Blenheim Palace will be opening its doors to visitors again from 4 July. To mark the occasion, the Palace is putting on display a set of four Marlborough family portraits; one of which features the 4th Duke of Marlborough as a child and has never been on who to the public before.
The coronation robes, chairs and coronets used by the 10th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough for the crowning of King George VI in 1937 will also be on show.
As part of its reopening, Blenheim Palace has introduced a series of measures to keep visitors and staff safe. Daily visitor numbers are limited and tickets must be booked online in advance. Visitors will be welcomed at a safe distance, all transactions will be cashless, and staff in key engagement areas will be wearing personal protective equipment and be behind protective screens.
New signage, barriers and announcements have been installed, and additional staff will be on hand to provide advice and information. Extra temporary outdoor toilets with washing and hand sanitising areas have also been set up.
The Orangery restaurant will be open for al-fresco dining on the terrace in pods, serving lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
VIRTUAL VIP SPECIALIST TOURS
Blenheim Palace has launched a programme of virtual VIP specialist tours and seminars. The new online events will give virtual visitors the chance to interact in real time with a range of experts, and gain exclusive insights into the baroque 18th century Oxfordshire palace.
Led by Blenheim’s social historian Antonia Keaney, the virtual VIP specialist tours will include range of topics such as the Palace’s contribution to World War Two, the life of servants through the ages, and the life stories of some of Blenheim Palace’s most illustrious women, and will incorporate 3D digital experiences, props, video and still imagery. Participants will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
The 45-minute tours are set to launch on 29 June and cost £40 for groups of up to six people. “These tours allow us to share Blenheim Palace’s fascinating history and secrets with visitors online,” said Antonia.
“By limiting the number of participants we will be able to provide them with a truly unique experience. No tour will be the same and we will be guided by the particular interests and enthusiasms of our virtual guests,” she added.
In addition to the VIP specialist tours, Blenheim Palace has also announced a series of fortnightly seminars. The first takes place on Thursday 2 July at 7.30pm and will feature renowned author and broadcaster Hugo Vickers, who will talk about the extraordinary life of the 9th Duchess of Marlborough – the subject of his latest biography The Sphinx – The Life of Gladys Deacon.
Other speakers will include author and granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill, Celia Gladys, who will speak about her grandfather’s early life and her personal memories of Britain’s wartime Prime Minister, and Michael Waterhouse, great-grandson of the 9th Duke of Marlborough and author of The Churchill Who Saved Blenheim.
Taking place via Zoom, the seminars will be able to accommodate up to 100 guests and cost £5 per person; a full schedule will be announced in early July. For more information please visit blenheimpalace.com/virtual-experiences.