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Palace FAQs Illuminated Trail FAQs
 

Illuminated Trail FAQs

 

What is Christmas at Blenheim Palace?

There are bright lights for winter nights...

The 2020 trail has surprises along the way and you'll notice all-new installations this year too. From the Heart of the Stars scattering shards of light across the lawn to a scented fire garden that adorns the Water Terrace, walk towards dynamic, colour-changing neon tunnels, lakeside reflections and onto a mesmerising place where, beneath the branches of a sprawling tree, softly glows the fairy-fire known as Will-o-the-Wisps.

Rest assured to those who have been before, the tunnel of light will twinkle and the fabulous hillside sea of light returns. Walk under larger-than-life arches of light into a world festooned with seasonal cheer enhanced by a soundtrack of festive classics as you wander beneath unique tree canopies drenched in Christmas colour.

Passionate about food, our talented street food vendors bring a delicious twist to the treats on offer. Have yourself a merry little Christmas and complete your walk under the stars with mulled wine and hot chocolate* finding new moments to share with friends and family.

*Separate charges apply.

What are the dates of Christmas at Blenheim Palace?

Friday 19th November - Sunday 21st November
Wednesday 24th November - Sunday 28th November
Wednesday 1st December - Friday
24th December
Sunday 26th December – Sunday 2nd January

What are the trail times?

4:15pm*, 4;30pm*, 4:45pm, 5:00pm, 5:15pm, 5:30pm, 5:45pm, 6:00pm, 6:15pm, 6:30pm, 6:45pm, 7:00pm, 7:15pm*, 7:30pm*, 7:45pm*, 8:00pm*, 8:15pm*, 8:30pm*

*Not available for every date.

What is the address of Blenheim Palace?

Address: Blenheim Palace, Oxford Road, Woodstock, OX20 1UL

Whom is Christmas at Blenheim Palace suitable for?

Christmas at Blenheim Palace is suitable for all ages - to be enjoyed by everyone.

Should I arrive in advance of my visit time?

We would advise arriving at the start of the trail 5 minutes before you are due to begin the trail. If you arrive at the venue earlier, please wait in your car.

Can we see Father Christmas?

At this time of year, Father Christmas is extremely busy so is unable to meet children individually, however be sure to look out for him as he will be on the trail this Christmas!

Are dogs permitted?

Only guide dogs and registered assistance dogs are allowed on the Illuminated Trail.

Will there be strobe lighting?

There will be lighting sequences created within the lighting design that will have some flashing lights contained within them. However, these will not be strobe lighting. We have worked along guidelines on photosensitive epilepsy and will adhere to the industry standard of synchronising effects and locking the sequences to ensure that lights do not operate at more than 5 flashes per second.

What should I wear?

As the Illuminated Trail takes place outdoors please ensure you have sufficient warm and waterproof clothing. Visitors are strongly advised to wear sturdy shoes as the trail takes place on natural paths covering areas of uneven ground and variable terrain.

Can I take photographs?

We encourage you to take photographs and to share these on social media using the hashtag #ChristmasAtBlenheimPalace. You can also follow the developments across our Christmas Trails via 'My Christmas Trails' on Facebook and Instagram. Please note that the use of tripods is not allowed where the pathways are narrow.

Can I bring my drone?

Drones are not permitted.

When do tickets go on sale?

General on sale for Christmas at Blenheim Palace is Friday 12th March 2021.

Where can I buy tickets for Christmas at Blenheim Palace from?

You can buy tickets for Christmas at Blenheim Palace online here

Do I have to book in advance / can I book on the day?

We recommend that you book early. Each timed entry has a limited capacity and the early evening and weekend slots are likely to sell out fast.

What are the prices for the Illuminated Trail?

