Blenheim Palace is an amazing monument to the 1st Duke of Marlborough, the great English general of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), who won the Battle of Blenheim. He was rewarded with the property and the money to build the palace by Queen Anne. However, visited by thousands of tourists each year because of its beauty it was also the birthplace of Winston Churchill, one of the duke’s descendants.
On right hand downstairs part of the palace are the rooms associated with the great World War II leader, while upstairs are high-tech holograms portraying important moments in the lives of the duke’s descendants as well as a portrayal of his widow, who completed the palace after his death. Today the dukedom is one of only 17 left in England and Scotland.
Blenheim has amazing gardens and vistas, and, like many British palaces of the early 21st century, has been retro-fitted with a large gift shop and a spacious tea room. I was personally amazed not only at how many historically accurate hand-painted tiny toy soldiers the military history loving Winston Churchill owned (and enjoyed well into his later years!), but also how hilarious, and more than a little tongue-in-cheek the hologram exhibit is!
“Hail fabled grotto! hail Elysian soil!
Thou fairest spot of fair Britannia’s isle!
Where kings of old concealed forgot the throne,
And beauty was content to shine unknown;
Where love and war by turns pavilions rear,
And Henry’s bowers near Blenheim’s dome appear….”
Thomas Tickell, from A Poem, on the Prospect of Peace, 1714