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Published: 08 February 2016

Our ‘War And Peace’ Journey – In The Footsteps Of The BBC

Vilnius winter city break

As Pierre Bezukhov strides up to the front door of Natasha Rostova, the inevitable romantic conclusion of the stunning BBC drama ‘War & Peace’ is upon us – with a heavy sense of unwelcome closure.

Our Baltic Holidays ‘War and Peace’ journey has lasted rather a lot longer than the 6 weeks of episodes. From the moment we learnt the BBC would be filming ‘War and Peace’ mainly in Lithuania and Latvia we could hardly contain our excitement. Any link between the Baltic States and Britain is special for us, and one we love to be involved in. Here was the perfect opportunity to showcase the beauty of Lithuania, Latvia (and of course Russia) in the living rooms of millions every Sunday night – what an opportunity for these charming countries. It has been a sheer joy (albeit slightly distracting especially in episode one when there were so many characters to meet!) spotting familiar locations laid out beautifully behind equally captivating actors.

Rumsiskes open air ethnographic museum Lithuania

Rural Russia was the wonderful open-air museum of Rumsiskes in Lithuania, where you really do sense being back in Tolstoy’s era.

Baltic Holidays love a challenge, and as we profess to clients with unusual requests, we can arrange most things via our local networks. Via our membership of the British Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania, we were soon put in touch with the Lithuanian production company who were fundamental in producing this BBC ‘War & Peace’ masterpiece. It was fun learning from them about the locations used in filming, and we so wished we’d been in town to stumble across a closed off old town street in Vilnius during their work. Last time this happened to me it was for a Danish advert for oranges, something I felt rather less connected to or excitement for.


Rundale Palace in Latvia as featured in the BBC War & Peace production.

Rundale Palace is a beautiful place to visit all year round, wonderful interiors and grounds and now you can imagine the high society of War & Peace gossiping about Napoleon over a gold-rimmed glass of wine.

Once we knew the film locations and weighed these up with access and accommodation, we created an itinerary for a fabulous ‘in the footsteps of ‘War & Peace’ tour. The next step – to obtain some publicity – pitching to the national UK newspaper travel sections began. Now this bit is always a bit frustrating for us! Our destinations are quirky and fun, our services can be very personalised and off-the-beaten-track, there are so many good stories to be experienced and written about we don’t know where to start. As a small but very strong, little-known company we constantly must shout, ‘take a chance on us!!!’ And they did…

There’s an energy and buzz when we arrange a journalist trip, everyone is pumped up to give the best service possible. It can be a blind investment – you’re putting everything into something that could turn into anything (or sometimes sadly nothing) … But what materialised was better than we could have imagined. We thank ‘The Times’ and ‘The Telegraph’ for running with our ideas, and to the excellent work of top journalists Ian Belcher and John Gimlette who transformed their trips into fantastic articles – true reflections of Lithuania & Latvia that gave me goosebumps with their imagery and interpretation.

As a small, very dedicated, and devoted British & Lithuanian team we wanted to do what we could to take Lithuania and Latvia out of the backdrops and into the limelight as best we could.

Now the articles have been printed, the drama has been shown, the well-deserved praises have been sung. We now have a ‘War & Peace’ hole in our hearts, but the memory can live on by coming to visit Lithuania, Latvia, or Russia on one of our wonderful private or small group tours.

St Petersburg can be added to our War & Peace tour

St Petersburg is majestic, regal & beautiful. Star of so many literary and cultural classics, St Petersburg attracts you to it, like someone who you would like to get to know more…

Visit St Petersburg on one of our group tours or tailor-made private tours designed for you.

Written by Sally @ Baltic Holidays.

Published: 08 February 2016