 
ADVANCE
ON THE DAY
Adult Trail Entry Only
£22.50
£24.50
Adult Trail Entry & A Parking Space
£32.50
£34.50
Adult Trail Entry & A Blue Badge Parking Space
£32.50
£34.50
Child (3-16) Trail Entry Only
£16.00
£18.00
Infant (0-2) Trail Entry Only
£0.00
£0.00
Family* Trail Entry Only
£74.00
£82.00
Family* Trail Entry & A Parking Space
£84.00
£92.00
Family* Trail Entry & A Blue Badge Parking Space
£84.00
£92.00
Carer Trail Entry Only
£0.00
£0.00
Carer Trail Entry & A Parking Space
£10.00
£12.00
Carer Trail Entry & A Blue Badge Parking Space
£10.00
£12.00

*Family consists of 2 adult and 2 children (aged 3-16 years). Infants and carers go free or charge but must be booked in advance.

Under 16's must be accompanied by a parent/guardian (18+). Entry may be refused without valid proof of age.

On the day tickets will not be available this year. We strongly recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.

All orders are subject to a single transaction charge; £2.00 per transaction for E-Tickets.

I am an Annual Pass Holder at Blenheim Palace, do I need to buy a ticket for Christmas at Blenheim Palace?

Blenheim Palace Annual Pass holders receive £1.00 off their Trail tickets (tickets must be accompanied by a valid annual pass). As an Annual Pass Holder you will need to select your Illuminated Trail time slot here.

What is a combined ticket?

A combined ticket includes entry to the story of The Nutcracker and the Illuminated Trail.

What is a VIP ticket?

A VIP ticket costs £60.00 and allows you access to the Illuminated Trail on selected dates at 4:15pm. Your ticket will include on-site car parking and a free hot drinks voucher. The VIP Slot has a restricted capacity to provide a more intimate experience on the Illuminated Trail.

How can I organise a group for Christmas at Blenheim Palace and is there a group rate?

If you wish to make a group booking for 15 or more people for the Illuminated Trail, please email See Tickets Groups: groups@seetickets.com

Group discounts are not available to book online.

All customers are reminded to be aware of the latest government legislation when visiting the Illuminated Trail. Please be mindful that legislation may change between time of booking and day of visit.

How/when will I receive my tickets?

Your E-Tickets will be attached to your confirmation email.

I bought tickets but have not received a confirmation email. What should I do?

Please check your Junk / Spam folders as sometimes the confirmation email falls into these folders. If you still have not received your confirmation email, please go to the Customer Service tab on the booking process and fill out your details underneath, "Forgotten your details?".

Is the Illuminated Trail dark or covered?

In some areas the lighting will be low level as this is part of the experience. We do encourage visitors to bring along a torch in case of an emergency - this should not be used unless it is necessary.

The trail is not covered and all visitors are reminded that this is an outdoor Illuminated Trail and the weather may be inclement. Please wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear.

If I am delayed and miss my slot, can I join a later slot?

We will try and accommodate you on the next available slot within the trail operational hours on the day.

What are the last entry times?

Last entry will be at 7:15pm on the following days:
Fri 24th Dec, Sun 26th Dec and Fri 31st Dec.

Last entry time will be 8.45pm on all other days.

Illuminated trail closes at 10pm*

*subject to change, see website for details

What time does the Illuminated Trail finish?

All customers must exit the car park by no later than 2 hours after the last trail start time.

What are the dates of the Christmas Market?

The Christmas Market will run every day 10am until 3pm from Friday 19th November until Sunday 19th December.

How many chalets will there be at the Christmas Market?

There will be between 70-80 chalets. The layout and trader details will be confirmed shortly.

How do I book a ticket if I only want to attend the Christmas market?

If you are only attending the Christmas Market, you can book your ticket(s) here

Can I buy a ticket for the Christmas Market on the day?

On the day availability cannot be guaranteed. We therefore recommend you book in advance to avoid disappointment.

What should I do if I have not received my Christmas Market ticket?

If you have not received your ticket, please click here and then enter your details underneath ‘Forgotten your details?’. This will re-send your email confirmation to the email address you used to book with. 

Can I put my Christmas Market purchases into storage if I am attending the Palace or the Illuminated Trail?

