Editor’s note: Almanac political reporter Mary Lahammer accompanied Twin Cities PBS (TPT) viewers on a 10-day trip to England. Here, she shares two memorable experiences.

Many Americans see former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as a witty, gritty man of the people who led during a world war. He had an American mother, but was born into an aristocratic English family, a fact that’s on display at his birthplace and home, Blenheim Palace. While on tour with Twin Cities PBS viewers, we toured the ornate rooms and gardens that, to Americans, are almost reminiscent of those at the Palace of Versailles.










Churchill was prime minister from 1940 to 1945, leading England to victory in WWII. What’s especially interesting is that he was a member of the Liberal Party and later the Conservative party. His ideology was considered “economic liberal” and “imperialist,” and both his father and grandfather were members of Parliament. He descends from the Dukes of Marlborough, and his mother, Jennie Churchill, was an American heiress. All that wealth and royal history is still alive and well at his ancestral home, which was most recently in the news for a stolen golden toilet worth millions of dollars.

The scene of the theft of a golden toilet at Blenheim Palace.

The other stop of particular interest to our TPT viewers is the location of hit TV show Doc Martin in Port Isaac (the fictional town in Portwenn). The charming Cornish village opens up its doors for the crew to film, and now tourists are pouring in as well. Complete with stunning ocean vistas, cobblestone streets and dazzling English gardens, our tour group got to wander down back roads and narrow passages, and to meet the locals whose lives are forever changed by now living in a television set. Thanks to our partnership with Holiday Vacations for planning this special TPT tour that included many other stops across England for 10 days.


Need a little more armchair travel in your life? Minnesota-based artist and writer David Coggins takes great inspiration in his travels, particularly to France. Discover more in this story from MN Original.

If you’re on the hunt for adventures closer to home, then read all about five destinations in Minnesota worth a long-weekend sojourn.