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(This post about visiting Blenheim Palace was updated in July 2019)
Blenheim Palace, located a few miles north of Oxford, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Winston Churchill. This historic stately home is also home to Charles James Spencer-Churchill who is the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family.
The palace was commissioned by Queen Anne as a gift to the 1st Duke. Built in the Baroque style and designed rather controversially at the time by the architect Sir John Vanbrugh (Sir Christopher Wren was the preferred option of the Duke’s wife) it took 17 years to build. It was finally completed in 1722.
As I mentioned Blenheim is possibly famous primarily as the birthplace of Winston Churchill. It is also where he proposed to Clementine who was to become his wife for 56 years until his death in 1965.
There are lots of things to do and see at Blenheim throughout the year. If you are wondering when is the best time to visit Blenheim Palace I would say it is a great destination whatever the season. Blenheim is famous for it’s beautiful grounds including the Marlborough Maze and Butterfly House. These are best visited during the warmer summer months though when you may even catch a game of cricket being played in the grounds around the palace.
Blenheim Palace has also been used as a filming location for popular movies such as Harry Potter, James Bond – Spectre and Indiana Jones. Fans of period dramas such as Downton Abbey will also enjoy this stately home which along with others such as Chatsworth House and Highclere Castle represent an era of privilege and upstairs-downstairs divisions between the gentry and their servants.
If you are planning a visit to Blenheim this article will give you an idea of what to expect and also some hints and tips to ensure you make the most of your visit.
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WHERE IS BLENHEIM PALACE AND HOW DO I GET THERE?
Where is Blenheim Palace located in England?
Blenheim Palace is situated in Woodstock in Oxfordshire, England approximately 60 miles north-west of London. It is 8 miles north of Oxford.
How to get to Blenheim Palace from London
Blenheim Palace by train
It is also an easy day trip from London by train, bus or car. If you decide to visit by train it takes just under an hour from London Marylebone to Oxford Parkway Station. Once you have arrived catch the number 500 bus which is just a short 15 minute bus ride from Blenheim. Blenheim is encouraging visitors to use sustainable public transport options and if you show your bus ticket at the gate you will receive 30% discount on entry.
If you decide to drive to Blenheim Palace free parking is available when you arrive. It can be very busy during school holidays, weekends and public holidays.
If you prefer to take a tour there are numerous tours available to Blenheim Palace from London. May also incorporate visits to some of the beautiful villages in the Cotswolds too.
THINGS TO DO IN BLENHEIM – VISITING THE HOUSE
BLENHEIM PALACE TOURS
Explore the State Rooms which are full of priceless tapestries and paintings. I would highly recommend using the audio-guide which lasts about 40 minutes.
There are additional tours available for a small fee which includes
The ‘Blenheim Palace Upstairs’ Tour – Visit the Marlborough family’s private apartments.
The ‘Blenheim Palace Downstairs’ Tour – Find out what life was like for the servants at Blenheim Palace.
Formal Gardens Walking Tour – Learn how the gardens have developed and changed over the last 300 years.
THE CHURCHILL EXHIBITION
Take a stroll through the Churchill Exhibition which celebrates his life. In fact you even see in the room in which Sir Winston Churchill was born.There is also a memorial garden to see once you are in the park and don’t miss the Temple of Diana where he proposed to his wife Clementine.
VISITING THE PALACE PARK AND GARDENS
While truthfully we weren’t overwhelmed by the house we absolutely loved the park and gardens. We visited on a perfectly beautiful English summer’s day and it was fantastic. The gardens are beautiful and there was so much to see and do that I would recommend planning at least 2-3 hours to explore Blenheim Palace.
BLENHEIM PALACE PLEASURE GARDENS
For 50p each (single journey) you can take the miniature Blenheim Palace train from the house entrance to the family-friendly Pleasure Gardens. Make sure you have some coins with you to pay for the train.
BLENHEIM BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Don’t miss the Blenheim Palace butterfly house where you can see butterfly species from all over the world. There are also lots of little zebra finches enjoying the tropical climate of the butterfly house.
I am going to admit it but the Blenheim Palace Maze was the first maze I had ever been in. It is two miles in length and consists of hundreds of yew trees. When you eventually find your way into the middle you will find a statue of Cupid.
Use the lookouts to help you get your bearings especially when you are trying to find your way out.
BLENHEIM PALACE GARDENS AND PARK
When visiting Blenheim Palace in summer a walk through the gardens and parklands is a must. Created by Capability Brown over 11 years Blenheim Palace grounds and parklands are quintessentially English and simply stunning.
ESSENTIAL INFORMATION WHEN PLANNING A VISIT TO BLENHEIM PALACE
BLENHEIM PALACE ADMISSION PRICES
If you are planning to visit the house, park and gardens and choose to donate the cost of your entry to the Blenheim Palace Heritage Foundation Charity you benefit from a free Blenheim Palace annual pass. Definitely worth it and you are also helping preserve the house and grounds for future generations. If you choose not to visit the house but purely the park and gardens the entry fee is cheaper but can’t be converted into an annual pass.
Blenheim Palace entrance fee:
Palace, Park and Gardens – £27 (Adults) £16 (Children)
Park and Gardens – £17 (Adults) £7.60 (Children)
Blenheim Palace opening hours – see the official website for more information.
*Prices correct July 2019
** Note – this ticket cannot be converted to an annual pass
TIPS FOR VISITING BLENHEIM PALACE
- Take some small change for the train as they accept cash only.
- Food and drink – there are lots of places to buy food/drink at Blenheim Palace but we found it quite pricy. I recommend taking your own drinks and a picnic.
- Events at Blenheim Palace – If you are an annual pass holder check out some of the annual events that take place at Blenheim. These include the spectacular illuminated trail through the gardens during the festive season and entertainment displays and workshops for all the family in the summer. Christmas at Blenheim Palace is certainly on my bucket list!
- Blenheim Palace World Heritage Site. Blenheim Palace as declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 for outstanding universal value.
ENJOY YOUR VISIT TO BLENHEIM PALACE
Do you plan to visit Blenheim Palace or have you been? If you have any questions or comments about visiting Blenheim or anywhere else in the UK you can contact me below.
FURTHER INFORMATION FOR VISITING ENGLAND
I have lots of great posts all about travel in England to help you plan your visit including tips, itineraries and more. Subscribe below to ensure you don’t miss any new posts and get exclusive free access to my resource library.
- If you are visiting England for the first time you won’t want to miss my top 15 tips for first-time visitors.
- For food lovers check out my top 20 traditional English dishes to try when you visit.
- For book lovers my best books about England has some great suggestions you may enjoy before your visit.
- If you have an interest in UNESCO World Heritage Sites I have a number of posts offering tips and advice for visiting some of the best known places including Stonehenge, the Lake District, Kew Gardens and Ironbridge Gorge.
- Travelers to the North-East can find lots of information about the Northumberland Coastal Route (a great road trip), the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, the best castles to visit in Northumberland as well as things to do in this beautiful county.
- Official site from the English tourist board – Visit England
- Inspired to visit the beautiful Yorkshire Dales the setting for Wuthering Heights? Visit Yorkshire
- To visit some of the beautiful stately homes in England – the National Trust website is a great source of information
PIN FOR LATER! VISITING BLENHEIM PALACE A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
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Over the last 50 years I have lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to many more. I enjoy exploring and learning about new places and meeting people on my travels. History, reading, photography, nature and wildlife are my interests and I am ALWAYS researching and planning my next trip (preferably by train)
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