Originally published June 5, 2012, this blog post series is an undergraduate short-term study abroad trip in Oxford, UK in partnership with Salve Regina University and St. Clare’s Oxford. The blog post may have been edited for clarity and updated with relevant travel information and links.
The History of Blenheim Palace
There are several facts about Blenheim Palace that are essential to English history:
A masterpiece of Baroque architecture, Blenheim Palace provides an awe-inspiring experience for visitors.
Home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family and the birth place of Sir Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting a long and diverse history.The PALACE, BLENHEIM PALACE
Moreover, Blenheim Palace has a significant American connection to Newport, Rhode Island.
Consuelo Vanderbilt—one of the most famous American heiresses of the Gilded Age—married the 9th Duke of Marlborough in November 1895. The Englishman’s estate was in disrepair and the Vanderbilt heiress’s fortune of nearly $4 billion resolved the myriad of financial woes.
Like many marriages of that time, it was certainly more of a socio-political match than a romantic one.
However rich you were, you also had to demonstrate you could behave like a gentleman, or lady. So prominent families also had to demonstrate a degree of good taste that set them apart from rich vulgarians. (Confusingly you also had to be visible too. Without seeming to do anything about it, you had to make sure your activities were publicized — for without visibility, how would the masses know just how elite you were?)
If wealth defined the American aristocracy of the Gilded Age, it was wealth, even more than beauty, that made a young woman an attractive prospect for marriage.‘Consuelo and alva’: an early story of celebrity, NPR
Visiting Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace is located in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, and is only a 20-minute drive from historic Oxford. Other modes of transportation are recommended on the Blenheim Palace website.
Buying one day ticket to Blenheim Palace allows you to obtain a year pass for free. If I have spare time, I plan on visiting the palace again on a sunny day and exploring the grounds further.
In addition to tours of the palace grounds, Blenheim Palace also hosts special events year-round, including afternoon teas, picnics, and exhibitions.
What to Expect at Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace is absolutely stunning.
Despite the rain and overcast weather, the beauty of the grounds remained majestic. The grass and gardens were lush with color. My favorite part of Blenheim’s grounds was the water garden— the fountains shared a great view of the river in the background.
When we visited, there were activities in honor of the Jubilee celebration, but because they were outdoors on a rainy day, not many people attended.
It was also a little difficult leaving and quite a maze—the gates were closed, so the group had to walk back towards the palace, then walk down the path leading to the village nearby before reaching the bus station.
The village was very quaint and it had many cute souvenir shops and pubs, as well as a small set-up for a Jubilee party in the square.
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