Tickets are now on sale for our weekend of celebrations for the opening of the castle’s Renaissance royal palace. Hooray, at last! It’s really exciting to be so close to the moment when we can finally let you experience what this magnificent palace might have been like when Mary Queen of Scots lived there as a little girl. The opening will be the climax of years of hard work by some very talented people, including fine craftsmen and women from Scotland and across Europe.
We’re calling the opening event Stirling Castle Presents – a Palace Fit for a Queen, and it’s on 4 and 5 June. There will be 60 costumed performers, lots of entertainments and – most important of all – a chance to be among the first to tour the palace. To make sure everyone has the best possible time, and to avoid overcrowding, we are limiting numbers. So entry to the castle and palace will be by pre-purchased ticket during the main event, that’s up to 4pm. I’d strongly suggest buying tickets asap, as they could sell out quickly – buy your tickets now!
Our costumed characters have been practicing for the palace opening by putting on small-scale shows for visitors. Last Friday we had some fun with the other royal wedding. A performer in the role of Mary of Guise showed the sort of preparations she would have made ahead of her wedding to James V. At Easter we had a table laid out for a royal banquet, with fabulous dishes including a pig’s head with an apple in its mouth. The cooking was by one of our stewards, former professional chef Sandy Easson, and as the picture shows he did a brilliant job.
Anyway, I hope you’ll join us for our grand opening. I’ve included details below so you can see what we have to offer.
Gillian Macdonald, executive manager
Stirling Castle Presents – a Palace Fit for a Queen
The castle gates open at 10am and activities start at 11.45am.
● Royal procession – 11.45am, Saturday only: Mary of Guise, Mary Queen of Scots and the royal party arrive at the castle and are welcomed by cannon fire.
● Palace apartments: Be among the first to see inside the refurbished royal apartments. Meet nobles, officials and servants from the 1540s.
● Image-Makers for the King: See the original Stirling Heads in a specially-created gallery.
● All the Queen’s Men: Meet Mary of Guise and Mary Queen of Scots in the Great Hall.
● Living History Encampment: Pike drill, musket firing and fighting knights.
● The Royal Feast: See cooks prepare a feast – from sugar fancies to a boar’s head.
● Music and Dance: Hear the hits of the era – watch the dancers strut their Renaissance stuff.
● Jesters, Smith and Swordsman: Jesters and fools, a working and meet Adam Otterburn who shows how to fight with rapier and dagger.
On top of all this there are new exhibitions, interactive displays, three shops and our modernised café – selling treats including cakes from the castle’s own bakery.
Tickets are £13 adults, £6.50 children, £10 concessions.