Blenheim Palace Tours | Churchill’s Grand Estate
A walking tour of Blenheim Palace is a real favourite on our Cotswolds tour. We are able to cycle and walk right into the heart of Blenheim’s iconic estate, giving our guests a true appreciation of the palace’s splendour as well as the grandeur of its surrounding parkland.
The History of Blenheim Palace
Looking up at its beautiful golden stone facades you would never guess that the Palace was ‘born from the blood and sweat of the battleground’. It was built in the early eighteenth century to honour the 1st Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, celebrating his victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession. Named after the famous ‘Battle of Blenheim’ in 1704, the actual building of the palace over the coming years was plagued by episodes of betrayal and intrigue.
Blenheim’s Baroque castle thus has a special place in our national heritage, being the only non-royal and non-ecclesiastical ‘palace’ residence in England. The estate is also of world significance, recognised as an official World Heritage Site due to its splendour, design and intriguing history.
Who Owns Blenheim Palace?
Blenheim palace is now owned by the Churchill-Spencer family and is birthplace to the most famous of the Churchill’s, Winston – our Prime Minister during Britain’s greatest time of need. Winston Churchill’s roots as well as his legacy are captured in stone – both in Blenheim and nearby, where Churchill is buried next to his father. Currently, the estate is home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough.
Capability Brown Parklands
As well as exploring the palace on a walking tour, our cycle tours have been granted special access to the palace, giving our guests the opportunity to cycle right into the grounds of Blenheim, and to explore its vast 2000 acres of parkland. This is an experience not to be missed as the gardens and parklands were designed by ‘Capability’ Brown, the landscape designer who revolutionised the ‘face’ of England in the eighteenth century through his new style country estates and mansions. The Blenheim Palace tour day takes in some of the best examples of Capability Brown’s work, through his rolling hills, beautiful lakes and winding rivers, all within ‘a magical world of green’. As we believe that his picturesque style is best experienced first-hand by bike or foot, Active England tours give guests time to explore Brown’s gardens and parklands during our visit.
Visiting Downton Abbey
Our bespoke cycling tours and walking holidays are tailor made to suit your preferences and as such we offer chances to see some of Capability Brown’s landscape design elsewhere during your trip. The genius of his ‘gardenless’ style parklands can be seen when visiting Downton Abbey – aka Highclere Castle, where Brown’s thousand-acre landscape views form the perfect backdrop to the Gothic castle. At both Highclere Castle and Blenheim Palace, Capability Brown’s elegant style, vision and legacy are unparalleled in British landscape design, and are a cherished part of England’s heritage today.
Read more about iconic English sites, World Heritage Sites, and famous British people who bring the places we visit to life on our guided bike and walking tours.