Blenheim Palace Wanderings

With the forecast promising glorious sunshine for the entire weekend, Harry and I decided to pack our bags Saturday at the crack of dawn and leave London for a weekend in England’s countryside. Instead of heading straight to H’s home in Somerset, we planned a few detours to visit sites that had been on my still unseen wish-list.
Admittedly, we were a bit bleary eyed as we spent Friday night with a big group of friends at the pub, but excited we left early Saturday morning to beat the traffic. 
First stop, Woodstock, Oxfordshire for a wandering around Blenheim Palace. Ever since reading The Glitter & The Gold: The American Duchess in her Own Words, a memoir by Consuelo Vanderbilt, I have wanted to pay Blenheim Palace a visit. Consuelo Vanderbilt was an American heiress to a vast fortune and was in love with an American suitor when her mother chose for her to marry an English Duke instead. Against her will, she sailed to England and became Duchess of Marlborough in 1895, taking up residence in her new home – Blenheim Palace. Consuelo Vanderbilt writes as an unsnobbish observer of the complex hierarchy both upstairs and downstairs. She records the glitzy balls and parties, state occasions, and her encounters with important figures of the day – Queen Victoria and Alexandra, Edward VII, Tsar Nicholas and even young Winston Churchill (who was born in the palace). 
It is a really enjoyable and easy read and I especially recommend the book for any Downton Abbey fans or those interested in the Gilded Age. 
After reading Vanderbilt’s memoir, her accounts were so vivid I wondered if they would match the reality of current day Blenheim Palace, thankfully I was not disappointed. The grand scale of Blenheim is extremely impressive and feels like the British counterpart to France’s Versailles.
Today, Blenheim is still a family home and residence of the dukes of Marlborough, as well as a mausoleum and national monument. It is the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of Palace. Blenheim was built between 1705 – c. 1722 and designed in short-lived English Baroque style. 
This pheasant certainly has a nice crib to call home.
Outfit Details

Harry’s rockin’ the Ray Bans and ever so kindly carrying our books and picnic in the Monogrammed Canvas and Leather Tote from Buggy Designs (also used as a laptop bag in this post).

Drinking sparkling elderflower cordial — my favorite drink when visiting the UK. Can someone please make Elderflower in the US?!
The Temple of Diana (above) is where Winston Churchill proposed to his future wife, Miss Clementine Hozier, in 1908.

I am forever impressed by the green grass situation that Britain maintains throughout the year. Rain certainly pays off!

Spring arrives far earlier in England than New England!

The Saloon (only used once a year for Christmas dinner) and the Library (more than 10,000 books). (source)

A visit to Blenheim Palace is a great day trip out of London. Should you find yourself at Blenheim between 1-5pm (last sitting is at 4pm) a wonderful tea is served in the Indian Room. Prices vary from 19 pounds to 32 pounds per person. There are several other dining options from quick snacks to fancier eats.
After visiting Blenheim Palace, we walked into Woodstock and enjoyed a pint outside at The Star Inn (been around since 1634), which I would definitely recommend for its atmosphere. If you are spending the night in Woodstock, we heard great things about The Macdonald Bear Hotel, a 4 star hotel which was once a 13th century coaching inn.


    • says

      Sarah, you totally made my day! I have been considering spending a small fortune to have cordial sent over to me, I just love it so much! I am hoping it is not the alcohol type. Will let you know if I find it at my Whole Foods! 🙂

    • says

      I’m delighted to be of assistance! I have friends in Ireland routinely send over crisps, potato farls, and loose-leaf Irish breakfast tea.

      The Whole Foods near me stocks just the non-alcoholic type (although my local speciality liquor store stocks the alcoholic version). I believe the label it’s sold under (at Whole Foods) is Belvoir.

  1. Anonymous says

    Such a beautiful palace! I’m a huge Downton Abbey fan, so I think I would really enjoy that book. Also, I’m in love with your dress!

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