The festival will have its very own royal encampment filled with the sounds and scents, the hustle and bustle of 16th century Scotland with Mary, herself, in attendance. It will be impossible for the visitors not to be instilled with a sense of enthusiasm and excitement for the time of Mary, Queen of Scots. We are delighted to have Clanranald Trust for Scotland, Scotland’s premier living historians, onboard to provide both historically accurate and spectacular activities throughout the day.

Mary herself, will hold court dressed in her finery, going about her royal business and enduring her captivity in style. Visitors will be invited to have an audience with Her Majesty and to join in with the revelries as Suitors, Court Advisors and servants vie for her attention.  The Queen enjoyed many and varied pastimes and we will showcase a selection of these:

The Royal Stuart Kitchens

This is a hands on activity showcasing the food of the time period, both for Royalty and peasantry.

Blacksmith Armoury

Queen Mary’s reign was a turbulent time for Scotland. Armourers and Smiths all over the country were very much at the heart of the period’s constantly evolving War industry.  Visitors can experience the creation of the elaborate weapons and armour of the day. The armoury will also house a selection of weapons throughout the ages, showcasing the development that happened throughout Mary’s reign.

Stuart Pastimes

Pastime and leisure entertainment is something we value today but was equally important to all classes 400 years ago.  In Mary’s time, theatre was very popular and most of the plays were about morality.  Most of the actors at the time were men, even the women!  Other popular games included, balloon ball, ring ball, dice, cards and mummery.  Fully interactive set up hosted by costumed characters.

Topiary tent

MQoS introduced the concept of formal gardens to Scotland.  Come and meet her gardeners, see the tools and have a go at topiary.

Tudor pottery

Tudor pottery for domestic and leisure use – Using a drum kiln and employing traditional and modern types of clay and techniques, we want to have a hands on area for children (and adults) to make their own ‘poppets’ and learn about the importance of clay industries of the time.


Visitors will also be able to visit a falconer


With the invention of gunpowder, most traditional ways of war suddenly became obsolete therefore armoured combat became a sport in the form of jousting and man on man armed competitions a bit like today’s riding and fencing competitions.

In magnificent tailored armour, Jousting Knights come from all over the realm to show off their finery and prowess in the saddle. There will be Knights from the Kingdom of Cornwall, the Shire of Nottingham, the Flatlands of Mercia and our own home-grown Caledonian Knights.  You will be able to mingle with these flamboyant characters, hear details of their training, lives, loves and losses. In between the jousting demonstrations our knights will be “tilting at the ring”.

The jousting demonstration will run both days with overall ‘winner’ receiving the Queen’s favour the MQoS Festival Shield.

Live Performance

The Belhaven tent will be programmed with music, debate and spoken word.

CLICK HERE for the tent programme.

Morning Programme

In the morning we will spend some time thinking and talking about Mary Queen of Scots.

Genealogy talk – Join us as one of Scotland’s top Genealogists gives us an insight into tracing your past.

Discussion – Some healthy and good natured debate about Mary, her reputation, her influence and, of course, her story.

Afternoon Programme

Throughout the afternoon there will be an amazing array of music, with lively trad and folk bands with some of Scotland’s best musicians and fantastic local, acoustic acts.

Children’s Entertainment
Alongside the amazing activities in the Encampments we will have face painting, games, arts & crafts and storytelling. Children will enjoy tales from Scottish folklore and history.

Food & Drink
Our fantastic sponsor Belhaven will be on site providing an excellent selection of ales and beers alongside a spirits, wine and non-alcoholic offerings.

There will be a great selection of hot and cold food offerings available on the day, don’t worry, we’ll tell you who will be coming before then event so you can plan your eating schedule!

There will also be a quality retail village offering Scottish food and drink produce and quality gifts made by Scottish crafters, with ‘meet the maker’ opportunities as well as specialty Mary Queen of Scots branded merchandise available.