Free Time

Meet Mary, Queen of Scots…

It may be England’s greatest Elizabethan house, built as a grand tribute to one of England’s greatest Queens, but next month Burghley will host the cousin Elizabeth I condemned to death 400 years ago – and who was executed just 11 miles from the Lincolnshire historic home. Last year Burghley, on the edge of the stone town of Stamford, offered visitors a chance to not only be amazed by the stunning architecture, but also enjoy ‘An Audience With Elizabeth I’.

Now, following the success of that special event, Burghley will be offering another historic encounter on Friday 12th June 2015 – this time with Mary, Queen of Scots. Behind both visits is TV historian Lesley Smith, curator of Tutbury Castle and resident historian on ‘Most Haunted Live!’ as well as presenter of ‘Most Haunted: Midsummer Murders’. She is well known for donning authentic replica costumes for dramatic interpretations of both Queen Elizabeth I as well as Mary, Queen of Scots, to bring Elizabethan history to life.

Even more fittingly for this year’s lecture, Queen Elizabeth I’s chief minister, William Cecil, built Burghley House and he was one of the prime movers behind Mary’s trail. Accused of plotting Elizabeth’s murder, she was tried and beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle, just 11 miles from Burghley. More than 400 years later, there will be a chance for visitors to have their very own ‘Audience with Mary Queen of Scots’, on Friday, 12 June. Evening drinks in the Orangery Restaurant – housed in a building that provided space for the family’s love of horticulture and designed by Capability Brown – will be followed by a glittering presentation by Lesley Smith, in character as Mary.

Held in the Great Hall – boasting a remarkable double hammer-beam roof 60ft tall that was used as a banqueting hall in Elizabethan days – the lecture will transport guests back to those historic days.

Meet Mary, Queen of Scots
Friday, 12 June, from 6.30pm
Tickets cost £14 each, including arrival drink in the Orangery. The lecture begins at 7pm. For full details of opening times, events and to book online tickets, visit or telephone 01780 752451.

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