Reviewed by Stephanie Moore
Having never been to a flower show before, I was keen to take up the opportunity of going to Blenheim Palace Flower Show. I took along a friend of mine who is a keen gardener and knows her stuff when it comes to flowers, so she was very helpful!
I have recently landscaped my front garden so was eager to fill it with some beautiful flowers and what better place to get some ideas and purchases from.
Blenheim Palace is very easy to find, it is very close to the main roads and well signed posted. We arrived upon opening which meant we got a parking space (in a field) very close to the main entrance which was handy for when we wanted to get our picnic lunch.
We first went down to the palace to have a look around, what a beautiful building! It has been very tastefully restored. We got a coffee in the cafe and sat in the courtyard whilst watching the sports cars lining up to show off, something my husband would have loved.
When walking back up to the flower show I spotted a ride-on train, this takes you to ‘The Pleasure Gardens’ which is a dedicated family area with giant games, maze, play area and craft studio.
It really does have a little bit of something for everyone. The gardens are huge and sadly I didn’t have enough time to do the flower show and the gardens on the same day, but I would love to return and just spend the day enjoying the palace and gardens with my whole family.
We headed straight for the Grand Floral Pavilion which displays over 40 nurseries floral displays, some of these displays have taken many hours to put together and it really does show. This is where we spent most of our time and this is where I learnt many new things. The nurseries owners are very helpful and are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. You are able to purchase plants from them and as it was the last day we could also reserve display plants for collection at 3pm.
Outside you will find more nurseries selling plants along with trade stalls selling furniture, teeth whitening products, water features and garden products along with many of other items to purchase. Some of which I didn’t expect to see at a flower show!
There were two other large marquees which were filled with craft stalls and food stalls. There were lots of tasty foods to try and some were very unusual. A small shot of marshmallow Vodka went down well, along with the rhubarb fudge!
We took a picnic lunch with us but there was an option of booking lunch or afternoon tea. In the palace and grounds there are a few places where you can purchase food and drinks so if you preferred to eat there then you wouldn’t be disappointed on the options.
In the flower show you had a few show gardens, these were not on a large scale so do not expect too much of them. It was nice to see some effort that had gone into them though and some lovely ideas on what plants work well together.
Also throughout the weekend there was some ‘special guests’, on the day we visited it was Tommy Walsh who showed us how to make a wooden bench and Charlie Dimmock who wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to make your own water feature. I think this was a nice touch to have and was great to be able to ask them any questions you may have.
There also was a small marquee where you had the floral arrangements and competition winners. Some of them were very unusual and I loved the ‘picnic in the palace’ themed ones which were tea and cakes made from flowers. Also here you had the chance to have some demonstrations on how to create these wonderful displays.
When 3pm came we headed back to the Grand Floral Pavilion where they had started to sell off the large displays, my friend had spotted a beautiful flower she wanted in the display earlier and we had the mission of getting it, along with many others shouting that wanted that particular plant too! We got it which made our day! Make sure you get yourself back there on the last day to grab the display plants at a bargain price.
Overall we had a lovely day and I would love to visit the palace and gardens with my family for a day out. It is a wonderful venue to hold a flower show and any other event.
As it was my first flower show I had nothing to compare to but I was very impressed and I have taken a lot away from it.
Blenheim Palace. Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PP
01993 810530 | www.blenheimpalace.com