Glide into the exotic weekend house parties of Lady Olive Baillie, as the Castle returns to the glamorous 1930s
For the first time in over 30 years, Leeds Castle in Kent, has launched new immersive displays to bring the castle to life, and introduce guests to one of the most sophisticated, yet enigmatic female owners of the Castle.
Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive Officer at Leeds Castle, said: “Lady Olive Baillie was passionate about design and reinvention, as well as hosting lavish weekends for high profile friends. Even as the clouds of war gathered over Europe, the country house parties continued across luxurious retreats like Leeds Castle.
“This new experience will take visitors on an immersive voyage through the 1930’s Castle with visitors getting up close and personal with original 1930s interiors and theatrical sets designed to feel like guests have just left the room. Compelling storytelling will bring the experience of above and below stairs to life.”
Anglo-American heiress, Lady Olive Baillie transformed the Castle into one of the most desirable country houses of the 20th century. As a highly sought-after weekend retreat, Lady Baillie’s guests included Hollywood stars like Errol Flynn and David Niven, society’s finest, and leading politicians like Chips Channon and a young John. F. Kennedy, all of whom partied within the Castle’s walls.
The new experience presents guests with an unprecedented opportunity to step into the life of Lady Olive Baillie, seeing how she designed the stunning Castle with the help of leading French designers of the time, Armand-Albert Rateau and Stéphane Boudin. Guests will join Lady Baillie’s quest to acquire the finest objects from some of the most famous Auction Houses and experience the hedonistic glamour of a 1930s ‘salon’, where music, gambling, drinking, dancing and dangerous liaisons were the order of the day. An immersive ‘Aviary’ experience will showcase Lady Baillie’s love of birds.
Amidst this fun and frolics, guests will also get an insight into the lives of the servants of Leeds Castle, listening to their gossip as they go about their daily business, under the watchful eye of their elusive mistress.
Sue Prichard, Head Curator at Leeds Castle, commented: ‘Leeds Castle is entering an exciting new phase of its 900-year history as we showcase the private world of Olive, Lady Baillie. Our seven-year development of new experiences at the Castle will ensure that there is always something new to see as we uncover new stories and different voices. Fully immersive biennial exhibitions will include the transformation of the Castle during WWII, and an exciting journey into the hedonistic counter-culture world of the country house in the 1960s.”
About Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle is considered a national treasure, providing a window onto over nine hundred years of British history. It is a haven of tranquillity and offers a wealth of discovery and enjoyment for all ages.
Situated five miles southeast of Maidstone in Kent, Leeds Castle’s rich and riveting history, including serving six of England’s medieval queens, to its elaborate transformation into a glamorous 1930s country house retreat for the influential and famous by Anglo-American heiress, Lady Olive Baillie, secures its place as one of the most visited historic attractions in Britain.
For more visitor information, please visit www.leeds-castle.com