I have known all about Blenheim Palace ever since I was a single digit age, my parents used to go there for an annual ball. I remember being in awe of the fact they were getting to hang out in a real-life palace! I never actually visited myself until this year, I went to see spring bloom at the palace in March, it was lovely.
Now it’s December (just about), I am fully on the hunt for cosy, Christmas interiors. I struggle with the outdoors, and anyone who lives in the UK knows that all it has done for a week straight is rain, so this Christmas it is all about the indoors for me. I find Google pretty useless sometimes, I have been searching for ‘Christmas decor English country homes’ and it never seems to tell me anything useful other than bringing up Blenheim Palace time and time again.
The palace is around 1 hour 30 minutes from me, not too bad really, so yesterday I took an impromptu trip to see what all the fuss was about. For those who have visited before, you can turn your entry ticket into an annual pass when you donate the cost of your entry to the Blenheim Palace Heritage Foundation Charity, this is great because it means you don’t have to pay £27 everytime you want to visit.
I do want to point out, however, if you are an annual ticket holder, try and get to the palace before 12pm as parking will be free, if you arrive in the afternoon, it will cost you £10. I was pretty miffed at being charged at first, simply because I arrived a little later, but once I got inside I didn’t mind at all, they have to pay for these exhibitions somehow!
On arrival, you will need to take a trip to the ticket booth, even if you are an annual pass holder, as you need to book in a time slot for the house. The time slots come around every 20 minutes and it stops the house getting overcrowded, you can enjoy the decor without a million people in your way. My time slot was 1pm, I was lucky they had availability straight away!
If you are a family with young children and you are worrying whether it will be age appropriate or enough to entertain the kids, fear not! The first courtyard had a few kiddy rides, nothing too thrilling but for a 4 or 5-year-old it would be pretty fantastic. You can watch your children ride the rides whilst the smell of freshly cooked doughnuts wafts under your nose, quite honestly my favourite thing about a funfair. Through the next courtyard if where the adults can have fun, a full-blown Christmas market! I was so impressed at the number of stalls, from Christmas decorations, to soaps, to scented smelly things (!??!), to food, to pottery, to… I will stop now, you get the idea. Blenheim Palace has quite honestly created a whole day out, and I haven’t even started on the Christmas decorations inside the house yet.
This year, Blenheim Palace have gone for a Cinderella theme, great choice in my opinion. As soon as you walk through the palace entrance you can feel in the pit of your stomach you are about to enter something beautiful. The room opens up into a bright and airy reception hall flanked by two huge Christmas trees either side of a banqueting table, all dec’d out for Christmas and with Cinderella’s mice joining the meal too. You will probably find yourself hanging out in this room for a while, not only does it take time to soak in every detail, but you will think to yourself it can’t get any better than this!
However.. it does get better. Wind your way around the right of the reception hall through a corridor lined with Christmas trees and into Cinderella’s Stepmother’s drawing room, all set up for afternoon tea.
Then it is through to the Ugly Stepsister’s dressing room, you are immediately hit by a shock of pink and purple lights, with clothes and shoes scattered around the room as the sister’s try and chose a dress for the ball. This was one of my favourite rooms, not only because it reminded me of the state of my own wardrobe, but I loved the way the tree lit up in the dark and dingy room.
Next was Cinderella’s room, a much less opulent affair with a much more simple tree, surrounded by pumpkins and broomsticks!
Next, we enter the den of the Fairy Godmother, with two roaring fires with Christmas trees either side, a huge Christmas tree in the corner, and of course the dazzling carriage that will take Cinderella to the ball.
Other rooms include the time room, a huge triangular tree embellished with clock faces, and a room filled with invitations and scrolls, once again with Cinderella’s mice running around.
The last, and possibly the most spectacular room, is Prince Charming’s Ball Room. Dimly lit and set up like a lavish wedding, the room glows through the Christmas trees and the centrepieces on each table. Walkthrough and stumble upon Cinderella’s glass slipper, decorated with winter flowers and butterflies.
As I walked out of the palace I honestly wished I could turn around and go back in. I have never seen such brilliant attention to detail, it was like another kingdom and as an adult, I can only imagine how magical it would all feel for a child.
Please note, if you are an annual holder or not, it is required you make a booking in advance to enter the house. Entering the Christmas market is free of charge, but you will need to pay for parking after 12pm. There are also night attractions, a Christmas light trail, which unfortunately I did not have time to visit. You can book your tickets here.
The Christmas even is on until 6th January, it is open until 8pm, last entry into the house is 7pm. The Christmas market closes on 16th December.
This blog post is in no way affiliated with Blenheim Palace.