Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace (pronounced BLEN-em) is a huge stately country home in the small town of Woodstock in the county of Oxfordshire. It is located about ten miles north of the lovely university city of Oxford, which is the county seat, and is in the beautiful Cotswolds region. Blenheim Palace Oxfordshire was built from 1705 to 1724 and was meant to be a gift to John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, in return for military victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.

The monumental Blenheim Palace remains in the Churchill family and is home to the Dukes of Marlborough to this day. The Churchill family's most famous descendant, Sir Winston Churchill, was born here in 1874. Every other country house in England that bears the title of "palace" is either a royal residence or a religious structure. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest houses in England. It easily could stand with Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle as the residence of a monarch.

Blenheim Palace Oxfordshire is an extraordinary example of English baroque architecture. This style of severe massive architecture lasted only for a brief time, and was soon replaced by the elegant Palladian style seen in the beautiful residential crescents found in the city of Bath. Inside you will find hand-painted ceilings, intricate carvings, tapestries, paintings, sculptures, and priceless porcelain, silver, and crystal collections, and much more.

The setting for Blenheim Palace is a park consisting of more than 2,000 acres of broad greens lawns, a graceful lake, and meticulously landscaped formal gardens. The entire outdoor ensemble was designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown who designed scores of parklands, including those around Cardiff Castle in the capital of Wales and Kew Gardens in London. Here you will see excellent examples of the ha-ha, a landscape feature (usually in the form of a ditch or trench) that is undetectable from one direction (usually the view from the house). For hundreds of years, it was the custom to maintain large parklands around stately homes by allowing livestock to graze in them. A ha-ha served as a "fence" to keep the livestock off the lawn immediately around the house without fences to disturb the view.

The grounds are so extensive that you can buy tickets simply to spend the day fishing in Bladon Lake; anglers are looking for rainbow and brown trout. There are also boats available for hire just to enjoy some serene floating or to fish in a more leisurely fashion. Summer festivals and concerts are held on the grounds, and you can even order picnic hampers to enjoy during your visit to the grounds. The interior of Blenheim Palace Oxfordshire is also open to the public for tours, but many people come only to spend the day on the grounds. There are a number of commercial ventures on the grounds that have helped to keep the huge estate afloat financially. These include a traditional hedge maze, a children's playland, a butterfly house, a museum, and even a mineral water bottling facility. These enterprises are in a different area than the house itself, and the two are connected by a miniature railway.

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