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Visit Blenheim Palace where Winston Churchill was born

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Blenheim Palace is the official residence of the Dukes of Marlborough from beyond 200 years, it is called Palace, although it does not belong to the royal family, a unique case in the UK.

Since 1987 it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in Oxfordshire , approximately one ‘hour and a half from London. Besides being a kind of national monument it is also the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

The history of its construction was troubled, it had to be built in honour of John Churchill the first Duke of Marlborough , after his victory at the Battle of Blenheim against the French and the Bavarians. For this reason, Queen Anne gave the Duke an old property that was falling apart but also gave him a considerable sum of money to rebuild it.

The construction of the new Blenheim Palace

The John Churchill’s wife, Sarah, wanted the architect Christopher Wren , who had built the new St Paul’s Cathedral . While her husband called Sir John Vanbrugh who was a playwright and not an architect. But then many were trying to build buildings, even if they were not architects by profession.

For all the peace of the construction of Blenheim Royal residence, Sarah, who could not stand Vanbrugh, put the legendary stakes in the wheel and made life impossible for the playwright. The Duchess not only wanted a monument to her husband, but also a house to live in and Sir Vanbrugh’s project was not exactly suitable.

Sarah and Queen Anne were good friends, in a way that nowadays would seem suspicious, Sarah had a strong personality and the two often quarrelled even in public.

The Duchess was also worried about finances and how much money was needed for this project. Alla great succeeded in banishing Sir Vanbrugh and the project was completed by architect Nicholas Hawksmoor after the death of the Duke in 1722.

The American hereditary

Like many other British aristocratic families at the great del 1800 the Dukes of Marlborough also had financial problems and saved their property, which was then their only residence, by marrying American heiresses . Jennie Jerome , a wealthy American heiress, became the wife of Sir Randolph Churchill and later mother of Winston Churchill. In 1896 the 9th Duke of Marlborough also married a wealthy American, the eighteen year old Consuelo Vanderbilt, who arrived with a dowry of 2.5 million dollars. Marrying rich Americans became a fashion among the declining British aristocracy, and it was also prestigious for these wealthy American families to join old aristocratic families.

In any case Blenheim Royal residence was built in English Baroque style , one of the few buildings in this style of short duration.

The idea was to create an austere monument to the Duke, a palace that can be seen from miles away.

It was not a great success, grandmother part of the people hated this palace, including Winston Churchill (cousin of the Duke of Marlborough at the time) who was born there and spent part of his childhood there.

What to see at Blenheim Royal residence

You have to look at Blenheim Royal residence even from a distance, Sir Vanbrugh had played a lot with the perspective, and along with the park and gardens. The views that you can admire are all well choreographed.

Inside the building you will have a beautiful collection of art, objects and furniture of the past centuries, there are several halls and also the apartments of state.

There are representative rooms such as the central hall, a representative dining room used by the family once a year on Christmas day. There is also a library and a corridor connecting the next room, you can look at the tapestries celebrating military victories.

The palace has beyond 200 rooms and 1000 windows, when it was built for the first time, the size of the window period based on the importance of the personality who lived in the verse. The servants had smaller windows, while the family members of the duke and duchess obviously had huge windows.

Blenheim Royal residence became a convalescent home for wounded soldiers during WWI and WWII, more than 400 boys were evacuated from Malvern University to live here. They were in the state rooms, wandering around the lower terrace. While the lake and the palace park were used for price training for the Normandy landing, Several movies and dramas were shot in this well-known palace, including the Order of the Phoenix. Harry Potter.

Blenheim Palace Gardens

After the death of her husband, the Duchess was not very interested in the gardens, left abandoned until the book Duke of Marlborough who decided to hire the famous gardener Capability Brown

Both part of the house and the gardens are open to the public, although they are still the home of the Duke of Marlborough (we are now at 12th Duke, from 2014 in fact Charles James Spencer-Churchill is Duke, famous for a long history of drug addiction and other problems). Numerous events are also held throughout the year. A miniature train connects the palace to the gardens, where, among a variety of activities for children, there is the Marlborough labyrinth , a triumphal arch, the home of the butterflies, the lavender garden and various exhibitions.

How to get to Blenheim Palace?

The palace is  near Oxford, you can include it in a tour of this city, or go there directly from London. There are direct buses from Victoria Train Terminal on certain days of the year. Otherwise National Express always offers you cheap bus travel.

Worked in many sectors including recruitment and marketing. Lucky to have found a soulmate who was then taken far too soon. No intention of moving on and definitely not moving to Thailand for the foreseeable future. Might move forward. Owned by a cat.

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The most beautiful villages and towns in the UK, do you agree?

