Christmas at Blenheim Palace – light fantastic

When Blenheim Palace first announced their Christmas at Blenheim light show, I was always champing at the bit to be able to get hold of tickets.  But then I heard the cost.  When you are a National Trust member you get to see amazing shows like the displays and installations at Waddesdon for free. So as annual pass holders it was disappointing to see how much it was going to cost.

But with it being the first year the light displays were being done, I couldn’t resist though.  I do love Christmas lights, and in a beautiful setting it was going to (hopefully) be an amazing sight.

Of course I hadn’t counted on N refusing to go.  Admittedly he had had a sore throat and cough, and with it being lights it was going to be an evening thing, but I thought he’d have loved it.  Then on the day I didn’t feel well, but with only 40 minutes before we needed to have been parked, N asked where we were having tea (I’d said we could eat out there) and that he wanted to go.  Quick call to the OH to tell him there wouldn’t be tea on the table when he came in from work, and then a rush round the house finding boots, hats, gloves and scarves, plus getting my camera out before heading off for the 30 minute journey.

Christmas lights at Blenheim Palace - Bubbablue and me

I’d booked tickets for the first 5pm slot and onsite parking, but we were lucky to arrive to find a car parking space in the first row.  I hadn’t wanted to trek N all the way across the car park and then down the drive to get there as well as having to walk around the trail.

christmas trees at the entrance to blenheim

Just the walk to the palace was exciting due to the anticipation. Not knowing what it was going to be like was great, and going in to the courtyard via the gate rather than the side entrance was intriguing. We warmed up with a hot chocolate in the cafe, then headed back outside to find the trail.

Having hot chocolates to wait for the trail

It was a tad confusing. The courtyard had the rides and the food and drink stalls.  But no signs to say where the trail was.  It was a mystery.  Then 5 minutes before we spotted other people lingering, and we asked a staff member who pointed us back out and round the outside towards the start of the trail.The walk round whetted our appetite with the snowflakes lit up on the path, and being able to see the stunning palace in lights.

snowflake floor lights

lit up christmas at blenheim

lights at blenhein at dusk

We didn’t have to queue too long to get through the ticket entrance. Even while we waited we could see the trees lit up and N’s questions started about why they were green or purple! Once through the entrance, the spectacle began, and it was beautiful.

The pictures speak for themselves.  The trail itself was probably around a mile to walk, some of the ground was a little muddy and uneven, and we did have a torch in readiness for the non-lit up areas.

lit up alcoves for christmas at blenheim

frosty elf at blenheim

flower stem lights

phoenix and the flames lights at blenheim

There were lit up trees, light structures, fire displays, meadows of changing lights, and the stunning cascades.  And not forgetting the music playing out – a mix of ballet music (the Nutcracker I recognised) and some choral, which worked brilliantly.

the blenheim cascades alight

beautiful lights on the cascades

Along the trail you could buy Christmassy drinks like mulled wine and hot chocolate, plus roasted chestnuts.  And not forgetting the stop at the cascades where you could buy huge marshmallows on sticks (no kiddy flavours there – N had the vanilla but he couldn’t eat it all because it’s was obviously quite rich) to cook over the fire pit.

blenheim light walkway

enjoying the blenheim lights

mistletoe under lit baubles

taking a rest in the light tunnel

The final part of the trail was alongside the lake, through the woodland and then up towards Father Christmas’ chalet.  N loved that he could say hello to Father Christmas and his elf.  Being one of the first around the trail meant it wasn’t busy, so they came down to the fence to speak to us, and ask us and those following to sing a christmas song with them.  Father Christmas was a more old fashioned style but that didn’t bother N.  I loved that from the last time N had been to see Father Christmas, his confidence has come on so much more that he was happy to chat. Although he was a bit put out that he couldn’t actually get to the house to have a look inside.

lit up boats on blenheim lake

parcel lihts on the lake

sign post on the light trail at blenheim

father christmas and his elf at blenheim

father christmas' house

We were lucky that the weather was dry and fairly crisp, and after walking round I’d had to strip off my scarf.  N insisted on wearing his Minions hat all the way round!

Afterwards we headed back to the courtyard to get some food.  I’d assumed the cafe would have proper food, but they only seemed to have toasties.  If N had agreed earlier in the day to go, we’d have arrived earlier in the day to make the most of our pass and then had a proper hot dinner there.  He wanted a hot dog, so we paid the £8 for a normal and a child sized sausage in a brioche roll.  Delicious, although with N’s sore throat he didn’t manage to eat all his roll.

Then it was ride time.  N really wanted to try the helter skelter. He’s never been on one before, and isn’t really a slide person – it takes him a while to get into one, and when he heard I wasn’t going to go up with him (too much to carry, I didn’t want to pay for me as well, and it looked a bit narrow for the size of my bottom!) he was put off and decided he’d go on the merry-go-round instead.  I thought he’d ask to do the carousel, but no. The kiddy merry-go-round was his choice.

lit up helter skelter

on the carousel

tractor on the carousel

We bought his token then he got to choose which vehicle to ride. Did he choose the tractor? The horse? The motorbike?  No.  He wanted to go on one of the two buses…the same one as the only other child going on the ride at the same time!  Strange child.

