Blenheim Palace – The only non-royal ‘palace’ in England

I always wanted to see this magnificent building, the only non-royal ‘Palace’ in England, and as this year’s motto is ‘going to places I always wanted to see’ (more about this in a couple of weeks), Blenheim Palace was on my list. It is one England’s largest houses; the money and royal land to build it on was gifted to the 1st Duke of Malborough by Queen Anne for his military triumphs against the French and Bavarians during the War of the Spanish Succession, culminating in the 1704 Battle of Blenheim. (At the same time a ‘quit-rent’ standard was issued. Every year a new version of this French royal standard is made and this Blenheim standard is sent annually as ‘quit-rent’ to the Sovereign at Windsor Castle otherwise the land the palace is built on is reclaimed by the Royal Family. Traditionally this happens on 13th August every year to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Blenheim.)

View from the Great Court towards the palace entrance.

View from the Great Court towards the palace entrance.

The building of the palace didn’t go quite as planned though and it soon became the subject to political infighting leading to exile, fall from power and damage to the architects reputation.

But it is also the place where Winston Churchill was born and proposed to his future wife. The palace remains the home of the Dukes of Marlborough and is enjoyed by thousands of tourists each year. Architect Sir John Vanbrugh designed the palace in the rare, and short-lived, English Baroque style and it stands proudly in the parks and gardens.

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The palace entrance

The interior and the state rooms are impressive to say the least:

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Winston Churchill was born here.

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The Great Hall leaves you speechless.

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The Green Drawing Room

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The Red Drawing Room. In the late 1800s some paintings, amongst other things, had to be sold because of financial problems.

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The Green Writing Room with part of the ‘Blenheim Tapestry’.

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That’s what I call fine dining…

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Apparently the Dining Room is still used by the family once a year at Christmas.

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Above the fireplace you can see an older version of the ‘quit-rent’ standard.

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The Second State Room

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The Third State Room

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Queen Anne statue in the Long Library

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The organ in the Long Library was built in 1891 by the famous London firm of Henry Willis & Sons.

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The Long Library

The palace chapel dominated by the 1st Dukes tomb and sarcophagus.

The palace chapel dominated by the 1st Dukes tomb and sarcophagus.

It’s a shame that not many buildings were built in the English Baroque style as it features some lovely details.

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Obviously there are amazing gardens and don’t forget that the palace sits on an extensive estate.

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The Water Terraces. I can recommend getting an ice cream, find yourself a place to sit and just enjoy your surroundings.

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It is a nice backdrop for having lunch.

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The narrow second terrace

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On the lowest terrace stands the scale model made by Bernini for his famous fountain in the Piazza Navona in Rome

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View across the lowest terrace

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Temple of Diana, where Churchill proposed to his wife

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Statue in the Churchill Memorial Garden

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Rose Garden

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The Cascade. Most popular feature was a swan having a drink in the middle of it at that time.

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The Italian Garden, not open to the public.

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The Secret Garden, a tranquil place to escape and relax.

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The Roundel

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View from the south lawn towards the palace.

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The Column of Victory

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This 40 metre high Doric column remembers the legacy of the 1st Duke of Marlborough

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View on the way back from the column towards the palace.

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The Grand Bridge. It became really grand when famous landscape architect Capability Brown made the River Glyme flow through the lower parts of the bridge.

There is much more to see than I could possibly fit in this blog post so if you get a chance, go and visit. And make sure you have enough time to explore it all.

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3 thoughts on “Blenheim Palace – The only non-royal ‘palace’ in England

  1. Pingback: All is ‘tickety-boo’ – this was 2015 | design and dragons

  2. Wow…so…are ‘royal’ palaces even grander? I will see, say, a piece of furniture, a sterling piece, a painting from this time period in a museum but to see them all gathered together in the manner they were used by the original owners is amazing. There are so many marvelous things in one place.

    Liked by 1 person

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