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Guild visit to Blenheim Palace

On 30 June 2021, a small group of BGTW members visited ‘Britain’s greatest palace’.

As Guild trips go it might have been only a modest step – about an hour from London – but in another sense it was a giant leap: our first since Covid struck.

There was nothing modest about the destination itself either. Blenheim, built to celebrate the first Duke of Marlborough’s victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession and financed by Queen Anne on behalf of a grateful nation, is often described as ‘Britain’s greatest palace’.

The Churchill Exhibition

Its splendours don’t disappoint: a huge Baroque masterpiece full of fabulous furniture, paintings, sculpture and furnishings set in 2,000 acres of Capability Brown landscape.

We had come though to see its two new exhibitions, our appetites whetted by a virtual visit back in May. One celebrates Winston Churchil1’s life-long connection: the 7th duke was his grandfather, the first his inspiration and the 9th one of his best friends and it was there, he said, that he took two of his most important decisions: to be born and to marry. The other exhibition celebrates the many roles of the horse there over the years.

Both new attractions are part of a £1.9m recovery programme and hopefully will draw back the crowds. The place was pretty quiet on our day there which made everything easy but obviously it was badly hit during lockdowns and badly needs to see numbers rise again.

There were ten of us who went and I’m sure we’d all agree that it was lovely to see each other in the flesh again. I also felt that it gave us some sense that a return to normality was possible and that hopefully it would be only the first of many trips.

The Tack Room

The visit was organised by Neil Taylor (MBE!) with Nikki Smith from Flamingo Marketing and Samantha Vaughan from Blenheim

Liz Gill
By: Liz Gill Journalist