Blenheim PalaceOxford
Hensington Road
Woodstock
Oxfordshire OX20 1PX
 
 
 
 
Blenheim Palace is the magnificent English Baroque home of the 11th Duke of Marlborough.  It is near Oxford and can be easily visited from London. The Palace is unique for a couple of reasons but it is probably best known as being the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.
 
Some visitors mistakenly think that Churchill grew up in this extraordinary palace but in actual fact it was his grandparents who lived there and he was a frequent visitor.  His famous military and political ancestors certainly influenced his life. He is buried in the ancestral family plot in nearby Bladon Village churchyard.
 
From humble beginnings John Churchill (1650-1722) had worked his way up to become a politically astute, extremely successful, military campaigner.  He was honoured by being made an hereditary peer (Baron Churchill of Sandridge) and was later made Duke of Marlborough.
 
Since 1701 the War of the Spanish Succession had been raging across Europe.  On the 13th of August, 1704 John Churchill skillfully led the Allied forces into battle at Blenheim in Germany, and secured victory over the French and Bavarian forces.
 
Queen Anne's reward to the Marlboroughs
Queen Anne wanted to reward John Churchill with the highest honour she could think of, so she decided to build him a palace.  It was designed to not only honour the man but to be a monument to England’s great military prowess and the Queen’s part in bringing it about.
 
She gave a former royal manor and all its possessions at Woodstock as the site and persuaded a grateful country to pay for a grand palace to be built on it.  The palace was intended to be a monument to a great military campaigner as well as being a place to live and entertain.
 
John’s wife, Sarah, the Duchess of Marlborough wanted a comfortable country residence designed by the architect Sir Christopher Wren but John decided on an untrained architect, John Vanbrugh who was really a theatrical dramatist.
 
Vanbrugh, seizing upon this opportunity to become a famous architect, decided the flamboyant English Baroque style should be employed.  He was going to build the best house in England; even better than the current holder of the title, Castle Howard in Yorkshire.  His ideas were extravagant and not at all to the Duchess’s liking.  While her husband was away on military campaigns, Sarah’s violent arguments with Vanbrugh resulted in him resigning. The house was finished by his architectural associate, Nicholas Hawksmoor.
 
Unfortunately the feisty Sarah fell out with her patroness, Queen Anne and was dismissed from Court and John fell out of political favour.  The Royal funds stopped and the Marlboroughs had to finish the house at their own expense.
 
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The Palace
The scale of the Palace is beautifully balanced by the intricate detail and delicacy of the carvings, the hand painted ceilings and the amazing porcelain collections, tapestries and paintings displayed in each State Room.
 
Upstairs, the visitor is now treated to ‘Blenheim Palace – The Untold Story’ where technology introduces them to lesser known stories of Blenheim Palace told from the perspective of the servants and artisans who built the palace.
 
The Churchill Story
The ‘Churchill Exhibition’ is set around the room in which the famous statesman, Winston Churchill, was born.  This humble little room is a far cry from the grandeur of the State Rooms.
 
This extraordinary Baroque building displays 300 years of history in lavish surroundings and is a sumptuous feast for the senses.
 
In the Stables, 'Churchills' Destiny' tells the story of two great wartime leaders separated by 200 years.  It highlights the fascinating parallel lives of Sir Winston Churchill and his much admired ancestor the 1st Duke of Marlborough.
 
Next door, the Indoor Cinema shows films and documentaries filmed at Blenheim Palace.
 
The Grounds
The palace is set in 2100 acres (849.84 hectares) of beautiful landscaped parkland and formal gardens.  It was the 4th Duke of Marlborough who employed Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to make major changes.  Between 1760 and 1774 Brown built a dam across the River Glyme to create the cascade and huge lake.
 
Over the centuries other changes were made to the gardens but only the 5th Duke’s Rose Garden survived.  In the early 20th century it was the 9th Duke and his American millionairess wife, Conseuelo Vanderbilt, who had the greatest impact on Blenheim.
 
