During our stay in the Cotswolds, hubby and I knew we had to see Blenheim Palace. Blenheim (which is pronounced Blen-um, and if you say it phonetically you’ll get laughed at) is the historic residence of the Dukes of Marlborough. The current Duke and his family still keep it as a residence and are there from time to time. There were family pictures scattered around the place and it had a lived-in feel that I loved. Our last palace experience was Versailles, and I liked Blenheim much better. Between the crowds and the ostentation of Versailles, I was practically sprinting to get on the next train back to Paris. But we lingered at Blenheim, and I could have lingered even longer.
What is hubby doing here? Assessing the real estate value?
The gardens were sumptuous but not overdone. I could picture myself sitting out here with a book and a pot of tea, soaking up that golden Cotswold sunlight.
Blenheim also has historical significance as the birthplace of one of my favorite British historic figures: Winston Churchill. The future Prime Minister, apparently a politician from a very early age, made his appearance while his mother was at a party here. Churchill’s mum was closely related to the Duke of Marlborough and Churchill spent much of his childhood tooling around Blenheim. He even chose the “Temple of Diana” in the gardens here to propose to his beloved wife Clementine. One of Churchill’s hobbies was painting – he was actually really talented; there were a number of his pieces on display in the palace – and Blenheim landscapes were his favorite art subject. The palace contained a few rooms devoted to a small Churchill museum with letters, photos and other memorabilia. And – the best part for a booknerd like myself – the Duke has a copy of Churchill’s four-volume History of the English-Speaking Peoples, which I read a few years ago – in his library! It’s fair to say I was in Churchill heaven. Yes, I realize that I’m a nerd. No, I don’t care.
After touring the Palace and the formal gardens, hubby and I wandered through the surrounding parklands for awhile and happened on this serene little lake. Even in October, the park was green and there were (a few) flowers in bloom. Oh, yes, I could definitely stay here awhile.
But I didn’t stay! We’re off on more Cotswold and Midland adventures next Friday, so check back then!