2017 marks the 450th anniversary of the end of the reign of Mary Queen of Scots in 1567, and the time of her captivity in Loch Leven Castle. It was announced today that the Mary Queen of Scots Festival will be held in Kinross on Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 September 2017, celebrating the rich cultural history and heritage of the area, most notably it’s famed connection to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.  The Festival is a Signature event of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 and will commemorate Mary Stuart’s life and legacy, showcasing not only the historical importance of the area but also a celebration of contemporary Scottish culture, food and drink.  Entry to the Festival is FREE.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The story of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots helps show how Scotland’s history is among the most compelling of any nation – and this is also reflected in many of our finest historic sites, from Linlithgow Palace where she was born to Loch Leven Castle where she was held prisoner before her escape and departure for England.

“The Mary Queen of Scots Festival – as a part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology – offers us a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the story as part of our rich heritage and cultural traditions, drawing visitors of all ages from the local area and beyond.”

Clanranald Trust for Scotland, Scotland’s premier living historians, will transform Market Park in Kinross into an immersive living, breathing historical encampment for two days.  Known for their work on Hollywood blockbusters Gladiator, Justice League, Transformers 5 and Outlander series 1-3 and their performances at the 2014 Homecoming Signature Event ‘Bannockburn Live’; Clanranald will recreate the hustle and bustle of 16th Century Scotland with Queen Mary herself in attendance.

In magnificent tailored armour, knights will arrive from all over the realm to show off their finery and prowess in the saddle in a live action, competitive Jousting demonstration. There will be challengers from the Kingdom of Cornwall, the Shire of Nottingham, the Flatlands of Mercia together with home-grown Caledonian knights.  Visitors will be invited to mingle with these flamboyant characters, hear details of their training, lives, loves and losses. In between the jousting demonstrations the knights will be “tilting at the ring”. Quintain – an important part of their training providing a highly entertaining visitor spectacle for all the family.

The encampment will also include the Royal Stuart Kitchens, a hands on activity showcasing the food of the period; Blacksmith Armoury where visitors can experience the creation of the elaborate weapons and armour of the day, and visitors can also come and meet gardeners, see the tools and have a go at topiary, a concept Mary herself introduced to Scotland; enjoy hands-on Tudor pottery demonstrations and experience how Mary might have passed the time and relaxed (when not locked up!) with the interactive games and leisure area.

Malin Allan from the Clanranald Trust said, “Scotland is built on the history of remarkable individuals and one of these is the trials & tribulations of Mary Queen of Scots. Upon meeting Lord Jamie Montgomery in 2015 and hearing his passion for the Tragic Queen and her connection to his beloved Kinross the Clanranald Trust is honoured to be part of the Mary Queen of Scots Festival bringing Mary’s story to life.”

A range of family entertainment, talks, storytelling and a celebration of contemporary Scottish Food and Drink will complete the Festival.   Entry to the Festival is FREE and the full programme will be announced in the summer.

For further information on the full programme of events for the Mary Queen of Scots Festival, visit the website, like on facebook  or follow on twitter.