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Mary, Queen of Scots launches Scotland's Christmas Celebrations

1 December 2011


The young Mary, Queen of Scots, Mirrin Follan, aged four, is pictured hanging her Christmas stocking at the £12m newly refurbished Palace at Stirling Castle, to launch Historic Scotland’s Christmas celebrations.

Highlights of the Christmas programme include a Stewart Christmas to be held at Stirling Castle on Sunday 11th December from 12:30 – 3:30 pm when visitors will be able to step back in time to the period of Mary Queen of Scots and find out what Christmas would have been like in the Royal Stewart Court in the 16th Century.   

Neil Oliver, historian and broadcaster, will be making a guest appearance at the Christmas Shopping Fayre in Stirling Castle’s Great Hall on Tuesday 6th December, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm where he will be signing copies of his new book, A History of Ancient Britain.  Enjoy the festive atmosphere of log fires and mulled wine as you browse at your leisure for the perfect Christmas presents from a selection of Scottish designers including Gillian Kyle, Scott Inness, Sheila Fleet, Ortak and Harris Tweed.

Tickets for the Christmas Fayre can be purchased on line at or from the Clan & Craft Gift Shop on Stirling Castle esplanade.  Kids under 16 go free but must be accompanied by an adult.  The £5:00 entry includes car parking.

There will also be a Carol Concert at Stirling Castle on  Sunday 11th December from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm where the National Youth Choir of Scotland’s Stirling branch will be returning to the castle to perform traditional carols and popular festive songs in the beautiful and atmospheric surroundings of the Great Hall.  

The castle’s costumed characters will also perform scenes from Christmas past. Tickets cost £14 & £10 for concessions and are available from the Albert Halls on 01786 473 544.

Visitors to Edinburgh Castle can enjoy Christmas Carols in the magnificent surroundings of the Great Hall on Sunday 11th December at 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm.  This is included in the normal admission price

Edinburgh Castle is also hosting a range of costumed performances at weekends in December to celebrate the fun and frivolity of the 16th century.  There will also be special interactive performances from 27th – 31st December which will be fun for all the family.  Visitors will be able to meet Mary, Queen of Scots and her court, hear how she relaxes and enjoys the festive period, much to the annoyance of John Knox!   Visitors had better cover their ears when they meet the soldiers protecting the court – they will tell you how they spend their days and will also give a rousing musket display.   Visitors can also meet the court and see how they prepare food for Mary, Queen of Scots.  And for those looking for fun and games, enter the Palace Vaults, if you dare, and join in with the games of the 16th century.

Stephen Duncan, Historic Scotland’s Director of Commercial and Tourism said:  

“Christmas is a very special time of year and it is particularly magical and atmospheric in the iconic setting of a Scottish castle so we are hosting a range of Christmas activities for all of the family to enjoy.  

“The Stewart Christmas at Stirling Castle on 11th December will be a great day out. Visitors will be able to find out what Christmas was like at the time of Mary, Queen of Scots plus keep the children entertained as they will have the opportunity to dress up in Renaissance clothes and take part in Renaissance games.  

“In addition the costumed performers at Edinburgh Castle during the weekends in December are great fun and bring history to life in a light-hearted and humorous fashion.”

There will also be sumptuous three course Christmas lunches prepared by award-winning caterer benugo at Edinburgh Castle from 8th – 23rd December, 1:00 pm onwards.  £35:00 and £21:00 for children.  This includes free entry to the Castle.

Log on to the website to find out more details about events happening at Edinburgh and Stirling Castles and at Historic Scotland sites in your area.

Christmas Gift Membership

This Christmas why not give the gift of free days out all year round with an Historic Scotland membership.  You will also get an extra three months free when you buy a Christmas gift membership online.  This offer is only available until 31st December.   

To make sure this arrives in time for Christmas, visit  our website at

Gift membership comes in a special pack directly to the buyer or to the recipient complete with a personal message.  Membership benefits include:

  • Free Entry to all Historic Scotland’s properties including Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart castles.   Free entry to over 400 Historic Scotland daytime events from living history and music to battle re-enactments and spectacular jousting tournaments.
  • Half price entry to over 500 heritage attractions in England, Wales and the Isle of Man in your first year of membership and free entry for renewal or life members.  
  • 20% retail discount in all Historic Scotland shops – includes books, clothing and gifts.
  • Free glossy quarterly magazine keeping your informed with features on Scottish history and heritage, conservation projects and places to visit.  The Membership pack contains your membership cards, handbook and full information on all your membership benefits.

Notes for editors
  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

For further information

Jennifer Johnston-Watt
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8070 or 07827 956 866