Blenheim Palace is located in Oxfordshire within the impressive landscape designed by 'Capability' Brown. Over 2000 acres of it!
Blenheim Palace is a World Heritage site, it's also one of the Treasure Houses of England.
Did you know that Sir Winston Churchill was born here? In fact, the house was built by a Churchill after winning the battle of Blenheim. You can find out all about the history of the house on the first-floor tour.
We visited Blenheim Palace while staying at the Camping and Caravanning Club's Oxford campsite.
Blenheim Palace is Big
If you take in all the parkland and gardens, Blenheim Palace is a big place to visit. In fact, we didn't manage to see all of it despite being there all day!
We found that there are four different groups of things to see:
- The extensive parkland
- The Pleasure Gardens
- The Formal Gardens
- The Palace
Entry tickets reflect how much of it all you want to see.
By the way, if you are taking a dog, they are only allowed in the parkland.
Arrival and Parking
Blenheim Palace has been the busiest Treasure House to get into out of all we've visited.... and we've visited a few very big Treasure Houses now.
It took us about half an hour queuing in the car to get in. This is because you pay for your tickets as you drive into Blenheim Palace, which can cause a bit of congestion.
Despite it being Winter when we visited, the grounds were full, and so were the many carparks. It's a very popular place to visit.
The Pleasure Gardens
We parked by the Pleasure Gardens and so that's where we started our visit.
The Blenheim Palace Pleasure Gardens might be one of the things you'll want to visit with kids as it contains an adventure playground, a bouncy castle (if the weather is good enough), a maze, a butterfly house, a model village, giant games, as well as a cafe and shop.
Winston & the Blenheim Railway
The Pleasure Gardens are a little way from the Palace but you can easily get to and from them by riding the narrow gauge train, pulled by 'Winston' the engine, and runs between the Palace and the Pleasure Gardens.
When we visited it was 50p per person to ride, with under 5s being free.
Alternatively, you can stroll through a bit of the grounds and past the old oak trees. You can find many that are very old, large, twisted, and even hollow. Enough to get your kid's imagination going.
The photo of the tree below almost looks like it has a body, arms, and a head!
The parkland around Blenheim Palace is massive...and pretty much all man-made with hand tools.
It is dominated by a massive lake - the largest in Oxfordshire - which is also an area of special scientific interest.
Around the shores of the lake are a few picnic spots.
We had lunch on the shores of Queen Pool opposite Elizabeth Island, which was full of many pairs of nesting herons. We've certainly never seen so many herons in one location.
There was also a healthy population of Cormorants, all bathing their wings in their distinctive style.
As for walks, there are lots of them.
Many are pushchair friendly for an easy stroll around the lakes, or you can take a more adventurous route up and down the steep banks.
You also can't miss the large Column of Victory, which you can walk up to.
If you have any Harry Potter fans, you can also see a tree that was used in one of the films (it's near Rosamund's Well on the map).
To access Blenheim Palace you'll need that option on your ticket.
As you would imagine, the palace is very grand and impressive.
After visiting many of these Treasure Houses you get to see the similar layout that's designed to impress visitors.
A difference when visiting Blenheim Palace is that they have a tour of the first floor that goes through the history of the house. However, this is not like a lot of house tours. Instead, there are animatronics and projections to bring the characters to life.
This tour takes about 35 minutes and is well worth doing to understand the history of the palace as it takes you from the time it was built through to the present day.
The Formal Gardens
The 'Formal' Gardens are accessed through the palace entrance, and your ticket will need to cover accessing these.
Although the title of Formal Gardens may bring up images of formal rows of flowers and fountains - and there are these - it also contains more of the Capability Brown landscape, including the impressive Cascades waterfall that is fed with water from the Great Lake that surrounds the Palace.
By the time we had got to the Cascades, it was already getting dark and the garden was going to close soon, so we never got to see the Italian Garden and Secret Garden in this part of Blenheim Palace.
A Great Day Out
We really enjoyed our visit to Blenheim Palace. You could quite easily spend a great day just strolling around the lake and having a picnic.
There's also the option of a return visit with the purchase of some tickets, so if you are in the area, you might just want to visit more the once.
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On The Map
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock