Project Focus: Mary Queen of Scots’ Visitor Centre

Providing an engaging and accessible experience

Live Borders, the leisure, sport and cultural trust for the Scottish Borders, commissioned a new audio tour guide for Mary Queen of Scots' Visitor Centre in Jedburgh, a four-star visitor attraction. 

The attraction sees a large number of visitors from overseas. In fact, before the pandemic, these guests made up 45% of the audience.  

Two-time Edinburgh Fringe First-winning playwright Jules Horne, born and bred in the Borders, created an audio drama: a narrator acts as tour guide and Mary Queen of Scots joins the tour, as a character in the dialogue. John Knox, a fierce opponent of Mary's Catholic beliefs and attempts to gain power as a woman, adds his voice too.   

The scripts are performed by professional English, French, German, and Spanish voice artists. Sound effects include period music from recorders and pipes – played by the well-known Border piper Matt Seattle – and a drum roll to accompany Mary’s last words “Would that I had died in Jedburgh!”, making the true, gruesome story of Scotland’s tragic queen very palpable.

You can now join Mary on her guided tour, listen to her insider comments on exhibits and hear her narrative of the dramatic events in her life, in English as well as French, German and Spanish. The informative, captivating audio guides of approx. 30 minutes' length will take you on a fascinating journey through Mary's tragedy-filled life. 

Mary Queen of Scots' Visitor Centre is really a tower house, museum and garden all in one, and as you will find out on your tour, Mary stayed in this very tower in October 1566. The building is now one of the best sources of information about her life, laid out clearly and chronologically on the middle floor of the house. Around the rest of the tower are an assortment of artefacts, paintings and models relating to Mary, all surrounded by colourful lawns and flowerbeds. 


Rike from Paderborn, Germany: "Sehr nett und anschaulich, spannend für Jedermann (historisch unbedarft). Sprachlich 1a - gut gemacht!" very_end_ger_MP3.mp3 (recorded during the audio guide tour in MQSH)

Annelene from North Frisia, Germany: "Ich habe total gerne zugehört!!! Was mich besonders beeindruckt hat: Es ist eine sehr sinnliche (sinnreiche) Führung durch die Räumlichkeiten, wobei die eigene Vorstellungskraft aktiviert wird. Zur deutschen Übersetzung: Ich finde sie absolut klar, sehr verständlich in der Wortwahl und spannend erzählt." mp3_Mary's last letter_ger.mp3 (recorded during the audio guide tour in MQSH)

Queen of Scots' Visitor Centre has been awarded the 2023 Travellers' Choice award by Tripadvisor  an award given to attractions that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor. 

Annelene listening to the audio guide.  



"Mary Queen of Scots" panel in The Great Tapestry of Scotland, Galashiels. Stitched by Hopetoun Tapestry Conservation Volunteers.


French watch and case, found in 1817, after being unearthed by a mole at Queen's Mire, a spot passed over by the Royal Party on their return from Hermitage Castle in 1566. 
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