BEYOND EDINBURGH TOURS
ON THE TRAIL OF MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS
Mary, Queen of Scots is the most famous and interesting Scottish monarch. Born in 1542, the daughter of King James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise, she became queen of Scotland at only a week old and was betrothed to the Dauphin of France and educated at the French Court. Her reign was marred by troubled marriages, betrayal, rebellion and murder.
WHAT WE’LL DO…
Mary was a devout Catholic and claimed the English Crown was rightfully hers. She was a great danger to the English Queen Elizabeth I. When Mary fled to England she was confined by Elizabeth and was ultimately hanged for treason 19 years later at Fotheringhay Castle near Peterborough. After a short period at Peterborough Cathedral, her son James VI of Scotland / James I of England exhumed her remains in 1612 and brought them to Westminster Cathedral.On this Mary Queen of Scots tour learn about Mary’s troubled history and visit some of the most famous sights from her live and times in Scotland.
We start the tour in Leith, now a suburb to Edinburgh but still a separate town. After the death King Francis II of France in December 1560 Mary returned to Scotland grief stricken. She landed in the Port of Leith where her perilous journey through Scotland began as an adult. Her claim to the Scottish throne and strong catholic beliefs were not received well.
The birthplace of Mary, Linlithgow Palace was a ‘half way house’ between Edinburgh and Stirling and was often used as a recreation and entertainment venue for the Scottish Royal Family. The Palace was destroyed after Bonnie Prince Charlie (the Jacobite young pretender) left in 1745 and much of its history not lies in Ruin.
Mary spent a considerable amount of time at Stirling Castle throughout her life. She was crowned in the chapel at Stirling Castle when just 9 months old and returned to the crown palace many times in her adult life. The Castle has been widely restored to how it would have looked in the 16th century and is a must-see attraction in Mary and Scotland’s history.
Arguably one of the most impressive preserved 16th century buildings in the world, Falkland Palace was the Stuart family retreat. Mary spent summertime pursuing country activities such as falconry and also Royal tennis (Real Tennis) at the world’s oldest tennis court. The Palace has extensive grounds and an orchard that Mary spent much time in, thinking about her ascension to the throne of England.
A stones throw from Edinburgh, Craigmillar is often referred to as Edinburgh’s ‘other castle’. Mary spent two periods of her life here, once whilst quite unwell after the birth of her son and once before the murder of her Husband in the ‘Craigmillar plot’. Come to Craigmillar Castle and learn about the time in Mary’s life just her flight to England.
Mary was taken to Lochleven Castle and was held Captive there after her defeat at Carberry Hill east of Edinburgh. The Castle stands on a small island about a 10 minute boat ride from Kinross. Here, Mary is believed to have fallen seriously ill and miscarried twins, although another story says that she did in fact give birth and the child smuggled to France where she became a nun. Two attempts were made to Rescue Mary from the island, the second was almost successful.
The castle at Edinburgh has been rebuilt many times and was both a military garrison and royal seat. Mary gave birth to James IV at Edinburgh Castle in June 1566. Centuries later a small coffin was discovered behind wood panelling in the room. Was this the body of the heir to the Scottish throne.
Whilst we typically don’t include Edinburgh in a day tour because of logistics and time required to tour the monument, it is a must-see attraction whilst in Edinburgh.