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The palace next door

It makes me chuckle to say that.

Blenheim is very close to us here in Northmoor. It takes us maybe 10 minutes to drive to it and, they have this terrific scheme for annual passes, that, if you buy a day pass, you can upgrade it to an annual for the same price. How terrific is that? Consequently, R and I have had annual passes for a decade.

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I’m always happy to come here, walk the grounds, have lunch in the cafe and tour the Palace, and I always know that photos aren’t permitted inside the Palace, and so, have only really taken one or two with my iPhone. (When no one was looking)

So, when we walked up to the front entrance and the guard told me that photos are now allowed without the flash…WHAT! You’re kidding me? Hooray! 😀

I guess it makes perfect sense. Too many non-English speaking, iPhone toting tourists around.

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Blenheim Palace is an amazing trip down British history, and, believe it or not, a certain fisherman’s daughter named Betty Ridge (1745-1808), who was born and worked on the Thames right here in our village of Northmoor, married into the Blenheim Palace family by marrying Viscount Ashbrook William Flower. My friend Julie Godson wrote the book and, as soon as I finish reading it, I’ll tell you all about it.


Though most people know that Blenheim was the home of Vanderbilts and Churchills and now it is the home to John George Vanderbilt Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough and his family.

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They don’t live in the public rooms though. These rooms function as a museum and art gallery.

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See that painting above the fireplace? That’s one of my favourites here. It’s Consuelo Vanderbilt (1877-1964). There are loads of paintings and sketches of her around the palace. In all of them she looks very beautiful and elegant and has the most graceful, long neck…like a swan.

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There is so much to look at and take in. This formal dining room has painted plaster walls and ceiling in a giant mural by an 18C painter, Louis Laguerre.

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Even the tiny details are lovely.

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But one of my most favourite rooms is the great library.


Hundreds and hundreds of books behind these ornate doors. I often spend some time reading the spines and they mostly turn out to be history books, encyclopedias and classic literature.

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It’s good to know that Canada isn’t forgotten. 😀


But the book that intrigued me the most was this little, blue, out-of-place book. Like someone wedged it out of that spot beside the red book to the right, lay it down and wanted to read it. Oh, can you imagine how much self control it took me not to reach in that cupboard and leaf thru it! Especially since the red book beside it says Diary 1898!!!

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Comments: 11

  • August 4, 2014

    Opulent !!!

  • daryledelstein

    August 4, 2014

    i am always charmed and fascinated by the way they hung pictures in the huge high ceiling rooms of manors/palaces i dont have the wall space but if i did …

  • August 4, 2014

    Pshaw! You should see the castle next door to ME! Haha..totally kidding. This is MAGNIFICENT. Can’t even imagine what it must have been like to live in surroundings like this. Fabulous shots.

      • Catherine

        August 7, 2014

        isn’t that what the staff were for?? 😉 X

  • August 4, 2014

    Incredible! I love the elegantly bound books behind the ornate doors. I would want to linger there for hours. It would have been so tempting to leaf through the books.

  • August 11, 2014

    You live in a fairy tale land! I love history and visiting times of days gone by. How delightful it must be to live so close to such splendor! Great deal with the annual pass.

    The textures and colours of the books are amazing. You are so right about how tempting it would be not to read the diary! It would take forever to dust the books, poor person…unless the person can sneak some time in to read of course!

    A bit too much pattern in some of the rooms for my liking though.

    How luckily for us all that you can now take photos. I can now say I have been in a palace without leaving home or paying for airfare. Thanks for the tour!

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