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Christmas at Blenheim Palace is a festive wonderland

Michael Edwards visits the ultimate winter wonderland in the heart of Oxfordshire.

Christmas at Blenheim Palace.

Christmas at Blenheim Palace is a cut above your local frost fayre. The grand Baroque palace is opulently decorated for a glittering Christmas and welcomes guests throughout November and December. An illuminated festive trail through Blenheim’s acres. A magical Christmas market. All choreographed to a soundtrack of seasonal favourites.

These are the ingredients that make up Blenheim’s unique festive experience. And probably the largest display of Christmas trees seen beyond Scandinavian forests …

Even in the palace’s 300 years of history, this vast Baroque style house has only recently seen such Christmas splendour. This year there are over one million twinkling festive lights, thousands of them illuminating the nave-shaped tunnel of light.

The Nuttcracker Christmas at Blenheim Palace
Blenheim’s state rooms are themed to tell the story of The Nutcracker.

From 19th November through to 3rd January, the Palace’s ground floor state rooms exquisitely tell the story of The Nutcracker backed by Tchaikovsky’s ballet score. Walking through the toymaker’s busy workshop on a frosty Christmas Eve and on into a frosty glistening land of snow, this is a tour of one of Britain’s greatest palaces with a twist. After the Kingdom of Sweets, with its giant gingerbread men and colourful candy cane, the tour concludes in the palace’s chapel where guests can write a wish and hang it on The Wishing Tree.

There is free entry to the Christmas Market, running until the 19th December, in Blenheim’s courtyard. Over 60 traders sell their wares in traditional wooden chalets, providing opportunities for Christmas shopping. There are Christmas toys, warm knitwear, jewellery, ceramics and needle ware. There is a heavy emphasis on food and drink too. Sample a Christmas pudding cheese and a toffee or strawberry vodka. Some chalets serve up winter-warmers and visitors can keep warm with hot chocolate, mulled wine or spiced cider.

Blenheim Palace Fire Garden
The Fire Garden at Blenheim Palace.

Around an hour’s stroll takes visitors along the wide gravel paths on the illuminated trail that heads across the South Lawn and into the woodland. The trail begins with tranquil views across heavenly constellations reflected in the lake. Then it winds through illuminated trees, past the lit follies of Capability Brown’s landscape and around the changing colours of an illuminated rose garden.

There are panoramic views of the grandeur of the palace across the lawns. The palace is lit by a spectacular laser show with a soundtrack of dramatic overtures. Searchlights piercing the night sky serve as a reminder of the palace’s most famous resident, Sir Winston Churchill, wartime Prime Minister, who led his country through the blitz.

Trees lit by pyrotechnic effects guide walkers onto Santa’s grotto where a jovial Father Christmas chats with children before the fire finale of a sea of flames stretching across the lake and lawns.

Christmas at Blenheim Palace is a spectacular evening for all the family, a magical celebration of the festive season, with plenty of opportunity to sample the flavours of the season around an extensive Christmas market.

Christmas at Blenheim Palace

The Story of The Nutcracker and Illuminated trail

From: 19 November 2021 – 2 January 2022.

For more information and opening times visit My Christmas Trails

Christmas Market from: 19 November – 19 December 2021

Limited capacity with timed entry, early booking advised

For full pricing and ticket information visit Blenheim Palace/Christmas

For more things to do around the UK, see out What’s On channel.

Images: The story of the Nutcracker by Culture Creative, Blenheim Palace 2021. Photo by Richard Haughton © Sony Music; Fire Garden by pa-BOOM, My Christmas Trails 2020. Photo by Richard Haughton © Sony Music

Last modified: November 25, 2021

Written by 10:37 am What's on