20th - 24th June 2021
When Mary Stuart was born on an icy December day in 1542, no-one could have imagined that she would die some 45 years later upon a scaffold, deep in English territory, having been the prisoner of her English cousin, Elizabeth, for some 20 years. But the little Scottish queen had been born into a land that whose religious landscape was changing.
Having returned from France at the age of 19, Mary was thrust headlong into a hostile climate. She may have been young, cultured and very beautiful, but her Catholic religion had been displaced by Protestantism - and her lords all too often unmanageable and at dangerous loggerheads with one another.
Undermined by a series of her own cataclysmic decisions, almost as soon as Mary had returned to Scotland, she became embroiled in events that would set her upon a path that would ultimately end with her execution at Fotheringhay.
It is always a deeply moving experience to follow in the footsteps of any great historical character. Now, in this 5-day, 4-night tour, you will have the chance to explore Mary’s Scotland. We will follow in the Scottish Queen’s trail from the place of her birth, Linlithgow Palace, to Stirling Castle, where her mother took Mary to escape King Henry VIII’s rough wooing of the infant queen.
Of course, Edinburgh, and its dramatic castle, are a must! There, we will be touring two residences that were central to the young queen’s life story: The Palace of Holyrood, where we will stand in the very room in which her secretary, David Riccio, was brutally murdered in front of her eyes, as well as Edinburgh Castle, where Mary retreated after Riccio’s murder – and where she subsequently gave birth to her son, James, the future King of Scotland and England.
Finally, we pick up Mary’s trail at Loch Leven and (weather depending) we will be able to relive Mary’s doleful voyage across the loch to the place where she would spend her first few days in imprisonment, and where she would miscarry of twins and finally be violently forced to abdicate her throne.
Many of these places remain remarkably intact – and so there remains a strong, felt sense of connection to the Scottish Queen. So, I hope you can join us in search of Mary, Queen of Scots, as we retrace her steps through Bonnie Scotland, immersing ourselves in iconic places that bore witness to moments of triumph and tragedy in the life of this most captivating of women.
Meet at the designated, convenient pick-up point where you will board our luxury private coach bound for our hotel.
We meet again early evening to enjoy a welcome drinks reception before our evening meal and welcome talk, from Sarah Morris.
On our first full day, we will visit Linlithgow Palace where both Mary and her father, James V of Scotland, were born. Linlithgow was built in the 15th century and was apparently the first place to be called a "Palace" in Scotland!
In the afternoon we will visit Stirling Castle where the infant Mary was taken for safety by her mother during Henry VIII's "rough wooing" before returning to our hotel for a 3-course dinner.
On day 3 we will be touring two residences that were central to the young queen’s life story: The Palace of Holyrood, where we will stand in the very room in which her secretary, David Riccio, was brutally murdered in front of her eyes, as well as Edinburgh Castle, where Mary retreated after Riccio’s murder – and where she subsequently gave birth to her son, James, the future King of Scotland and England.
Lockleven Castle, a castle in the middle of a lake where Mary was held prisoner, miscarried twins and forced to abdicate. (The castle is only accessible via boat, a rather exciting way to approach a castle but this does also mean that the crossing is weather dependent.)
2 - On receipt of your completed booking form, a deposit invoice will be raised and sent to you. The invoice will include a room upgrade fee if requested and available.
3 - Pay your the deposit payment (including any upgrades) and your place is booked.
4 - You will receive your booking confirmation.
A 50% deposit* is required on booking. Please see the booking form and terms & conditions for more information
*The deposit is non-refundable. Please read the terms & conditions of booking. Please ensure you take out adequate travel insurance.
British History Tours is a company committed to customer satisfaction and consumer financial protection. We are therefore pleased to announce that, at no extra cost to you, and in accordance with '' The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018'' all passengers booking with British History Tours are fully insured for the initial deposit, and subsequently the balance of monies paid as detailed in your booking confirmation form. The policy will also include repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of British History Tours This insurance has been arranged by Towergate Chapman Stevens through Zurich Insurance PLC.
Policy exclusions: This policy will not cover any monies paid for Travel Insurance or any claim relating to Air Flights. If you have booked flights as part of your travel, you should ensure that the company with which you booked the flights has the appropriate CAA/ATOL bonds in place.