Despite its outward grandeur, this palace has a cosy, lived-in atmosphere that gives you a real feel for what life was like for the Stuarts. Add in our expert guides – walking, talking history books who can tell you anything you want to know – and the time warp sensation is complete.
Follow in Mary’s footsteps through the palace’s interior, taking in the richly panelled Keeper’s quarters, the magnificent James V-era Chapel Royal, the Old Library and the recreated royal apartments.
All are packed full of paintings, furniture, tapestries and other period pieces. There’s plenty to explore outside too. Take a stroll around the gardens, the only remaining Percy Cane designed garden in existence with stunning displays of Delphiniums in high summer. Alternatively you can let off steam in the orchards, where a new wildlife area is being created. Also new this year will be a renaissance style physic garden with medicinal and culinary herbs. Based on Gerald’s Herbal, the garden would be familiar to Mary Queen of Scots.
And don’t miss the historic royal tennis court, the oldest in Britain – it was built in 1539 for James V and is still used today.
Did you know?
Tradition dictates that a king would use a falcon when hawking, while a queen would use a merlin