Where is Blenheim Palace? Location explained, can I visit for Christmas, why is the lake being dredged?

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Work on the lake has been halted over the holiday period due to current weather conditions

Blenheim Palace has halted dredging on the Queen Pool until spring. The impressive lake which was created in the 18th Century had been undergoing work to restore it back to its former glory.

The decision to postpone, was made by leading wet civil engineering contractor, Land & Water, after recent weather conditions slowed down progress and caused the site to become waterlogged. The “hugely ambitious project” is currently “approaching the halfway point.”

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Events for the holiday season are well underway at Blenheim, with a Christmas market, Christmas light festival and outdoor light trail.

The Palace, which is owned by the Duke of Marlborough was the birthplace of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

So, where is Blenheim Palace and can you visit it for Christmas? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Blenheim Palace?

Blenheim Palace, one of England’s largest stately homes, was built between 1705 and 1722 and is the only non-royal residence to hold the title of Palace. A seat of the Dukes of Marlborough it has been a home for the Churchill family for over three hundred years, with former Prime Minister Winston Churchill being born there in 1874.

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Blenheim Palace at night during the Illuminated Lights Trail (Photo: Getty Images)Blenheim Palace at night during the Illuminated Lights Trail (Photo: Getty Images)
Blenheim Palace at night during the Illuminated Lights Trail (Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Where is Blenheim Palace?

Blenheim Palace is located in the town of Woodstock in Oxfordshire. Located only twenty minutes away from the city of Oxford, it’s also within easy reach of London and Birmingham, with both cities being just an hour and a half away. There are many options for travelling to Blenheim, including train, bus and by car, with the Palace having a free car park on site.

Where is Blenheim Palace? (Photo: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg)Where is Blenheim Palace? (Photo: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg)
Where is Blenheim Palace? (Photo: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg) | NationalWorld/Kim Mogg

Can I visit for Christmas?

Every year the Palace puts on an impressive Christmas display with a light festival and market, with this year being no different. The Great Court will once again be hosting a holiday market from 18 November until 18 December featuring up to 80 stall holders.

Christmas trees at Blenheim Palace in 2021 (Photo: Getty Images)Christmas trees at Blenheim Palace in 2021 (Photo: Getty Images)
Christmas trees at Blenheim Palace in 2021 (Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images

The Palace will also be hosting its annual Christmas light festival, with the grand State Rooms being transformed into “The Kingdom of the Snow Queen” and the estate’s grounds illuminated for a festive after-dark trail. You can find out more about Christmas events at Blenheim Palace on their website.

Why is the lake being dredged?

Dredging of the lake at Blenheim Palace began in April, but work has been halted over the winter period and is due to begin again in spring. The decision was made by leading wet civil engineering contractor, Land & Water, after recent weather conditions slowed down progress and caused the site to become waterlogged.

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Reported by the Oxford Mail, Blenheim Estate Director Roy Cox gave an update on how the project was going, Cox said: “The dredging is progressing well and Land & Water is approaching the halfway point of what is a hugely ambitious project. Rather than risk potentially damaging the parkland and have the team working at a slower pace than normal, it was decided to halt operations, let the excess water drain away and recommence work in the spring when conditions will be more favourable.”

Project Manager Charlie Oakes added: “During the winter months Land & Water is pausing the Blenheim dredge with a view to returning in the spring to complete the project. This decision has been made in conjunction with the Blenheim project management team and is made in an effort to reduce the downtime and inefficiency of working during the winter and minimise the damage to the park caused by working in extremely wet conditions.”

Is the lake at Blenheim Palace man made?

The Queen Pool lake at Blenheim is man made and was created by Capability Brown in and around 1763 when he completed an extensive re-design of the Palace grounds. Its name comes from a 14th Century fish pool that was a favourite place of Queen Philippa, wife of Edward III.

How deep is the lake?

When the lake was created in the 18th Century it had a depth of 2 metres, but over three centuries this has reduced to a shallow depth of 30cm. The dredging project, which is one of the largest ever carried out at a UK heritage site, will help return the lake to its former glory.

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