The Blenheim Christmas lights are back. This year with the addition of a Christmas market and a fairy tale experience, depicting the story of Cinderella.
I was lucky to be invited to experience Christmas at Blenheim along with two other bloggers Emma and Mary and our families*. You can find links to blog posts by other Oxfordshire Bloggers at the bottom of this post.
Cinderella Fairy Tale Experience
Blenheim Palace has been decorated to tell the story of Cinderella as you walk around the downstairs rooms. It is very cleverly done with each room telling one part of the story such as the Step-mothers’ drawing room as the ball invitation arrived, Cinderella’s room as she (and animals) made her dress and the ballroom as the clocks strike midnight.
Each room has a different style of Christmas decorations. If you’re looking for inspiration on Christmas colour schemes you will not be disappointed, from traditional red and gold to pink and white to orange and blue. And the attention to details in the decorations is incredible such as shoe and carriage baubles.
I really enjoyed this experience, although it would have been better if there were fewer people walking around at the same time (of course I need to take into account I joined the end of an earlier slot). Due to the crowd of people it was easy to lose your group, which is a little concerning when you have children. It also made taking photos difficult (its hard being a blogger and wanting perfect pictures).
I feel it is more aimed at adults than children, however both of mine (10 year old girl and 7 year old boy) said they loved it. My daughter liked the explanation of what was happening in each room and my son liked the Zoetropes (give the illusion of animation when you spin the barrel). My favourite bit was the fairy mother sending magic to light up the carriage. The only downside was the long animation meant the area got crowded.
Blenheim Christmas Lights
Last year was the first time we saw the Blenheim Christmas Lights and I thought it was amazing and I left feeling incredibly festive. Could it be replicated this year, particularly on a rather damp and muddy evening?
The trail is about 1.5 miles through music and lights using the features of the Blenheim grounds. If you know the grounds well it might be predictable where they’ve put lights. Although they have changed the lights, for example on the lake last year they had “paper” boats and this year they had a large crown / lilypad, both eye catching in very different ways. They also had a new features including bubbles, very popular with the children, poppies hanging from the trees and large plant pots.
About half way round at the cascades there are food outlets and toilets. We treated ourselves to marshmallows to toast this year. They are not the cheapest marshmallows but they are large and I was impressed by the flavours. They really did taste of hot chocolate and raspberry & champagne.
However, I was disappointed that the cascades were not more of a feature as the fire dance was one of my favourite sections last year. The tunnel of light certainly had the wow factor, but was perhaps not quite as fun as the dangly balls you walked through last year (at least that is what my daughter says). I felt the music was more winter than Christmas themed which meant it felt a little less festive for me.
Although it didn’t live up to last year’s high for me I still had a good time and my children loved it and their imaginations were inspired all the way round. So I’m sure we’ll look into going again next year.
Blenheim Christmas Market
This year there was also a Christmas market in the Great Courtyard, as well as the usual traditional rides in the East Courtyard. I think this is a great addition to the Christmas at Blenheim event. Unfortunately due to tired children who wanted to go home, we didn’t get a chance to look around the stalls. However I got the impression there was a variety of produce on including clothes, jewellery and food. I’ve only been to a couple of Christmas markets, but I got the impression this wasn’t as large as others, but that may have been an illusion due to the size of the Great Courtyard. It was certainly easy to move around the market without the tight squeeze I remember from the Bath Christmas market.
Altogether, I think Chrismtas at Blenheim is better this year, with the addition of the Fairy tale experience and Christmas market. I look forward to seeing how they grow it next year.
Where do you like to go for your pre-Christmas experiences? Do you have favourites you go back to every year?
*Disclosure – I was given a press pass to experience Christmas at Blenheim, however all thoughts are my own.
Latest posts by Kate Davis (see all)
- Blenheim Christmas Lights and Fairy Tale Palace - December 17, 2018
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- Oxfordshire Bloggers at Olivia May, Oxford - February 25, 2016