Blankenburg has several gardens/parks that are worth to see. I enjoyed strolling through the so called "Berggarten", an English style park right behind the restaurant Obere Mühle which is confined by the old city wall. Two of the wall towers are still preserved; one is accessible to visitors; of course I climbed up the stairs.
Below the "Berggarten" is the formal Baroque garden in front of the Small Castle. This very formal garden has some flower beds, a fountain, sculptures, benches to rest - just what you would expect.
There is also a garden north of the town called "Thiepark", which is in English style. I didn't have time to see this one.
The Small Castle was originally built as a timber-framed garden house for the prince in 1725. In 1777 it was reconstructed as a massive stone building upon request of Duke Karl.
Since 1948 it is home of the municipal museum. They have an exhibit on the history of the town and the castle(s) including some beautiful original interior, an exhibit on the mining in the region and on agriculture. I didn't have time to visit, but heard it is quite nice.
April - Oct Tue-Sat 10-17 h, Sun 14-17 h
Nov - Mar Tue-Sat 11-17 h, Sun 14-17 h
The Grand Castle is in poor condition right now and it will take a lot of work and money (and time) to change that for the better. However, the history of the castle and its owners is rich, the remains of old splendor are worth the effort.
As mentioned on the introduction page, the castle was owned by the Welfen family. Through smart marriage policy they are linked to some famous European monarchies, for example the Hapsburgs and the Russian Tsars. The mother of current Spanish Queen Sophia was baptised in the castle's chapel. The castle has also seen famous guests in past: From August 1786 to February 1798 soon-to-be French King Louis XVIII and some other upper nobilities lived here.
I was able to see the chapel where restoration works have begun and one can see its underlaying beauty. I also had a quick look into the new wing where the staircase was quite impressive (but in need of restoration) and a small photo exhibit was on display. I'd want to come back in a few years and see what has been achieved. The registered local association that owns the castle now is very active and I believe they can manage the restoration.
On the walk up to the castle you'll see the restaurant Obere Mühle (upper mill) - it is not to miss. The setting is very beautiful, above the town with splendid views, right next to the castle gardens. It is more a cafe than a restaurant, offering a limited choice of smaller dishes/snacks plus cake and coffee.
The building dates from 1453 when it was constructed as a mill, the first one in town. In 2004 the mill was restored. Interior is a bit sterile IMO. I took a seat on their wonderful, sunny terrace (views!). The cat of the house decided I was no threat and resumed her sunbath, LOL (see pic #4).
Favorite Dish: I had soljanka soup (very good), afterwards a piece of house-made cherry cake and cappuccino. I paid 8 Euro with tip - a steal.
I need to point out that the service was outstanding and very friendly.
Just a few miles northwest of Blankenburg is the former convent Michaelstein. It was founded 1147 by the abbess Beatrix II of Quedlinburg. First Benedictine, but soon a Cistercian convent it was closed and turned into a protestant convent school in 1544. In the 18th century it was used as a hunting lodge by the Dukes of Blankenburg. Since 1968 it is a music school and also hosts a museum for musical instruments.
Quite much of the original convent is preserved: the cloisters, of which two wings are Romanesque, some adjoining rooms like the refectory and a small library e.g. and also the Baroque chapel which serves as parish church for the local evangelic-Lutheran congregation nowadays. Worth to see are also the two herb gardens and the museum. Unfortunately the convent church was damaged 1525/33 and had to be torn down.
Entrance fee is 3 Euro, photography permit is 2 Euro.
April - Oct daily 10-18 h
Nov - March Tue-Sat 14-17 h, Sun/holiday 10-17 h