Blenheim Palace - Birthplace of Churchill

Forty minutes from Kingston Blount, in the town of Woodstock, is the magnificent home of the Marlborough family. Built in 1704, the Palace towers imposingly over 2,100 acres of land, including water terraces, Italian and rose gardens, rolling parkland landscaped by Capability Brown, and the largest symbolic hedge maze in the world.

Take the opportunity to visit the Churchill exhibition in the Palace. Winston Churchill was born here in 1874 and many of his letters and personal effects are displayed in the simple room where he was born.

There is enough at Blenheim to occupy a whole day: row a boat on Blenheim Lake, visit the butterfly house, model village and lavender garden, or feed your shopping habit at one of the shops in the Old Palace Dairy.  You could also visit Churchill's grave in nearby Bladon village.

WINDSOR CASTLE is the largest inhabited stronghold in the world and England's largest castle. Try exploring www.windsor-tourism.co.uk for a guide to Royal Windsor or for more on the royals try www.royal.gov.uk

WARWICK CASTLE stands on the banks of the river Avon just a few miles from Shakespeare's Stratford.  First fortified by William the Conqueror in 1068 AD, the finest mediaeval castle in England has survived centuries of wars, intrigue and plotting. Visit the Ghost Tower, the Dungeon, the Torture Chamber and the Armoury to get a flavour of England’s darker moments. Then, for a gentler experience wander round the Capability Brown gardens, beautiful at any time of year, but especially lovely in the autumn.  Visit www.warwick-castle.co.uk for more information.

HAMPTON COURT PALACE was one of Henry VIII's residences sitting serenely on the bank of the Thames for over 500 years.  There are 6 acres of magnificent buildings to explore as well as 60 acres of beautiful gardens and the world famous maze.  For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk

CLIVEDEN, Taplow, Maidenhead, Berkshire

This spectacular estate overlooking the River Thames has a series of gardens, each with its own character, featuring roses, topiary, statuary, water gardens, a formal parterre, informal vistas, woodland and riverside walks. The present house, the third on the site, was built by Charles Barry for the Duke of Sutherland in 1851. Once the home of Nancy, Lady Astor, it was made famous by the Profumo scandal of the early sixties involving Lord Profumo, Mandy Rice-Davis and Christine Keeler.

WADDESDON MANOR, Waddesdon, nr Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

This Renaissance-style chateau is set within a magnificent garden and was created by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the 1870s for his house parties. The unique collection of French 18th-century objects includes gold boxes, buttons, cabinets, carpetsand two complete Sèvres services. There are major English portraits, as well as paintings from Guardi to Bakst. The new Drawings Rooms show designs from Paris. The landscaped gardens are famous for their fine views, specimen trees, rococo revival aviary and parterre with striking displays of seasonal bulbs and carpet bedding. The wine cellars contain thousands of bottles of vintage Rothschild wines. Since 1996 Waddesdon has won many awards for its immaculate restoration and its visitor services.

STOWE GARDENS, Buckingham, Buckinghamshire

An epic landscape garden, one of the supreme creations of the Georgian era and a miraculous survival. Adorned with buildings by Vanbrugh, Gibbs and Kent, including arches, temples, a Palladian bridge and other monuments, the sheer scale of the garden must make it Britain’s largest work of art. The House (not National Trust) is occupied by Stowe School.  The grounds include the Rotunda, Dido’s Cave and deer park.

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Hughenden Valley, High Wycombe

The home of Victorian prime minister and statesman Benjamin Disraeli from 1848 until his death in 1881. Most of his furniture, books and pictures remain in this, his private retreat from the rigours of parliamentary life in London. There are beautiful walks through the surrounding park and woodland, and the garden is a re-creation of the colourful design of his wife, Mary Anne.

WEST WYCOMBE PARK, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

A perfectly preserved rococo landscape garden, created in the mid 18th century by Sir Francis Dashwood, founder of the Dilettanti Society and the Hellfire Club. The house is among the most theatrical and Italianate in England, its façades formed as classical temples. The interior has Palmyrene ceilings and decoration, with pictures, furniture and sculpture dating from the time of Sir Francis.  The West Wycombe Caves and adjacent café 

WEST WYCOMBE VILLAGE & HILL, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

This Chilterns village comprises buildings spanning several hundred years, with particularly fine examples from the 16th to 18th centuries. The hill, with its fine views, is surmounted by an Iron Age hill-fort and is part of the original landscape design of West Wycombe Park. It is now the site of a church and the Dashwood Mausoleum.

