May 30, 2024

Guests at luxury palace retreat can now stay in lodges designed by stars of hit TV show

VISITORS to a luxury holiday retreat in the grounds of a world heritage site can stay in exclusive accommodation remodelled by stars of a popular TV show.

The grand finale of BBC’s Interior Design Masters series – watched by up to 2.8m viewers – saw contestants Roisin Quinn and Matt Smith-Wood revamp two high-quality cabins at Darwin Escapes’ picturesque Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

The park has been a huge hit with families across the UK since opening last summer, and now looks set to attract even more customers, including fans of the hit programme fronted by comedian Alan Carr and judge Michelle Ogundehin.

Featuring a selection of one, two and three-bedroom self-catering lodges, the retreat is nestled within more than 2,000 acres of countryside and gardens, just a stone’s throw from the 320-year Palace, home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

Resort Manager Simon Oliver says the impact of Interior Design Masters will reinforce a strong first year at the picturesque landmark.

“We have had a great start to life at Blenheim Palace, the feedback has been brilliant and visitor numbers look set to rise further, especially given the success of the TV series,” he said.

“That coupled with the increase in bookings we receive when events are held here, and the growing name of Darwin Escapes in this region, point to a successful summer and beyond.”

Simon added: “The two lodges redesigned by Matt and Roisin look incredible, they are very different and bespoke to varying tastes, from the furniture to the interior, decoration, and layout.

“Given their prominence in the final I’m sure fans of the series will be keen to book them, so that’s an added USP for this site.”

The final was won by Roisin, from Wirral, who was praised by judges – including renowned US potter Jonathan Adler – for creating a “joyous, memorable and delightful” lodge, a “fresh and very optimistic space”.

Her design included leafy wallpaper, glass pendants, mid-century dining furniture, sunshine yellow décor, bold soft furnishings, and an outdoor dining area to create what she herself described as “a colourful, cosy cabin in the woods”, a “magical space, a wonderland”.

Runner-up Matt, from Cheltenham, took a more contemporary approach with “nods to Blenheim Palace”, and his ideas featured traditional-style panelling, a gold leaf and mono kitchen, a plush rug, gold velvet sofa, modern chandeliers, and an external lounge area.

Both were tasked with “designing holiday lodges fit for royalty” and managed to achieve their goals in just two days with a budget of £6,000.

Following years of development and significant investment, Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat opened last August and now employs eight people from the local area.

The lodges were built with sustainability a priority, they are fitted with electric vehicle charging points and a quarter are pet friendly.

“There’s so much to do in this part of the world and of course the Palace is busy all year-round, so this is the perfect place to visit when exploring Oxfordshire,” said Simon.

“As viewers of the TV show witnessed, it’s a very special place, and I’m sure more and more people will come to see that for themselves in the months and years ahead.”

Heather Carter, Managing Director at Blenheim Palace, added: “It was a great pleasure and a lot of fun to have Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr film with us at Blenheim Palace in September last year. They were here for five days filming both at the Palace and the lodges, and we managed to keep it secret until the big reveal on BBC1.

“We have a lot of filming here at the Palace and it gives us great reach into new audiences, we know that being featured on such a popular programme as Interior Design Masters will entice more people to visit the Palace and book one of the lodges.”

For more information and to book, visit Luxury retreat holiday lodges Oxford | Blenheim Palace (darwinescapes.co.uk) and follow them on social media at @darwinescapes.

To win a free midweek break for up to four people at one of the lodges designed by Matt or Roisin, and tickets to Blenheim Palace, visit the website: Enter here | Interior Design Masters | Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat (darwinescapes.co.uk).