Leeds Castle

Immersive orientation video

Leeds Castle is renowned as one of the leading tourist attractions in the South-East. It offers a wide range of possibilities to visitors including falconry displays and grounds to relax or run around in.

And then there is the Castle itself – well actually less of a castle than you might think.

There are remains of a medieval barbican, but the main structure is more country house than castle.

Yes, there are crenelations, a moat, and an original gatehouse, but the main building one visits is one saved from rack-and-ruin in the early 20th century and completely renovated at that time.

Refurbished in a faux medieval style by its benefactor-in-chief, one Lady Olive Bailey.

A dollar princess by any other name, she spent huge sums repairing and rebuilding and, as she had a passion and fascination with the medieval period (she even named her son Gawain), low and behold the “castle” was reborn.

And this is how the team at Leeds Castle decided to re-present its interior, by showing how it was in its 1930s heyday when Lady Bailley used it as her country retreat.

Leeds castle room

Rooms are populated with the paraphernalia of the time, books, clothes, games, and banquets.

But the team also recognised that the public are expecting something more castle-like, more mediaeval, more sword-clashing and blood curdling.

After much research (both historical and marketing), it became clear there was an opportunity to do something different.

To present the castle as the home of powerful women. The home of influential medieval queens, rather than swashbuckling kings. The parallels between these medieval queens and Lady Bailley were manifest – she had echoes of them all.

We were commissioned to provide a stunning introductory experience to a visit. And to make it immersive, impactful… and short!!

Visitor numbers are high at Leeds Castle and the commercial pressure of ensuring enough throughput placed a strain on the way in which 6 queens could be portrayed – well 7 in fact, as our hostess would be in the form of Catherine of Aragon, who also lived at Leeds Castle – a gift from Henry VIII.

A challenge in many ways, not least of all in the scripting, but also physically, as all this was to take place in the gatehouse – it being en-route to the interior of the castle.

There was also the usual technical challenge of specifying, installing and commissioning a full range of audio visual hardware systems without impacting the fabric of the historic building in which we were working.

We wrote the script, cast actors, sourced costumes, filmed on green screen in the studio, filmed on location at Leeds Castle; we created CGI backgrounds and animations, developed on-screen visual effects, we wrote a music score and incorporated lighting effects.

In short we created what we were asked for

  • 4.5 m high, 9.5 m wide the main projection area is indeed impactful.
  • And the show is short – it lasts for just over 6 minutes.

It begins with Lady Baillie’s “butler” inviting visitors to await her instruction – as he bustles off to find her ladyship, Catherine of Aragon takes over. Her portrait comes to life and she is aghast to having been described as Henry VIII’s first wife!!

The show continues with her introducing all the other 6 medieval queens. CGI birds fly across the screen when we learn Eleanor of Castille created an aviary, games of chess explode, coins fall from the sky…

…visitors are immersed in its all-embracing mix of media.

On the adjacent wall a map animates to show the regions of Europe where the queens are from – none of them were English by birth.

An interface to a queuing video (c/w countdown clock to the next showtime), and doors that open automatically to send visitors on their way are all part and parcel of the creation – a creation that regularly receives a round of applause from visitors at the end.

Job done!!


Leeds Castle
  • Script writing
  • Casting
  • Costumes
  • Filming - green screen
  • Filming on location
  • CGI backgrounds and animations
  • on-screen visual effects
  • Music score
  • lighting effects
Our Work
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