You will need to keep your purchases with you as there is no storage facility onsite.

Is the Christmas Market undercover?

The Christmas Market will not be undercover. Please do bring an umbrella with you in case it rains.

Is the Christmas Market fully accessible?

The Christmas Market is located in the Great Court. This area is partially cobbled, but flat and the route from the car park is fully accessible.

Will food and drink be available to buy at the Christmas Market?

Yes food and drink will be available to buy at the Market and also in other areas across the site.

Can I pay with cash at the Christmas Market?

All payments will be contactless.

How much does it cost to park for Christmas at Blenheim Palace?

£10.00 per car at Blenheim Palace*
£10.00 for Blue Badge holders at Blenheim Palace

*Parking fees apply after 10am

Do I have to purchase parking in advance?

Yes, all parking is limited and a parking space MUST be purchased in advance online here

If you are planning to arrive by car, please ensure that your ticket includes a parking space. Please note that every Adult Trail Entry or Family Trail Entry ticket including a parking space that you select will give you an additional parking space. Please ensure you select the correct amount of tickets with and without parking for your party.

I forgot to purchase parking. What should I do?

If you require additional parking spaces after your initial order has been made, please click here and scroll down to "To add to an existing order". A transaction fee will apply if car parking is booked separately.

If you have not purchased reserved parking with your ticket, local parking is otherwise limited and fly parking will not be permitted. There will be limited on-the-night parking available, however this cannot be guaranteed.

Is there a bus or coach service to and from Blenheim Palace?

There is a regular bus service from Oxford and Oxford Parkway train station. For timetables and tickets, please visit www.stagecoachbus.com or www.oxfordbus.co.uk

There are regular coach services running from London Victoria Coach station to Gloucester Green in Oxford. You can check price and times by visiting www.oxfordtube.com

How can I travel to Blenheim Palace by train?

The nearest train station is Oxford Parkway. Please check train schedules carefully to ensure you leave adequate time to travel from the station to Blenheim Palace and for your return. For timetables and tickets visit www.gwr.com or www.chilternrailways.co.uk. The journey from Oxford Parkway train station to Blenheim Palace takes approximately 15 minutes, though may take longer during rush hour or busy periods.

I am an Annual Pass Holder at Blenheim Palace, do I need to buy a ticket to see the Illuminated Trail?

Yes. As an Annual Pass Holder, you will need to select your Illuminated Trail time slot. Your valid Annual Pass gives you a £1.00 discount on your Illuminated Trail admission ticket.

How do I become an Annual Pass Holder?

To become an Annual Pass Holder, purchase a Palace ticket online and then choose to donate your Palace admission to Blenheim Palace Heritage Foundation at the end of the booking process.

Where do I collect my Annual Pass?

You can collect your Annual Pass from the Welcome Kiosk at the Flagstaff Gate between 09:30am and 7:00pm.

What benefits will Annual Pass Holders receive at Christmas at Blenheim Palace?

Annual Pass Holders will benefit from free entry to the story of the Nutcracker before 16:00 subject to availability. A ticket for free entry must be booked online in advance and one valid Annual Pass Photocard or Annual Pass collection voucher must be shown on arrival for each ticket - failure to do so will result in a full price charge on the day or refusal of entry. A photo-card annual pass will be required to access the Palace. The Welcome Kiosk will be open from 09:30am until 7:00pm each day to exchange collection vouchers for photo-cards before accessing the Palace.

Annual Pass Holder discounts do not apply on Sat 11 & Sun Dec and Sat 18 & Sun 19 Dec.

Is the Illuminated Trail suitable for wheelchair users?

The Illuminated Trail presented in the natural landscape. Whilst every effort is made to make the trail fully accessible, by its very nature it will on occasion cover some difficult terrain with a number of varying gradients. These areas can be particularly challenging during inclement weather. In these circumstances there will be additional steward support available for assistance.

Can I bring my own mobility scooter or can mobility scooters be provided?

