jousting knights at blenheim

Jousting at Blenheim Palace

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.

lavender garden blenheim

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.

window-at-blenheim palace

They had some stunning displays of tulips in different locations.  Several on the walk through towards the jousting.

tulips at Blenheim

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!

on the wall at blenheim

It wasn’t really sunny enough for a sunhat, but hey, if a toddler wants his hat on, he can have it on.

ortrait toddler in bucket hat
walking the wall at blenheim

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.

ice cream van retro

It didn’t bother him.  We stuck with hotdogs, chips, followed by some hula hoops he found in my bag.

toddler eating-hula-hoops

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.

jousting knights at blenheim

N was more interested in climbing all over me, watching other children in the crown sitting next to us, and stealing my sunglasses.

toddler wearing-oversize 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

toddler watching water-gardens-view

And a-mazed at the miniature maze hedges.

the water gardens maze hedging

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)?.

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    1. I know, I loved that ice cream van. So cool (although N can’t have ice cream, so we’d have had to have got lollies – just not the same)

  1. Wow, that looks like an amazing day. I love Blenheim Palace, although I have yet to take D there. We considered getting hitched there it is so lovely. The jousting looks awesome. Will have to remember to check out the events there and make a special trip. #magicmoments

    1. Wow it would be amazing to get married there. I remember going to a classical music concert in the courtyard once which was wonderful.

      Definitely check out the events, as worth going and taking children.

  2. Looks like a lovely place. We’ve not seen jousting before, but my son plays with knights in his castle, he’d probably love to see it in real life.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

    1. Definitely worth checking it out. Better value if you upgrade to free annual pass as quite pricy for one trip. But good for children on the event days especially.

    1. The tulips were really stunning. The jousting’s great fun – the crowd gets involved, lots of booing and cheering..very much like Knights Tale but without Heath Ledger (or am I getting that mixed up with the Richard Gere film – nope, that’s First Knight – lots of good knight films!)

  3. This is the first weekend the jousting’s been on that we haven’t been in 4 years. We’ll make up for it in August. I have to say we always go straight to the are, grab a picnic spot at the front and wait for the fun to begin. We normally meet NCT friends there, last year they had Cadburys there with lots of chocolates to be won. The boys had a ball.

    1. We’re usually there on our own, so setting up a spot would mean leaving stuff there if we needed to wander for toilet, food etc. Going with a group of friends is definitely the way to go for this kind of thing.

  4. Beautiful grounds with plenty to see and do with the added bonus of the Jousting all make for a great day out! My favourite photos are of the tulips and N in your sunglasses. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

    1. The tulips were spectacular. Several of the huge pots of them around the different gardens all looking beautiful.

      N is a bit obsessed with glasses. He never wants to wear his own (apart from on his head like I do!), but likes using mine.

  5. It was a great day. I think next time we’d need to plan to go with friends as I think younger children are kept more amused for longer when there’s more of them together. Plus there’s someone to hold the blanket for you if you need to go off!
    It’s definitely a good day out – I like all the events they have so for someone living nearby it’s good value getting an annual pass.

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