If you have seen the recent movie “Gulliver’s Travels “(2010) with Jack Black, you may recognize that the palace of the King of Liliput is actually Blenheim palace, just north of Oxford, England (it’s not on the shore of a tiny island as depicted in the film!). Although Jack Black creatively extinguishes a raging fire in the palace, I am happy to report that it is in good shape in real life.
Blenheim palace was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill (1874), the legendary prime minister of the UK from 1940-1945 and again 1951-55. I read Roy Jenkins’ 1,000 page history of Winston Churchill several years ago. If you enjoy history, I suggest this book. He was an extraordinary historical figure—prolific writer, painter, statesman, and political leader during a very dark period of world history. As I read about this life, I was amazed how much he accomplished — he received the Nobel Prize for Literature and was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States. There is a good exhibit on Winston’s life in the palace.
Blenheim palace was built in the early 1700’s, and has been the home of the Dukes of Marlborough (the Churchill family) for 300 years. One of the remarkable rooms in the palace is the library, which is 180 ft. long, and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, who also designed St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The palace is set on a beautiful country estate, with large manicured gardens.
The palace is open to the public, and contains a number of attractions including the butterfly house, a maze, and cafeteria.
If you are in the vicinity of Oxford (a great city also), be sure to stop by Blenheim Palace.