Blenheim Palace Summary
- Address: Woodstock, OX20 1PP (Map)
- Tel: +44 (0)800 849 6500
- Fax: +44 (0)1993 810570
- Owner: The Duke of Marlborough
- Administrator: Head of Operations
- E-mail: Click here to contact
- Website: Go to the Blenheim Palace website
Blenheim Palace Description
Blenheim Palace is a world heritage site, home of the 11th Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, Britain's most famous 20th Century Prime Minister.
Set in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace is considered to be one of the finest baroque houses in the country. It was a gift from Queen Anne and a grateful nation to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, in recognition of his famous victory over the French at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. It is now the home of the 11th Duke of Marlborough and is lived in and cared for by the family for whom it was built. Inside the Palace can be found a superb collection of tapestries, paintings, porcelain and furniture in the magnificent State Rooms.
Sir Winston Churchill was born in the Palace in 1874 and a permanent exhibition about him is located next to his birth room - both are included in the Palace tour. Sir Winston loved Blenheim and, as a member of the family, was a frequent visitor during his long life. He is buried in a simple grave in the nearby church at Bladon. A separate exhibition, 'Churchills' Destiny - the story of two great war leaders', celebrates the achievements of Winston and his great hero and ancestor, John Churchill.
A state-of-the-art visitor experience open in the heart of the Palace called 'Blenheim Palace: the Untold Story', is a new separate tour of the Palace. Dramatic moments from the last 300 years of history at Blenheim are brought to life through animatronic figures and innovative film and projection technology, seen through the eyes of the servants.
Surrounding the Palace are over 2000 acres of beautiful 'Capability' Brown parkland, lakes, fountains and formal gardens including the recently restored 'Secret Garden', the Italian Garden, the Water Terraces, Rose Garden and Grand Cascade. A miniature train, a great favourite with all ages, connects the Palace to the Pleasure Gardens where a range of fun activities for children are located including the Marlborough Maze, the Butterfly House, the Lavender Garden, Adventure Playground and Blenheim Bygones exhibition.
A full spectrum of events is hosted within the Palace and grounds throughout the year. These include International Horse Trials, Jousting, Craft Fairs, the Blenheim Triathlon and a whole host of other changeable events, some of which focus on the family and children during the school holidays. For more information visit their Website.
The House - Some Principal Rooms
The Great Hall
Probably the most striking feature of the Great Hall is the ceiling, painted in 1716 by Sir James Thornhill. It shows Marlborough victorious, with the battle order at Blenheim spread for view. The long, vaulted corridors running to the wings from the north and south sides of the Great Hall are typical of Vanbrugh, as is the staircase, concealed by the arcaded eastern wall. The complicated lock for the hall door was copied from a lock found on the gates of Warsaw. With it goes a huge coroneted key.
The state dining-room, now used by the family only once a year, on Christmas Day. The table is laid with a Minton service with silver gilt. The silver centrepiece, standing on a separate table, shows Marlborough, still on horseback after his victory at the Battle of Blenheim. The murals and painted ceiling are the work of Louis Laguerre (1663 - 1721) - his charge for the work - £500. With marble doorcases by Grinling Gibbons, the overdoors are emblazoned with the two-headed Eagle crest of the Duke of Marlborough as a Prince of the Roman Empire.
The Long Library
Originally designed as a picture gallery, this 55 metre long room displays some of the finest stucco ceiling decoration within the Palace. With full length portraits of Queen Anne, King William III and the 1st Duke of Marlborough, probably the most striking feature of this room is the magnificent Willis organ at the north end. Two magnificent marble sculptures of Marlborough and Queen Anne are also housed here.
The Formal Gardens
The Formal Gardens of Blenheim Palace owe much to the 9th Duke of Marlborough who, in the 1920’s, with the help of the French landscape architect Achille Duchêne, redesigned the previously uninspiring gardens to provide the Palace with the formal majestic setting that visitors see today.
From the magnificent Water Terraces, designed around the Bernini river-gods’ fountain, to the beautiful Italian Garden centering on the Mermaid Fountain designed by Waldo Story, the formal gardens of Blenheim provide a sumptuous setting, reminiscent of the grand chateaux of France and Italy. The beautiful Secret Garden, recently reopened after growing wild for over 30 years, is a secluded area where winding paths lead to soothing water features, bridges, ponds and streams as well as a myriad of original features.
Opening times & admission prices 2013
Blenheim Palace, Park and Gardens are open from Saturday 9th February until Friday 13th
December 2013. The Palace and Formal Gardens are open daily until 3rd November then,
from November 6th to December 13th, they open from Wednesday to Sunday. The Park is
open all year round except Christmas Day. The Formal Gardens are open from 10.00am, the
Palace from 10.30am and they close at 5.30pm (last entry at 4.45pm) – all areas to be vacated
by 6pm. The Park is open from 9.00am until 6pm (or dusk) and the Visitor Centre (including
shop and Oxfordshire Pantry) open from 9.30am until 6pm. The Park needs to be vacated by
‘Palace, Park & Gardens’ tickets allow access to Blenheim Palace to include guided tours
of the State Rooms (except on Sundays and Bank Holidays as well as very busy days, when a
free flow system will be in operation with information boards in each room and guides
stationed throughout the Palace), the permanent visitor experience ‘Blenheim
Palace: The Untold Story’ bringing to life dramatic events of the family and servants over
the last 300 years, the Churchill Exhibition giving a fascinating insight into the life of Sir
Winston Churchill, and entertainment (except when separate admission prices may be
‘Park and Gardens’ tickets do not include Palace entry. Both tickets include access to two
thousand acres of stunning parkland, the Formal Gardens, free train rides on the miniature
train to enjoy all attractions at the Pleasure Gardens including the Marlborough Maze,
Adventure Play Area, the Butterfly House (closed from end of October) the Lavender
Garden, and ‘Blenheim Bygones’ exhibition. Tickets will also include entrance to the
popular exhibition ‘Churchills’ Destiny’ -The story of two great war leaders’.
BUY ONE DAY, GET 12 MONTHS FREE!
Blenheim Palace is offering an amazing annual pass ticket deal in 2013. When you buy a
single day ticket to the Palace, Park and Gardens you will be able to convert it into an annual
pass offering you unlimited entry for 12 months from the day of purchase. Terms and
conditions apply. For full details visit www.blenheimpalace.com or call 0800 849 6500 (24
hour recorded information)
Overall Dates •
Saturday 9 February to Friday 13 December 2013
Saturday 9 February to Sunday 3 November 2013 Palace open daily
Wednesday 6 November to Friday 13 December 2013 Palace open
Wednesday to Sunday
Opening Hours •
Palace & Formal Gardens open daily, Gardens open from 10:00am,
Palace from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm (last admission 4.45pm) with areas
to be vacated by 6:00 pm
Your Reviews of Blenheim Palace
Helena M.Chover (27 January 2008)
The gardens of this palace were laid out by Capability Brown, the most famous of all England landscape gardeners, and a man not to be gainsaid even by royalty. The palace was wonderful and the gardens magnificent.
Luis Arnandis Puig (11 March 2004)
I visited your house in January; it is very historic and well conserved. I also visited the church and monuments. Is my favourite house and gardens wonderful. Return in August, my wife and children are with me.
Additional Info for Blenheim Palace
- Disabled Access
- Meals Available
- Live Entertainment
- Car Parking
- Historic Houses Association
Credit Cards Accepted
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