Mary Queen of Scots film: The locations

A handpicked range of Scotland's mountains, coastlines and castles will feature in the new Mary Queen of Scots film to create the perfect dramatic backdrop to one of history's most turbulent tales.

Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 3:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 3:27 pm
Key scenes in the new Mary Queen of Scots film, starring Saoirse Ronan (pictured) were shot on Seacliff Beach in East Lothian. PIC: Liam Daniel/Focus Feature.

Mary Queen of Scots, which stars Saoirse Ronan as the doomed queen and Margot Robbie as her cousin Elizabeth I, will open in Scotland next Friday, January 18.

While many settings were replicated at Pinewood Studios in London, including the Palace of Holyrood House, the cast and crew hit the road north when a piece of beautiful Scotland was required.

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The courtyard at Blackness Castle, West Lothian, was used to portray Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, in the film. PIC: Creative Commons/Dr John Wells.

Here we look at the locations that made the final cut.

1. Blackness Castle, West Lothian

The 15th Century fortress that overlooks the Firth of Forth doubles as Linlithgow Palace, where Mary Queen of Scots was born and remained for the first seven months of her life before she was moved to the greater security of Stirling Castle. She didn’t return to Linlithgow until 20 years later.

Film crews used the courtyards at Blackness Castle to depict the royal residence.

An old military road through Glen Coe was used for a scene featuring Mary, her husband Lord Darnley and the Queen's army. PIC: NTS.

2. Seacliff Beach and Oxroad Bay, East Lothian

The fine coastline at Seacliff in East Lothian is the backdrop to Mary’s return to Scotland in August 1561. The Queen is captured surveying the scene before saying “England does not look so different from Scotland” with the rocks at neighbouring Oxroad Bay also featuring.

3. Glen Coe

An old military road was used to shoot scenes featuring Mary and her husband Lord Darnley, played by Scots actor Jack Lowdon, with the couple escorted by the Queen’s army. It is understood Glen Coe was used to depict the Scottish borders in this scene as the pair travelled between Scotland and England.

4. The Cairngorms

Glen Feshie, the estate favoured by revered Victorian artist Sir Edwin Landseer, proved to be the perfect backdrop for producers wanting to depict the Queen in wild Scotland. Meanwhile, scenes of the Queen riding through the countryside were also shot in picturesque Strathdon in Aberdeenshire.

5. Old Royal High School, Edinburgh

Not used as a filming location but for costume fittings.