New interactive map to showcase Mary Queen of Scots sites for movie release

Mary's birthplace, Linlithgow. Pic: Michael Gillen
Mary's birthplace, Linlithgow. Pic: Michael Gillen
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Historic sites, protected landmarks and visitor attractions across the country with links to Mary Queen of Scots are to be showcased in a new tourism campaign aimed at capitalising on the launch of the new big-screen depiction of the iconic monarch.

A new interactive map created to mark the film’s UK release this weekend features 19 different locations which were either visited by Mary or deployed by the makers of the movie.

Universal's epic historical drama, Mary Queen of Scots, will be hitting cinema screens on Friday, January 18, 2019.

Universal's epic historical drama, Mary Queen of Scots, will be hitting cinema screens on Friday, January 18, 2019.

Highlights include Mary’s birthplace town of Linlithgow, where a month-long celebration of the West Lothian town’s links with Mary is under way.

Businesses in Linlithgow are being urged to create special window displays and sell Mary-themed products to herald the release of the film, which features Hollywood stars Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie as the Scottish monarch and her cousin, English queen Elizabeth I.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, where Mary lived between 1561 and 1567, Wemyss Castle, in Fife, where Mary met her second husband, Lord Darnley, for the first time in 1565, and Huntingtower Castle, in Perthshire, which the couple visited on their honeymoon, are all on the map.

Visitors are being urged to head for Loch Leven Castle, in Kinross, where Mary was held prisoner for nearly a year, and Inchmahome Priory, in the Lake of Menteith, in Stirlingshire, where Mary found sanctuary at the age of just four.

The map also features half a dozen of the key locations featured in the film, including Blackness Castle, in West Lothian, Seacliff beach in East Lothian, Strathdon in Aberdeenshire, and Glencoe and Glen Feshie in the 
Highlands.

Neil Christison, regional director of VisitScotland, said: “Mary, Queen of Scots is a Scottish icon and an important part of Scotland’s history and culture.

“We hope this latest big-screen interpretation of the 16th century monarch will further inspire visitors to explore the real historic locations that formed part of her fascinating story.”

Emma Chalmers, founder of the Mary’s Meanders tour company, which is based in Linlithgow, said: “As a town, we’re very proud to be the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and we’re delighted this film gives us a chance to highlight the connections between Mary and Linlithgow.”

Josie Rourke, the film’s director, has revealed that the entire film, which took 53 days to shoot, would have been made in Scotland had the country had proper studio facilities.

Although locations in Surrey and Derbyshire were deployed for the production, which ended up using Pinewood Studios in London as its main base, three and a half weeks of filming were still carried out across Scottish locations.

brian.ferguson@jpimedia.co.uk