10 best things to see, do and discover at Blenheim Palace over Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s birthday!
On 30th August it is celebrated landscape photographer, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s birthday! Celebrate 300 years of ‘Capability’ Brown and a very special birthday at Blenheim Palace. From ‘Capabili-teas’ to over 2,000 acres of landscaped Parkland, there is nowhere better to get your Brownian garden fix.
Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Oxfordshire, is one of the best places to see Brown’s work. Some of Brown’s most important career achievements were made during his 11 year tenure transforming the 2,000 acres of landscape.
1. Discover his most magnificent piece of work
Blenheim Palace’s Great Lake, situated in front of the Palace is a manmade body of water. This has been declared Brown’s most magnificent piece of work. Built a lake on the west side of the bridge, submerging the canals and the cascades which the 1st Duchess had built under the bridge. He united his lake with the one built by the 1st Duchess.
2. Find out what took 11 years in the making
‘Capability’ Brown took an incredible 11 years to finish landscaping the Blenheim Palace Parkland. This was one of his longest serving tenures. His contract at Blenheim Palace was worth £21,500; after paying his workers he was left with a profit of £4000.
3. Discover over 2,000 acres of landscape
Not just a small task, Brown landscaped over 2,000 acres of Blenheim Palace Parkland which included creating the lake, two Ha Has, building a dam and the Grand Cascades and reimagining the Courtyard.
4. Enjoy Capabili-tea in Blenheim Palace’s Orangery
Book delicious ‘Capabili-tea’ in the Orangery Restaurant, a Brownian variation on Blenheim Palace’s delicious afternoon teas. The spread will include treats such as vintage jam fruit tart, walnut slice, and pork pies. Plus there are plenty of treats inspired by the Georgian era to enjoy this August. Eat walnut and date cake and the famous jumble knot, a cookie-like pastry which was popular in the 17th century and was most likely enjoyed by ‘Capability’ Brown.
5. Discover 12 spectacular viewpoints
Blenheim Palace has identified twelve viewpoints which showcase the very best of Brown and his signature motifs. Visitors can take the Capability Brown trail to discover each of these viewpoints as well as learning some incredible facts along the way!
6. Imagine the Oval Lawn
Another major feat of work was the Oval Lawn in the Great Court. ‘Capability’ Brown dug up the gravel, cobbles and terraces to lay the lawn. This was restored to its original form by Achille Duchene from 1900-1910 under the commission of the 9th Duke of Marlborough.
7. Discover the Royal seal of approval
The landscape and early gardens at Blenheim Palace were much visited and admired. King George III came before and after Brown and was incredibly impressed on each occasion.
8. Spot the Ha-ha
When he arrived, Brown removed the Great Parterre and laid the South Lawn, which is protected with a Ha-ha. The Ha-ha, an essential component of the ‘swept’ views synonymous with ‘Capability’ Brown, was restored between 2013-2014. Brown also built another Ha Ha which ran from Snake Gate to the Kitchen gardens, naturally protecting the beautiful lawns from grazing animals that ran the Parkland.
9. Marvel at the Grand Cascades
Finally, Brown built a formidable dam and created the Grand Cascades. At the western end of the Great Lake, the cascades are considered one of England's most picturesque waterfalls. They formed the centre of his landscape, the Great Lake, and have held back the waters of the Glyme ever since. The dam is built to withstand a 1 in 10,000-year flood event!
10. Take home a piece of ‘Capability’
Visit Blenheim Palace’s East Courtyard gift shop to take home a specially designed ‘Capability’ Brown memento. From books to notelets, quall pens, ink bottles and sketch books and much more, discover the fascinating life and career of the first celebrity landscape gardener.
For more information visit www.blenheimpalace.com.