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Blenheim palace, oxford, hitler's palace, where was churchill born, things to do near oxford (5)

The English palace Hitler would make home

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Blenheim Palace

There’s a certain playful vindictiveness to the plans Adolf Hitler once had for Blenheim Palace, the stately English mansion thirteen kilometres from Oxford. As the story goes, the Führer intended to make the palace his official residence when he invaded and conquered Great Britain.

Blenheim palace, oxford, hitler's palace, where was churchill born, things to do near oxford (9)

Blenheim palace, oxford, hitler's palace, where was churchill born, things to do near oxford (8)

This was not just because he apparently wanted to turn Oxford into the capital, but for two more symbolic reasons. Firstly, Blenheim Palace is named after a German city where the first owner won a decisive battle against the French and Bavarian forces, a victory so important that Queen Anne bestowed upon him the land and money to build. And secondly (and presumably more personal for Hitler), Blenheim Palace is the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

With his acquisition of the property, Hitler was planning to enjoy the humiliation of England (if only the Germans had a word for that).

Blenheim palace, oxford, hitler's palace, where was churchill born, things to do near oxford (1)

Of course, as we know, his plan never came to pass and Blenheim Palace is still owned by the Duke of Marlborough, currently the 11th in the line. His family lives in a small part of the building which is open to small public tours. The rest of the palace is easily accessible and sees a large number of visitors each day.

Blenheim palace, oxford, hitler's palace, where was churchill born, things to do near oxford (3)

Visiting Blenheim Palace

Photography isn’t allowed inside so allow me to paint you a picture. It won’t be as detailed or valuable as the painted pictures will cover the walls of the rooms along the back of the palace – they show in vivid colours the battles of the first owner, John Churchill, victorious every time. This painting of mine also won’t capture the scale of the official dining room, an enormous room the size of a small theatre with pictures drawn on the walls and enormous silver decorations on the table.

Blenheim palace, oxford, hitler's palace, where was churchill born, things to do near oxford (2)

Room after room connect to each other with a thousand stories in each. Over the generations the owners have left their mark. Most of the palace was either restored or redecorated by the 9th Duke of Marlborough who used the 60 million dollars (in today’s terms) he was given for marrying American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt, whose family thought the English title for their daughter was worth the money, despite the absence of true love.

Blenheim palace, oxford, hitler's palace, where was churchill born, things to do near oxford (6)

Blenheim’s gardens

Outside the palace, in the enormous gardens that surround the building, is one of the real treasures of Blenheim. Over the course of the palace’s history two famous architects (John Vanbrugh and ‘Capability’ Brown) made the mark on the landscape to a point where it was one of the factors on which the site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are man-made lakes, fountains, a rose garden, a secret hedge maze and even a train. In the fields on the outskirts, sheep graze while on the lawns closer to the palace, locals laze with picnics and energetic children.

Blenheim palace, oxford, hitler's palace, where was churchill born, things to do near oxford (7)

Blenheim palace, oxford, hitler's palace, where was churchill born, things to do near oxford (4)

Inside and out, it’s not hard to see why this would make a grand home for a world leader. Thankfully it was not only kept out of the hands of a dictator, but remained with a family which sees the benefit in opening it up to the public. It’s not a direct response to Hitler’s plans, but there’s a certain schadenfreude there.

UNESCO world heritage site
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For more info click here.
You can see all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites I’ve visited here.

* Click here for the official website of Blenheim Palace.

8 Comments
  • Natalie | May 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Can you imagine living somewhere and you had to open it up to the public for tours?! Mind you, they really don’t need all that space to themselves. Hitler was too ambitious anyway, the Brits would have definitely poisoned his water supply or burnt the palace down first!
    Natalie recently posted..Bars in Taksim – Nightlife For Females and ForeignersMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | May 7, 2012 at 4:39 am

      I wouldn’t mind opening the house up to visitors if it meant I could live somewhere like this! 🙂
      And, yes, I think you’re probably right about the poisoning or burning…

  • A Montrealer Abroad | May 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Lovely post – I didn’t get a chance to visit the Palace when I was last in the UK, but I had no idea about Hitler’s plans (well, this particular one).
    A Montrealer Abroad recently posted..Postcards from la belle GaspesieMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | May 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      The palace is a little bit out of the way (about 30 mins on the bus from Oxford) but is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. I’m just sorry I couldn’t show you photos of the inside – it was stunning!

  • rdsean | May 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    great picture shots of the Palace.. beautiful!!
    rdsean recently posted..Is Jessica Sanchez the new American IdolMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | May 16, 2012 at 1:19 am

      Thanks. It’s just a pity I couldn’t take any shots inside because it was absolutely stunning!

  • Mary @ Green Global Travel | Jun 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    It’s nice to get some history behind a lesser known English palace. Great post as always!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..ECO NEWS: World’s First Underground Park Plans AnnouncedMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Jun 22, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks, Mary. It was a really remarkable palace that, as you say, isn’t too well known. Expect by Hitler, it seems.

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