Blenheim Palace is a big old country house in Oxfordshire, England, where the Dukes of Marlborough historically live. It is UNESCO World Heritage listed.
It has some really nice cafes and restaurants you can visit, as well as lovely “Capability Brown” landscaped gardens to explore. There is a miniature train you can ride and a maze.
I am a history nerd
You have been fairly warned!
The house is the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, and there is a permanent exhibition about his life in the suite of rooms where he was born. I really enjoyed this as Winston Churchill is one of my heroes. I’ve always admired the amazing speeches he gave to inspire the British people during World War Two. You know the ones:
“…we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
Some interesting things I learned about Winston Churchill:
- He made the onesie popular! Well, I’m not talking about a flannelette onesie with little stars and moons that you hang around the house in (his were velvet, which is even better!) It was more of a ‘boiler suit’, which he liked during wartime because you could throw it on quickly if there was an air raid in the middle of the night.
- He was the British PM twice! 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955.
- He was a writer, winning a Nobel Prize in Literature.
- He was a painter under the pseudonym “Charles Morin”.
- He was an amateur bricklayer and bred butterflies.
- At age 18 he fell off a bridge and was unconscious for three days and bedridden for three months.
- Years later, the accident prone Mr Churchill was hit by a car in New York and dragged behind it for several meters. He had stepped out in front of it, forgetting that cars drive on the opposite side of the road in the States.
- He never attended university but educated himself by reading widely.
- He fought in 3 wars as a young man.
- I was disappointed to learn that he at times supported some dubious causes including anti-Ghandi and pro-Nazi … he obviously changed his mind about at least one of those causes.
The house and gardens are open daily. See website for times and admission prices.
There is plenty of parking if you wish to drive. The address is Woodstock OX20 1PP
Via public transport, you can get the Stagecoach S3 bus from Oxford (28 mins, leaves twice hourly). The cost is £6.10 return for an adult. Plus, if you buy your Palace admission ticket in cash from the bus driver you get a 30% discount. Win!
Complete your experience
“Goodnight Mr Tom” by Michelle Magorian. I pick this purely because it’s a great book and it’s set in wartime England. It probably wouldn’t even mention Churchill.
The classic Doctor Who episode “Victory of the Daleks” (2010) where longtime ally of the Doctor, Sir Winston Churchill, realises that their new weaponry are actually disguised Daleks poised to take over the world!!
If Doctor Who isn’t really your style, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was filmed at Blenheim – Snape’s flashback scene by the Black Lake as a Hogwarts student. Also Spectre (2015) and Cinderella (2015) used Blenheim as a location.
Seeing as you are in Oxfordshire, try some Oxford skate (skinless sausages) and Oxford sauce (The Oxford Fine Food Company at 40- 42 Stanley Road, Oxford).
“Bullets” by KAYTRANDA and Little Dragon purely for the wartime link