, eight miles North of Oxford, is often visited for two  reasons; Blenheim Palace and Sir Winston Churchill's grave in nearby Bladon. But  Woodstock has much more to offer.

Before the Norman Conquest, when the Wychwood Forest stretched from the  Cotswolds to London, English Kings had lodges in Woodstock - 'a clearing in the  woods' giving a possible derivation of its name.
King Alfred is reputed to  have stayed at Woodstock in 890. Ethelred the Unready held a council in the town  suggesting its size had grown fit to accommodate a king. In 1279, Henry II  established a market and by the 13th century it had grown to the status of a  Borough.

The church of St. Mary Magdalene, rebuilt in the 19th century,  has a Norman doorway, early English windows and a musical clock which plays  tunes on the hour.

The Town Hall is 18th century and there are numerous  attractive period buildings including the 17th century Fletcher's house now home  to the County Museum. Chaucer's house in Park Street was once home to Chaucer  the poet.

Glove-making was once Woodstock's chief industry, but the town  now prospers more from the tourists who flock to Blenheim Palace. Sir John  Vanbrugh designed the palace for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. It was  largely paid for by the nation in gratitude for his victory over the French and  Bavarians at Blenheim in 1704. The deerpark surrounding the house was landscaped  by "Capability" Brown.

Sir Winston Churchill was born at Blenheim in  1874 and is buried in nearby Bladon churchyard.