- Blenheim Palace has reopened and is following UK government advice regarding COVID-19.
- This 18th-century country house in Woodstock, Oxfordshire is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Owned by and the principal home of the Dukes of Marlborough; this is the only non-royal house in England to hold the title of palace.
- Prime minister Winston Churchill, a direct descendant of the Dukes of Marlborough, was born in the palace on 30th November 1874, and lived there until 1876; he also revisited across his life and proposed to his wife there.
- Enjoy the 300 years of British history you can see in the State Rooms and priceless art collections.
- Explore the variety of gardens, wander around the pathways and take a walk in Churchill’s shoes.
- Walk around the grounds for free or pay for a ticket to snoop around inside the palace.
Blenheim Palace was built as a gesture of thanks to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, from Queen Anne after his victory at the Battle of Blenheim. You can visit The State Rooms in the palace, and enjoy the beauty of the artwork inside, as well as seeing the room Winston Churchill was born in. Due to the current closure of certain exhibitions, the palace has added new paintings and historical artefacts.
The 150 acres of gardens, situated in the 2,000 acres of parkland, also have so many places to explore, with walks ranging from 35 minutes to 2 hours. Some of these walks also include audio guides. See if you can spot the King Oak, one of the oldest trees at the Palace at around 930 years old. However, the oldest tree in Britain is also present at Blenheim, which is believed to be around 1,051 years old. The palace has even held held two celebrity marriages in recent years (JLS’ Marvin Humes’ wedding, and footballer John Terry’s wedding), and with these incredible grounds, you can understand why people would want to get married there!
The Formal Gardens have been redesigned and added to across the years by landscapers, so are a beautiful representation of changing styles. The Secret Garden can make you feel like you’re inside an entirely different world, while the majestic Water Terraces will remind you you’re still in the grounds of this majestic palace. Why not visit Kew if you feel inspired by the gardens.
The Pleasure Gardens are for your younger children, as they include an Adventure Playground which has now reopened. A miniature train can be taken from the palace to the gardens where kids can play in the fresh outdoors, and grab a slice of pizza if they’re hungry.
The Churchill Trail will help guide you around the palace, park and formal gardens as a whole, to show off Churchill’s most cherished spots around the site. The walk is seasonal, so if you have the chance to do it, we would recommend!
Blenheim Palace events are still appearing outdoors for your family to enjoy. Typically, the most famous events are the Blenheim Palace Lights Trail, which is taking place in November, as well as Christmas at Blenheim Palace, which usually includes beautiful lights and a Christmas market. However, over the summer, you can find drive-in cinemas, picnics, Wind in the Willows, photography exhibitions, and more.
What to know before you go
- Blenheim Palace is implementing new health and safety measures; there will be patrols of the site to monitor guest activity and ensure that social-distancing is being followed, one-way systems are in place, the venue is cashless and all staff will be wearing gloves. For places such as playgrounds, a cleaning regime will be occurring every 30 minutes, and extra hand sanitiser spots have been set up around the palace and gardens.
- The Blenheim Palace opening times are typically from 10.30am-4.30 pm. The Park and Gardens are open from 9.30am-6pm (or dusk, if that occurs earlier). Currently, a time slot must be booked before arrival.
- Where possible, provisions have been made for wheelchair users, and there are wheelchair and buggy access points. There are dedicated parking spots for blue badge holders. There may be some uneven ground at the park, and it is recommended buggies and wheelchairs do not go on the Lake route but instead return to the palace via the Rose Garden.
- Dogs are allowed within some of the park, but not in the Formal Gardens or round the Lake route unless they are assistance dogs.
- There are outside toilet facilities with washing and hand sanitiser stations.
- There will be outdoor pop up outlets offering snacks and ice cream alongside the other catering options.
- The East Courtyard Visitor Centre, including the Retail Shop and Oxfordshire Pantry Cafe (currently takeaway only), is open for 9.30am - 5pm. The Orangery Restaurant is open Thursday to Sunday for Lunch, Afternoon Tea, and Supper at selected times on selected dates from 12.15 pm to 8.15 pm. The Pleasure Gardens Pizza Cafe is now open.
- The Orangery Restaurant serves a variety of al-fresco meals within the beautiful Italian Garden, so is a great spot for a special occasion meal. The Oxfordshire Pantry Cafe is great for snacks and light lunches. The Pleasure Gardens Pizza Cafe serves a variety of pizzas. There are also spots where guests are able to picnic.
- The East Courtyard Shop offers souvenirs, gifts and local handmade goods, including goods made at Blenheim such as Blenheim Honey.
- There are plenty of hotels near Blenheim Palace such as Courtyard by Marriott in the heart of Oxford with views of Oxford Castle, or The Macdonald Bear Hotel in Woodstock itself, a stone’s throw from the Palace. There are plenty of things to do in Oxfordshire itself if you would prefer to spend a longer trip, like The Ashmolean Museum, the Combe Mill Working Industrial Museum & Tea Room (which used to be a part of Blenheim Palace Estate), and The Cotswolds.
- If the prime minister’s birthplace inspired you to go to the capital, why not have Afternoon Tea at Westminster Abbey?
- Blenheim Palace is around one and a half hours away from London and from Birmingham. It’s also eight miles north-west from Oxford.
- To get to Blenheim Palace by car, take the A44 Eversham Road from Oxford. The palace is signposted from junction nine of the M40. If using a sat-nav, ensure the postcode used is OX20 1UL.
- Blenheim Palace parking is free for all guests except for during certain events. Blue badge holders can find priority parking at the Flagstaff. There is further parking at the Pleasure Gardens.
- There is a Blenheim Palace Park and Ride which runs from the car parks during busy weekends, though accessible access will still be through the front of the palace.
- The closest train stations to Blenheim Palace are Oxford, Oxford Parkway and Long Hanborough. A bus journey will then be required.
- To get to Blenheim Palace by coach from London, there is a regular service from London Victoria Coach station to Gloucester Green in Oxford. A bus journey will then be required.
- To get to Blenheim Palace by bus from Oxford, there are three buses. The S3 bus from Oxford to Woodstock goes every 30 minutes from Oxford train station or Oxford’s Gloucester Green bus station to the gates. The 7 bus from Oxford train station and George street via Oxford Parkway to the gates. The Oxford Bus Company’s 500 service leaves from Oxford Parkway.
- Oxford is connected to Woodstock and Blenheim Palace via the National Cycle Network #5 route. There are bike racks available at the palace, and some sections are cyclable.
- Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.
All images © Blenheim Palace