The Cotswolds has been named as one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty in England which will be no surprise to anyone visiting the area. Stretched across several counties, The Cotswolds boundaries extend into Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire and the famous Cotswold hills cover a large part of the area, alongside beautiful woodland and pretty market towns.
Nestled on the A40 between Oxford and Chipping Norton is the charming historic town of Woodstock. The town is a famous landmark and the home of the stunning Blenheim Palace. Woodstock is a bustling town, popular with tourists because of the well-known palace and collection of antique shop and art galleries. The local boutiques and gift shops include all sorts of memorabilia, items of English heritage and pretty picture postcards of The Cotswolds. In the heart of the town is Oxfordshire Museum, an informative and educational place where you can learn about the county’s history. Woodstock is just 8 miles from Oxford with a direct bus route, making travelling to the area easy.
Woodstock is famous for what is considered by some, as the most beautiful palace in England. Set in 2000 acres of land that was once known as Blenheim Park, the palace was a gift to the 1st Duke of Marlborough John Churchill. Given to him by Queen Anne to reward him for his victory over France for the War of the Spanish Succession, the palace was in desperate need of restoration so she also awarded him with £240,000 to fund the rebuild. Blenheim Palace is still owned by the estate of the late John Spencer-Churchill who was the 11th Duke of Marlborough and it has remained in the Churchill family for many decades. In fact, Sir Winston Churchill was born at the palace in 1874 and he also proposed to his wife Clementine Hozier in the palace grounds at the Temple of Diana. When Sir Winston Churchill died, he was buried with other members of the Churchill family in the nearby village of Bladon. This beautiful Cotswold attraction is a breath-taking site with stunning lawns, a huge lake and the majestic palace overlooking the grounds. Blenheim Palace is one of the best Cotswold attractions, with regular tours of the home including the State Room Tours, the Churchill Exhibition, the Formal Gardens Walking Tours and seasonal events such as the Christmas Craft Fair, Battle Proms and Blenheim Palace Flower Show.
Woodstock was described in The Domesday Book of 1086 as a royal forest where English Kings would often stay in the area. Indeed, Henry I had a menagerie in the park and the town was famous for the courtship between King Henry II and Rosamund Clifford. In the 13th Century, The Bear Hotel was built as a coaching inn, providing shelter to travellers passing through the area. Elizabeth I was only a princess when she lived in Woodstock in 1554, residing in a lodge which is now known as Blenheim Estate and help captive for her safety during the uprising to overthrow Queen Mary I. She was unable to live in Blenheim Palace because the manor was in such poor condition that it was uninhabitable. Famous Speaker of the House of Commons Thomas Chaucer also lived in Woodstock and is house is at the foot of Chaucer Lane, distinctively noticed by a heritage plaque outside.
Once one of the largest outputs of wool and textiles, The Cotswolds is an area famous for its weaving trade. The ‘Textiles Trail’ in Woodstock includes the Blenheim Palace Tapestries, the beautiful Stonesfield Embroidery at The Oxfordshire Museum and the fascinating Woodstock Wallhangings in the Town Hall. The Oxfordshire Museum exhibits local interests such as art, archaeology, wildlife, landscape and local history. It includes a detailed exploration of the county’s advanced industries from the Dinosaur Garden to nuclear power in nanotechnology. Woodstock is one of the most captivating market towns in The Cotswolds, steeped in history and all its splendour. If you’re thinking of visiting the area, why not book yourselves a daytrip with The Cotswolds Mystery Tour where you will be taken to all the best places in The Cotswolds. You are guaranteed to see pretty Cotswold villages, charming market towns, tourist attractions, majestic stately homes, meandering streams through thatched cottage hamlets and beautiful houses build from the honey-coloured Cotswold stone. If you’re staying in London, then it’s only 1hr 40 minutes on the train from Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh where you will be picked up in our luxury 7-seater minibus and returned after the tour in time to get back to London for the evening. The tour takes 6-hours, we stop for a tasty lunch at a 16th Century inn, also for a drink and pastry in the morning in a quaint village café. Don’t miss out as we get booked up quickly! Book your Cotswolds Mystery Tour today.