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From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Once my August tour left London, we visited various places in southern England. I’ve always been fascinated by the country homes and castles of England, and this set of pictures focuses on Windsor and Blenheim.
William the Conqueror chose the site of Windsor Castle, high above the river Thames and on the edge of a Saxon hunting ground. It was a day’s march from the Tower of London and intended to guard the western approaches to the capital.
You can take a virtual tour of the castle at
Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit St. George’s Chapel, as it was closed for Sunday services. But this is the exterior – and of course, it was where Megan Markle married Prince Harry.
Blenheim Palace is the principal residence of the Dukes of Marlborough, and the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace. The palace,was built between 1705 and 1722.
It is also the birthplace of Winston Churchill. His mother was at a ball at Blenheim when she went into labor with Winston. He spent a lot of time at Blenheim during his childhood and proposed marriage there to Clementine Hozier.
This is the view towards the northern part of the park and the Column of Victory. It is crowned by a lead statue of the 1st Duke of Marlborough, and shows him dressed as a Roman general. John Churchill was the military commander who led the Allied forces in the battle of Blenheim on 13 August 1704. Blenheim was a gift from Queen Anne.
Capability Brown added the lake in the 1760s. The Spencer-Churchills are raising money to have the lake dredged, as it is pretty full of silt.
The Marlboroughs were not wealthy. Charles, 9th Duke of Marlborough (1871–1934) saved both the palace and the family. He married Consuelo Vanderbilt in 1896, and Vanderbilt money built these lovely water gardens.
The last time I visited Windsor castle was during a heavy fog. You could hardly see more than a couple of feet ahead of yourself but there was something haunting about those massive buildings suddenly appearing when you were almost on top of them. Glad you had better weather for your visit.
Blenheim is on my to visit list. After seeing these pictures will definitely move it up.
In my mind, I hear John Cleese yelling weird insults in a bad French accent.
Seriously, those are some really nice-looking digs. How much of the interiora, if any, are open to guided tours?
TS (the original)
Brings back memories of being in the UK when the Queen Mother died. She and her husband are buried in St Georges Chapel & it was open for all at no charge. Windsor itself is a wonderful town to visit & weirdly, regardless of the number of tourists it never seemed crowded.
Thank you for the pictures and what a fascinating tour.
@TS (the original):
The Queen Mother’s husband was of course King George VI, the WWII-era monarch who came to the throne when his brother Edward VIII abandoned it to marry an American divorcee. George VI, as we all know from the movie, had to strive mightily to overcome a bad stammer and become a kingly king.
@Amir Khalid: Quite a bit actually. The State rooms at the castle (and there are a lot of them) for certain. I don’t know about Blenheim but I know they do house tours and there are usually some bedrooms and sometimes bathrooms open for visitors to see.
And, has been said, St George’s chapel, with the Knights of the Garter stalls and banners is free.
Me, I hear Henry VIII. Vaguely threatening. Beautiful grounds, though.
Blenheim Palace is interesting and has lovely grounds, but I will never forget getting trapped in the cheesiest sub-Disney animatronic tour that I’ve ever experienced. It’s upstairs, so keep to the public rooms below. It has the reek of something put together in the hope ordinary folks will find it relatable. It was an anachronism the first time they flipped the ON switch.
Dorothy A. Winsor
Interesting pics and explanations
@debbie: I never though of Henry VIII as threatening, or did you mean the monarch?
@Amir Khalid: We had a tour of the state rooms at Windsor, which were beautiful. Interior pictures were not permitted, alas!
We also saw the state rooms at Blenheim, but were not allowed to take pictures. No cheesy sub-Disney exhibit, but there was a nice Churchill exhibit, and a sort of odd tableau devoted to a family member who was married at Blenheim.
“John Churchill was the military commander who led the Allied forces in the battle of Blenheim on 13 August 1704. Blenheim was a gift from Queen Anne.”
Just for the sake of clarity (pedantry), the “Blenheim” where there was a battle is not the “Blenheim” that Queen Anne gave to Marlborough. The battle occurred in Bavaria, near the small town of Blindheim (whence “Blenheim”) and is called the battle of Höchstadt by the Germans and French, after the larger town in the region. Queen Anne was not in a position to give him that Blenheim; she gave him some land in Oxfordshire.
@Amir Khalid: The scene in Holy Grail was filmed at Castle Stalker in western Scotland.
@oldster:You’re right, of course. I went a bit too far with trying to keep my captions short but informative.
No problem — what you said was not false, just concise.
And thanks for the great pics! I last saw Blenheim in the flesh several decades ago, but saw film of it in Inspector Lewis recently.
I hated that song. Weak pablum. But ?
Gorgeous ? ? pictures