Blenheim Palace is the crown of the baroque architecture in England. While in England several times, I have gone to Blenheim Palace, at Woodstock, Oxfordshire, for a day away from London. Usually my friend Maureen Walker drives me to Woodstock, but twice I have taken an organized tour from London to Oxford and then on to Blenheim at Woodstock. This absolutely fabulous site is the residence of the 11th Duke of Marlborough who has made the restoration of Blenheim Palace his life’s work. The Palace was built during the end of Queen Anne’s reign and during the first years of the Hanoverian Kings–Sir John Vanbrugh was the principal architect; however, the building was completed under the direction of Hawksmoor. I encourage my readers to make this visit to Blenheim a primary consideration, perhaps even after Windsor Castle. It is simply spectacular. I grew up knowing about the First Duke of Marlborough’s defeat of the forces of Louis XIV at the Battle of Blenheim and about his famous note to his wife: I have no time to say more but to beg you will give my duty to the Queen, and let her know her army has had a glorious victory. I used to play with my grandfather’s lead soldiers and act out some of the old Duke’s battles–I still have the lead soldiers I used to play with. Knowing some of the history is very worthwhile–of course– before you visit the Palace; but the building, the gardens, and the lavish interiors are visually incredible. The palace is open spring, winter, and fall, but the Palace is closed during the winter for maintenance and care. There is a great gift shop, but do have your lunch at the inn in Woodstock which is attached to the grounds of Blenheim. Years ago, my father told me about the small man-made island which faces the palace with the trees placed as were the infantry at the Battle of Blenheim. Everywhere it is history, beauty, and magnificence. Everything is on a grand scale–exquisitely done! When I was in college, I read a book called the GLITTER AND THE GOLD which was Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan’s memories when she was married to one of the Dukes of Marlborough, but after producing an heir and a spare, she decided the Duke was not for her. Really a great read–I can remember it to this day. Thanks, Dad. There are several tours from London for about 65 pounds per person, but I would call Maureen Walker and have her take you. She will drive you through Oxford on the way. PERFECT DAY out of London. I will post a few photographs to stir your interest and enthusiasm.
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918