8 Places Mary Queen of Scots Visited Near Edinburgh


The new Mary Queen of Scots film starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie has just hit cinemas in Scotland, so we thought we should explore the places where the real Scottish Queen visited, lived, dined and was held captive in and around Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh.

1. Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace is where it all began. Mary was born here in 1542. She was crowned Queen of Scotland at only 6 days old after her father, James V died. Mary never met her father, and it was said he uttered these prophetic words on his deathbed: “It cam wi a lass and it’ll gang wi a lass.” He was referring that the crown of Scotland had come through a woman [Marjorie Bruce] and would be lost through a woman [Mary].

Bit mean, huh?

Mary was also baptized in the chapel here. She visited the palace twice more as an adult, in 1562 and 1564.

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2. Stirling Castle

Mary was crowned Queen at only 9 months old at Stirling Castle and spent most of her early life here. Stirling Castle was also the chosen location where her son, James, was baptised and crowned King.

There is a hole carved into the side of the north castle wall that was made so Mary could peer out of as a toddler!


3. Leith

The port of Leith was the location that Mary sailed to from France in 1561. She took her first steps back onto Scottish soil here!


4. Palace of Holyroodhouse

After her return to Scotland, Mary took up residence here. She also married her second husband, Lord Darnley here in 1565.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse was also the location where Lord Darnley murdered Mary’s private secretary, David Rizzio, in front of her.


5. Edinburgh Castle

Mary gave birth to her son, James at Edinburgh Castle. You can even visit the very room she gave birth!

James eventually became the king of Scotland when his mother was executed, and later became the king of England after the death of Queen Elizabeth I.


6. Dunfermline Abbey

Mary visited and stayed at Dunfermline Abbey on several occasions with her husband Lord Darnley.


7. Craigmillar Castle

Mary stayed here on at least two occasions in what is now known as ‘Queen Mary’s room’. The two yew trees at the entrance of the castle were said to have been planted in Mary’s honour.

Craigmillar Castle was also the location the plan to dispose of her husband, Lord Darnley, was hatched.

More recently, Craigmillar castle was used as a filming location for the 2018 Netflix film Outlaw King, which tells the story of King Robert the Bruce.


8. Lochleven Castle

After the suicide of her third husband, the Earl of Bothwell, Mary was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle for one year.

Mary miscarried twins while she was imprisoned here, and they were buried on the island.


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