Living in Oxfordshire means that Blenheim Palace is close by and we’ve always loved visiting there. When G was little we would go there for a day out and she loved it. In fact, she loved it so much we had her wedding reception in the Orangery at Blenheim.
When the grandchildren came along we started taking them along to Blenheim for days out as well. The adventure playground is great for kids and they also just loving running around in the wide-open spaces.
The Palace is gorgeous, but the surrounding Parkland is stunning. Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown the master landscaper constructed the Great Lake and planted thousands of trees in his ten-years at Blenheim and you just have to explore it to really appreciate it.
History of Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace was built in the early 18th Century to celebrate a magnificent victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession.
It was specifically built as a gift to the 1st Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, the military commander who led the Allied forces in the Battle of Blenheim on 13th August 1704. Following the battle, Marlborough himself received the surrender from Marshal Tallard, leader of the French forces, following the battle.
To honour the Duke’s heroic victories, Queen Anne granted him the ruined Royal Manor of Woodstock, along with £240,000 with which to build a house to commemorate his achievements.
World Heritage Site
Blenheim Palace is a World Heritage site. A World Heritage Site is a cultural or natural landmark that has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). These sites are deemed worthy of preservation due to their universal value to humanity, both in the present and for future generations.
I definitely think that Blenheim is worthy of preservation for future generations, I’d love to think that my great great grandchildren, if I have any, are able to visit it one day. And, this puts it alongside other unique and diverse World Heritage Sites such as the wilds of East Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America.
5 Things to do with Kids at Blenheim Palace
1. Minature Railway
There’s a small railway that links the Palace to the Pleasure Gardens and the kids have always loved riding on that and it saves walking.
2. Adventure Playground
There’s a great playground near the Pleasure Gardens that has a big wooden climbing frame, slides and swings. It also has a sandpit. It isn’t huge, but the kids love playing on it, especially scrambling over the bridge.
They’ve also installed some maze mat puzzles to keep the kids occupied.
3. Marlborough Maze
The Marlborough Maze in the Pleasure Gardens is a great challenge for kids and adults to see if you can make it into the centre. The Maze is huge and is made up of 3000 yew hedges and cover 1.8 acres. It’s the World’s second largest symbolic Maze.
I must admit I always get a bit nervous when the kids dash off ahead, but I haven’t lost any of them yet. There are two wooden bridges in the middle of the Maze that give you a good vantage point to plan your way out.
4. Butterfly House
There’s a lovely butterfly house in the Pleasure Gardens which our grandsons love going in. The boys love seeing the brightly coloured tropical butterflies swooping over their heads or trying to spot them on one of the brightly coloured flowers. G has never liked flying things, so she’s never actually been inside.
5. Exploring Blenheim Palace Park and Gardens
The kids love exploring the grounds. If you head back to the Park and Palace on the miniature train you can take one of the recommended and way-marked walking trails. The grounds of Blenheim Palace are stunning, and the walks take in the prettiest parts of the estate as well as lovely formal gardens.
The boys love running around the grounds. The walk around the lake is really good and there are lots of places in the trees for them to explore.
One of our favourite walks is the:
The Lake and Cascades
A circular walk of one mile or 45 minutes over uneven terrain that takes you up to the Grand Cascades and around the Great Lake.
Starting at the Water Terraces, follow the signs for the Rose Garden, the Cascade and the Pump House.
Follow the slope above the Cascade and continue along the edge of the lake to the Boathouse, then up the slope to the bottom of the Water Terraces.
This walk takes in some difficult terrain, so walking shoes are recommended. The Dam and Cascade has a walkway and viewing area that is accessible to wheelchair users. To access this area please do not use the circular route past the Boathouse but follow and return via the Rose Garden and Temple of Diana. Dogs are not permitted on this walk as it goes through the Formal Gardens.
There are lots more walks to try, you can find them here Blenheim Palace Park and Garden Walks
Good to Know
Scooter and Bikes
Although adults aren’t allowed to cycle in the Park kids are, children’s scooters, push-bikes/balance bikes and tricycles are allowed.
There’s plenty of choice if you want to get a bite to eat or just have a coffee and piece of cake. The Pleasure Garden has its own pizza restaurant and as well as the Terrace Café in the Palace there’s also the Oxfordshire Pantry which serves fresh sandwiches, salads, homemade cakes, soft drinks and coffees, all available to eat in or take away.
You may just want to take a picnic with you as there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy it.
Daily admission to the Palace Park and Gardens is listed below. However, it’s worth noting that once you’ve bought a day ticket you can convert this free of charge into an annual pass which makes it excellent value.
Concession (Over-60s and students with valid ID.) £24.00
Child (Age 5-16. FREE for under 5s) £15.50
Family (2 Adults and 2 Children) £65.50
I hope you get time to visit Blenheim Palace as I’m sure you’ll love it as much as we do.
you can download a map of the Park here, just click on the image.