Blenheim Palace is a grand country house with marvelous landscaped gardens, set amid gorgeous green parkland. Come here to admire its majestic fountains, picturesque grounds and the 18th-century palace building, which encompasses a range of architectural styles.
As you enter this lavish estate, you’ll be stepping into the main home of the Dukes of Marlborough. The holder of the title of duke, Charles James Spencer-Churchill, is a distant relative of Princess Diana and former Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The country house was built between 1705 and 1722, and was presented to the first Duke of Marlborough after his military success. However, political infighting soon led to his exile.
Stand in front of the palace façade and take a moment to appreciate the stately design. With the landscaped garden sitting pretty in the foreground, this is also a good spot for taking photos. Beside the well-trimmed hedges, you’ll be able to see a large pond with several fountain jets. This site’s architectural beauty and eclecticism is said to have inspired the English Romantic Movement.
Inside, the layout remains as it was in the early 18th century. Walk through the rooms and seek out the room where Britain’s beloved wartime leader Winston Churchill was born in 1874. Or join a guided tour of the State Rooms, during which you can learn more about the various dukes who lived here.
Outside, the gardens feature designated trails, as well as a rose garden, cascades and a large lake. The design of the more than 2,000 acres (809 hectares) of parklands is the work of Lancelot "Capability" Brown, England's most famous landscape architect. He was born in 1716 and to celebrate his 300th anniversary, 2016 is marked as the Year of the English Garden.
Blenheim Palace sits beside the River Glyme in the Woodstock area, less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Oxford’s center. Buses depart regularly from the heart of the city, taking half an hour to reach the palace. Oxford Airport is just to the east of the site. Ticket options vary for the gardens, the park and the palace. The site opens daily from morning until early evening.