Blenheim Palace is located in Oxfordshire, England. The massive country house was built from 1705-1722 for the Dukes of Marlborough. John Churchill, the first duke of Marlborough, was gifted the ruined royal manor of Woodstock Palace, along with a large sum of money by Queen Anne. He was to use these gifts to build a house commemorating his achievements and success at the Battle of Blenheim. The Blenheim residence is the only non-royal, non-episcopal palace in England and is considered one of England’s largest houses. The palace is a family home, a mausoleum, and a national monument. The palace holds a grand collection of portraits, furniture, sculpture, tapestries, books, and a Willis organ in the chapel. The castle is the birthplace and ancestral home of Winston Churchill and boasts a Churchill Exhibition. The Spencer-Churchill families remain in residence at the castle for over 300 years and are responsible for many of the interior changes, as well as developing the gardens and park. The palace is linked to the gardens by a miniature railway. The property holds a grand three acre forecourt, a Column of Victory, the Temple of Diana, the Temple of Health, a boathouse, a hedge maze, and water terraces all set in 2000 plus acres of parkland surrounding the palace. The Baroque palace was saved from ruin when the 9thDuke of Marlborough married American railroad heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt in 1896. The palace was used as a convalescence hospital for soldiers during WWI. Recently, the castle served the UK state dinner for Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Trump. Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to the public. There is a visitor center, a shop, and a café on the property.
Thornbury Castle is located in Thornbury in South Gloucestershire, England. Constructed upon the site of an earlier 10thcentury manor home, Thornbury Castle was built in 1511 for Edward Stafford, the 3rdDuke of Buckingham. Built as a country home, the castle has a symmetrical entrance with octagonal towers and impressive chimney detail and brickwork. The property boasts a gatehouse, walled gardens, and a GWR Castle class 4-6-0 locomotive. The interior has a dungeon dining room, grand halls, private dining rooms, open fireplaces, and lavish bedchambers. Edward Stafford was a distant cousin of King Henry VIII. Stafford was betrayed by a disgruntled servant and accused of treason so the king had him beheaded. After his death, the king confiscated Thornbury Castle and stayed there for a ten-day honeymoon in 1535 with his queen, Anne Boleyn. The castle remained a royal property until the death of Mary I, it was then returned to the duke’s descendants. The castle fell into ruin after the English Civil War and was later renovated by the Howard family in the 1850’s. Between 1966 and 1986 the castle operated one of the United Kingdom’s top restaurants. Thornbury Castle currently serves as a 28-room luxury hotel and restaurant. The castle hotel offers spa treatments, fine dining, archery, croquet, and tennis.
Skipton Castle is located in Skipton, North Yorkshire, England. The castle was built in 1090 AD by Norman Baron, Robert de Romille in the motte and bailey design. Skipton Castle sits high upon a cliff for defense. In 1102, the castle was rebuilt from wood to stone in an effort to withstand attacks by the Scots. In 1310, the castle was granted to Robert Clifford who ordered many improvements to the castle’s fortifications. During England’s Civil War, Skipton Castle was the only Royal stronghold in northern England until 1645. A three-year siege ended in a negotiation in 1645 between Oliver Cromwell and the Royalists. Cromwell called for the removal of the castle’s roofs. After the siege, Lady Anne Clifford, who was the owner of Skipton Castle, ordered repairs to be made and she planted the yew tree in the central Tudor courtyard to commemorate the repairs. The castle boasts six drum towers, the two north towers are connected and used for domestic purposes as these towers hold the kitchen, great hall, bedchambers, privy, etc. The remaining towers are for military purposes and hold a dungeon and a watchtower. The staircase entrance was added in the 16thand 17thcenturies, which replaced the original drawbridge. The roof is now fully intact. An outer curtain wall surrounds the estate encompassing subsidiary buildings, a twin tower Norman gatehouse, a 17thcentury shell grotto, and a 12thcentury chapel. Skipton Castle is open to the public and has a tearoom, visitor shop, and picnic area.
The Royal Pavilion also known as the Brighton Pavilion is a former royal residence built in three stages, beginning in 1787, as a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales, who became the Prince Regent in 1811. It is built in the Indo-Saracenic style prevalent in India for most of the 19th century. The current appearance of the Pavilion, with its domes and minarets, is the work of architect John Nash, who extended the building starting in 1815
Charlecote Park is a grand 16th century country house, surrounded by its own deer park, on the banks of the River Avon near Wellesbourne. The Lucy family owned the land from 1247. Charlecote Park was built in 1558 by Sir Thomas Lucy. Queen Elizabeth I stayed in the room that is now the drawing room. Successive generations of the Lucy family had modified Charlecote Park. In 1823, George Hammond Lucy inherited the house and set about recreating the house in its original style. It has been administered by the National Trust since 1946 and is open to the public. It is a Grade I listed building.
Windsor Castle is a royal residence notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family and also for its architecture. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by succeeding monarchs and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. More than five hundred people live and work in Windsor Castle.
Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London, and to oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte and bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons’ War at the start of the 13th century. Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to produce an even grander set of buildings. Edward’s core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.
Dating from Anglo-Saxon England, the manor of Bramall was first described in the Domesday Book in 1086, when it was held by the Masseys. From the late 14th century it was owned by the Davenports who built the present house, and remained lords of the manor for about 500 years before selling the estate of nearly 2,000 acres in 1877 to the Manchester Freeholders’ Company, a company formed for the purpose of exploiting the estate’s potential for residential building development. The Hall and a residual park of over 50 acres was sold on by the Freeholders (though not the lordship of the manor). In 1925 it was purchased by John Henry Davies, and then, in 1935, acquired by the local government authority for the area, Hazel Grove and Bramhall Urban District Council. Following local government reorganisation in 1974, Bramall Hall is now owned by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC).