How famous is Oxford,  "City of Dreaming Spires"?   It's hard to escape that description, especially during term-time when the whole place is alive with students,  but it is only partly true.  Oxford is now a very lively town, with vibrant shops,  multiple places to eat & drink , buy books or visit,  even apart from the many Martyr's MemorialColleges which are open to the public.  What names,  & how many famous people - politicians, authors, explorers, artists, the great & the good & occasionally,  the infamous,  were educated here?  How many scenes are familiar to us all, having appeared in "Inspector Morse"  or even "Harry Potter"?

There are sinister spots too.  The Martys' Memorial commemorates the Protestant Bishops burned to death under "Bloody Mary"  & a white cross in the road marks the actual spot.  Oxford Castle has a history as a prison The Malmaison Hotelas well as a fortress - one wing is now, bizarrely, a hotel named, significantly "The Malmaison", with cells converted to suites!   (The execution cell is not let, though - it is a staff rest room!)

Oxfordshire includes the most magnificent of all Stately Homes in our area: Blenheim Palace,  donated to the first Duke of Marlborough by a grateful nation & birthplace of his kinsman, Sir Winston Churchill.  The latter's grave is nearby,  in the village churchyard of Bladon. 

Blenheim PalaceHow about a little castle which is still owned & lived in by the original family?  At Broughton,  near Banbury,  you might just be shown around by the Lord himself & who could know the site & its history better than he?  You might even recognise it - it featured in "Shakespeare in Love",  (admittedly as the  London mansion of Viola's father....)

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