Start of 1,000 word article


by Pam Hobbs

"As we passed through the entrance archway and the lovely scenery burst upon me," wrote Lady Churchill (wife of Randolph and mother of Winston) on her first visit to Blenheim Palace, "Randolph said with pardonable pride, this is the finest view in England." Since he's speaking of the old family homestead in Oxfordshire, Randolph may have been a teensy bit biased. Truly though, this is the perfect English landscape one comes upon unexpectedly at the end of Woodstock's Park Street.

Turn left at the sweet shop, continue through the arched entrance, and you have on your right a lake - a large lake straddled by a graceful stone bridge. Its centre island is crowded with trees reflecting majestically in the still water. Rotund sheep graze in the foreground, the buff-coloured palace stands on a distant mound, and all around are lush green fields studded with ancient oak trees.

It is a Turner landscape, a Wordsworth poem, the setting of a Barbara Cartland romance. By rights I feel I should have arrived, impeccably outfitted, on a gleaming chestnut mare. Little chance of that, but for a small fee a horse-drawn carriage would have brought me from the village.

Article concludes with "If You Go information which includes:

Woodstock is 65 miles (105km) from central London, 56 (90km) miles from Heathrow Airport via the M40. Woodstock is an ideal home base for visiting Blenheim Palace. Oxford is seven miles (11km) away and Stratford-on-Avon 28 miles (45km).