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Scottish history - Places associated with Mary Queen of Scots


A guide to Scottish places associated with the life and times of Mary Queen of Scots. For more on Scotland's monarchs, don't miss our digital guide - Scotland's Kings & Queens: The Stewarts.

Linlithgow Palace

The birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, who was born on 8 December 1542, Linlithgow Palace is famed as the home of the Royal Stuarts. King James I began work on the palace in 1424 and it became a favourite with Scottish royals, including King James V and Princess Elizabeth, the 'winter queen'. The palace is magnificiently situated beside the fifteenth-century St Michaels Kirk, and Linlithgow Loch. A three-tiered 'wedding cake' fountain can be seen in full flow on Sundays during July and August.

Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow EH49 7AL; tel: 01506 842896.

Stirling Castle

Mary was crowned queen at 9 months old at Stirling Castle and spent her early years here, alongside her step-brothers. Mary also chose Stirling Castle as a place of protection for her young son James who was baptised here and later crowned king in 1567.

Stirling Castle, Stirling FK8 1EJ; tel: 01786 450000

Port of Leith

Edinburgh's ancient port, Leith, played a part in the life of Mary Queen of Scots, as it was here that she first set foot in Scotland after her return from France in 1561.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

The ancient palace of Holyroodhouse (pictured), set alongside Holyrood Abbey, was the setting for the brutal murder of Mary's servant David Rizzio by a group of lords led by Lord Ruthven.

Mary moved into Holyrood soon after her arrival in Scotland in 1561 and married Henry Lord Darnley here in 1565.

Palace of Holyroodhouse, Holyrood, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle was Mary's refuge at several points during her turbulent life. Her son James was born here in 1566, after she fled to the castle from the Palace of Holyrood after the murder of David Rizzio. The young Mary Queen of Scots was also presented to her people from the castle after the death of her mother.

Edinburgh Castle, Castle Hill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG; tel: 0131 225 9846.

Inchmahome Priory

A medieval priory set on the island of Inchmahome on the Lake of Menteith. Mary was brought to Inchmahome by her mother, at the age of five, as a place of refuge following the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Pinkie. A carving of Mary's name can be found on a box bower at the centre of the island. The priory and island are owned by Historic Scotland and visitors can reach the island by ferry. Accessibility is normally between April and October each year.

Lochleven Castle

A medieval tower on the island of Loch Leven (pictured) which is famous for its association with Mary Queen of Scots - it was here in 1567 that Mary was imprisoned and forced to sign an abdication document passing the throne to her son.

Mary escaped from the castle in 1568, with the help of George Douglas, son of the castle's keeper. From here, she escaped to England, never to return to Scotland.

Visitors can reach the island by ferry, for details tel: 01577 862670.


Mary Queen of Scots House, Jedburgh

A sixteenth-century tower house where Mary stayed during a visit to the Scottish borders in 1566. This visit became important to Mary's fate, as it was during her stay in the borders that she was accused of having visited the Earl of Bothwell in secret.

Mary Queen of Scots House, Queen Street, Jedburgh TD8 6EN; tel: 01835 863331.

Craigmillar Castle

A medieval tower house linked with Mary, with a 'Queen Mary's room' in which the queen is believed to have slept during her stay with the Prestons. The castle is one of Scotland's most well preserved castles and includes a fifteenth-century courtyard wall with gunholes.

Craigmillar Castle, Craigmillar EH16 4SY; tel: 0131 661 4445.

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