Blenheim Palace is the official residence of the Dukes of Marlborough from beyond 200 years, it is called Palace, although it does not belong to the royal family, a unique case in the UK.
Since 1987 it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in Oxfordshire , approximately one ‘hour and a half from London. Besides being a kind of national monument it is also the birthplace of Winston Churchill.
The history of its construction was troubled, it had to be built in honour of John Churchill the first Duke of Marlborough , after his victory at the Battle of Blenheim against the French and the Bavarians. For this reason, Queen Anne gave the Duke an old property that was falling apart but also gave him a considerable sum of money to rebuild it.
The construction of the new Blenheim Palace
The John Churchill’s wife, Sarah, wanted the architect Christopher Wren , who had built the new St Paul’s Cathedral . While her husband called Sir John Vanbrugh who was a playwright and not an architect. But then many were trying to build buildings, even if they were not architects by profession.
For all the peace of the construction of Blenheim Royal residence, Sarah, who could not stand Vanbrugh, put the legendary stakes in the wheel and made life impossible for the playwright. The Duchess not only wanted a monument to her husband, but also a house to live in and Sir Vanbrugh’s project was not exactly suitable.
Sarah and Queen Anne were good friends, in a way that nowadays would seem suspicious, Sarah had a strong personality and the two often quarrelled even in public.
The Duchess was also worried about finances and how much money was needed for this project. Alla great succeeded in banishing Sir Vanbrugh and the project was completed by architect Nicholas Hawksmoor after the death of the Duke in 1722.
The American hereditary
Like many other British aristocratic families at the great del 1800 the Dukes of Marlborough also had financial problems and saved their property, which was then their only residence, by marrying American heiresses . Jennie Jerome , a wealthy American heiress, became the wife of Sir Randolph Churchill and later mother of Winston Churchill. In 1896 the 9th Duke of Marlborough also married a wealthy American, the eighteen year old Consuelo Vanderbilt, who arrived with a dowry of 2.5 million dollars. Marrying rich Americans became a fashion among the declining British aristocracy, and it was also prestigious for these wealthy American families to join old aristocratic families.
In any case Blenheim Royal residence was built in English Baroque style , one of the few buildings in this style of short duration.
The idea was to create an austere monument to the Duke, a palace that can be seen from miles away.
It was not a great success, grandmother part of the people hated this palace, including Winston Churchill (cousin of the Duke of Marlborough at the time) who was born there and spent part of his childhood there.
What to see at Blenheim Royal residence
You have to look at Blenheim Royal residence even from a distance, Sir Vanbrugh had played a lot with the perspective, and along with the park and gardens. The views that you can admire are all well choreographed.
Inside the building you will have a beautiful collection of art, objects and furniture of the past centuries, there are several halls and also the apartments of state.
There are representative rooms such as the central hall, a representative dining room used by the family once a year on Christmas day. There is also a library and a corridor connecting the next room, you can look at the tapestries celebrating military victories.
The palace has beyond 200 rooms and 1000 windows, when it was built for the first time, the size of the window period based on the importance of the personality who lived in the verse. The servants had smaller windows, while the family members of the duke and duchess obviously had huge windows.
Blenheim Royal residence became a convalescent home for wounded soldiers during WWI and WWII, more than 400 boys were evacuated from Malvern University to live here. They were in the state rooms, wandering around the lower terrace. While the lake and the palace park were used for price training for the Normandy landing, Several movies and dramas were shot in this well-known palace, including the Order of the Phoenix. Harry Potter.
Blenheim Palace Gardens
After the death of her husband, the Duchess was not very interested in the gardens, left abandoned until the book Duke of Marlborough who decided to hire the famous gardener Capability Brown
Both part of the house and the gardens are open to the public, although they are still the home of the Duke of Marlborough (we are now at 12th Duke, from 2014 in fact Charles James Spencer-Churchill is Duke, famous for a long history of drug addiction and other problems). Numerous events are also held throughout the year. A miniature train connects the palace to the gardens, where, among a variety of activities for children, there is the Marlborough labyrinth , a triumphal arch, the home of the butterflies, the lavender garden and various exhibitions.
How to get to Blenheim Palace?
The palace is near Oxford, you can include it in a tour of this city, or go there directly from London. There are direct buses from Victoria Train Terminal on certain days of the year. Otherwise National Express always offers you cheap bus travel.