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Summer is definitely the period when everyone is creating lists, this was created by Fbm Holidays  and are in fact two different lists, one for the towns and one for  villages.

Some of the places chosen are quite predictable, others less so. For example, at the first place in the list of villages we have Castle Combe which is a quite obvious choice, at second place instead is Portmeirion, a village that seems to have been transported from Liguria to Wales but is less known.

The lists don’t include anywhere in Scotland which instead has several rather lovely places.

The prettiest villages in the UK

Castle Combe , Cotswolds, Wiltshire

Portmeirion , Gwynedd

Beaulieu, Hampshire

Altruistic’s Bay, North Yorkshire

Bibury , Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Polperro, Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

Llanberis, Gwynedd

Beddgelert, Snowdonia

Hathersage, Top Area, Derbyshire

The prettiest towns in the UK

Keswick , Lake Area, Cumbria (pictured above)

Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Salcombe , Devon

Cirencester , Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Bamburgh , Northumberland

Whitby , North Yorkshire

Rye, East Sussex

Bakewell, Optimal Area, Derbyshire

Aberaeron, Ceredigion

Burford , Cotswolds, Oxfordshire

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Conwy in Wales, from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution

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conwy in wales

Conwy in Wales has a medieval castle and other buildings reminiscent of that period, but also boasts two bridges both of which are innovative projects typical of the boom in engineering projects that developed with the Industrial Revolution.

If you are in North Wales, which has also been very trendy lately, don’t miss the beautiful town of Conwy. on the estuary of the River Conwy. It has several sights and even a UNESCO heritage site. Edward I founded the town of Conwy in North Wales, between 1283 and the 1289 on the site of the ancient Cistercian abbey of Aberconwy, which was founded by Llewellyn the Great like many other princes of Gywnedd. At the beginning the town was called Conway.

The monks and the Abbey were transferred to Maenan by Edward I in the 1307 when the king decided to build a castle and demolish the abbey to have more space.

The remains of a 12th century abbey church are located inside the walls north of St Mary’s church.Additionally, there is All Saints Church, which now serves as Conwy’s parish church.

As part of its strategy to subdue the Welsh , Edward I increased the population of his new city with British colonists and issued an edict forbidding the natives from entering the settlement.

The port which is protected from the elements and used as a port to supply the goods to the castle, as well as a place of refuge and for fishing.

 

Conwy Castle

But the thing that you notice immediately in Conwy is the castle, which was the most expensive of the fourteen magnificent defensive castles designed and built by the architect and mason Master James of St. George, ordered by Edward I. A

The castle was built on top of a  rocky promontory, surrounded by the river on two of its sides, with the purpose of defending the city, subduing the Welsh and guarding the entrance to the city

Initially, the rectangular-shaped castle was built with an outer and inner wall and the walls were 5 metres thick. There were also four towers and a drawbridge, in short, the typical medieval castle.

Both the interior and the exterior of Conwy Castle have changed over the centuries. The castle was captured by the British, then by the Welsh and finally by the British in the War of the Roses.

It was badly damaged during the English Civil War in 1600 .

Conwy Castle was sold by Charles II to the third Viscount Conway, who subsequently stripped the castle of timber, roof and metal, leaving it in ruins. Note that the four Welsh castles built by Edward I of England are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site or Globe Heritage Website. These are Beaumaris Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle and Harlech Castle.

The Conwy Walls

Conwy Community Walls, which surround and protect the city of Conwy. Admission is free and the doors are always open. They were completed as part of the castle defences in the year 1286.

The walls, high 10 meters and over two meters thick, extend for three over a kilometre. For their age, they appear to be in relatively good condition and are among the best medieval walls to be found in the UK.

The city walls themselves were also connected to the castle by a series of tunnels. There were only three doors, all easily defended with double towers, one on each side.

Originally, the path around the wall was divided into various sections, each of which was a separate path. Of which it had its staircase and age connected to the others by a wooden bridge

which could be removed quickly and easily instantly, if the besiegers attempt to climb the wall. If you pass this way, take a walk on the walls to get some nice panoramic views, but be careful not to trip and avoid if you are dizzy.

The two bridges of Conwy

Another thing to visit in Conwy is the Suspension Bridge now managed by the National Trust fund. It was built in 1826 on a project by Thomas Telford, this bridge is considered innovative and avant-garde to the paces. In fact, it was one of the first suspension bridges in the world. The cables of the bridge are embedded in the rock of the promontory of the castle.

The bridge is simple and was created to blend well with the town, in fact, the support towers of the bridge were designed to resemble the towers of the castle.

