A real royal palace to rent: Scone Palace, near Perth in Scotland
Words by Rob Bruce
Yes, you read that right. As hard as it is to believe, you can actually hire the entire wing of a 600-year-old palace, for a whole weekend, up in Scotland. While many luxury accommodation providers make the hyperbolic claim to have rooms fit for a king, Scone Palace actually does have rooms fit for a king. From Macbeth, who ruled from here in the 11th century, to Robert the Bruce who was crowned here, many royal Scots have enjoyed the hospitality of Scone during its illustrious history.
When I first heard you could stay at Scone Palace for a weekend, I assumed it meant you stayed in a separate cottage or a wee but ‘n’ ben on the grounds. But no, when they say you stay at the palace, you stay in the actual palace!
The Earls of Mansfield own the stunning Gothic building (it’s been in the family for 400 years) and they recently decided to convert the North West wing into self-catering accommodation, and they have done an amazing job.
Even as you enter the Balvaird Wing through your private palace door, you know you are about to experience something special. Climbing up the historic stone steps to the second floor apartment, you can almost taste the history coming out of every pore of the stone building.
The wing boasts three huge bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms (there is a super king size bed and the largest roll-top bath I have ever seen in the main bedroom, and two king size beds in EACH of the other bedrooms). They are all connected together by a wonderful, long timber-beamed corridor, and its sheer scale will take your breath away. It takes a moment to believe you have this entire beautiful space all to yourself.
There is also a fabulous communal living room decorated in the baronial style you would expect of a Royal house, as well as a stunning, well-appointed modern kitchen which can easily accommodate up to 10 people (the wing is marketed as sleeping six, but with close friends and family sharing two huge rooms, it can easily accommodate 10) all of whom can enjoy the welcome pack of locally sourced produce, as well as preserves and shortbread actually made on site.
Although pitched as a self-catering experience, you can pay extra for an onsite butler or maid and chef to make it feel more like you’re living in the ultimate luxury hotel, and to ensure you have more free time to enjoy the amenities right on your doorstep.
Being based just outside Perth, you could not be better placed to explore all that central Scotland has to offer, such as the Blackwatch castle and museum, the Dewars and Edradour distilleries, the Famous Grouse Experience, and Beatrix Potter’s garden. You are also no more than a 30 minute car ride to the newly opened and much praised V&A in Dundee, as well as the neighbouring Antarctic exploration ship the RSS Discovery.
But the reality is there is so much to do right outside your own door, you don’t really have to go anywhere else – we never left the estate the three full days we were there. From touring the Palace itself to enjoying the wonderful home grown food at the local café, and from trying to crack the five pointed maze through to exploring the stunning on site gardens and forest (keep an eye out for the very rare, pure white peacocks) you will not be stuck for things to do. There is even a large and well equipped play park to keep the younger kids happy.
The Balvaird Wing is also the perfect base to enjoy the array of onsite events held at the Palace every year, throughout the year, from the incongruous 1980’s neon clad Rewind music festival through to the expected Scottish game fair, and then there is the country’s biggest celebration of agriculture in years gone by through Farming Yesteryear, not to mention the special celebrations at Easter, Halloween and of course Christmas.
But to be honest, just staying at Scone Palace is a special event in itself. I have been lucky enough to review a lot of luxury hotels and resorts, but Scone Palace genuinely stands out from the rest. Not only is it a unique opportunity to stay in a real palace, at a cost of only £1000 for the weekend, it’s a great value way to experience being part of historic Royalty in a small but very memorable and exceptional way.
NB – The Palace is also available to hire on an exclusive use basis, which includes accommodation for up to 24 people while also giving access to six additional main rooms, including the State Dining Room where Queen Victoria herself enjoyed the finest game the estate had to offer way back in 1842. Throw in archery, clay pigeon shooting, fishing and off road driving, and you can see why the Palace and its 27,000 acres of parklands are popular with team builders and wedding organisers alike. The cost for exclusive hire, depending on the final itinerary, is approximately £16,000 per night.
Address: Perth PH2 6BD
Phone: 01738 552300