We spent a few days in the Wiltshire countryside and I had to go to Blenheim Palace, which wasn't too far away in neighboring Oxfordshire. Yes, I've watched all twelve episodes of The First Churchills, but really I grew up with a Baroque-obsessed architect for a father. I spent weekends when I was small looking through coffee-table books bigger than I was with fantastic photographs of houses like Blenheim, Castle Howard, Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte. (Still haven't been to Castle Howard...)
Blenheim Palace is, of course, beautiful but is also fantastically well-kept. (Poor Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte were a bit shabby when I saw them in 2006.) I took a lot of photos; the best are below. We had lovely weather for our trip--right until we started to head back to the car park. The sky opened up and it started hailing. Good thing we'd already gotten in the habit of wearing our raincoats every day, no matter what.
(click to enlarge)