There’s nothing lovelier, in the run-up to Christmas, than going to fetch the Christmas tree or visiting a Christmas market. But if you want an extra special treat, why not book a trip to Blenheim Palace Christmas Lights trail.
We went for the first time in December 2020. It was the first time we’d been out of our village as a family of 4 in months, since well before the first lockdown. And we were so excited to go and experience a Christmas event together finally.
It definitely didn’t disappoint.
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Blenheim Palace is one of the largest (and arguably one of the most impressive) country houses in England.
Nestled in the beautiful Cotswolds village of Woodstock, Oxfordshire — covering 12,000 acres — Blenheim boasts the title of ‘UNESCO world heritage site.’
One time home to the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and — more famously — the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.
It is steeped in years of history and is the most beautiful place to visit. We’d been many times before, for summer days out and picnics.
But the first time we went to the illuminated light trail, felt very magical indeed. It’s touted as being one of the best Christmas lights trails in the UK, and it’s easy to see why.
The Lights Trail at Blenheim
The lights trail begins at the palace itself and winds its way through the grounds of the Blenheim estate.
There are so many things to look at, and it’s not just a feast for the eyes but for all the senses. The light displays are set to Christmas music, and it’s really, really magical.
There was a little market before the trail started; wooden chalets, decked with Christmas decorations, selling light balloons and all sorts of food and beverages.
We stopped and got a mulled wine for Mr D, two hot chocolates for the boys; and a boozy, Bailey’s hot chocolate for me.
Very, very delicious and a good way of warming my hands up as it was a very, very cold night!
As you walk around, the trees are lit up, and there are so many amazing installations to look at, set to seasonal sounds.
It really is breathtaking.
The Lowdown About Blenheim Palace Christmas Events
Sleeping Beauty in The Palace
As well as the after-dark light trail, there is also a magical installation in the Palace rooms.
In previous years, it has been Alice in Wonderland and the Story of The Nutcracker. But this year, it is the turn of Sleeping Beauty.
Perfect if you’d like to immerse yourself in a sensory experience, as you find yourself right in the middle of a much-loved classic fairytale.
The Christmas Market
Make a start on your Christmas shopping and head to the Christmas Market in the Great Court, where you’ll find Christmas gifts galore. Everything from ceramics, textiles, homeware, and jewellery (to name a few) — not to mention gorgeous treats for gastronomes!
Christmas Afternoon Tea
Or treat yourself to Christmas afternoon tea. You can add this to the Christmas lights trail for an extra special experience if you’re feeling fancy!
What do the tickets to the Christmas Lights Trail Cost?
The tickets for Blenheim Palace Christmas Events are on the expensive side.
A family ticket (2 adults and 2 kids) for the illuminated trail is £89 this year (£85 for annual pass holders). Plus £10 parking fee for one vehicle. So a minimum of £95 for a family of 4.
So it’s not cheap.
But — in my humble opinion — it’s well worth the expense.
If you want a lovely couple of hours of distraction from life in general — and fancy immersing yourself in a magical wonderland — Blenheim Palace Christmas tickets are worth the money.
Parking at Blenheim
There is absolutely stacks of parking. We were directed onto a huge field — where wardens were ushering everyone in.
As I mentioned above, the parking ticket (for one vehicle) is separate from the cost of your tickets to the Christmas Lights Trail. If you’re going in a group, you’ll need to book extra tickets for each car you’re taking.
Also, a word to the wise: the car park is a little way from the main event (and grassy underfoot). Wear wellies — or appropriate footwear!
How Long Does The Blenheim Lights Trail Take
The illuminated trail at Blenheim takes between an hour and two hours. Probably an hour if you’re speed walking and not taking any pictures (although why you’d do that, I’m really not sure!).
But if you want to savour each moment — or are walking with children (or older people) — and stopping to take in all the beautiful sights, it’s definitely worth allocating yourself a couple of hours. As there’s a fair bit of walking, if you have very small children, it may be wise to take a buggy or a pram, as little legs can get quite tired after a while.
The boys were 7 when we visited the Blenheim Palace Christmas lights and although there was a fair bit of walking involved, it was gentle and meandering.
One thing I would say, though is wrap up warm!
It was mid-December when we went, and very, very cold.
Even with plenty of layers, the winter chill started biting, thankfully as we reached the end of the Christmas light trail.
Food & Drink at The Blenheim Palace Christmas Lights
There were lots of little food and drink huts as we walked round.
I was really pleased — as it had been a bit of a rush to get there and the kids hadn’t had any tea! We bought hotdogs; and ate them as we were going round.
Granted, it wasn’t cordon bleu cooking but it was perfect.
There is a lot of chat (mostly negative) on Trip Advisor about the cost of food and drink at the Blenheim Lights Trail. But given the year we had just had, when we went, I really didn’t begrudge spending six quid on a mulled wine.
Granted, the whole thing was pricey (even to go to), but if you’re looking for a ‘treat’ for the family — and I reiterate the word ‘treat’.
It’s really, really worth the splurge.
The Perfect Wintery Treat
We had a glimpse of Father Christmas waving at the end of the Christmas Lights trail, although my boys were definitely not convinced by him.
Perhaps if they’d been younger, he might have passed their critical appraisal. But after seeing the ‘real’ Santa at Lapland UK, it takes a lot to convince them! Our day out there was so memorable, and meeting the ‘real’ man in red is something that the boys haven’t forgotten.
But this wasn’t about Santa.
I think Blenheim Palace Christmas tickets are really worth the expense. It gave us all a lovely night out.
It was the perfect way to spend a wintery Friday night with the kids and a fantastic beginning to the Christmas festivities that followed.
The music, the lights, and the beautiful setting were exactly what the four of us needed after such a harrowing year.
Seeing all the trees lit up — and the gorgeous lights snaking through the parkland — was such an antidote to the greyness and mundanity of lockdown.
If you’re looking for a family treat — and the perfect way to add a bit of colour and sparkle to your life —this winter, I highly recommend Blenheim Palace Christmas lights.
I took so much film footage and made a little film of our evening to go with this blog post. It’s only 3 minutes long, but it gives a real sense of the magic and wonder.
PS — this isn’t an ad! I just wanted to share what an amazing time we had.
If you’d like to book Blenheim Palace lights, visit See Tickets — Christmas At Blenheim Palace for more details.
Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.