The weekend before Christmas I spent in Oxford, a few hours North of London, and on the Sunday bought tickets to see Blenheim Palace. The only palace in the United Kingdom that was never a military or religious residence this is the stately home of the Churchill’s and in the month of December, was completely decked out for Christmas. I was not too plussed about seeing the Christmas exhibition “Alice in the Palace” but you can not tour the space without buying this ticket, so that is what we did!
This holiday season Alice in the Palace ran from early November to January 5th. The description this seasonal motif was, “a whimsical topsy-turvy wonderland. Step between the pages of a larger than life book, down the rabbit-hole and along corridors filled with hidden surprises.” We bought tickets only a few days before which meant there were only a few left for each time slot (to control the crowds) and absolutely no parking tickets. This was not a problem as we were able to park in the nearby town of Woodstock and walk the half mile to the palace gates, it actually made for an enjoyable stroll.
Blenheim Palace is the only non-royal house in England to hold the title of palace and has more than 300 years of history. It is most famous because its as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill in 1874, however, it is currently the home of the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his Family. This make sense though as he is a direct descendent of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and Blenheim was a gift after a military battle for the same name.
After touring the palace we explored more of the grounds included the courtyards use in the James Bond move Spectre and a big tree used in the 5th Harry Potter book. And while we did not buy tickets to the Light Trail we got to see a bit of it, including a lighted arch, which you could still see the faint glow of in the afternoon light.
Currently it has three purposes; a mausoleum, national monument and a residential house. One of my favourite parts was the gardens which were actually saved and expanded as one of the Churchill’s married a Vanderbilt (as in American railroad Vanderbilt’s) . It was pretty in the Winter but I am sure it is stunning in the Summer when everything is in bloom and I definitely plan to go back! Also, there are elements of the inside I am curious to see again, for instance the these Palace State Rooms are likely stunning when not covered in neon lights and Christmas decorations. You can ready more about Blenheim Palace on the website!
Would you visit Blenheim Palace?