Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
Blenheim Palace is the only non-episcopal house in England to officially be called a palace, and it rightly deserves to be called that. It is huge, magnificently austere, and surrounded by 2100 acres of well managed and tended gardens, forest, and pastures. There are lakes and streams to lend a feeling of rustic countryside, and indeed, the whole estate is a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of modernity. It is also justly a highly ranked tourist attraction and on the UNESCO books as a treasure.
It was originally set aside by King Henry I as a park to keep the deer enclosed for his hunting pleasure. Henry II built a lodge there for his mistress, Rosamund Clifford. The succession of monarchs, plots, and buildings went on for a few centuries seeing Elizabeth I imprisoned there by her sister Queen Mary. The manor and most of the other buildings were destroyed in the Civil war when Cromwell's forces bombarded the area in pursuit of the Loyalists.
In 1704, The Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, was awarded the estate for his valor in the military campaign against the french and the Barbarians. Over the next century, the succession of Dukes continually improved the gardens and landscapes. Fountains were added, an Italian gardens build, rose gardens planted, and several walkways and bicycle paths added.
In 1874, the most famous prime minister of Britain was born there: Winston Churchhill returned to the estate as often as he could and is buried there with an appropriate tomb. Inside the palace the room where he was born is open for viewing and on the adjacent wall are photographs and paintings of the great man depicting his youth and early military careeer. On a hill located some distance from the palace there is a large column commemorating the 1st Duke. You will likely see sheep grazing peacefully underneath its shade.
Photography inside the palace is forbidden, however, if you should accidentally depress the shutter button until your memory card is full, you should happily discover a few usable photos for your 70 dollar fee.
Be ready for sticker shock when you go, but don't let that stop you from the historic significance and pleasure of seeing the palace. When I was there last it was about 20 USD per person for the grounds, gardens, and palace. That is now 47 pounds. Also be ready for the pure commercialism that is going on. The estate has a small railroad, a bottled water franchise, and has divided the tour fee into three different areas. It is necessary I guess to make enough to keep it open to the public, but I still feel a bit ripped off when I see fees like this charged.
This incredible country house, Blenheim Palace, is easily one of England's top "Must See" attractions. You could easily spend an entire day here.
John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, was given this site after winning a battle against the French in 1704! The Queen had this grand palace built for him. Take a walk to the Column of Victory (in the park) which has the whole history (and legal blurb) written all over it!! Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister, was born at Blenheim in 1875.
Blenheim's architect was John Vanbrugh. The incredible house reminds me very much of Versailles, or other large palaces of that period. Absolutely enormous. The heating bill must be frightening :-)
It also has vast landscaped gardens with a lake. Mainly kept in trim by a team of woolly lawnmowers :-) The grounds were designed by the famous landscape designer Lancelot 'Capability' Brown in the English Landscape tradition - which means it is meant to look 'natural' in a romantic way, but really it is not natural at all!
Check the website for a brief history, opening times, admission prices and directions to get there. In 2005 adult tickets were 13.50 GBP for house and grounds, or 8 GBP for the extensive grounds and gardens only.
It's the home of the 11th Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborouhg, in recognition of his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.
It's opened daily from 10.30 am - 5.30 pm
This a part of the Blenheim Palace garden.
They have as well a rose garden. When we went it was October, so no chance to see any roses. But it was nice anyway. So if you like making a walk in the garden - you should, it's really nice !
Blenheim is situated on the outskirts of Woodstock (a Cotswold Stone village) near Oxford. It was built for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, in recognition of his great victory over the French at the battle of Blenheim in 1704.
The Palace is set in 2100 acres of parkland landscaped by Capability Brown. There are beautiful fountains and even a maze.