About Scone Palace
Scone Palace (pronounced ‘skoon’) was once the coronation site of the Kings of Scotland and now operates as an historic house and garden.
History of Scone Palace
Located on the banks of the Tay, and only a short distance from Perth, Scone Palace offers a unique insight into the lives of a millennia of Scottish Kings. Originally used as a religious location by the early Picts, the site of Scone Palace has both a Pagan and Christian history as well as a royal one and cannot be understated in the role it has played in Scottish (and English) history.
The country house you can see on the site today is an elegant 19th century historic home built as the seat of the Earls of Mansfield. It was constructed in place of an earlier 16th century palace which itself replaced the famous Scone Abbey, site of Scottish coronations, which was destroyed by religious reformers in 1559.
The history of the Scone Palace site as the crowning place of Scottish kings dates back 1500 years, from Kenneth MacAlpin – the self-styled first king of the Scots in the 9th century – through to Charles II in 1651. Perhaps the most famous of Scottish kings, Macbeth, was also crowned at Scone, more precisely at Moot Hill, the traditional resting place of the Stone of Scone. What sits at Moot Hill today is not the original Stone, but rather a replica, marking the original location.
The stone, sometimes referred to as the Stone of Destiny, has a history as varied as the Palace itself, removed from Scotland by Edward I in 1296 it had been housed in Westminster Abbey until 1997, when it was finally returned to Scotland. Whilst the Stone of Scone no longer exists at Scone Palace but rather at Edinburgh Castle, its place in history is far from over, having been used in the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. There are long-standing plans in place to return the stone to Scone at some point in the unspecified future.
Scone Palace today
Visitors to Scone Palace today can view artefacts from a wide range of historic periods, including furniture, porcelain and carved ivories from all over Europe. The archives at Scone Palace include collections dating back to the 13th century and are used in current scholarship and research.
The grounds at Scone Palace are worth a visit in their own right – 200 acres of Palace Grounds offer both landscaped gardens and woodlands and are scenic locations for both wildlife and plants. Look out for the extravagant peacocks (each named after a monarch) wandering the grounds.
Guided tours are available but must be booked in advance. There’s plenty of information inside without any extra guidebooks or audio guides though.
Getting to Scone Palace
Scone Palace is about 2 miles north of Perth, along the A93. You can walk it relatively easily – allow 45 minutes each way, or buses 3 and 58 run in this direction – get off at the stop appropriately named ‘Palace’ and walk the remaining half mile to the palace itself.
Perth has a train station with regular connections to Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee and Inverness.
From the ancient crowning place of the Kings of Scotland to one of the best-preserved prisoner of war camps in Britain, Perth and Kinross is home to a wealth of historic sites.