Even during the day, Halloween at Blenheim Palace has always been pretty cool, but since they started their light trail it is a whole new level. Don’t worry, they still have all of their day-time activities and decorations, this is an extra thing. There is an additional charge for tickets to the Halloween light trail at Blenheim Palace, which can be booked via their website.
We’re big fans of the Christmas light trail at Blenheim Palace, actually we’re big fans of Blenheim in general and have been members for years. You can read my review here. This visit to the Halloween light trail at Blenheim Palace was gifted but they did not see the review prior to publication and had no input into its contents.
It starts at the car park…
The first year we visited we were a little bit late getting there for our timed slot and I was trying to get the kids all bundled up for a cold October night, whilst simultaneously walking down the main drive to the palace gates. I look up and there’s a horse in the distance. I look up again and the horseman has no head!!! It’s properly creepy. The kids thought it was amazing. The older kids obviously knew how it worked, but I swear Smallest Child thought he actually was a headless horseman!
There’s also loos out here and food trucks. If you are early, then there’s enough to keep you entertained for a while, but not for ages. You can’t really wander around the site – because it’s dark!! Timing is key on this one.
The light trail route
The first thing you need to know is that the Halloween light trail at Blenheim Palace is a lot shorter than the Christmas one. We went through the side gate near the Italian garden, along the path right up to where you can access the back of the pleasure gardens and back around, including through the secret garden. To keep it nice and spooky you’re in the wooded part of the gardens most of the time.
We were on the trail itself for about an hour. Some of that time was spent watching the shows along the way (more on that in a second), rather than continuously walking. There’s also refreshments about half way round (which we didn’t stop for so you’ll be in there longer if you do). There’s plenty to see, but even little legs shouldn’t get too tired as you’re not covering a long distance.
How scary is the Halloween light trail at Blenheim Palace?
It’s a family friendly trail so it isn’t too scary, however they have designed it to be slightly scarier for this year than it was last year. This isn’t just a children’s trail by any means and I saw lots of groups of adults walking round.
In terms of the setting, the scariest bit was possibly the haunted graveyard last year;
This year there was a few places where Smallest Child asked quite quickly if we could move on because she didn’t like it. She wasn’t terrified, and as soon as we moved away she was happy again, she just wasn’t keen on hanging around. She’s 5 but I also saw younger kids than her on the trail. We just kept reminding her it wasn’t real.
This was probably her least favourite bit (and possibly my most favourite bit!)
The lights look brilliant, and this was the first Halloween light trail we’d been to. I imagine it will become as popular as Christmas ones before long, but for now it’s fairly unique. A big highlight for us was the shows. They have actors, fire-dancers, sword-dancers, generally-doing-dangerous-stuff-dancers. These guys were incredible and I could have stayed for hours watching them, except it got quite busy. Little tip; if when you arrive you can’t see just hang around for a minute. There’s a steady turn-over of people so you’ll quickly move to the front.
I suspected Middle Child now harbours secret plans to become a Day of the Dead inspired fire dancer. And when he does, I will track it back to this day!
There’s also more actors around the trail than there were last year. You’ll discover a Grim Reaper (who’ll whisper things to the kids whilst having a photo taken with them), a bloke in the graveyard (not sure who he was) and a witch. She got the right balance between scary and nice. Although she did threaten to put Smallest Child in a potion!
What’s new for 2022?
If you went to the Halloween light trail at Blenheim Palace last year you might be wondering if it’s worth going again this year? Yes! It’s surprisingly different. There’s actually very little from last year that they’ve kept this year, and what they have has now become more of a side feature than a main event. This year the lights and sounds are all around you, you’re not just walking past some pretty, spooky lights.
They have worked with movie prop designers on some of the new props this year and there’s some incredible new details. Poundland decorations it is most definitely not!
Our Halloween Light Trail at Blenheim Palace Review
2021 was the first time Blenheim Palace had put on a Halloween light trail. I’d always like what they’d done previously during October half term, but this ramps it up about 50 gears. For us, it was something very different to do during the half term.
In a way Halloween Light Trail is a bit of a misnomer by Blenheim Palace because it’s really not just lights. It’s so much more than that, and much more than at Christmas.
It’s quite different from the Christmas offering in terms of size, what else is available and distance. I’m not sure many people will do both of them. If you’re put-off by the the Christmas trail for any reason then definitely consider this as an alternative.
Open from the 21st – 31st October 2022
A family ticket (plus parking) is £65. Tickets must be pre-booked via their website.
Parking / How to get there
Parking – On-site. There’s ticket options that include parking.
Address – Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1PP
Various kiosks available just before the entrance. There’s also refreshments about half way round
What else is there to do nearby?
For lots more October half term activities across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, plus pumpkin patches and lots of autumn and Halloween crafts have a look at the Autumn pages of the website.
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Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our three children; a 12 year old son, a 10 year old son and a 5 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out.
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