Here is all you need to know to access Blenheim for free, using the 'secret green gate' in Woodstock. It's perfectly legal – you will be using a Public Footpath to enter instead of one of the official entrances. It's just a 5 – 10 minute walk and will bring you in right next to the lake.
One point to note is that there are steps on part of the route so it isn't suitable for wheelchairs or those who have difficulty walking. See the FAQs on how to access the gate without using the steps. It's just as quick but is a little less scenic.
Don't be tempted to try and park near the 'secret green gate' – the space in front of the gate is used by a local house, and there is no other parking nearby.
Step 1 – Start at The Crown
The route starts outside the main entrance of The Crown public house on the High Street in Woodstock. For directions on how to get here see the Directions to Blenheim page.
Step 2 – Walk into the centre of Woodstock
With your back to The Crown, looking in the direction of the Co-op supermarket, turn right and head into the centre of Woodstock, away from the main road that you arrived on. When you pass the end of The Crown, cross over the road so that you remain on the pavement.
Step 4 – Museum, Church and Toilets
Just beyond the Town Hall, on the opposite side of the road, you will see the Post Office. Just a short way down the road to the right, between the Post Office and the Star Inn, are the public toilets. If you don't need to visit, continue your journey through Woodstock. On the right is the Oxfordshire Museum, well worth a visit if you have the time. Of note is the unusual set of stocks outside – why are there 5 holes? To the left is St Mary Magdalene church.
Step 6 – Down the Steps
A little way down Chaucer's Lane the road bends around to the right, and you will see a sign reading Harrison's Lane. To the left of the sign is a set of stairs, which you will use to continue your journey to the 'secret green gate.' What animal do you see to your left at the bottom of the stairs?
Step 8 – The Secret Green Gate!
As you follow the road around to the right you will pass by a row of terraced houses. Just beyond these houses, after a short section of dry stone wall, you will see a non-descript green gate with the number 95 on it. Don't be fooled by the lack of sign – although this is the gate to a private driveway, it is also a public footpath, which everyone is allowed to use.
Step 9 – Through the Secret Green Gate
Open up the secret green gate and walk towards the garage door – take care to close the gate behind you. At the end of the drive, on the left, are the gates to Blenheim Park. Be sure to read the sign carefully and obey the rules about no bicycles and keeping dogs on a lead.
Step 10 – Into Blenheim Park
You're now in Blenheim Park, and it hasn't cost you a penny! Immediately in front of you is the old sheep dip, a good place to see the ducks and swans. You will see a sign on your left warning you that you need a valid ticket. Don't worry – instead turn right and follow the public footpath past the lake.