2 nights starting from
Linlithgow Palace – Mary’s birthplace
Stirling Castle – her childhood home
Lochleven Castle – where she was imprisoned
Holyrood Palace – from which she ruled
John Knox House
Private dinner with traditional music
A weekend break in which we delve into the romantic but tragic life story of Mary, Queen of Scotland at six days old, Queen of France aged sixteen and (inconveniently for her cousin Elizabeth) also possessor of a very strong claim to the throne of England into the bargain. Join Robin and Karen Cairns, who leads our Charles Rennie Mackintosh tours to great acclaim, to explore the life and times of one of history’s most tragic heroines, which started in a Scottish palace and ended with her beheading at Fotheringhay Castle (also seen on our Richard III tour).
|03 - June - 2022||Limited Availability||Travel Info Please Call||booking-journey/#/start/MQS/03 June 2022/|
|30 - September - 2022||£ 679.00||Travel Info Book Now||booking-journey/#/start/MQS/30 September 2022/|
Day 1: Arrive independently at the Doubletree by Hilton, Edinburgh Airport from 15.00. This evening there will be a welcome drink, private dinner with wine and a talk by Robin Cairns, welcoming the group into the world of the tragic Queen.
Day 2 Linlithgow Palace, St Michael’s Kirk, Stirling Castle and Alloa Tower. Evening private dinner with music.
A packed day as we tell the story of Mary Queen of Scots, starting, as the best stories do, at the very beginning, at her birthplace, Linlithgow Palace. Standing proud over the dark loch, the story begins at the grand (now ruined) palace where Mary was born only days before the death of her father, upon which she became Queen. Whilst here we will also visit St Michael’s Kirk where she was christened. From here, we follow her life chronologically, to Stirling Castle, Scotland’s finest intact renaissance castle, to which Mary’s mother whisked the infant in order to give her safety both from the armies of Henry The Eighth and also the squabbling factions of the Scots Lords. Time for lunch (not included) in the handsome town before travelling east, first to Alloa Tower, where Mary spent part of her childhood under the guardianship of the Erskine family. From here, we continue east to Kinross to view Lochleven Castle from the side of the loch, where Mary was held prisoner for 10 months as her grip on the cruel and ungovernable realm which was her Scotland began to slip. And, to add a romantic note to this tragic tale, we hear how a local youth, in love with his beautiful, flame-haired monarch, helped her escape. Back to the hotel with time to freshen up before a private dinner with wine and a taste of the music played at pageants and balls in Mary’s time, to which she would dance for as long into the night as the rest of her courtiers could keep up with her.
Day 3: Holyrood Palace, John Knox House, St Giles Cathedral and Falkland Palace.
This morning we head into the heart of beautiful Edinburgh to visit the ancient Scots Royal Palace, Holyrood. This was the setting for Mary’s six years of success as Scots Queen in the 1560s and also the scene of the vicious murder (conducted in front of Her Majesty) of her faithful retainer David Rizzio. From here we head the short distance into the city centre to John Knox House and St Giles Cathedral. The house was the remarkably authentic dwelling of John Knox, the firebrand preacher who drove Scotland to convert to the Protestant faith and the man who condemned Mary, along with the Queen of France and Elizabeth of England too, as “a monstrous regiment of women”. We’ll visit the adjacent St Giles Cathedral too, where in 1560 despite Scotland having a Catholic queen was decreed a Protestant country and the Cathedrals reign of 400 years as a Catholic church officially came to an end. Inside the cathedral the stained-glass windows were removed, and old church silver was melted down and sold to raise funds for redecoration. Time will be allowed for lunch (not included) before heading this afternoon over the Forth Bridge to Falkland Palace. On the site of another beautifully preserved royal residence, we conclude the tale of how Mary was driven out of her own kingdom, forced to throw herself upon the mercy of her cousin Elizabeth, held captive for 19 years in England then finally released from her ill-starred wranglings with fate and power by the savage swing of the executioner’s axe at Fotheringhay Castle in Leicestershire. Return to the hotel for approximately 17.30.
NB: Exact itinerary may vary according to changes in opening times and schedules.
Please note: Post tour extra nights are available at a supplement.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 40 passengers.
Doubletree by Hilton, Edinburgh Airport
The four-star Doubletree by Hilton Edinburgh Airport is located half a mile from Edinburgh Airport and approximately 30 minutes drives from the centre of Edinburgh. The hotel recently underwent a £2 million refurbishment and offers a restaurant, bar, lounge, indoor pool, spa and fitness centre. Bedrooms are comfortable with en-suite bathroom, TV, telephone, wifi and hairdryer. Please note, if arriving at Edinburgh Airport the hotel provides a free airport shuttle.
Car parking is available at the hotel at £15 per night, payable directly at the hotel.
Please note that all our UK tours start and finish at the relevant hotel.
You can normally check in from 3pm onwards but hotels will always be happy to store your luggage if you arrive earlier in the day.
For full details of how to get to the hotel, directions and the nearest train station, please click on the hotel website or call our office for details. These will also be sent automatically with your confirmation.
The welcome reception and first evening dinner / talk will commence at about 7pm - full details will be sent with your joining instructions about 10 days prior to the arrival date.
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