Magical indoor trail of Sleeping Beauty is reimagined for modern audience

An award-winning team of costume and set designers has expertly reimagined Blenheim Palace’s festive indoor trail to modernise the story of Sleeping Beauty for a contemporary audience.

Led by designer Clare Elliot, whose beautiful, sequential trail will transform the State Rooms in the Palace, retelling the classic fairy-tale for a new generation including the magical moment when the princess is awoken.

Clare, a senior designer for Culture Creative, said: “In our version of the story, the Lilac Fairy reverses the Evil Fairy’s spell which breaks after a hundred years and reawakens Sleeping Beauty.

“In other versions it is the Prince who kisses her awake, so our version focuses on life’s magic saving the day. We don’t use long story scripts that visitors need to read, the story is interpreted visually. And to keep younger visitors engaged, we include a fun mouse trail.”

The story begins at the Great Hall’s huge glistening Christmas tree and moves to the candle-lit bedchamber where the Lilac Fairy watches over a sleeping Aurora.

Visitors will wander through the evil fairy’s lair filled with toads, potions and menacing crows, then on to the busy castle kitchen frozen in time. Watch out for spinning wheels, fluttering fairies and as the story unfolds, vines creeping everywhere.  

Looking for a happy-ever-after, the Lilac Fairy helps True Love to find a way through the woods and together they reawaken the castle after 100 very sleepy years.

Clare has previously designed and produced indoor Christmas experiences at Blenheim Palace including Cinderella, Alice in the Palace, The Nutcracker and last year’s The Snow Queen.

She has worked on numerous children’s TV series going as far back as 1980, including BAFTA award winners Wind in the Willows (1983), The Reluctant Dragon (1987) and The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship (1991). Other credits include feature film Mars Attacks!, TV series Noddy, Bill and Ben, Andy Pandy, Postman Pat and many more.

She added: “Seeing the excited and delighted faces of the first visitors coming up the steps and through the huge front doors into the Palace is one of the most satisfying parts of the job.

“I also really enjoy working with the team throughout the year, everyone is so enthusiastic and invested in making the Palace experience so fantastic that it makes every working day really pleasurable.”

The much-loved Christmas experience returns to Blenheim Palace for 2023, inviting visitors to enjoy the enchanting trails inside the Palace and in the world-renowned gardens. 

Tickets are on sale now for both the indoor trail and the spectacular outdoor trail, which run from Friday, November 17 to Monday, January 1 and present an unmissable date in the Christmas calendar within one of Britain’s architectural masterpieces.

Your very merriest Christmas starts here. Limited capacity with timed entry. Plan now to secure the date and time of your choice.

*Separate charges apply

What:         Christmas at Blenheim Palace – 
The story of Sleeping Beauty, outdoor Illuminated trail and Christmas Market 

When:         From: 17 November 2023 to 1 January 2024 

Why Visit:   Discover a world like no other, created for all the family to enjoy.

Admission: Limited capacity with timed entry, early booking advised. 

        Indoor trail – first entry 10am; last entry 7pm (times may vary on selected dates).

Outdoor trail (closed 20, 21, 27, 28 Nov; 4, 11, 25 December) – first entry 4.30pm, last entry 8.30pm (times may vary on selected dates).

Tickets from: Combined Adult £61.50, Concession: £59.50, Child (aged 3-16) £39.50, Family £179 (2 adults & 2 children). 

Parking after 10am: £10. Free entry to Christmas Market. 

For full pricing and ticket information visit

Address:     Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire. OX20 1UL

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