The last time I saw jousting at Blenheim Palace was when I was pregnant with N and had gone for a day out. Back then, it was glorious weather, and this year although it was dry, it was a little chilly once you were sat down.
I’ve got annual membership as it’s only around 30 minutes drive for us, but the playground is great if we’re in the area just to drop in
Even though the main part didn’t open until 10.30, we arrived dead on time, to find the main car park pretty full, and cars being directed onto grass. We always head for the pleasure gardens area first, so park there. It just means remembering to check the train times otherwise it’s 30 minutes to wait for the next one.
N had a bit of a run round the playground equipment. It was busier than when we usually go, but not so bad that he wouldn’t go and play. He got disinterested fairly quickly…wanted food, so we headed past the lavender garden, and back to catch the train.
We were sitting in seats behind the most annoying children ever. When some people can and say opposite us, I could see them thinking the same thing, as their children sat nicely like N just chatting and pointing out what they saw.
Blenheim Palace is stunning. I’m always in awe whenever I see it.
They had some stunning displays of tulips in different locations. Several on the walk through towards the jousting.
I forgot how long a walk it is to reach the jousting. Poor N hadn’t wanted to wear socks with his new sandals, so we had to stop and put on a pair of socks. I’m glad we took the train up to the palace rather than walking like I’d planned. There’s no way he’d have coped. N moaned pretty much the whole walk.
N enjoyed walking past and relaxing at the formal gardens as we walked past. There’s a wall, and obviously children love sitting on and walking along walls!
It wasn’t really sunny enough for a sunhat, but hey, if a toddler wants his hat on, he can have it on.
I do think they should warn people about the length of the walk. It’s fine for older children, and obviously if you’ve got a buggy, but given you could actually get there direct (the way everyone leaves), it would be nice to be able to have the choice to go the shorter route.
N was very keen to make sure there was food when we got there as I’d not taken a packed lunch. There were the usual food vans, plus this really cool retro ice cream van. I always feel a bit sad for N as he can’t eat ice cream and so few places eating out do sorbets, so unless he grows out of his intolerance, he won’t be able to try all the delicious homemade ice creams.
It didn’t bother him. We stuck with hotdogs, chips, followed by some hula hoops he found in my bag.
Before the jousting, there was some falconry going on. N’s not that great at following where someone’s pointing in the sky, so there wasn’t much chance of him actually seeing what was going on. So he concentrated on his food.
The jousting is the same format each year. They rope in the children first of all for a parade. Each year more kids go up, so the parade takes ages. N didn’t want to take part which was handy as we had our space, and I’d have had to have packed up stuff and taken it with us.
The jousting’s always great fun to watch. There’s some role play, oneupmanship and team support from the crowds. I think I enjoyed it more than N. We were a little far back so he needed to stand to see it. In future we’d try and go for opening and do the playground afterwards or not at all in order to get a space nearer the action.
N was more interested in climbing all over me, watching other children in the crown sitting next to us, and stealing my sunglasses.
A quick walk back across the lawn via the Italian water gardens where we watched the fountains for a bit, looked at the statues
And a-mazed at the miniature maze hedges.
N had had enough by that stage and wanted to go back on the train. They now charge 50p a ride for the train’s upkeep, although still free for under 5’s. I did wonder whether we’d not get on the train on the way back to the car, but we squeezed on. Considering it was such a busy day, I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t make it onto the train they wanted to catch.
We had a lovely, if tiring day. N doesn’t seem to mind being dragged around properties like this as long as there’s somewhere to sit, somewhere to play, steps or high areas to look over, and food. I’m sure we’ll be back soon for other events in the summer.
Have you ever been to watch jousting (or even had a go)?.