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Scone Palace (Perth)

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Address: Perth / PH2 6BD / Scotland

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    2 Reviews
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      23.09.2013 20:02
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      A lovely home and gardens to visit in Perthshire

      Scone Palace is is a couple of miles away from New Scone, the village it was named after. The reason for this is that back in the 18th century the then Earl decided he didn't want the village so close to the Palace so he had the entire village moved.

      The Palace is usually open daily from 1 April to 31 October 2013. The gates open at 9.30am and the last admission is at 5.00pm, Saturdays they may close at 4.00pm. The grounds close at 5.45pm. It costs £10 for the Palace and grounds. £6 for the grounds; Children are £7.30 or £4.20 and Seniors £9.40 or £5.40 for just the grounds. A family ticket is £31.50 or for the grounds alone £19. Throughout March Grounds Only, Coffee Shop and Food Shop will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10.00am - 4.00pm. From January - March, the grounds only will be open each Friday from 10.00am - 4.00pm. All this information is taken from the website.

      This Palace is the site of the crowning of the Scottish kings in the past and although the Stone of Scone or Stone of Destiny was stolen and lay in Westminster for many years and is now in Edinburgh castle there are two replicas in this palace. One is under the original throne used for the coronations inside the palace and the other stands on the sites where the kings of the Scots and head Scottish Parliaments were enthroned.

      The replica stone stands on the mound near the chapel or mausoleum. The mound is supposed to have been created by the lords carrying earth in their boots. After wearing loyalty to their king on their own land they then emptied their boots and all this soil created the mound we see today. The place of coronation was called Caislean Credi, 'Hill of Credulity', which survives as the present Moot Hill.

      I was quite taken by the two red deer statues just near the mausoleum which looked real from the distance. The grounds were large and open and not greatly planted in gardens. The deer stood under the large trees on the mound and were certainly impressive, I wonder how they would look in my garden at home.

      This rather lovely Palace is not far outside Perth and is the home of the Earls of Mansfield. We we quite interested in this as we live not too far from Mansfield and it is a long way from Scone Palace. This palace was the capital of the Picts fifteen hundred years ago. It has also been the seat of Scottish parliaments and as I said before it was where the Kings of Scots, including Macbeth and Robert The Bruce were crowned. The last coronation here was of Charles II, when he accepted the Scottish crown in 1651.

      The palace we visit today owned by the Murray family, and they are the present bearers of the title Earl of Mansfield. This Palace was built in the 16th century when In 1600, James VI handed the estates at Scone to Sir David Murray as the previous owner had been charged with treason. The estate has remained in the Murray family ever since but the palace has been altered, restored and extended and is now the Georgian Gothic building we can visit today. The visit to the palace is self guided so you wander through at your own pace but there are guides in each room and you can ask them about anything you want and indeed many just shared interesting snippets as we arrived in the rooms.

      The rooms were splendid like many other stately homes. The dining room with enormous table and huge windows overlooking the grounds. The library now houses a fabulous range of porcelain rather than books and interestingly not English porcelain but rather Sevres and Dresden porcelain and huge amounts of this adorn the walls in special cabinets. The Ambassador's Room is a very plush looking bedroom with four poster canopy which was given this name because it was the bedroom of the 2nd Earl who was British Ambassador to France. The inner Hall with its standing stuffed bear was an impressive sight with its huge oak carved fireplaces. There were just so many interesting rooms and things to see and I really enjoyed wandering through and hearing little snippets of information from the guides a we went from room to room.

      Mary Queen of Scots stayed here and kept herself busy by sewing and her handiwork can be admired on the bed hangings in one of the bedrooms. Marie Antoinette's desk is also there and this is the one she wrote letters at prior to going to the guillotine. One of the bedrooms was where Queen Victoria slept in 1842 on her visit to the Highlands.

      The present title holder and owner is the 8th Earl of Mansfield, William David Murray,and he succeeded his father in 1971. Lord Mansfield is also 13th Viscount Stormont and Lord Scone, 11th Lord Balvaird and Hereditary Keeper of Bruce's Castle of Lochmaben. It must take him some time to sign his name when needed!

