Editor’s note: This is a guest post from a reader.
When my partner told me I might need to dress up in a nun’s outfit for my birthday surprise I was a little dubious, and curtly reminded him that it was my birthday not his. When he produced a vintage policeman’s hat and a pair of handcuffs I was more worried than anything else. Weren’t we a bit old for that? But, thankfully, he showed me a set of tickets next and all was explained. We were heading to Kent for an extravagant Murder Mystery weekend! Both of us are real fans of escorted holidays, which are ready planned trips that include visits, accommodation and travel. Whilst browsing the UK short breaks he had come across this Agatha Christie style adventure complete with banquets, travel and an additional weekend excursion. It all sounded great, and it was sure to be a birthday to remember.
The weekend started with a delicious meal in the hotel dining room where we met the other guests who turned out to be a lovely group of people. The hotel was beautifully antique and suitably grand, setting the scene perfectly for the mayhem and mystery to come. After evening drinks we retired to our luxury hotel room and I read a bit of Agatha Christie’s Murder She Said to get me in the mood.
The following day included an excursion to Leeds Castle, which is 900 years old and one of the most beautiful castles in the UK. The surrounding parkland is perfect for strolls and we had a birthday picnic under ancient trees. My partner gave me some splendid 1920’s jewellery to wear for the evenings events.
Once back at the hotel we headed for our rooms to get into character. My partner had been joking about the need for outlandish costumes but in actual fact nothing like this is expected. Period costume is optional but we would certainly recommend making the effort. Getting dressed up makes the evening more authentic and is quite simply good fun. We dressed to the 1920s and 30s theme, and were very glad to have done so. My Flapper Dress went down a treat and the men looked great in their stylish suits. At the drinks reception we were pleased to find the group in good spirits and getting into character. All of the guests had followed the dress code in some way and there were some fabulous costumes creating a wonderful atmosphere.
The following three course dinner was exceptional, and it was during the feasting that the Murder Mystery began to play out, characters telling us tales about the murder and their whereabouts at the time. Taking notes of important clues, we developed our suspicions and tried to sniff out of the red herrings to get to the ‘who done it’. The characters acted brilliantly and I found myself completely suspending my disbelief and getting involved in the game. It was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had and we hope to try out more in the future.
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