There are lots of reasons to visit Scone Palace in Perth, Scotland. The original home of the Stone of Destiny (which went to live at Edinburgh Castle after England finally returned it), Scone Palace is famous for its coronations — from Robert the Bruce in 1306 through Charles II in 1651. But do not go there because you think it was the place where scones were invented. Scone Palace and scone pastries has nothing to with one another. In fact, Scone as in the palace is pronounced differently than scone as in the baked good. But you have to have a Scottish accent to differentiate between the two.
We waited until we had toured the entire palace and the grounds to inquire about the Scone-scone connection, mostly because we were certain we were going to stumble upon sort of display explaining how the king’s cook invented scones by a serendipitous accident. But after seeing nothing, we finally asked the cashier at the Palace Food Shop about whether the two had anything to do with each other. She was the one who explained that they were even pronounced differently. Well, there went my excuse to have a scone, sigh.
Despite that disappointment, we still loved Scone Palace and I think it’s a must-see for visitors to Scotland. Similar to England’s Alnwick Castle (aka the Harry Potter castle), Scone is beautifully maintained inside and ornately decorated State Rooms featuring collections of paintings, porcelain, ivory figurines, clocks and more.
There are lots of family photos of the palace’s present owner, the 8th Earl of Mansfield, William David Murray, with his wife, children and relatives, which truly adds a modern, personal touch.
The grounds of Scone Palace are lovely. First of all, there are peacocks running around, as you can see in the top photo. There’s also an enclosure with Highland Cattle, the famous shaggy cows with horns. But more importantly, across from the castle there’s Moot Hill, which is where the coronations took place. There’s a replica of the Stone of Destiny, also called the Stone of Scone, pictured right, as well as a pretty little Presbyterian chapel there, pictured upper left.
Further afield, you can see the remnants of the original Village of Scone, which was relocated in 1805 because it was too close to the palace! That archway pictured below was the grand entrance to the city. Right by the archway is the old Mercat Cros (left), a little garden and a cemetery. It’s all very green and picturesque.
Just two miles away is Perth, one of Scotland’s larger cities and at one point the capital. It’s the perfect place to stop for lunch because there are plenty of good choice. We ended up at Reid’s Cafe on the bustling, pedestrianized High Street for delicious Coronation Chicken sandwiches, a popular curried chicken salad with mango chutney, an apt choice after visiting the site of so many coronations.