Filming Locations: Where was Mary Queen of Scots filmed?

Posted by

The 2018 biopic about Mary I of Scotland is based on the book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart, by author John Guy. The film primarily covers Mary's attempt to overthrow the Queen of England, her cousin Elizabeth I.

Mary Queen of Scots was filmed largely on location in England for the scenes with Elizabeth I, and in Scotland for the parts of the movie featuring Mary Stuart.

Saoirse Ronan as Mary Queen of Scots

Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird, The Grand Budapest Hotel), plays the Scottish monarch, and Margot Robbie (known for her role as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad), is almost unrecognisable after transforming into Queen Elizabeth.

The two actresses didn't see each other during all the production before the sole scene together, with the idea of making their encounter truly special and authentic.

Pinewood Studios near London was the main base of operations for the movie. Here are some of the most relevant filming locations where Mary Queen of Scots was shot:

The Queen on horse escorted by knights
We start with the locations in Scotland, following the unit with actress Margot Robbie.

The scene with a horse-drawn carriage was filmed in Glencoe. Some more scenes were shot in GlenFeshie and Strathdon in the Cairngorms National Park (pictured).
(You can open all the locations on Google Maps by clicking on the links below in the captions ↴)
Image courtesy of Focus Features - Map

Castle scenes location
It was easy to recognise the walls and the interior courtyard of Blackness Castle, a fortress that also served as a shooting location for the recently released Netflix movie Outlaw King, entirely filmed in Scotland.
Image courtesy of Focus Features and Dr. John Wells - Map

Ruined fortress by the ocean in Scotland
Also, it wasn't hard to distinguish the shapes of the rocks of Oxroad Bay from Seacliff Beach and the ruins of Tantallon Castle in the distance (North Berwick, East Lothian), that apparently had 'collapsed' during the days of the shoot.

Some of the castles seen from afar in the film were generated with CGI.
Image courtesy of Focus Features and Kjbax - Google Maps

Manor countryside house estate with gardens
The next locations are based in England, where the section of the movie with Margot Robbie takes place.

Several exteriors were shot at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire.

This 16th-century period house is one of the best surviving examples of Elizabethan style, the English version of Renaissance architecture.
Image courtesy of Focus Features - Map

Palace courtroom
Interiors were shot at the Haddon Hall Manor, also in Derbyshire, in the heart of the Peak District.

The bright Queen's lounge pictured is the Long Gallery, built in the 16th-century.

This magnificent country house was also used to film many historical productions like the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice, The Other Boleyn Girl series, or BBC's Gunpowder.
Image courtesy of Focus Features and The JR James Archive - Map

Oxford sequence with the Queen cabinet
Some scenes were filmed at the Divinity School, next to the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

This Gothic masterpiece is one of the oldest surviving Oxford University buildings, known in the world of cinema for having hosted Hogwarts Infirmary in some of Harry Potter's saga movies.
Image courtesy of Focus Features and Diliff - Map

Maria Stuart Königin von Schottland drehorte
The last scene was filmed in the cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral, featuring a heavily ornate vaulted ceiling.

It was also used to shoot the Harry Potter movies. The scene with the two actresses together was filmed in Arborfield barn at Chiltern Open Air Museum in Buckinghamshire.
Image courtesy of Focus Features - Map

Can you help to improve this article about the filming locations of Mary Queen of Scots? To complete and correct this report, any feedback, info, or images that you may have are more than welcome, thank you!

NOTICE: If you’re using this information on your website, please credit and link to this page as a source.

  1. Shame Borthwick Castle wasn't used

    1. Totally agree. I have spent much time over the years there. It is an amazing building.

  2. The scene where the two queens finally meet is filmed in Arborfield barn at Chiltern Open Air Museum in Buckinghamshire.

  3. It was great to recognise Hardwick Hall and Haddon Hall in the film. Hopefully this will attract visitors to Derbyshire and the many wonderful historical sites in the East Midlands.

  4. I wonder why the locations were not listed - we waited all through the credits.

  5. It's simply "Glencoe" and not "the Glencoe" 🙂


All comments are reviewed prior to publication