Mobility scooters will not be available for Christmas at Blenheim Palace. You are therefore welcome to bring your own at your own risk, but please be aware that the paths are uneven in places and not all areas of the trail are accessible in a mobility scooter. Where scooters are not able to access a part of the trail an alternative route is provided.

Am I eligible for a free carer's ticket?

Disabled ticket holders are entitled to one free carer ticket as an essential carer / companion. This should be booked via See Tickets at the same time as purchasing all other tickets and parking spaces.

I need more than one carer, what should I do?

If you require more than one carer, please visit Customer Service here. You will need your Booking Reference Number at hand.

Is there a 'quieter access' session?

These sessions are for adults and young people who would love to experience the Illuminated Trail without the usual high volumes of people. The sessions will begin before the trail opens to the public, making the transition into the dark much easier. For Christmas at Blenheim Palace 2021, these sessions will be held on Tuesday 14th December and Monday 27th December.

The capacity of these sessions will be limited to ensure that the trail remains less crowded and more relaxed.

It should be noted that on many of our trails the path network is not tarmac, and although there are stewards along the route to assist you, the trail will follow the natural contours of the landscape and paths can be steep at times.

Ticket prices for our quieter sessions are consistent with the rest of the Illuminated Trail, however all carers go free. When booking please talk to our staff about any additional support you may need for exiting the Illuminated Trail through quieter areas or help with parking closer to the start of the trail.

To book these sessions please use this link

How do I book Afternoon Tea?

If you have already purchased your admission tickets without Afternoon Tea and would like to add Afternoon Tea, please visit here

If you have not booked your admission tickets yet, once you select your tickets, you will then be presented with the Afternoon Tea page to add Afternoon Tea onto your order.

Can I purchase food and drink on site?

At present, this area is under view. More information regarding catering will follow shortly.

How much are Ride Tokens?

Ride Token Vouchers can be purchased in advance for £10.00, in exchange for 5 x Ride Tokens on site. Alternatively, Ride Token Vouchers can be purchased on the night.

Is there a gift shop?

Blenheim Palace has a well-stocked gift shop which is open until 10:30pm on nights the trail is open.

What will happen if the weather is bad? Will the trail be cancelled?

If the weather presents a hazard and a risk to safety, any decision to cancel the Illuminated Trail will be taken by 2pm on the day. You will be notified by email and text message and you will be informed of the re-booking process.

If I am unable to attend on a different day, can I get a refund?

If the Illuminated Trail is cancelled due to weather and ticket holders are not able to attend an alternative night offered, then a refund will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Where a refund is due, the ticket must be returned within 28 days following the Illuminated Trail date. We can also offer a voucher for the following year.

I have booked for the wrong day - can I transfer over to another day?

No, we are unable to offer exchanged or refunds once tickets have been purchased. It is noted on the website and at the point of booking that you need to make sure that you have chosen the right date and time slot at the time of making your booking.

I have lost my ticket, what can I do?

If your tickets are lost or if you require your E-Tickets to be re-sent to you, please visit the Customer Service tab and type in your email address underneath "Forgotten your details?". This will re-send your tickets to you.

Light Pollution

The trail will be architecturally lit by experienced lighting designers who have developed sensitive ways of working in heritage and landscape settings.

Responding to the natural darkness of sites is key to the success of the illuminated trail. The best visual work is sensitive to light "competition" and the brightness of one light source relative to another. We therefore take advantage of the environmental darkness to reduce the overall brightness of our lighting interventions, and allow ample space within our audience experiences for people's eyes to attune to the darkness, then to allow them to appreciate the sights and sounds of the natural environment as a contrast to, and context, for our artistic efforts. We try to avoid continuous lighting of trails and paths, and will only use audience area lighting where it is absolutely necessary for reasons of public safety.

Noise Pollution

Sound installations are created to provide atmosphere and a sense of place for an installation. All sounds are targeted and specific to a part of the route and are therefore contained within defined spaces, therefore there is no noise pollution over and above the natural sound level created by the presence of audiences on the trail.

