Some years I connect with the spirit of Christmas very easily & very early on. Other years, let’s just say, I maybe feel it around Boxing Day. It’s fair to say I’m not so keen on those years and unfortunately, this year was set to be one of them. That was until my family & I were kindly invited* to experience Christmas at Blenheim Palace.
And now? Well, call me Santa & switch my car for a sleigh, our experience at Blenheim ignited my Christmas spirit in a very jolly way! (I wasn’t intentionally rhyming there, but let’s go with it)…
What is Christmas at Blenheim Palace?
The childhood home of Sir Winston Churchill & in my opinion, one of the most impressive Palace’s this country has to offer is certainly celebrating the festive season this year.
This Christmas the Palace is offering 3 attractions: the Christmas Market, Alice in the Palace Experience & a not-to-be-missed Christmas Illuminated Lights Trail.
We started our time at Blenheim visiting Alice in the Palace…
Here a series of Palace rooms have been specially decorated to bring the tale of Alice in Wonderland to life. On entering we were handed a Tea Party Ticket, with instructions on how to follow the White Rabbit Trail. Essentially, in each room, we had to spot a white rabbit and hidden letters to work out a special word.
Every room we entered was beautifully decorated, every hallway covered with Christmas garlands, illusion mirrors and interactive elements. Each Christmas tree we passed was more desirable than the last (which definitely made me want to up my Christmas tree game this year!)
The kids enjoyed spotting the rabbits and the music playing in the background added a wonderfully mystical atmosphere. I was very enchanted. On reaching the main room, a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was waiting in all its grandeur & quirkiness. We even got the opportunity to meet Alice herself. I felt we had been transported somewhere in a very magical way.
As we left the main Palace, we were guided into a pretty chapel where an Alice in Wonderland wishing tree was prettily illuminated and provided an opportunity to leave a Christmas wish. A very sweet touch.
It was now dark, so we wrapped up warm to embark on the Illuminated Light Trail.
The Illuminated Light Trail was the absolute highlight for me when it came to Christmas at Blenheim…
On approach to the formal gardens & entrance to the lights trail, the woods were lit up & Christmas music played. Just as I thought, ‘a mulled wine would be really nice now’ we spotted a vendor selling just that! With a lovely warming cup of it in hand, we started our trail.
To leave us in no doubt as to what we were doing, we first had to walk through the tunnel of light, an impressive tunnel displaying over 100,000 pea lights. We watched Christmas animations projected onto the side of the Palace itself as more Christmas music played & filled us with cheer.
The trail was easy to navigate with different elements throughout. Large sculpted flower lights, a laser garden, some impressive neon-colour-wired-sculpture-type-thing (sorry for the description, you’ll have to trust me it was impressive) and lit up path-ways lead to lit-up bridges and more surprises, which I don’t want to spoil for you.
About halfway through you’ll reach a resting area. If you hadn’t already (or your glass was running on empty) you can get your hands on some festive drinks. My family purchased marshmallows to toast over fire pits. The kids LOVED this! It was very Christmas-sy.
The trail continues with more bright delights & multi-sensory elements as well as a little sideshow where Santa might just make an appearance (wink wink, nudge nudge).
We finished our Christmas at Blenheim experience with a wander through the Christmas Markets…
Traditional chalet-style stalls housing independent sellers. Wares on sale ranged from Christmas cards and gifting options to plump-looking sausages & truckles of cheese. The fudge stall was very tempting too! As Christmas Markets go, this was a good one.
However, the kids wouldn’t really let us leave until we stopped to let them enjoy the Victorian Carousel, Helter Skelter and mini-swing boats.
Would I recommend Christmas at Blenheim Palace?
I’ll end on the same note I started. I went in feeling like Scrooge but came out feeling more like St Nick. How’s that for Christmas Spirit awakening?
Christmas at Blenheim is an event I can’t help but feel will become a Christmas tradition for my family & I. With my kids getting to an age where a 5-minute meeting with Santa in a store has less appeal (but often for not much-less money) this experience offered so much.
The kids loved it! And the adults loved it too – not just an experience for little ones, it’s for anyone who loves Christmas and all that gets wrapped up in it. So yes, I highly recommend this experience – in particular, the Lights Trail – and I hope you too get to experience a little Christmas magic this festive season.
Good to Know:
- Although you stick to a path on the Illuminated Lights Trail, it can get muddy. Wellies or appropriate footwear are a good idea!
- Both Alice in the Palace & Illuminated Lights Trail are ticketed events with capped-capacity & set start times. It is therefore strongly recommended you pre-book your tickets. P.S. The capped-capacity is great – no over-crowding!
- The Alice in the Palace experience lasts for up-to 1-hour – you set your own pace around it. I would advise doing this before the Illuminated Lights Trail & book your time slots accordingly. It’s only a few minutes walk from the exit of the Palace experience to the gates for the Lights Trail (assuming you don’t stop to browse the market first!)
- Purchasing combined tickets for both experiences will save you on your entrance fees, plus family tickets are also available. Under 5’s enter for free.
- In my honest opinion, I would advise choosing one of the following options only when booking.
- Option A: Both experiences on a combined ticket.
- Option B: Christmas Illuminated Lights Trail only.
- Car parking is £10 per car but free before 12pm. Park & Ride is available.
- Finally, as a bit of a friendly public service announcement to all parents & those visiting with children – you’ll see a lot of impressive-looking light-up balloons around, very child-appealing – they are £15 pounds each! If you’re happy to purchase, great – otherwise maybe consider bringing some glow-sticks or glow-bracelets with you to detract attention. Or you could just make like us and use your ‘no’.
For further information visit: https://www.blenheimpalace.com/
*We were provided with complimentary press tickets to this event. This review remains my true & honest opinion of our experience.
Maintain your well-being this Christmas, read: How to have a Happier Christmas
What Christmas traditions do you have? Is there somewhere special you visit every year? Have you done a Christmas Lights trail before? If you have any questions about our Christmas at Blenheim Palace experience, please ask! I’m happy to help. Just leave a comment in the box below.