With the help of the French landscape architect Achille Duchêne, they created the magnificent Water Terraces.  They redesigned the east and west gardens to provide the Palace with the formal majestic setting which visitors see today.
 
A trip to Blenheim Palace would not be complete without visiting the Water Terraces, Rose Garden, Arboretum, Cascades or the Secret Garden.  For more information go to  Web:Blenheim Palace Gardens
 
Visitors may walk throughout the park and there is a footpath leading to Bladon Village Church where Sir Winston Churchill is buried.  The walk takes approximately 30 minutes.
 
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Blenheim Palace is a worthy UNESCO World Heritage Site and well worth a visit.
 
Plan Your Visit
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Child Friendly
The Duke and Duchess of Marlborough know the importance of keeping the younger members of the family happy whilst on a visit.  The free Blenheim Park Minature Railway transports visitors to the ‘Pleasure Gardens’.  Here can be enjoyed the Butterfly House, the giant Marlborough Hedge Maze, Adventure Playground and Café.
 
Opening Hours
Mid February to Mid December. Depending on time of year etc, it is best to visit the Blenheim Palace website for detailed information: Web:Blenheim Palace Opening Hours
 
Admission Prices
Visit the Palace website for up to date information.
Tip:  To avoid queues, tickets may be purchased online. Go to  Web:Blenheim Palace Ticketing
 
Disabled Facilities
Comprehensive information may be downloaded from the Palace website.  Go to Web:Blenheim Palace Accessibility
 
Facilities
Restaurants: Most tastes and budgets are catered for in a variety of venues. Visit the Palace website for comprehensive details Web:Blenheim Palace Food & Drink
 
Gift Shops: There are a number of gift shops at the palace. Visit the Palace website for comprehensive details Web:Blenheim Palace Shops
 
Contact & Further Information
We suggest that prospective visitors download a brochure – detailed and easy to carry with helpful information. Visit  Web:Blenheim Palace Brochure and download appropriate brochure.
Telephone  +44 (0)8008 496 500 (24 hour recorded information service)
Mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Getting There
Blenheim Palace is situated in Woodstock, just 8 miles (13 km) from Oxford
 
- By Road
From London:  From Junction 1 on the M25 London Ring Road, take the M40 towards Birmingham and then exit at Junction 9 onto the A34 South towards Kidlington and thence onto the A44 West towards Woodstock.
 
Follow the Blenheim Palace signposts. Blenheim is about 8 miles (13 km) North West of Oxford on the A44 – travel time about 20 minutes from Oxford and about 90 minutes from Central London.
 
- Parking
There are ample car parking spaces available. The car parks are both hard standing and grass. The main car park is approximately 10 minutes walk to the entrance to the Courtyard. It takes about 5 minutes through the courtyard to the steps to the Palace.
 
- Disabled Parking
There are dedicated disabled parking spaces close to the entrance to the Courtyard. Please ask staff on arrival and they will direct you to these spaces.
 
- By Rail
From London:  There are regular Services from London Paddington to Oxford. For timetables and bookings, Tel: +41 (0)8457 484 950 or visit Web:National Rail Enquiries
 
- By Bus
From Oxford Stagecoach service S3, From Oxford Train Station take bus route number S3 to Woodstock. The Palace is situated in Woodstock itself and from the town gate it is a 10-15 minute walk through the beautiful parkland to the Palace entrance.
 
The bus driver will stop at the closest set down point to the Blenheim Palace gates if requested.
The S3 bus service can also be accessed at Oxford’s main bus station - Gloucester Green Bus Station. For timetables, visit Stagecoach  Web:Stagecoach Bus Timetable website  
 
Churchill Museum & Cabinet War Rooms and
Chartwell
Do not miss the article on the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, London as well as the article on Chartwell in this website.
 
Google Map - Blenheim Palace