Scenic Strathdon stars as stunning backdrop to Mary Queen of Scots film

Aberdeenshire is being showcased in the new Mary Queen of Scots film, released in UK cinemas in Janaury.  Filmed on location in Strathdon, Upper Donside, a particular scene is set at a notable Aberdeenshire bridge.

An ambush involving the Queen, which saw cows blocking the historic Poldullie Bridge, is to put Strathdon firmly in the spotlight. The bridge was chosen after the Aberdeen City and Shire Film Office responded to a UK-wide location call.

The Film Office is a partnership between Aberdeenshire Council’s Cultural Services and Economic Development, led by Film Officer Marie Archer.  

Marie explains: “The Film Office supports productions in a number of different ways, from temporary road closures to hire of locations – both public and private.  It also helps with specific access to regional infrastructure, with the benefit of local knowledge.  

“We also work together with other council services, and for this production the bridges and structures team were on hand to provide expert knowledge on the loading weight of the bridge and give support and advice on the protection of the historic bridge while filming and supervising temporary alternations to the site required for filming.”

Supporting Aberdeenshire communities to maximise regional investment and enlisting local residents as film extras is also within the remit of the Aberdeen City and Shire Film Office, and 175 regional extras were used in the Mary Queen of Scots battle scenes. The local primary school also visited the set during the filming and the location manager also visited the school.

Cllr Peter Argyle, Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee chair, said: “In recent years Aberdeenshire has been the location of choice for a number of production companies, a reflection of the development and work of the Aberdeen City and Shire Film Office. Filming spend brings both economic benefit and wider community impact for the region and high-profile titles such as Mary Queen of Scots offer an opportunity to attract more visitors to the area through film tourism.”

Cllr Anne Stirling, Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee chair, said: “Aberdeenshire has a rich history and picturesque scenery which I am pleased to see is being captured in the Mary Queen of Scots film, one of the many films that has featured this stunning area of Scotland. 

“Aberdeenshire Council has recently launched Live Life Aberdeenshire, the new name for the Council’s Sport and Cultural Services, now being run as a unique business unit. There really is not a better time to immerse yourself in the heritage, culture, sport and recreation in Aberdeenshire and truly discover that from mountain to sea this is the very best of Scotland.” 

VisitScotland is releasing an interactive map of the locations, which is now available to view online by visiting  The map features the filming at Poldullie Bridge in Strathdon, which also lies within the Cairngorms National Park.

For more information on Aberdeen City and Shire Film Office visit  
To explore the Aberdeenshire Historic Bridges Trail visit