      It seems this family are very wealthy and own huge tracts of Scottish lands as their estate. I rather liked the family portraits around the house showing the current family and their offspring in various places as it did make it seem more 'lived in' and less like a museum. I cannot imagine living anywhere like this, it can't actually be that comfortable really as it would be a bit like living in a posh hotel or n somewhere stuck in a time warp to me.

      The grounds are huge and offer great walks. We walked to the Pinetum and were hoping to see red squirrels but sadly they were hiding and all we saw were the enormous fir trees.

      My favourite was the Murray Star Maze which is in the shape of a star and is planted with 2000 beech trees, a mix of green and copper ones to create a tartan effect. This is the only maze in Perth shire apparently and good fun to walk through.

      Another special for me was to see the Highland cattle which I think are such beautiful creatures. There were also peacocks roaming the grounds and sometimes they decided to show off their tails for us.
      This was an interesting palace to visit and I was quite struck to be standing on the ground where Scottish kings had been crowned. It is fun to imagine what stories this place could tell if it could talk.

      It is possible to hire part of the Palace for your wedding. Your arrival is heralded by a single piper, the wedding breakfast is set up in the Long Gallery and photos in the grounds.

      The palace is open for the months usually from April through to October and admission is around £10 for adults. There is a cafe in the old servant's hall and we had a very nice scone while here at Scone!
      There is a souvenir shop and a small selection of garden plants for sale there as well as the usual souvenir type things.

      There is free car parking and disabled parking too. at the Palace Gift Shop entrance there is a chairlift so that access is available to all the State Rooms. There is also wheelchair access to the Restaurant and toilet facilities at the Estate Office at the rear of the Palace.

      They offer group tours in different languages by prior arrangement.

      If you are in the area I would say it is well worth the visit, the grounds alone are beautiful and if you only want to walk in the grounds then it is a cheaper entry price for just the grounds. I would say the Palace is worth the entry fee though as there is a lot to see and lots of unusual and interesting furniture, paintings and porcelain and the rooms themselves are worth seeing. I thought some reminded me of Jane Austen's drawing room with the ladies playing piano, or small groups playing cards while others sat doing their sewing, they didn't look that comfortable and I can't imagine lying on a sofa watching the telly in any of them.

      Thank you for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
      ©Catsholiday

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      • More +
        10.12.2009 23:17
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        Good stately home with brilliant park

        Scone Palace, located in an area known as "Old scone", couple of miles north of Perth on the eastern bank of the Tay, is a fine stately home set in magnificent grounds.

        The current palace is now a seat of the Murray family, bearers of the title of the Earl of Mansfield. It was originally built in the 16th century and extensively restored and reconstructed in the 19th century to become a classic example of a late Georgian Gothic.

        The site is much older and played important par in Scottish history since its beginnings. It had an Augustine abbey in the middle ages and it was in Scone that the coronation Stone of Destiny was located, and Scone was the seat of Kenneth Macalpine and the capital of Dalriada - arguably the first united Scottish state entity. A replica of the stone can be seen (and sat on) in front of a small chapel on the Moot Hill, opposite the palace.

        Now the ancient crowning place of Scottish kings is a pleasant, grassy knoll, adorned by magnificent, tall pine trees and a bunch of peacocks strutting around.

        The abbey was ransacked by the mobs during the reformation and in 1580 the state was granted to Lord Ruthven. In 1600, James VI charged the family with treason and their estates at Scone were passed to Sir David Murray. The estate has remained in the Murray family ever since. Sir David was later made Lord Scone and Viscount Stormont, and in 1776 William Murray was created Earl of Mansfield. In 1803 the then Earl of Mansfield commissioned William Atkinson to rebuild the 16th century Abbot's Palace: the result is the Palace as seen today.

