Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blenheim Palace

A short bus trip from London lies Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated about 8 miles from Oxford, it is currently the home of the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. As I've discovered time and time again, since it remains a personal home, no photos were allowed of the beautiful interiors, but later I'll share a unique way you can have a peek inside.

 Our day started out optimistically sunny before turning grey and drizzly later in the day, but that did not keep us from enjoying the immense home and gardens. We entered through the gates, not fully knowing what we might expect to find on the other side.

We were amazed by the majesty and the size of this English Baroque structure. Gifted by Queen Anne to the first duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, for his succession of military triumphs, the  home was built between 1705-1724. It continued to be the family home of the Churchill family for 300 years.

It was also the ancestral home and the birthplace of Winston Churchill, who was born 5 weeks early while his mother was visiting the estate. The interiors are lavish, with collections of amazing tapestries and paintings, displayed in state rooms with gilded ceilings. Many were jaw dropping.
The family has struggled through the years financially, coming close to near bankruptcy when the 9th duke of Marlborough inherited the dukedom. His decision to marry the American railroad heiress, Consuelo Vanderbilt, poured enough money into the family to keep them going. I'm looking forward to reading her biography, The Glitter and the Gold.

The home is situated in 2100 acres of parkland, with formal gardens, a lake, and expansive grounds. A prettier day would have seen us walking the grounds extensively, but this particular day saw us taking a short stroll, enjoying a long lunch and touring the several gift shops to stay out of the weather.

All in all, it was a great day with friends. 
Now if you want to see some of the interiors, it will soon be possible when the movie "Gulliver's Travels", starring Jack Black and Emily Blunt, is released around Christmas. Blenheim Palace served as the setting of the Palace of Lilliput, and you can take a sneak peek here. Click twice to view full screen.


  1. Bonjour Deb ~ I'm so pleased you featured this lovely old palace, I have been there twice ~ whilst on walking holidays in the Cotswold! Thanks for letting us know about the film "Gullivers Travels" I'll be sure to watch it.
    Enjoy your week
    xx Dianne

  2. Lovely just lovely. Can not wait to see the inside of this palace. So glad that you shared this with us today.
    Hope your doing well my friend

  3. well, the movie looks so good, it zapped the very witty
    comment i had planned. :)

    thank you for a lovely castle tour. the book will be as
    much fun as the funny movie.

    have a lovely week!


  4. Hi Debi .. how funny that you should post about something sooooo close to my home and I have never been there .. (I have not always lived in Oxfordshire )

    You and your friends look such a fun and friendly bunch .. I am sure you had a great day out.

    Have a great week.. take Care Anne x

  5. I visited Blenheim during my time in Oxford. We did high tea there. Quite an experience!

  6. Debi
    I am called after Consuelo Vanderbilt!

  7. You are so cool and so "in the know". Thanks for the tour. Ah, the weather is as I imagine it would be and I can feel the chill...I love fall and its mix of crisp, cold, the autumnal hues all around in nature and even at times the wet. I have got to read more about Churchill, because he "nevah, nevah, nevah" gave up and to me is a prime example of an individual who strove to do good things.

  8. Sounds like a fabulous day, Debi!! xxoo :)

  9. Hi Debi,

    I needed a little vacation- thank you for sharing.
    Thank you for your sweet words about Tommy. It is so quiet and sad around here. One day at a time.


  10. Wonderful tour as always! I'm really looking forward to the movie. I had seen that preview before but it had been a while ... looks great! Thanks for the great background material!

  11. What a lovely tour! I will go see the movie just to see the interior (and I do so like Emily Blunt)! I am following along and would be very happy to have you join me at my history blog too!
    Have a lovely day!