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General19 April 2022

Leeds Castle’s 1930s Country House Party Experience Launches

After months of waiting, you are now invited to 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, we have 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 you 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. 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. Also experience the immersive ‘Aviary’ experience will showcase Lady Baillie’s love of birds.

Amidst this fun and frolics, you 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.”