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Making a costume drama out of a medieval day out

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 16, 2013

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Many actors say they don't really feel the part until they are kitted out in their character's full costume – and getting dressed up in the relevant raiment is also a really good way to learn about the past.

Buckland Abbey near Yelverton is a brilliant place to start and no visit to the 700-year-old home of Elizabethan seafarers Drake and Grenville is complete without trying on some Medieval or Tudor togs – there's a whole range of outfits to try plus loads of information about what people used to wear.

Younger visitors can get a taste of what it was like to be Thomas, a Tudor boy, or Agnes, a Tudor girl, so why not don a doublet or button up a bodice and get a real feel for Tudor life.

And if you visit on Sunday there will also be a Tudor archer from the age of the Mary Rose displaying his skills outside the Abbey from 12pm. He may even let you have a go!

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Killerton House near Exeter, another National Trust property, is also a great place to try on period clothes from a range of different eras.

A selection of costumes are on offer for boys and girls and even mums and grandmas have a chance to get kitted out too – with a choice of bonnets, hats and scarves to finish off the outfit.

And in keeping with the clothing theme why not fit in a trip to the Objects of Desire fashion exhibition – take a look at truly luxurious vintage fashion and accessories from the 20th century. Glamorous gowns, gorgeous bags and exquisite shoes are among the items on display – the exhibition is a must for the fashion-conscious in your party.

There is also a civil war weekend at Killerton starting tomorrow and continuing on Sunday – discover more about Devon's turbulent history during the civil war period and see what life was like in a royalist camp and take a tractor ride to the site of Cromwell's garrison.

Everyone in the family can have the opportunity to dress in historic costume at Trerice's Costume Day on Monday.

The Elizabethan manor house near Newquay stages regular costume days to help visitors discover more about why different people have worn different garments throughout history.

From traditional Tudor costumes to civil war plate armour, there's plenty of stuff to try for size.

The costumes have been created by the Trerice Costume Group and even if you don't fancy slipping anything on you'll be sure to admire the handiwork and skill that went into making them.

Sunday is also a Costume Day at Cotehele near Saltash – why not go and meet the Mill team who will be dressed for the occasion and offering milling demonstrations and tours.

The working mill next to the Morden Stream is an atmospheric reminder of the recent past when corn was ground for the local community.

It's believed that mills have worked in the Tamar valley since medieval times and the watermill at Cotehele dates back to the 19th century.

At Morwellham Quay you can find out how people lived, worked and played 150 years ago with the help of the attraction's Living History team and trying on costumes is an essential part of a day at Morwellham too.

It's a great chance to dress up in Victorian costume which, for the girls, means crinolines, whilst the boys can try on travel coats and top hats or working man's attire.

You'll learn all about how the varied styles of clothing were relevant to social status.

Clothes make the man said Mark Twain – trying on garments our ancestors would have worn can make your family day out a little bit special too.

To find out more about these and other National Trust sites in the South West visit the website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/south-west/ and to find out more about what's happening at Morwellham Quay visit www.morwellham-quay.co.uk

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