Vast and impersonal country houses, built to create an impression on visitors rather than bestow creature comforts on inhabitants, had been a feature of the English landscape long before Blenheim Palace. Yet this huge complex, the house alone encompassing seven acres of Oxfordshire on completion in 1725, bore comparison with the largest palaces of Europe.
Set to become the historic seat of the Dukes of Marlborough after Queen Anne gifted the manor of Woodstock to the 1st Duke, John Churchill, in 1705, as a reward for his military triumphs, it’s the only English country house — those of bishops aside — that has by longstanding popular consent been accorded the honorific title of palace (it was once described by some as Blenheim Castle).
Nestling in the Evenlode Valley, sequestered down winding B roads but with its own railway station, Charlbury is a vibrant yet picturesque Oxfordshire town. A centre for festivals, full of welcoming pubs, and ideal for walking and cycling, there’s always something going on in Charlbury.
We continue our travels into the Cotswolds proper, stopping off at the secluded village of Glympton. A large country estate encircles the church here, but ancient English laws allow us right of access.
Glympton is a village and civil parish on the River Glyme about 3 miles north of Woodstock, Oxfordshire. The 2001 Census recorded the parish’s population as 80.
We’ve visited Yarnton before in the first episode of Exploring the Cotswolds, but at the time we didn’t realise there was so much more to see. Join us this week as we explore the church and some of the stories around the village.
Yarnton is a village and civil parish in Oxfordshire about 1 mile southwest of Kidlington and 4 miles northwest of Oxford. The 2011 Census recorded the parish’s population as 2,545.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings – If you’ve read the British author J.R.R. Tolkien’s books before, or seen the movies, you’ll be familiar with the fantasy worlds he created. But where did the inspiration for these creations come from? To this day, this question is still widely debated. British author and Tolkien expert John Garth has embarked on a journey to find out.
The tiny village of Daylesford, a somewhat hidden gem, is another classic Cotswolds place to visit – not only for the fantastic Daylesford Farm Shop, owned by the Bamford’s, nestled nearby…
Daylesford is a small, privately owned village in Gloucestershire, England, on the border with Oxfordshire. It is situated just south of the A436 two miles east of Stow-on-the-Wold and five miles west of Chipping Norton. The village is on the north bank of the small River Evenlode.
Blenheim Palace is a monumental country house in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England. It is the principal residence of the Dukes of Marlborough, and the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace. The palace, one of England’s largest houses, was built between 1705 and 1722, and designated a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site in 1987.
For the past 10 years or more, the manor’s globe-trotting owner and ‘serial collector’, Tony Hill, has painstakingly restored and modernized the quirky, 3,700 sq ft house set in three-quarters of an acre of totally private gardens in the heart of the town, with guidance and advice from Cheshire-based Nigel Daly Architectural Design.
In the rolling countryside of north Oxfordshire, Grade II-listed The Manor House at Chipping Norton has ‘the wonderful homely feel of a house your parents might have lived in for 30 years,’ says David Henderson of Savills in Stow-on-the-Wold.
Stone steps from the hall lead to the light-filled main drawing room with its oriel window and window seat, where bespoke bookcases made from reclaimed elm boards surround the open fireplace. Another flight of stone stairs leads from the inner hall to the dining room with its vaulted ceiling and impressive carved stone fireplace. A large games/media room is used as a home cinema, office and party room.