Fuel Usage

Fuel for power generation is kept to a minimum by efficient use of power loadings and low wattage lighting units where appropriate

Is this illuminated trail sustainable?

Consideration for the illuminated trails sustainability has been built into the planning process for the delivery of this experience, the end result of which we hope will be to inspire and engage new and existing visitors.

The trail designers, Culture Creative, have been appointed on the strength of their experience of working in environmentally sensitive ways in heritage and landscape settings.

Specific attention is given to power, and where possible we use mains power. Where generators are needed, these are carefully specified and operated to ensure the most efficient fuel usage. Low wattage lighting units are used where appropriate on the trail.

Culture Creative's design ethos is to take advantage of the environmental darkness to reduce the overall brightness of their lighting interventions, whilst maximising the effects of their artistic efforts

Continuous lighting of trails and paths will be avoided, and we will only use audience area lighting where it is absolutely necessary for reasons of public safety.

Care is also taken to ensure that we are considerate of our neighbours who live in the roads adjacent to the venue.

Ecology

The illuminated trail will be open for a limited period and its impact must be considered both from the standpoint of the venue itself and in relation to surrounding sites.

Method

In order to assess the likely impact of the illuminated trail, both a desk study and workaround surveys are conducted on each site. The route proposed for the trail, is walked and checked on a regular basis with horticultural staff from the venue, this is an ongoing process and will be constantly checked as the design of the illuminate trail progresses.

General comments

The illuminated trail is planned and installed, by private company, Culture Creative Limited. Culture Creative specialises in illuminated trails of this kind which are often in sensitive venues with high biodiversity and important historical heritage. Its' staff have valuable experience in minimising any negative impacts which might be anticipated, and work with venue staff to meet and resolve any concerns which arise.

The duration of the illuminated trails spans over the winter period, the time of year in which there is least wildlife activity. Many protected species such as bats and amphibians should be hibernating. These are unlikely to be affected unless the illuminated trail passes directly over their hibernation sites. The earliest bird nesting activity is to be expected from February onwards but all the equipment will have been removed well before then. In addition it is open for a maximum of six hours only each night the trail is open. These restrictions on the open nights and times, will reduce any impacts upon wildlife, particularly as outdoor events take place at the venue regularly and resident wildlife has adapted to the existing level of disturbance.

Lighting Trail

Generators used on the route are very quiet and will be inaudible from the trail and from any wildlife habituation. The power will be carried using cabling which has been used previously with wildlife habitation with no adverse effects. Much of the lighting will be floor based to highlight trees. The trees form part of the cultivated collections at each venue and their welfare is paramount as part of the planning of the illuminated trail.

Flora

Where possible routes will be on hard surfaces i.e paths. They pass through areas which are well-walked by visitors daily and will not take in any sections of grass with sensitive wild floras.

Birds

The sound and light installations on areas of water where a number of birds have the potential to roost or feed are modified and designed to minimise any potential impact or damage to birds. Many ducks at this time of year will migrate to warmer climates and our resident Kingfisher will still be able to be seen in our other ponds that are also part of its feeding territory. Please ask the Visitor Welcome Team for the best places to spot our Kingfisher over the winter months.

Reptiles and amphibians

There should be no impact from the illuminated trails upon reptiles or amphibians as they should be hibernating away from the water at this time of year.

Badgers

We monitor activity in setts close to the trail for any adverse effect on the badgers underground. It is quite possible that visitors will glimpse them since the badgers are to some extent used to public presence in the evenings and are very inquisitive. To protect them from ingesting unsuitable foods, badger-proof bins are used at the catering points.

Fire

The material used for the fire displays in the Fire Garden and fire pits is soya wax and charcoal respectively.

Bats

Every care is taken to ensure that any potential bat roosting holes in trees are not lit directly to avoid any potential disturbance during the bat hibernation season.

Overview

The illuminated trails are small, tightly contained, and open for limited hours at a very dormant time of year. It is perceived that we do not foresee any adverse effect on wildlife.