In all my time at Oxford two years ago, somehow I never got out to nearby Woodstock to visit Blenheim Palace. Honestly, I think it was because I got the idea that it was a big picnic area next to a house in the middle of nowhere (ergo, not worth the bus ride and 18 pound entry fee). I was, in a word, incorrect. While there are ample grounds one might fancy picnic-ing on and while it is in the middle of nowhere, even the most understated could hardly call Blenheim a house.
Granted by Queen Anne to the Duke of Marlborough, Blenheim Palace was built to memorialize (wait for it) the Battle of Blenheim (the Duke’s famous victory in the War of Spanish Succession. Over the next hundred years, its interiors were gradually stripped as subsequent heirs squandered the fortune, and it looked quite different (on the inside) from its former standing when a young Winston Churchill came to reside there (on his holidays from boarding school).
While I was surprised to learn of Churchill’s aristocratic roots (even though a John Churchill was the name of the Duke of Marlborough, so it probably should have been more intuitive), I was not particularly surprised that such a big personality would be raised somewhere so grand in scale– it also gave new meaning to the background behind his tomes on English military history (since he was virtually living in their mausoleum). Judging by the grounds and gardens, he also had plenty of absolutely stunning places to sit back and write. There are a few more pictures than usual in this collection, but it was all so stunning, I didn’t want to omit anything!
The adjoining chapel, which catered to the town.
Upon planning our palace visit, I wanted to make sure that I really felt the part. Conveniently, I had also never tried Laduree macaroons. In a thoroughly undignified manner, I proceeded to tote no less than 10 macaroons to Blenhiem (don’t worry, I shared). It was so lovely eating the height of French patisserie while casually lounging in the gardens. Did a few of the stray garbled crumbs intermingle the tastes? Sure (but that’s just more macaroon). This leads me to a little unsolicited travel advice: if you want for something to feel a certain way and you have a certain idea in your head, create that ambiance, and your memories are more likely to reflect the intent of your efforts. This is not to say you should go crazy with the Breton stripe in Paris, but if everything is better with ice cream, give yourself the ice cream (or macaroon, or truffle, or eclair, insert sweet thing here)!
These are not very helpful at all, but I’ll include them, nevertheless.
Scarf (shown in first picture): Estate Sale Treasure ($1.00)
Blazer: Estate Sale ($9.00)
Blouse: Talbots (hand-me-down)
Green Suit Separate Pants: Antonio Melani
Satchel: Fossil (ebay)
Boots: Tommy Hilfiger (S/S: 2014)
I go into this detail as a reminder that it’s not how much you pay, but how you wear it that determines whether or not you look palatial!