The Mary Queen of Scots Festival 2017

Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd September
Market Park, Kinross – FREE ENTRY!



The Mary Queen of Scots Festival is part of Scotland’s ‘Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology’ and set to inspire visitors to #facethepast #HHA2017

The Mary Queen of Scots Festival 2017 will celebrate the rich cultural and history and heritage of the Kinross area, most notably it’s famed connection to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. The event will commemorate Mary’s life as Kinross poignantly marks the 450 year relationship with the Castle on Loch Leven Island where she was held captive and where spent some of her most troubled years, and the end of her reign in 1567.

The festival will take place over the first weekend in September (2nd & 3rd) at Market Park, Kinross and the programme will include living history encampments, music, food and drink and a programme of children’s entertainment to explore; all activities will guarantee a great day out.Working with our partners It’s Not All Black & White (who created the original concept in 2015) the new Mary Queen of Scots Festival programme for 2017 will be created, developed and delivered by Unique Events, Scotland’s leading independent event organisers and festival creators.

The festival will showcase the varied pastimes the Queen enjoyed as well as create a medieval atmosphere. Aspects of the festival include:


 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.

Medieval Encampment

The Royal Stuart Kitchens

This is a hands on activity showcasing the food of the time period, both for Royalty and peasantry. Enough to make anyone’s stomach turn!

In addition to this dining display, a large variety of the best catering companies in the area are joining us at the festival to bring you a brilliant selection of delicious cuisine. Companies such as Woodburns Pizza, Jarvis Pickle, Alanda’s Fish and Chips and Nelson’s Ice Cream will all be attending the. To plan your meal or more information about these delicious treats find out more here.


Blacksmith Armoury

Queen Mary’s reign was a turbulent time for Scotland. Armourers and Smiths all over the country wer

e 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.


Medieval Falconry


Visitors will also be able to visit a falconer with a chance to meet the amazing birds of prey and learn about their role in medieval society.





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.



The Gorns

Traditional Scottish music typical of the time period will be played throughout the festival In the Belhaven tent. The Gorms are an exciting act coming to in the Belhaven Tent for the Mary Queen of Scots Festival and will be playing a large range of Scottish Folk music hits.  Other acts to appear in the Belhaven Tent over the weekend include The Cognac TwinsCalum Baird and Ruth Gillies. Definitely worth a watch!

To  accompany the great traditional music, a blend of debates and talks from a range of guest speakers will also be hosted in the Belhaven tent .




The Wee White Dug

The Wee White Dug

Casper aka the Wee White Dug will be joining festival goers on Saturday 2nd September, and is hoping for an audience with the queen and maybe even a selfie if he’s lucky. Casper recently spent an enjoyable morning with Thomas from Visit Dunfermline, exploring the historic centre of Dunfermline.  He’s looking forward to visiting Kinross to find out more about Scotland’s most iconic queen, and the time she spent in captivity at Loch Leven Castle. Casper is the star of BBC featured, Scottish travel blog ‘Scotland with the Wee White Dug‘.  Written by his history geek Mum Sam, the blog follows Casper as he travels around Scotland.



Programme Details


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.

Don’t miss out!

This action packed weekend is a must see event for anyone interested in Mary Queen of Scots – and all aspects of medieval history. With such a large variety of entertainment being displayed there really is something for everyone. And best of all its totally free to attend!

To register your interest in the festival and keep up to date with the latest news, simply sign up to the Facebook event.

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