LONG CRENDON COURTHOUSE, Long Crendon, nr Thame

A 15th-century two-storeyed building, partly half-timbered and probably first used as a wool store. The manorial courts were held here from the reign of Henry V until Victorian times.

GREYS COURT, Rotherfield Greys, Henley-on-Thames

A picturesque and intriguing house, originally 14th-century but much added to later, with a beautiful courtyard and one surviving tower dating from 1347. The house has an interesting history and was involved in Jacobean court intrigue. Inside, the intimate rooms contain some outstanding 18th-century plasterwork. The outbuildings include a Tudor wheelhouse, beautiful walled gardens full of old-fashioned roses and wisteria, and an ornamental vegetable garden.

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON - Shakespeare's birthplace

Stratford is not only home to the world’s most famous theatre troupe, the Royal Shakespeare Company, but a most attractive town, situated on the River Avon, with black and white Tudor buildings and a busy shopping centre.

THE SWAN ANTIQUES CENTRE & RESTAURANT, Tetsworth, Nr Thame, Oxfordshire

Forty rooms of fine antiques display the stock of over 80 traders.  As well as offering furniture, silver, mirrors and ceramics, we have specialists in glass, jewellery, carpets, sporting goods and clocks.

Outside our outdoor and garden antiques will inspire the landscaper or gardener alike.  Theresa Clark, your B&B host, designed and landscaped the gardens in 1995.  For further information try exploring www.theswan.co.uk

Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons, Great Milton, nr Oxford 

Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons opened in 1984 and has achieved the highest awards and accolades of any restaurant in Great Britain and is regarded as one of the very best in Europe.  Raymond Blanc is today acknowledged as one of the finest chefs in the world. The fifteenth-century manor house sits impressively in its landscaped gardens. Eat here and sample fresh vegetables and fruit picked from the vegetable garden.  For more information try www.manoir.com/le-manoir-aux-quat-saisons/

The Oxfordshire Golf Club, THAME, Oxfordshire 

A combination of mounded fairways and lakes offers American-style target golf and the pitch and run style more common to Europe. 18 holes, 6856 yards. S.S.S. 75. Practice driving range.

Bicester Village, Bicester, Oxfordshire

While you are staying with us, what better opportunity to visit Bicester Village, just 30 minutes north of us off the M40, for a morning or an afternoon's retail therapy in top designer outlets.  You'll find 60 shops, many belonging to famous brands from Bond Street and Knightsbridge, offering previous seasons and end-of-line merchandise reduced by up to 60%.  

The Oxford Story, Broad Street, Oxford

Visit The Oxford Story, the exhibition in Broad Street, Oxford. Designed by the makers of York’s Jorvik Viking Centre, it is a similarly exciting ride, this time through Oxford’s history. In fact it is the longest indoor ride in Europe.

English Heritage picnic concerts at Kenwood House and Audley End, London

Enjoy a perfect summer’s evening at Kenwood’s or Audley's English Heritage picnic concerts 1 July through 26 August. For further details telephone visit www.picnicconcerts.com.

Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, Silverstone, Northamptonshire

Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit is the home of British Motor Racing.  As well as the British Grand Prix, many other races take place during the year.  Choose a 'Drive your Dreams' activity which covers 43 exciting and different hands-on events including Formula First single seater racing cars, Lotus Elises, E-Type Jaguars, 4x4s, road skills, rallying, and several masterclasses give one-to-one tuition.  Visit www.silverstone-circuit.co.uk for more information.

The Crown Inn, Sydenham Road, Sydenham, Oxon

The Crown Inn is a 16th century traditional farming village ale house serving scrumptious lunches and suppers. The pub is a low beamed black & white Olde Worlde Oxfordshire pub.  It lies in the quiet hamlet of Sydenham, nestling beneath the rolling Chiltern Hills. Sydenham consists of the pub, St. Mary's Church, a few farms and cottages.  Visit www.thecrowninn.biz for more information. This is a short drive away and early reservations are necessary