Care Homes Residents Turn Virtual Palace Tour Into Festive Reality

Residents and staff from Barchester Healthcare, who took part in virtual talks and tours of Blenheim Palace during lockdown, enjoyed the real thing with an in-person visit to our Christmas celebrations on December 8th.

At the end of 2020, we joined forces with Barchester Healthcare, which runs more than 240 homes caring for around 12,000 people, to offer its staff and residents free online talks and video tours.

The talks were led by our social historian and author Antonia Keaney, who was joined by special guests including TV historian Dan Snow and actress Ruth Madoc.

Topics ranged from fashion and life below stairs to the Palace’s starring role in films including James Bond, Mission Impossible, Harry Potter and Cinderella, and our Christmases through the ages.

The sessions were so popular they have continued throughout the year and now a group of residents and staff from seven of the care homes have made the trip in person to see our spectacular Christmas celebrations.

“Our residents loved being able to experience all that Blenheim Palace has to offer at Christmas, from the beautiful Palace rooms right down to the outdoor Christmas market and amazing festive lights trail, we got to take in all the sights,” said General Manager at Middletown Grange, Clemence Heriman.

During their visit they also met photographer and videographer Pete Seaward, who created the films for the online tours, along with many of the team who look after the Palace.

“It was such a pleasure to welcome the ladies and gentlemen from Barchester in person and to be able to give them their own VIP Christmas tour,” said Antonia.

“As well as providing entertainment for them, the virtual tours and talks also allowed us to interact with people during lockdown, even though the Palace itself was closed to visitors, so it was wonderful for us to meet them properly” she added.

For residents who couldn’t make the trip, Antonia also hosted a virtual Christmas tour online which was broadcast directly to the care homes.

Early in the new year, we plan to release a series of podcasts and videos online for people to access via our website.

Go to our Stay Connected page for details of our online activities, including livestreamed events, recorded sessions and podcasts.

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