Conwy also has a tubular railway bridge, unique in the world to use Robert Stephenson’s design, a kind of iron ring. Designed by William Fairbairn and built by Robert McAlpine and built in 1850 Stephenson used the same design in his subsequent and larger Britannia Bridge that spanned the Menai Strait in Wales until it was destroyed by fire in the 1970.

Other things to see in Conwy in Wales

In Conwy you can also see the smallest house in Great Britain is located on Quayside in Conwy, the tiniest home,

This tiny one-story fisherman’s home is on the outskirts of the city.Otherwise visit the Elizabethan house of Plas Mawr built between 1289 and 1585 for the merchant Robert Wynn.

The Great Hall is one of the best preserved structures in the town,  and this is one of the best preserved Tudor building in all of Great Britain. The plastered walls hide a plethora of original elements and furnishings, many of which are still in use today.

Where is Conwy located?

Conwy is practically attached to Llanduno, you can get there in a few minutes by train via the legendary railway bridge. The fortified town is also located fairly close to Colwyn Bay. You will likely visit it as part of a North Wales holiday.

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Cirencester: the old Roman town in the Cotswolds

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If you are in England, there are many reasons to visit Cirencester, a town in Gloucestershire of Roman origin, first it is in the Cotswolds, the magnificent area of ​​homes and hills. It offers a great starting point for exploring the area, and it is not for nothing that it is often referred to as the capital of the Cotswolds

Despite being a relatively small disadvantage approx. 20 thousand inhabitants, it’s a kind of centre for local public transport, from here you can go almost anywhere in the Cotswolds by bus. It is approximately 20 kilometres from Cheltenham, in an area famous for its beautiful English countryside. It does not have a very exciting evening and nightlife, as you can imagine given the size of the town, but you will find many typical and interesting clubs.

Cirencester has an ancient history, period one of the first Roman towns together with Chichester, London and St Albans Actually at that time it was the second-largest city after London. The Romans called it Corinium Dobunnorum. An important period during the Roman period but also in the Middle Ages when, like so many other places in England, it became rich by trading wool.

The Roman amphitheatre remains, at least in part, with its unmistakable shape even if covered by grass. You can visit it for free whenever you want.

It is said that it could contain 8000 spectators and therefore period, from what we know, the largest in Roman England. It was abandoned for centuries after the Romans left, but it seems that it was used in the Middle Ages for fights between bulls.

If you are interested in Roman history and art you can visit the Corinium Gallery You will find reconstructions, video clips and interactive shows that bring history to life. Among the highlights are some beautiful floor mosaics, found in the area and including a mosaic from the 300 created by the inhabitants of Roman Britannia, depicting the mythical lyre player Orpheus. For more information, you can consult the website

There are also a couple of old Roman villas and other Roman artefacts in the Cirencester area that you can visit, although unfortunately, no trace remains of the Roman Forum and basilica.

 

cirencester

Historic buildings in Cirencester

Later the Anglo-Saxons took possession of the town until the arrival of the Normans in 1100.

The Middle Ages were a good period for Cirencester, which became an important centre for the trade-in wool and textiles. In that period, it was built a large abbey, which Henry VIII  later had destroyed. Now you can only see some ruins. The beautiful Gothic-style church still remains.

Cirencester continued to thrive as a stopping place for carriages and travellers and later connected to the rest of the country by canals it continued to see a continuous passage of goods and people.

Cirencester is home to the oldest agricultural university in all English-speaking countries and the oldest Baptist church in the UK. You can also visit the vast park with the rental property of the Bathurst family, an old noble family of counts. You can visit the park for free (although now they intend to introduce a fee for non-residents) and see the tallest hedges in the UK.

This small Gloucestershire town is located not far from the River Thames, but it is not the only river in the area, in fact, it is crossed by the River Churn which is a tributary of the river that passes by London.

Now if you want to go there for tourism it has the advantage of not being full of tourists like some nearby places, despite having a nice centre, medieval and Victorian situation. For some strange reason, it still hasn’t been discovered by mass tourism.

Cirencester has so many interesting and unique shops and getting on purchasing here is a real pleasure. Only exploring the narrow streets of the centre with the many small shops can make you spend hours.

The courtyards with their individual style and the numerous historic streets radiating from the city centre. Cirencester is renowned for its very special shops, individual stores, charming antique shops and artisan shops, as well as national chain stores. Try to get off the main streets and explore the old historic streets, don’t miss The Woolmarket located off Dyer Road and Secure Lawn, accessed via the delightful Black Jack Road. You can also discover some hidden coffee shops or tearooms.

How to get to Cirencester?

National Express has frequent and cheap bus services from London and other cities in England. It is advisable to stay there at least 3 days to be able to explore the Cotswolds area a little.

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