We were back home by 6.30 and I had to cook tea for his dad.  N then decided he was still hungry so had a very late extra dinner.

We really enjoyed the lights.  I’m a sucker for Christmas lights, so to be able to see them and Blenheim Palace all lit up in the evening was lovely.  But the cost puts me off going in future years.  Just the tickets (even with our discount) and car parking added up to £34, add to that hot dogs, hot chocolate, a marshmallow and 1 ride, and for the 2 of us it was just over £50.  It was a wonderful way to start our run of Christmas events though, and has set us up for the next lots of displays over the coming weeks.

Do you go to see any light displays near you?  What’s your favourite place to visit at Christmas?

Country Kids
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28 thoughts on “Christmas at Blenheim Palace – light fantastic

  1. This really does look like a lovely place to visit, every time I’ve driven past the signs I’ve made a mental note to visit but we’ve never actually got there #CountryKids

  2. These lights look gorgeous and it’s a perfect backdrop isn’t it. I do like going to see Christmas lights, it sets me up for Christmas too.
    Hmm, to the extra costs. It is a shame because it stops others from enjoying the fun – for two adults and two children, based on your costs, that’s £100…I understand your concern there.
    But they do look amazing and sounds like it was overall a hit.
    Hope N’s feeling better
    xx
    #CountryKids

  3. I love all the photos of the Christmas lights – it does look like there were some beautiful displays and sounds like you enjoyed your evening but I can see why the extra cost is off-putting, especially when you already have an annual pass. I love Santa’s house and the glimpse of Santa outside. Sounds like N enjoyed it all too – and hope his sore throat is now better. #countrykids

    1. The Santa’s house was lovely – we were lucky to get to chat to him because we were early. I expect as it got later it would have been busier. I do love all these type of festive events. Thanks for stoppnig by

  4. Sorry your son has been ill. Looks like you still made the most of it. I agree it is expensive. So much this year seems very expensive. It looks beautiful though at Blenheim palace. We missed our free local national trust lantern parade due to illness. Seems to be a lot of bugs going around at the moment.

  5. That looks so beautiful! I do love Christmas lights 🙂 Our local zoo does a good light display and we try to get to that each year, but we haven’t made it into Boston yet (!) so I’m hoping to manage that over the Christmas break! #countrykids

    1. Thanks Sara. It was pretty amazing. I’d never thought about zoos doing them, but I’ve heard a few people saying that. I suppose it’s a great way to get everyone to stay/go in off season.

  6. Wow that looks amazing! I don’t think there are any light displays quite that elaborate near us! Then again my boy is still too young for me to want to spend on seeing light shows, seeing as just walking down our drive after sunset seems to get him all giddy at the sight of twinkly lights and santas on rooftops 🙂 thanks for sharing! #countrykids

  7. We are thinking about going on a magic lantern trail near us. It is expensive but I think that my boys wont’t be excited about it in a few years time so we might as well make the most of it and go now. The Blenheim Palace light looks fantastic though – even more atmospheric with the music too. #countrykids

    1. That’s a good point. N already moans about going out and he’s not quite 6 yet! It’s more because the farm calls, if we could get the OH out he’d be more keen I think because he loves it once he’s there.

      I’ve not heard of any lantern events until today when there was a mention on the radio. Might have to look out for some next year.

  8. I love Christmas lights – this looks beautiful. It reminds me of Christmas at Kew which has been going for a few years and is so magical for little ones (but yes, pricey too!). Glad you both enjoyed it #countrykids

  9. Wow, that’s beautiful. Such a shame it was a pricey night out though. We’ve been to the city lights (free) and the local National Trust ones (which were included in our membership) and they certainly got the festive season started in style for us! #countrykids

  10. We recently revisited Blenheim & were very disappointed with the ‘art installation’ which for us spoilt all the rooms it was exhibited in.

    We are planning to go to Sudeley Castle next week and Corfe Castle the following week for the lights!

  11. Blenheim is so lovely and seeing it lit up is magical – what a shame that you couldn’t make the most of your pass though, it is pricy especially when you’re there for a short time. Definitely a great way to get into the festive mood though! #countrykids

    1. Yes, for a one day it’s an expensive visit, so we do try and make the most of the pass. It’s a shame there wasn’t more of a discount (or free parking) for pass holders but the price put a lot of people off I know, so it’s one way to keep the numbers down.

    1. It was a great start to our festive activities. I was relieved we got there. He’s much better now thanks – antibiotics were definitely necessary as it turned out to be tonsilitis

  12. I’m sorry you didn’t get to spend more time but at least you didn’t waste your tickets. It does look an amazing sight, from your photos to your video I was mesmerized by all there was to see. I think the lake may be my favourite, I do love to see the boats lit up. I think this is an evening that would kick start anyone’s Christmas, fun for all ages and at just over a mile a manageable distance too. I think you did well to get the early slot before it got too busy. I ope N’s sore throat didn’t come to much.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    1. It was so pretty and closer to us than Waddesdon where we also try and go each year. It’s definitely a nice set up for Christmas and nice to check out something new.

      (Unfortunately, it ended up being tonsilitis and 3 days off school)

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