Shop RNIB Donate now

Review of the audio described Tour of Blenheim Palace

A close up of a handset used at Blenheim Palace for the Audio Description Guide shown describing a statue of Queen Anne.

The audio description guide handset in use at Blenheim Palace

Last summer Nanjiba Misbah went to Blenheim palace near Oxford.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 300 years of history and home to the Twelfth Duke of Marlborough and his family. Here is Najiba's review of the audio described tour.

It was the first time I used audio description on such a tour and in this feature, I’ll review the handset that is needed to receive the audio description and the description itself. 

Audio Description Guide

The audio description is received through a handset which is shaped like a phone with headphones connected to it. It had images of the different rooms, labelled in white and audio tracks of different pieces in the rooms. 

The guide had separate pages for each room, with a list of images of items that were part of the tour. Even though it had a good colour contrast, it still wasn’t very accessible because:

  • The screen was quite dim, despite being on the highest level of brightness.
  • You couldn’t zoom-in to read the information to the level of magnification you needed.
  • It didn’t have Voiceover or Talkback. So, if you need text to speech software to navigate it, you’ll need to ask someone for assistance. 


The audio description was excellent. I loved how it gave a detailed description of what the items looked like and explained the history behind them. Though I couldn’t see or interact with the on-screen images and small white text that came with the description. 

During the tour we were told about a new Winston Churchill exhibition. The guide didn’t have any information about it. So, my family described the pieces in the room and read out the information on display.  Overall, I enjoyed my time at the palace. It was an interesting experience, using the handset for the first time.