Blenheim Palace – Ancestral Home of the Dukes of Marlborough and Winston Churchill:
Set in 2100 acres of beautiful parkland, Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, has been the stately home of the Dukes of Marlborough since it was built in the early 1700s. It is also well-known and the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill.
A Gift from Queen Anne
Blenheim Palace was a reward from Queen Anne to John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, for leading the defeat of the French at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. In gratitute for the military triumph, the Queen gave the Marlboroughs the Manor of Woodstock together with the promise of funds to build the house. The Duke in turn ensured that the palace was built as a monument to Queen Anne. The palace construction had its share of issues, including the Royal funds drying up and the Duke subsequently having to fund the completion of the palace at his own expense.
Blenheim Palace – a World Heritage Site
Blenheim Palace has been the home of the Churchill family for over 300 years. The present incumbent of Blenheim Palace, John George Vanderbilt Spencer-Churchill, is the 11th Duke of Marlborough. The Palace’s original design was a unique example of English Baroque architecture, however over the years various family members have made changes to the palace and gardens. Surrounded by sweeping lawns, award-winning formal gardens and the great Lake, the magnificent Palace was recognised as a World Heritage Site in 1987.
What to See and Do
For the visitor, there is much to see and do at Blenheim Palace, including regular events and activities to keep children entertained.
- Inside the palace, you can take a guided tour of the exquisite State Rooms filled with intricate carvings, amazing porcelain collections, tapestries and paintings.
- On the first floor ‘Blenheim Palace: The Untold Story’ brings to life enticing tales from the last 300 years.
- The Churchill Exhibition is set near the room where he was born. Amongst some of the interesting exhibits are several of Churchill’s lively letters, a superb collection of first day covers commemorating Sir Winston Churchill and many fascinating photographs of Britain’s greatest parliamentarian at Blenheim Palace.
- Enjoy the award-winning Formal Gardens, park walks and Pleasure Gardens
- On weekend afternoons you can enjoy the music series in the palace
It is recommended that you allow approximately one hour for the Palace Tour and Churchill Exhibition, 40 minutes for ‘Blenheim Palace: The Untold Story’, 40 minutes for the optional tour of the Private Apartments, one hour for lunch if required in the Water Terrace Café and anything from two to four hours to enjoy the extensive parkland, Formal Gardens and Pleasure Gardens. Guided tours of the State Rooms are available daily (except Sundays and Bank Holidays when a free-flow system is in place).
Winston Churchill’s grave is located in the nearby village of Bladon which is approximately a 30 minute walk, through the grounds from the Palace. It is worth a visit if you have time. To drive there, follow the signs for the exit from the Palace car park then turn right in to the Village of Bladon as you exit the park. The church is on the left hand side as you go through the village.
Getting to Blenheim Palace by public transport:
Situated in Woodstock Blenheim Palace is just 8 miles from Oxford.
- By Train – Trains to Oxford run regularly from London Paddington and Birmingham New Street. Trains to Bicester run from London Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street. There are taxi connections from Oxford to Blenheim Palace as well as from Bicester.
- By Bus – The S3 bus runs from Oxford train station to the Palace.
- By Coach – Services run directly to Oxford from London and Birmingham throughout the day.
Where to Stay
For visitors who wish to make the most of their time at Blenheim Palace, there is a range of accommodation in Woodstock. See here for the list of Woodstock hotels > . Alternatively you may prefer to be based at Oxford. Search for Oxford hotels and read Oxford hotel reviews here >
Map of Oxfordshire:
If you think of anything I left out of this post, please feel free to put that on the comment.