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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 20 February, 2024
Expert travel writer: Annabelle Thorpe

Birthplace of Winston Churchill, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 2,000 acres of Capability Brown-designed gardens, a gargantuan palace dating back to the early 18th-century – Blenheim is almost bewilderingly rich in heritage.

This Baroque beauty was built as a gift to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, from Queen Anne and a grateful nation in thanks for his victory at the Battle of Blenheim on 13th August 1704. Passed on down through the generations, it’s now home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family.

The Palace holds spectacular collections of art, furniture and porcelain, housed in ornate, grand state rooms. Alongside, there’s a new, interactive exhibition dedicated to Winston Churchill – and you can also see the tiny room where he was born.

There are several themed tours on offer – of the Marlborough’s private apartments, of the ‘downstairs’ where the servants worked (ala Downtown Abbey), buggy tours of the formal gardens, and of the stables – offering a deeper insight into life here in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Don't miss

In the Walled Garden you’ll find the ‘Marlborough Maze’ – two miles of hundreds of yew trees to get lost in. When (if?) you find your way to the centre and out again, pop next door to the tropical Butterfly House to see butterflies from all around the world (and a few zebra finches).

Logistics

Price from: £32
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Blenheim is just outside Oxford, about a 1.5-hour drive from London, up the M40. Trains leave from London Paddington and Marylebone for Bicester, which is a short taxi ride from Blenheim (taxi rank at the station).

Pre-booking tickets is advisable but not essential. Themed tours must be booked in advance via the website.

You can download an app on site containing an audio tour, for fascinating insights into the history of the grandest rooms and must-see artefacts, told by expert historians (but don’t forget to take your own headphones).

When to do it

The Palace is open daily from mid-February until early November, then only on Wednesday to Sunday until mid-December. It closes in January.

On many Sundays during the year they hold live organ recitals on the famous on the famous Henry Willis organ. The website doesn’t show dates, so contact them for more details. There’s also a wonderfully atmospheric Christmas Market here, from mid-November through mid-December, with over 70 art and craft stalls.

Who to go with: organised tours

5

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Downton Abbey Village, Blenheim Palace and Cotswolds Day Trip from London

London

Downton Abbey Village, Blenheim Palace and Cotswolds Day Trip from London
Discover the resplendent English county of Oxfordshire, an area renowned for its rolling green hills, spectacular stately homes and quintessentially English market towns. See beautiful Blenheim Palace, where Sir Winston Churchill was born and raised, plus visit some iconic filming locations from the popular BBC TV series 'Downton Abbey'. - Explore the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill* (if you selected this option) - Enjoy a scenic drive through the Cotswolds - Visit two traditional English villages - See 'Downton Abbey' film locations

Price: £79

Min age: 0

Rating 4.22 / 5 [532 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Blenheim Palace Tour and The Cotswolds Day Trip from London

London

Blenheim Palace Tour and The Cotswolds Day Trip from London
Discover the resplendent English county of Oxfordshire, an area renowned for its rolling green hills, spectacular stately homes and quintessentially English market towns. See beautiful Blenheim Palace, where Sir Winston Churchill was born and raised, plus visit iconic filming locations from the popular BBC TV series 'Downton Abbey'.

Price: £79

Min age: 0

Rating 4.29 / 5 [325 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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The Cotswolds and Blenheim Palace

London

The Cotswolds and Blenheim Palace
Discover some of the most picturesque areas of the United Kingdom on this fantastic day trip to the English countryside. For one day, you can swap the hustle and bustle of London for the fresh air and tranquillity of the Cotswolds – what’s not to love? Step into the beautiful Blenheim Palace, catch stunning views of some of the prettiest villages within the Cotswolds and have a delicious two-course lunch at a quintessentially British pub.

Price: £142

Min age: 3

Rating 4.25 / 5 [78 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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'Downton Abbey' TV Locations and Blenheim Palace Tour from London

London

'Downton Abbey' TV Locations and Blenheim Palace Tour from London
Learn about the lives and love interests of the fictional Crawley family on a full-day 'Downton Abbey' filming location tour! Depart from London and travel to the county of Oxfordshire to explore villages such as Cogges, Bampton and Swinbrook where the British period TV drama has been filmed. In the afternoon, tour Blenheim Palace — a UNESCO site not used in the series but magnificent nonetheless — for an insight into the daily lives of upper-crust English aristocracy.

Price: £174

Min age: 0

Rating 4.46 / 5 [47 ratings]

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Blenheim Palace Guided Tour from Oxford- private tours

Oxford

Blenheim Palace Guided Tour from Oxford- private tours
Enjoy a guided tour of one of England's most famous palaces & gardens but also home to the Churchill family and Duke of Marlborough. Our tour will describe the destiny of events which led to the creation of Blenheim palace. Its creation was no easy achievement- the main architect was even refused entry to see his completed work! However, it is open today for all to enjoy its sumptuous interior and its expansive gardens, lake house and maze. Palace entry ticket worth £36 per person is included in your tour price. Guided tour duration is 90 minutes+. Upon arrival at Blenheim palace, your guide will take you on a guided tour lasting approximately 90 minutes. You will then have free time to visit other parts of the palace and gardens on your own. OPTION ALSO EXISTS TO SELECT TO ADD ON A 90 MINUTES PRIVATE WALKING TOUR OF OXFORD AT START OF THE TOUR FOR ADDITIONAL £100 FEE. DISCLAIMER: during mid November to end December, the palace has a Christmas display that may obstruct state rooms

Price: £200

Min age: 0

Rating 4.69 / 5 [13 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

3

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Oxford

Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (UK)

External view of the beautiful round building, in golden stone, with domed roof

One of Britain’s most beautiful and historic cities, graced by heartstopping architecture and home to the world’s second-oldest university.

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds, United Kingdom (UK)

Silhouettes of cottages on a misty day. Winters morning in the Cotswold village of Ebrington, Gloucestershire

One of England’s most beautiful regions – a patchwork landscape of idyllic countryside, postcard-perfect villages and cosy historic boutique hotels.

Stratford-upon-Avon

Warwickshire, United Kingdom (UK)

An overview of a public park with a large open grass area with people seated down.

Picturesque Stratford-upon-Avon combines theatre, museums and architecture to give a unique insight into Shakespeare’s life.

Round-ups

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Round-ups that include this experience

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