On day 2 of the road trip, we initially wanted to see William Shakespeare’s place of birth but on the way we saw this huge Palace and decided to drop by. Needless to say, we never made it any further and enjoyed the whole day here!
Blenheim Palace (pronounced “Blen-im”) is a monumental stately home situated in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England. It is the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough. The palace, one of England’s largest houses, was built between 1705 and circa 1724. UNESCO recognised the palace as a World Heritage Site in 1987.
The palace’s construction was originally intended to be a gift to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough from a grateful nation in return for military triumph against the French and Bavarians at the Battle of Blenheim. However, it soon became the subject of political infighting, which led to Marlborough’s exile, the fall from power of his duchess, and irreparable damage to the reputation of the architect Sir John Vanbrugh.
Designed in the rare, and short-lived, English Baroque style, architectural appreciation of the palace is as divided today as it was in the 1720s. It is unique in its combined usage as a family home, mausoleum and national monument. The palace is also notable as the birthplace and ancestral home of Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
The building of the palace was a minefield of political intrigue by Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. Following the palace’s completion, it became the home of the Churchill family for the following 300 years, and various members of the family have in that period brought various changes, in the interiors, park and gardens. At the end of the 19th century, the palace and the Churchills were saved from ruin by an American marriage. Thus, the exterior of the palace remains in good repair and exactly as completed.