Palace apologises for 'embarrassingly awful' Chinese New Year party
Attendees of the £26-a-head Chinese New Year event at Blenheim Palace said it was a rather bleak affair, with food served from one lone noodle van, painfully long queues and sparse entertainment.
The Palace has apologised after angered customers branded the event "a farce", "shambolic", and "insulting".
Some visitors said they had managed to claim refunds after being disappointed by the festivities.
One visitor complained the lanterns "looked like they were from Poundland", and another agreed, saying they had held better events in their back garden.
The main complaint was that there was just one vendor selling food, an offering of noodles and chips, after there were promises of a Chinese feast from multiple stalls.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site claimed this was because they were "let down by several vendors".
Sorry, Blenheim, but this event was an embarrassment....— DeeDee (@little_bakeneko) February 17, 2018
Nothing like what was implied in your advertising. Not worth the time or money. Street food stalls were lacking.. there was one!!! pic.twitter.com/YI6eEt8mdJ
Look at the vibrance! You really captured the spirit of the Chinese New Year!— David Montrose (@MontroseCreate) February 17, 2018
No idea what parties you've been to, but 1 noodle van, 2 tatty dragons, 3 bored-looking musicians, 3 martial artists?
Not your best work. pic.twitter.com/pbujrcqpbW
The event was advertised as having "a traditional Double Guan Yin Chinese Lion dance accompanied by a drummer" and organisers promised "delicious Chinese street food from a variety of stalls in the Great Court."
Promotional material for the event said: "Don't miss out on special photos and meet-and-greet opportunities with the lion, then venture into the Palace to warm up and discover the magnificent Great Hall festooned with strings of Chinese lanterns."
A disappointed customer wrote on Facebook: "Sorry Blenheim. This really wasn't good enough. It should have been incredible; a blaze of colour and smells from the multiple food stalls. It should have been like walking around a Chinese food fayre. There should have been incredible drumming and music, not just one poor pa system with one speaker in the corner timidly offering something as an excuse for it.
"The lanterns looked no better than something you would find in Poundland. We were SO looking forward to this and SO disappointed by it. Luckily we had an annual pass but even so, we didn't hang around. Such a shame and a wasted opportunity. I hope this feedback is taken as constructive criticism which may help in the future. We love Blenheim and want to support you in your events."
Another commented: "Blenheim Palace should be ashamed of this pathetic event which the advertising totally misrepresented. We expected to find the Great Court full of food stalls and other Chinese related offerings. One rather shabby 'Chinese' noodle bar with no prices on display and a constant queue of 30 or more people was a disgraceful way to serve the hundreds of people who attended, many probably having traveled long distances.
"If you looked really hard there were a couple of posters with a timetable of 'events' but there was nothing on offer between them for visitors to focus on. Goodness knows what the Chinese people who attended thought of this farce."
Blenheim Palace wrote on Facebook: "We are very sorry for everyone’s disappointment today. This was our first year delivering this event and were overwhelmed by the amount of visitors and were let down by several food vendors first thing this morning.
"We will be reviewing how we can make big improvements for next year knowing there is so much interest. We hope everyone will use their Annual Passes to return and receive our usually high quality visitor experience at one of our many other events. Many thanks for your understanding."