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School session

Mary, Queen of Scots: power, palace and plots

Image of pupils in Mary, Queen of Scots Bedchamber
  • Palace of Holyroodhouse
  • Wednesday, 12 Aug 2020 - Friday, 25 Jun 2021
  • Second Level, Third and Fourth Level, Senior Phase
  • English Language, Religious Education, Social Studies
  • Details
  • Travel
  • Lunch facilities
  • Access
  • How to book
  • Prices
  • Security



This interactive session has been redesigned to make the most of both indoor and outside spaces, ensure social distancing and provides multiple hand washing opportunities. We are delighted to talk to you about any specific requirements for your school.

Step back to the glittering – and sometimes grisly – court of Mary, Queen of Scots, as pupils explore the rooms she used in the Palace and discover the dramatic events that unfolded there.

Get up close to replica costumes and objects, stand in the spots where history was made, and use investigatory skills to uncover the stories of power, plots and daily life in the 16th century.

Visit includes access to: Mary, Queen of Scots’ private apartments, the Great Gallery, Holyrood Abbey, and Abbey Strand.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use the historic rooms and objects in the Palace to investigate major events in Mary’s life including: her debates with Protestant reformer John Knox, her marriages to Darnley and Bothwell, the murder of David Rizzio and her downfall.
  • Discuss the challenges Mary faced as a female ruler and because of her religion.
  • Discover what daily life was like for the people at Mary’s court and for the Queen herself. Compare and contrast 16th-century Edinburgh with today.



Palace of Holyroodhouse, Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8DX

By car

There is a public car park adjacent to the Palace at Broad Pavement. Please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website for more details.

Accessible parking spaces are located on Horse Wynd, just outside the Palace, on a first-come first-serve basis.

By train

Edinburgh Waverley. The Palace is a 15 minute walk from the station.  Visit National Rail Enquiries for times and fares.

By tram

The nearest tram stop is York Place. The Palace is a 20 minute walk from the station. Visit Edinburgh Trams for times and fares.

By coach / bus

Bus numbers 6 and 35 stop near the Palace.  Open-top tour buses stop nearby.

Limited free coach parking is available adjacent to the Palace. Alternative pay-and-display coach parking is available on nearby Regent Road.

Lunch facilities

Lunch facilities

A lunch room is available for booked groups in the Learning Rooms.  



Our learning programmes are designed to be accessible to all pupils.  Most of our sessions can be adapted to meet any educational or access needs your group may have.  Please ask for details when booking.

You may find the information for visitors on the Autism spectrum helpful when planning your visit to The Palace of Holyroodhouse.

How to book

How to book

To find out more or to make a booking contact the Learning Bookings team.

Please have to hand:

  • Preferred date and possible alternatives, plus time of arrival
  • Numbers of children and supervising adults
  • The taught programme you would like
  • Details of any special educational or access needs

You will then be sent a reservation letter, together with your teachers’ resource pack, giving a date by which full payment must be received to secure the booking.

Please note: you may be asked to cover the cost of the session if you cancel within short notice of your visit.  Non-booked schools will be charged at standard group admission rates.  Please see our Terms of Application for Learning Group Admissions.

Contact us

Learning Bookings Team
Ticket Sales and Information Office
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA

T. (+44) (0)303 123 7323
F. (+44) (0)20 7930 9625
[email protected]

Sharing Learning Objectives

You will find our learning objectives for each taught session on the relevant programme information page.  Sending us your learning objectives prior to your visit will help us tailor the session to your group’s requirements.

Planning Visits

Once you have made your booking, we offer two complimentary tickets for you and a colleague to conduct a planning visit.  If you would like to meet a member of the Learning team during this visit, please let us know at the time of booking.

Teachers' Packs for each site can be downloaded here.



Reduced-rate admission for school groups

Most of our Palace schools sessions are £3 per pupil. Children in P1 and below are FREE.  Please see individual sessions for details.

Accompanying adults

One teacher or adult helper is admitted free of charge at the following ratios:

Under 5s - 1 adult: 3 pupils
P1 – P4 - 1 adult: 6 pupils
P5 and above - 1 adult: 10 pupils

Please ask for details of rates for additional adults when booking.



Following your booking a confirmation letter, with an agreed arrival time, will be sent to you; your letter serves as a ticket for your group. The group leader must have a copy of the confirmation letter to present on arrival.

The Royal Collection Trust Learning section asks that teachers undertake the following guidelines to make entry to Royal Collection Trust sites as smooth and quick as possible:

  • Please arrive at the Royal Collection Trust site at least 5 minutes before the scheduled time for the booked workshop
  • Teachers and children should not bring the following: scissors, compasses, metal cutlery, sharp metallic implements
  • Only bring what you need! The Royal Collection Trust Learning section will provide all necessary equipment such as clipboards, pencils and drawing materials (groups can bring their own sketchbooks if they prefer to use these)
Photograph of Mary, Queen of Scots' Bedchamber

Mary, Queen of Scots' Bedchamber ©

Pupils will:

Use evidence

Compare and contrast

Explore places and investigate artefacts

Discuss historical people and events, and place them in context and on a historical timeline

Engage with others, listen, question and respond

Demonstrate understanding


Available Monday, Thursday and Friday.  Session lasts 2 hours.


Mary, Queen of Scots colouring sheet

Mary, Queen of Scots fact sheet

Royal Mile Trail