The Town of Woodstock lies about 7 miles from the City of Oxford and next door to Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The River Glyme, in a steep valley, divides the town into New and Old Woodstock. Woodstock has two main suburbs, namely Hensington to the south and east of the town centre, and Old Woodstock directly to the north.
The town hall of Woodstock was built in 1766 after the designs of Sir William Chambers, and there are a number of 17th century buildings in the centre. The almshouses were erected in 1798 by Caroline, duchess of Marlborough. Geoffrey Chaucer also lived in Woodstock.
Near the town was Woodstock Palace, a residence that was popular with several English kings throughout the medieval period. The building was destroyed in the English Civil War. Sixty years later the palace remains were cleared for the construction of Blenheim Palace. Princess Elizabeth was imprisoned in a Lodge in Woodstock in 1554 instead of the old Woodstock palace which was too dilapidated.
In the 17th century, the town underwent a great deal of change when the Duke of Marlborough became a permanent resident. The local inn, the Bear, was capable of accommodating large numbers of visitors and horses.
From the 16th century, the town prospered on manufacturing gloves. Today, it is largely dependent on tourists, many of whom visit Blenheim Palace. The Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock is well worth a visit. It has three floors of displays in Fletcher's House - the home of a 16th century merchant. There are 11 galleries and many exhibitions featuring history, popular culture, contemporary arts and crafts throughout the year.
The parish church of St. Mary Magdalene has a Norman doorway and features a musical clock which chimes every hour.