The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, known for its fabulous collection of decorative arts and design, has opened a new branch this year: the V&A Dundee. We head east this morning to visit this newbie and enjoy its world-class design collection and the spectacular waterfront museum building – the first by Japanese practice Kengo Kuma & Associates in the UK – that looks as though it has flown in from a galaxy far, far away.
Lunch is light and bright on your own time. We recommend the V&A Café.
Our next stop is Scone Palace, only a half an hour away, which has for centuries been the crowning place of Scottish kings - from Macbeth to Robert the Bruce.
Scone Palace sits above the River Tay on the site of an ancient capital of the Picts (remember that handy tour of the National Museum of Scotland!). For centuries it guarded the Stone of Destiny on which monarchs were crowned. The palace is just south east of the abbey and Moot Hill, where coronations took place until the English King Edward I took the stone as spoils of war and housed it in Westminster Abbey. The palace has a replica stone and Coronation Chair – we saw the real stone in Edinburgh. For more on this story get hold of the 2008 movie Stone of Destiny on DVD.
We have arranged to have a private audience with Lady Mansfield in her home at Scone Palace. In a private room arranged for our group, we will take tea with Lady Mansfield and you will have the opportunity to ask her your burning questions about Scottish high society or what it is like to care for a historical Palace.
Weather permitting, we will also have a chance to stroll in the Pinetum, creation of the famous Scottish plant collector David Douglas and home to a towering Douglas fir raised from a seed he sent back from America in 1827. This is Perthshire’s ‘Big Tree Country’ at its very best, with towering redwoods and ‘Noble Firs’ planted back in the 1850s.
After all this enriching activity, we will return to Gleneagles in good time to freshen up for dinner: you are at liberty to choose from four wonderful restaurants, including the only Scots restaurant to hold two Michelin stars, Andrew Fairlie. If you think this might interest you, let us know in advance so we can secure your table.
GLENEAGLES HOTEL (B, Afternoon tea)