Scone Palace near Perth, Scotland

The gateway to Scone Castle marks where the town used to border the castle grounds. When the castle was rebuilt in the 1800's, a new town was built two miles away and the old houses were knocked down.

The gateway to Scone Palace marks where the town used to border the palace grounds. When the castle was rebuilt in the 1800’s, a new town was built two miles away and the old houses were knocked down.

The local bus drops us at the driveway to Scone Palace about 10 minutes from town. (Scone rhymes with raccoon.)  After a 15 minute walk down the drive we come to the gate of the palace grounds.  Since a tour bus beats us to the door, we divert our attention to the expansive grounds which include a graveyard, gardens, and the Star Maze.

2000 beech trees, half copper and half green, were planted  to create a tartan effect.

2000 beech trees, half copper and half green, were planted to create a tartan effect.

The Star Maze is a five-pointed walk-through maze with eight foot tall hedges to prevent taking shortcuts or peeking over the tops of hedgerows to figure out the solution to finding the exit.  It is not recommended that people with poor spatial ability take on the maze challenge. People have gotten stuck in the maze which typically leads to a panic attack and cries for help.

Scone Chapel. displays a replica of the Stone of Scone visible in front of the chapel.

Scone Chapel. displays a replica of the Stone of Scone visible in front of the chapel.

Scone Palace fell into disrepair in the 1800’s, and it might have been left to crumble had not the then Earl of Mansfield realized the tourist value of the place. The castle was completely refurbished and now gets thousands of tourists every year. This site is where the coronation of kings took place dating back a thousand years to the time of Macbeth and Robert the Bruce.

The Stone of Scone, the ceremonial seat for coronations, was removed by Edward I in 1296 with the spoils of war and placed in Westminster Abbey. The stone was shelved under the royal throne to symbolize English monarchs sitting above the kings of Scotland. This never did sit well with the independent-minded Scots. There was talk of moving the stone back to Scotland in the 1300’s. However, riotous crowds prevented the moving of the stone from Westminster Abbey, and it remained in London for another 600 years.

Rob Roy Pipe Band from Kingston, Ontario, practiced for the Highland Games in Perth and the World Championship Pipe Band Competition next week in Glasgow to the delight of the tourists.

Rob Roy Pipe Band from Kingston, Ontario, practiced for the Highland Games in Perth and the World Championship Pipe Band Competition next week in Glasgow to the delight of the tourists.

On Christmas Day, 1950, group of four University of Glasgow students stole the stone from Westminster Abbey and braved roadblocks to return the stone to Scotland. They were not caught, but the stone was damaged during the heist and broke in two. Thinking the Church of Scotland would not allow the stone’s return, the students left the stone on the steps of Arbroath Abbey in April, 1951. When the British authorities were notified, they took possession of the stone and returned it to Westminster Abbey.

In 1996, in response to growing dissatisfaction among Scots with the British Parliament, Queen Elizabeth II had the stone moved to Edinburgh Castle, where it remains today. It is only moved to London for coronation ceremonies of which the Stone of Destiny as it has come to be known, has been a part for a thousand years.

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18 comments on “Scone Palace near Perth, Scotland

  1. What a cool place! I don’t know if I’d go into The Star Maze, however. I’ve got claustrophobia and I’d probably be one of the people who ended up with a panic attack in there. Celeste 🙂

  2. sanstorm says:

    I’ve never been to Scone Palace. I remember, when I was a child, we pulled up in the car, read the entry fee, and decided not to bother. Was it expensive, or do you have “Historic Scotland” passes or similar?

    • Mike Lince says:

      Historic Scotland we have, but those passes do not apply at Scone Palace. The doorman was nice enough to let us both in at the senior rate of £9.40 each, which is expensive. We cut corners on a different outing so we were able to justify rationalize the expense.

  3. reocochran says:

    Lovely story, intrigue and adventure. Glad the stone made it back! Thank you for the wonderful story and pictures, too. I appreciated your thoughtful responses to my varied posts. Take it easy and enjoy your adventures!

    • Mike Lince says:

      Thank you Robin. I am pleased you enjoyed the story. There are so many great stories in the long history of this region that we are constantly enlightened during our field trips.

  4. It’s interesting Mike, that the stone wasn’t returned until 1996. Old rivalries die hard I guess, and this rivalry is as old as they get. ~James

    • Mike Lince says:

      The relationship between England and Scotland is old and complex, which makes the upcoming vote for Scottish independence fascinating. Personally, I do not think the Scots will choose independence. I think Scotland will decide they have more to lose than to gain because setting up a new government infrastructure is hugely expensive, and ultimately you simply end up with more politicians.

  5. That’s a great story about the stone. We had never heard of a hedge maze until our first trip to New Zealand when our children were teen-agers. We had a little contest to see who could find their way out first – us or them. I probably don’t have to tell you this, but they beat us handily!

    • Mike Lince says:

      How funny! I can see your children racing to find the maze exit.
      No one should ever get lost in a maze. By maintaining contact with one wall all the time, you will always find the exit. It is not the most elegant solution because this method may take you down many of the dead ends. However, even in total darkness one will always find the exit with this technique.
      Thank your for the comments, Marilyn. – Mike

  6. reocochran says:

    Just reread this piece and the total of 700 years finally sunk in! That is a long time to not “share” the Stone of Scone. I somehow have to add a joke, Did they serve scones anywhere on the beautiful grounds? (with tea and crumpets…smile!)

  7. syllabubsea says:

    Thanks for another trip down memory lane. Marie

  8. Pit says:

    Did you do the maze? We enjoyed it a lot, especially when we had finally made our way to that lovely fountain in the center. And even more when we managed to find our way out before darkness fell. 😉
    Best regards from southern Texas,
    Pit

    • Mike Lince says:

      We did not go all the way through the maze. We went as far as the viewing platform and then back out the way we had entered. I looked at the diagram of the maze and saw the solution was fairly easy. I am pretty good with mazes, but my wife is not, so we only took the shortcut to the fountain and called it good.
      – Mike

  9. janet6567 says:

    We ended our month long tour of Scotland with a visit to Scone Palace today. It is without a doubt one of most beautiful palaces/castles we saw in Scotland or England. The collections of the Mansfield family within the palace are splendid, the furnishings opulent and the grounds and gardens lovely and colorful and beautiful. The history associated with the palace is so interesting and exciting! Along with the ruins of Dunnottar Castle, my favorite castle/palaces in our wonderful visit.

    • Mike Lince says:

      Thank you for sharing your experiences at Scone Palace. Your comments are appreciated in that they add to my story and will encourage others to include the palace on their itineraries.

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