Boutique Stays Europe Interviews

Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat. Woodstock. England.

Darwin Escapes have proudly partnered with Blenheim Palace to create a range of luxury, self-catering lodges at Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat to meet the demand for local accommodation for visitors, tourists, and holiday makers. Opening August 4th, 2023.

With a reputation for creating accommodation solutions that fit perfectly with a location’s feel, taste and vibe, Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat has been in development since 2018 and Darwin Escapes broke ground in September 2022. In a couple of months, it will open with thirty-six self-catering lodges, nine of them pet-friendly with fencing around the perimeter and each unit coming with an electric car charger. Offering one, two and three bedroomed lodges, Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat aims to cater to a variety of occasions from romantic escapes for couples to group getaways with friends.

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According to Dominic Hare, Chief Executive Officer, Blenheim Palace was an old royal hunting park, built by John Churchill as a reward from Queen Anne, for his victory of the Battle of Blenheim during the Spanish Succession and is also a world heritage site.

On the Darwin Escapes partnership he adds, “Blenheim Palace is such a key part of the local community and employment in Oxford and the local economy flourishes because of it.”

When holiday makers spend more than one day in an area, they tend to spend on average three times more than day trippers. As such, it was good business to seek a great accommodation partner and to develop the piece of land that the lodge retreat is now situated on.

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Having seen the extraordinary hospitality that Darwin Escapes provides, following a visit to their Stratford location with his team to experience it first-hand, Dominic says, “I see no reason why this project won’t be a great success and help us reach our goals for the Palace. It’s a huge opportunity and we are thrilled to be working with Darwin Escapes and to call them a partner.”


Lindsey Esse, Managing Director of Darwin Escapes, explains that their business is all about their people and delivering a great experience to their guests. Priding themselves on their understanding of the hospitality industry which they know inside out, they have also demonstrated an ability to pinpoint the important cultural aspects to highlight in their various locations. One of the ways they achieve this is through sourcing staff, foods and materials from local areas and businesses to help keep the local flavour authentic and fresh.

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 On the development of Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat, she reveals that David Everest, Architect and Director of DJE Project Services, was pivotal in the development of this project and so far, they have transformed twenty-six sites.

“Every Darwin Escapes site is individual as it is truly about the local area and the unique experiences that a location like Blenheim Palace has to offer,” she says, “I am so proud to see the product come to life and see it marry together with Blenheim Palace. We see this project as a huge opportunity and something to be very excited about.”

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The design and feel of a location’s accommodations makes all the difference to a visitor’s experience of a place and David Everest of DJE Project Services, reveals that nothing was left to chance in the design and preparation of the retreat.


 “All of the lodges were intentionally oriented to the west, to make the most of the morning and afternoon sun and provide a view over the meadow,” he explains, adding, “When we designed the lodges, we went for a split roof design in a slate colour, with cedar cladding and integrated Cotswold stone. These kinds of designs are very uncommon for caravan and lodge units and offer a new take on what may be expected.”

Sustainability and electric solutions have been at the forefront of the Blenheim Palace project, and as many electrical heating solutions as possible have been sourced, something that is a rarity in the United Kingdom where 90% of caravan and lodge sites still run on gas. “These electric lodges are unique and economic to run and will hopefully pioneer a change,” he says, “It is an important focus of ours to do our part for the environment wherever possible.”

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Indeed, Darwin Escapes always seek to work with existing flora and fauna at every location to supplement the natural landscape via development. A decision that results in many new approaches that are appreciated by the eco-conscious traveller and makes a unique selling point for each site. At Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat, £400k has been invested into the landscaping with this in mind. As David says, “There has been a focus on wildlife – we are very passionate about our critters.”


From a guest’s point of view, nothing is more considered than the interior of where they sleep, and in charge of this section is Harriet Lazzeri of Lazzeri Creative Interiors, who believes strongly in the importance of making use of the location to the benefit of the guest.

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 “We wanted as much natural light as possible,” she says, “Which we have let in using large windows with views over the blooming meadow. We’ve included references to Blenheim Palace and Winston Churchill along with hints of the local flora and fauna in all the interiors across the lodges and reception. I wanted to create something quintessentially British.”

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Within the reception, there are quirky nods to Churchill and Woodstock. Including bowler hat light fixtures and a coffee table made of vintage cigar boxes. Like Churchill himself, the site has a palatial feel while the lodges are durable and built to last, offering the highest quality while being able to keep up with a high turnaround occupancy.


This newest retreat within Darwin Escapes will offer a unique experience where guests can stay and explore the stunning area of Woodstock and Blenheim Palace itself. When booking their stays at Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat guests can enjoy an exclusive discount of 20% off tickets to Blenheim Palace as well as the opportunity to book bespoke tours and extras.

The lodges are a walkable three quarters of a mile from Blenheim Palace allowing an enjoyable walk through the beautiful and historic grounds during the must-do palace visits. Upon entering the retreat, guests are greeted by the stunning reception building. On one side of the reception there is a small shop stocking essentials that you may need as well as Blenheim Palace products and the other side is dedicated to a peaceful sitting area where guests can come and go as they please. Additionally, there are an additional four fast car charging points at the reception available for guest usage.

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Throughout the year a jam-packed calendar of exhibitions, shows, circus performances, Christmas markets, concerts, and plenty more promises to immerse visitors into the British culture of tasteful excess, exuberance, and class.


One Bed Lodge: Start from £345 for weekend breaks, £270 for mid-week breaks and £523 for week breaks.

Two bed lodge: Start from £455 for weekend breaks, £337 for mid-week breaks and £673 for week breaks.

Three bed lodge: Start from £545 for weekend breaks, £422 for mid-week breaks and £822 for week breaks.

Please make sure to check the website for current up to date pricing information.


Address: Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat, Bladon Rd, Bladon, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PT

Telephone: 01993 835021

Email: Contact through website email form.

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