The attractions of the second day: The Black Watch Museum and Scone Palace
In the morning I visited the Black Watch Museum, dedicated to one of the world’s oldest military regiments. Located next to the North Inch park, it’s housed in Balhousie Castle – dated back to the 12th century – since June 2013.
The itinerary includes the visit of thirteen rooms in which you can learn the history of The Black Watch from the Early Years (1725-45) to nowadays and discover a typical day in the life of the soldiers. Firstly, in 1725, the Black Watch – as part of the British Army – operated across the Highlands in order to mantain the order in these lands. That because the Act of Union between Scotland and England was pretty recent so the country was still quite divided. Then, in 1739 the Black Watch became officially a regiment of the British Army and started serving overseas. From that year on, it fought around the world to protect the Empire. Obviously, the Black Watch was involved also in the two Second World Wars. In 2006 all the Scottish regiments were included the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Black Watch became the 3rd Battalion though its reputation still distinguishes it from the others.
In each room are displayed historical documents, uniforms, paintings, medals and many different items from the battlefield, like the kilt worn by captain Stewart for the Somme Battle in 1916. He passed away during the battle and the kilt is still covered with mud.
The museum is open 9:30am-4:30pm from April to October and 10am-4pm from November to March. The café closes at 4pm and 3:30pm with last orders an half an hour before. There’s a free car park for visitors.
The admission prices are the following:
- adult, £7.50
- child (5-16), £3.50
- child (0-5), free
- concessions (students and 60+), £6.00
- family (max 2 adults and 4 children), £18.00
The Scone Palace is one of Scotland’s top attractions and it’s located 2 miles north of Perth. Originally it was the capital of the Picts but then became famous – and holy – for being the crowning place of the Kings of Scots, including Macbeth and Robert The Bruce as well.
As a matter of fact, my personal highlight was the Moot Hill just in front of the Palace. This was the site of the enthronements and the Kings were crowned upon the Stone of Scone – better known as the Stone of Destiny – until 1296. In that year Edward I took it to Westminster Abbey and the stone returned to Scotland only in 1996. On the top of the hill you can see a replica of the Stone of Destiny while the original one is showcased at Edinburgh Castle.
Apart from the hill, the gardens and the grounds around the Palace deserve a gentle stroll. There’re different walks – with different length – and some of them are accessible for whose in wheelchairs or with prams. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to explore all the estate even because the weather was really bad. So I went to the Pinetum and then to the Murray Star Maze, a unique “attraction” designed by the international designer Adrian Fisher.
Anyway, there aren’t enough words to describe the splendour of the palace, outside as well as inside. The visit takes you through many rooms that witness the history of the Murray family – owner of the Palace – and Scotland as well. You can admire beautiful collections of paintings, antiques and precious artefacts like the French furniture donated by Marie Antoinette Queen of France.
To get the most of the visit in each room there’re informational leaflets in several languages. Please note that the use of cameras inside the palace is forbidden.
The Palace and the Grounds are open from April to October 10am to 4pm and May-September from 9:30am with last admission at 5pm. During wintertime only the Grounds are open to public 10am-4pm.
Regarding the prices, it’s possible to choose whether visiting the Palace and the Grounds or the Grounds only.
In the first case:
- adult, £11.50
- child, £8.00
- senior-student, £10.20
- family, £35
In the second case:
- adult, £6.80
- child, £5.00
- senior-student, £6.00
- family, £23.00
Children under 4 are free of charge.