Mary Queen of Scots - A Personal Tour with Lord Sempill



Mary Queen of ScotsThis is a three day tour, telling the tragic story of Mary Queen of Scots. This iconic woman has a special place in Scotland's history, and we are fortunate enough to be able to follow her brief reign through the countryside and the buildings in which she lived.


The tour is restricted to a maximum of eight people and provides a detailed picture of 16th century Scotland with many fine examples of the places Mary visited and lived in. These include the palaces of Holyrood, Linlithgow, and Falkland, and the mighty castles of Edinburgh and Stirling.


Each day will include a visit to a local restaurant, where the emphasis is on quality and local produce. At no stage will you be travelling for more than an hour, during which time you can enjoy the countryside for which Scotland is rightly famed.


Your host and guide has a strong connection with Mary. His ancestor, Robert, 3rd Lord Sempill, whose son John married Mary Livingston, one of Mary's Ladies in waiting, was involved in many of the key events of her reign. He, like so many other nobles, was caught up in the political turmoil of the day, and having been one of Mary's loyal supporters ended up opposing her on the field of battle.


Mary's reign as Queen of Scots might have disappeared into obscurity were it not for the many mysteries which have turned her life story into one of the most dramatic in Scotland's history.


Day 1. Edinburgh.


The morning is spent visiting her royal apartments at Holyrood Palace, which were the scene for many of the dramatic episodes of her short reign. A gentle stroll up the Royal Mile, highlighting some of the historic buildings, will be followed by a visit to the Museum of Scotland to look at a wonderful cross section of artefacts from sixteenth century Scotland. The afternoon will be dedicated to exploring Edinburgh Castle, where she gave birth to her son James, the future king of both England and Scotland.


Dinner in Leith with Lord Sempill.


Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace


Day 2. Over the Forth.


This is a day of contrasting architectural styles, starting with a visit to Lochleven Castle, where she was held captive and forced to abdicate in favour of her son. The castle is one of the earliest medieval tower houses built in Scotland. It sits on an island in the middle of the loch which is a nature reserve and home to a wide variety of waterfowl.


A short distance away is Falkland Palace, which was one of Mary's favourite residences. It has magnificent gardens and the oldest tennis court in Britain.


After lunch, you will find yourself at Stirling castle, recently restored to capture the magic of the reign of her father, James V and her mother, Mary of Guise.


The final visit is to Linlithgow Palace, her birthplace, and the pride and joy of the early Stuarts. Although a ruin, it features the magnificent fountain built by her father in the central courtyard.


Free evening.




Falkland Palace

Falkland Palace


Day 3. The Borders.


A trip that takes us to the heart of the Borders, one of the most violent regions in sixteenth century Britain. We visit Mary, Queen of Scot's House in Jedburgh. It was here that she recovered from a severe illness. Today, the house is a museum dedicated to her memory. You will also be able to visit the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey, one of the great medieval monastic buildings built in the twelve century and eventually destroyed by a combination of war and the Protestant reformation.


We will pause for lunch at the 1745 restaurant in the grounds of Traquair House, Scotland's oldest inhabited house. This was the home of the Captain of her royal guard, where Mary stayed to go hunting. It has its own brewery and craft shop.


The final stop is Craigmillar Castle, at which it is said, Mary was party to the plan to murder her husband, Lord Darnley. How guilty was she? ... this will be explored in more depth over some fine food and ale at the Sheep Heid in Duddingston, Scotland's oldest surviving pub, dating back to 1362. The ideal location to have a final dram!


Final Dinner at the Sheep Heid Inn, Duddingston


Mary Queen of Scots House

Mary Queen of Scots' house in Jedburgh


Clans and Castles


2013 PRICE


The cost of the tour is GBP 370 per person.

GBP 370 is about USD 592 (November 2012).


This covers all entrance fees and two dinners. Drinks are not included.


We will be delighted to make accommodation arrangements if required.


Tours in 2013 run Tuesday-Thursday as follows:


9 - 11 and 23 - 25 April

7 - 9 and 22 - 24 May

11 - 13 and 25 - 27 June

Further dates to be announced.


Clans and Castles




If you would like to know more about the trip please send an email to Lord Sempill.


OR - If you would like to go ahead and book a place, you can make your deposit of GBP 150 here ...



Clans and Castles



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Lord Sempill

Lord Sempill


"Ever since I read that John Knox thoroughly disapproved of the behaviour of Mary's courtiers, notably, Semple the dancer and the lusty Mary Livingston, I have always been sympathetic to her cause.


Mary Queen of Scots has long been the subject of historians. She has been portrayed, by some as a Catholic martyr and by others, as a murderer and adulteress. What is not in question, is the ruthlessness of the period, in which she relied on her beauty and charm in place of reason and determination. She never took charge of her life, but was controlled by events, and the few decisions she did make all ended tragically."


Join me in discovering some of the incontrovertible facts and unanswered questions about her reign.


~ Lord Sempill


Arms of Mary Queen of Scots

Arms of Mary Queen of Scots


Contact us ...


Scottish Clans and Castles

Coille House,

Appletreehall, Hawick,

Scottish Borders TD9 8RS

T: +44 1450 371719




Email us to arrange a Skype call

Email us to arrange
a Skype call


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