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Visiting Britain's majestic Blenheim Palace

Visiting Britain's majestic Blenheim Palace

England is dotted with a hoard of magnificent palaces, countryside mansions and stately historic homes. Since the raved about hit TV series, Downton Abbey, interest in these architectural marvels of opulence and the elite members of society that occupied them has reawakened around the world. Fans travel from all over, simply to walk in the footsteps of their favourite fictional characters, and to live their fantasy moment in a bygone world of luxurious aristocracy...

Blenheim Palace in all its beautiful splendor © Traverate 2016

Detail from the ornate entrance gates © Traverate 2016

Many locals come here for a stroll © Traverate 2016

Where is it?

On a winter trip to the UK I visited a good friend that emigrated from South Africa. He moved to this charming and posh little countryside village called Woodstock (just down the road from Oxford), and about 1,5 hours drive from London.  On the doorstep of this small rural settlement lies the magnificent and world renowned Blenheim Palace.

Panoramic view of the grounds and lake © Traverate 2016

The side entrance from the village © Traverate 2016

Quick Facts 

Built between 1705 - 1722, this enormous residence has 200 rooms and 1000 windows! It is the only palace in England that does not belong to the royal family. It served as a military hospital during the 1st World War, as well as a safe haven for college boys in WWII. In 1987 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Blenheim is also famed for being Winston Churchill's birthplace and childhood home. It boasts the largest privately owned pipe organ in Europe (with over 2300 pipes) - scheduled performances by acclaimed musicians take place frequently.  

Another frontal view of the palace © Traverate 2016

The Column of Victory, built in 1730 and 42m tall © Traverate 2016

Room to roam...

The 2000 acre estate offers beautiful scenic buggy tours, walks and trails. From the 150 acres of formal gardens, to the expansive parklands beyond (here you'll find the oldest collection of oak trees in Europe!). As I wandered through the main gate and down the lane leading to the palace, I couldn't help but feel a regal shiver down my spine. The impressive Baroque masterpiece rests on perfectly manicured green grounds and gleams an almost golden colour in the late afternoon sun. 

A tranquil scence of the lake © Traverate 2016

 Someone's having a party... How cute is this champagne truck I spotted on the grounds! © Traverate 2016

Someone's having a party... How cute is this champagne truck I spotted on the grounds! © Traverate 2016

The sheer size of the place is staggering, and it's hard to believe that it's still called "home" by the 12th Duke of Marlborough. Okay, the family only occupies their private apartments (which you can see on a tour). However, I think it's still a pretty impressive address to have your mail delivered to!

The Grand Bridge, built 1708 - 1710 © Traverate 2016

Looking towards the Grand Bridge and Column of Victory © Traverate 2016

On the grounds you'll pass many locals walking their dogs (on leashes of course), jogging school kids and you'll find some tourists too. Regrettably they were doing renovations on the interior when I visited, so I couldn't have a look inside. Next time!

You gotta go!

To plan your visit head on over to their official webpage!

 

** Banner/ cover image by Anglotopia.net

All other photos were taken by me © Traverate

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