing, and as N loves the tv show and his soft toy and figurine, we had to go to meet him.
We’ve been to a few of the events there, mostly jousting, craft fairs, the car show, but I’ve never seen it so busy as it was on Easter Monday. Admittedly, the weather was beautiful, but still. It was like every family with an annual pass had turned up, plus all the tourists as well. With the jousting it seems less busy because it’s in a big field and more spread out, rather than around the pleasure gardens.
We usually park in the pleasure gardens car park, but it was closed for the fairground, so we were on a field. I really should remember to take note of where our car is parked, but there were no markers apart from a few trees that all looked the same so it was a bit of guesswork on our return. The walk was ok, but with a pushchair it would have been harder, and with younger walkers, it’s some distance. But then that’s the same if you’re heading to the palace itself as well.
We aimed to arrive not long after opening, so queued straight away to get tokens for the rides. I wasn’t too keen on the token idea – it means you needed to know exactly how many rides N wanted to and would actually go on, and whether N would want me to go on them too. I paid a fiver, and that covered us for 2 rides each, and one on the swing boats for N. Much cheaper than the normal fairground.
I’m not really a fan of the carousel, but N didn’t want to sit on the horses, so we had the boring seats with the backside view!
N loves the old fashion swing boats so he had a go on those, before heading for the teacups.
The last time he went on teacups a couple of years ago, he was the only one on the ride, and the silly woman running it kept it going for way too long, and kept spinning him. At 2 ½ it was way too much for him, he wanted to get off early. But this time he enjoyed it.
Of course he dragged me on with him. The tea cups were tiny – definitely not made for adult length legs and a big camera bag!
Afterwards we headed straight in to find out where the story telling was going to be. We bumped into Mary who was there meeting friends that day, had a quick chat, then headed to the walled garden to get a good place at the edge of the tent.
They’d decorated it with wheelbarrow and gardening equipment which was a nice touch, and then when the time came out came Peter Rabbit.
N was really pleased to see him, and had brought along his Peter Rabbit figurine. Poor Peter Rabbit had to act out the story being told, which was the modern Peter Rabbit version book of the football match. N has that book, so it was nice that he would know the story. You wouldn’t have known from the giant Peter Rabbit’s ‘acting’. Bit of a nightmare in a huge furry costume in warm weather. The story teller wasn’t the best. I reckon I do the story better, and sound just like the characters on tv, but maybe that’s just me thinking that!
After the story, Peter Rabbit did a circuit of the tent so children could have their photos taken with him and say hi. We were on the last side, so it was going to be a long wait, but N then decided he didn’t want to speak to Peter Rabbit anyway. Worked for me. N did ask where the Easter Bunny was because online it had said Peter Rabbit would be joining the Easter Bunny. No sign of him though.
They’d set out the Pleasure Gardens so there was something for everyone. I quite fancied an afternoon tea (although it was morning), but I’d have confused things with me not actually drinking tea, or coffee.
We headed off to the adventure playground where he enjoyed clambering around and sliding down the equipment.
The one thing that was missing was the Easter Egg hunt. Well, it was there but it wasn’t advertised. There was simply a tent with no signs outside. If you found a gold egg, you took it back to the tent to get a chocolate easter bunny. We only started looking late in the day so didn’t find anything, I found it odd because I’d checked online beforehand, and it said that only the Friday and Saturday had the hunt for eggs, the Sunday and Monday had said it would be find the egg to enter a competition. So a tad confusing, and a bit hard to find the eggs. I think a trail is better. Luckily N was none the wiser because I’d not built that up.
We grabbed some lunch from the restaurant in the Pleasure Gardens. I prefer not to have to carry round massive cool bags while we’re out and about, so it’s handy to have somewhere to eat. We got in the queue early (the barbecue outside didn’t look like it was open, so the queue in the extremely slow moving restaurant was insane), and waited ages. N doesn’t like pizza otherwise I’d have gone one for us to share because the price would have been about half of what we ended up paying.
I think something has gone seriously wrong with the pricing of the children’s lunchboxes. Every place we’ve ever visited that does a kids lunchbox has either a set price for a number of items, or is a set price with specific items and then a choice of sandwich filling. Bizarrely, the children’s lunchbox here was all individually priced items…and disgustingly priced. Unfortunately N had already spotted the lunchboxes and I’d said he could have one before I started totting up the price. My adult sandwich was just over £3, so pricy, but for a tourist place not out of the ordinary. For N’s lunchbox it cost me £7! Yes, that’s right. Drink at nearly £2, sandwich over £2, tub of fruit £2, crisps etc. I think I got 2 items. Insane price.
We had another wander round. I never think of N being that interested in museums, but he really liked looking at the museum in the Pleasure Gardens. It helped that it was outdoor, gardening and farming exhibits
N never wants to go in the maze, but he enjoyed trying to hide from me. When I see the pictures I took, I always remember how small N was the first time we went to Blenheim with him when he was walking round.
Of course before we left we had to do a return trip on the train. Some Americans shared our carriage with us and we had a lovely chat with them before setting out on our trek back to the car.
It was so nice to have such a lovely day on a bank holiday – it wasn’t a total wash out.
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