        The place interiors are reasonably interesting, although with staff all dressed in the laird's tartan and rather inordinate amount of space devoted to family photographs straight from Country Life magazine, it has a strong rural Perthshire flavour: perhaps nowhere else in Scotland , not even in the Haute Bourgeoisie set of Edinburgh is the notoriously snooty, antiquated and bordering on feudal aspect of Scottish society more apparent. There is much more to that than a title or monetary wealth: the Mansfield Estates have 30,000 acres of land. These are people who, quite literally, own Scotland, though perhaps not to an extent that they used to: when the Scone Palace was being rebuilt in the beginning of 19th century, the Earl decide that they didn't like the idea of Scone villagers transacting their daily business literally by their front door and the village was thus transferred pretty much wholesale. That's why Scone Palace is two miles west from Scone (still known as New Scone) , which is a rather drab if not particularly offensive modern settlement. Of the Old scone, a weathered market cross remains in the grounds outside the palace gates.

        Still, the rooms are lavishly furnished (some kept in the high Victorian period style) and full of interesting objects and paintings, including a great collection of Dresden and Sevres porcelain and altogether giving a good idea of what the life above stairs was - and to some extent still is - for the other half.

        The guides placed in strategic positions throughout the palace are very knowledgeable, helpful and friendly: in fact, all staff members in Scone are like that - maybe this feudal thing has something to be said for it, or maybe Mansfield estate are simply a good employer, or maybe working surrounded by beautiful objects and landscape makes one appreciate ones job more. Whatever the reason, the guides will answer any questions you might have.

        The most interesting, perhaps, are the two stately bedrooms (Ambassador's and Queen Victoria's) as well as the dining room and the corridor displaying informative panels noting the connections between Scone and Scotland's significant kings, starting with Macbeth.


        In addition to the displayed interiors, the Palace has a reasonable cafe/restaurant and a good gift shop in the basement.

        The best part of the site are, however, the grounds, stretching around the palace: 100 acres of wonderful parkland, lush, diverse and full of all sorts of interesting things in it. It make sit worth y=one's while spending some time strolling around and some sitting on a bench or having a picnic on the grass.

        Past the Palace and beyond the Moot Hill is a small adventure playpark, part of it quite deeply and unnecessarily shaded by yew trees, but regardless of that a good attraction for the little ones,w ith swings, slides, a house on silts and a great, fast flying fox (zip wire for the Americans).

        Next to the playpark is a large paddock with donkeys, goats, lovely ponies and chickens.

        From the paddock and playpark, a path goes back through a lovely, mature woodland/wild parkland, passing the old Abbey walls with a couple of ruined towers, aforementioned mercat cross, old cemetery and a "butterfly garden" created to attract insects when in bloom.

        A more open stretch, scattered with rhododendron bushes leads to the maze: a star shaped creation of beech hedges with a fountain in the middle. The maze is designed in the shape of the five pointed star that features in the Murray family crest, and combines copper and green beech to create what is supposed to be a tartan effect. Tartan or not, it's great fun for big and small visitors.

        Beyond the maze is the Pinetum, a wonderfully airy, grass-covered area on which a variety of coniferous trees from all around the world grows, from giant redwoods to Noble Firs. A giant Douglas Fir, named after David Douglas ( 19th plant hunter, who was born in Scone and worked as a gardener in the Palace for seven years) is a particularly fine specimen: a first Douglas Fir in Britain, grown from a seed sent home from North America by David Douglas in 1826.


        **

        It's certainly one of the prime attractions in Perthshire, a great example of a grand Scottish house, though if you are on a tight budget, the grounds only ticket is a good option unless you get particularly turned on by stately homes.

        **

        The Palace is open April to October, daily, and for 2010 the full entrance will cost 9 GBP (grounds only 5.10 GBP). This is a lot of money, but you can fairly easily make a day of the visit - come on a sunny, or at least dry day - and a family ticket is good value at 26GBP.

        In the winter (November to March) the grounds are open each Friday between 10am and 4pm and are well worth visiting (assuming it's not raining).

        Dogs permitted only on leads. Many paths are tarmac covered, others quite solid earth and thus a lot of the grounds is accessible to wheelchairs 9and pretty much all of it to pushchairs).

        The parking is large and free (or rather included in the price), if you need to travel by public transport, a buses no 3 and 58 from Perth pass the gate (there is about a mile's walk from the gate to the Palace, but rather pleasant stroll, along a drive between fields dotted with old trees and Highland cattle.

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        Come see why this is considered one of Scotland's most unique attractions.