Looking for a rural retreat with stand-out cuisine? Amy Shearer samples a venue in Perthshire that promises to satisfy your appetite
That old Björk classic ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ resonates with me on a personal level. That’s because when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, I need to shut out the world completely before I cash in my one-way ticket to the land of nod. If I can’t, the Icelandic songstress’s biggest hit is quickly replaced by ‘Insomnia’ by Faithless and I spend the wee hours either mentally rearranging my wardrobe or reliving my most embarrassing moments (such as when I asked a nail technician – while she was actually doing my nails – what she does for a living).
Happily, I had no such night terrors on my recent visit to Scone. Rather, I was soothed to sleep by the gentle sounds of nature.
Describing itself as a ‘luxury four-star country house and estate amid towering trees’, Murrayshall boasts 40 impressive bedrooms and suites, and my friend James and I arrived during one of the venue’s wedding open days. Sipping a glass of fizz, we watched as the team of Laura Browne, Alison Grant and Elaine McCormack answered questions from prospective couples, talked them through the tempting catering options and showed off all that Murrayshall has to offer.
Swept up in all this talk of newlyweds and celebrations, we toured the whole place and quickly understood its wide-ranging appeal, whether you’re after a big bash or an intimate get-together.
In fact, there are multiple areas here to host your big day. The library with its cosy vibe and open fire would suit an intimate Christmassy gathering. Or, if you have always fancied tying the knot outdoors in a traditional countryside setting, the rose garden can be set up to accommodate a romantic ceremony.
The latter is just one of the hidden gems in the grounds. If a round on the award-winning golf course isn’t in your repertoire, how about trying your hand at lawn games? Or you could lounge on the hammock or take in the scenery on one of the stunning walking trails.
After all that exploring, it is no surprise that the highlight of our stay was dinner in the award-winning restaurant Eòlas. The dining experience is made extra-special by the staff, whose enthusiasm is contagious. Somehow, just knowing how much they enjoy being there makes everything taste that bit nicer.
Between us, James and I sampled some standout dishes – my starter, scallops with scallop tartare, is one of the best I’ve ever had. Our mains were delightfully decadent too, and we rounded things off with a crème brûlée and a mango soufflé – a delicious end to a memorable meal.
We were fortunate enough to spend the night in the Lynedoch Suite. It and the impressive Miller Suite would make fine pre-wedding accommodation, as each has loads of room for the full squad to get ready. They’d be equally good after the wedding for a couple to bask in newlywed bliss.
I headed home the following morning with no fear of a sleepless night: I knew all I’d be dreaming about is my next trip to this fabulous Perthshire escape.
Here’s the lowdown on this fantastic wedding venue in Scone, which has much more to offer than just stunning views of the Perthshire countryside
Where is Murrayshall?
There are 40 bedrooms and suites across the main building and adjacent Balvaird House. From reasonably priced snug rooms to spacious suites, there is something to suit guests and the happy couple. A particular highlight is the impressive Miller Suite which boasts a four-poster bed and a turret containing a relaxation area – ideal for recovering the day after!
What is the food and drink like at Murrayshall?
This is truly the venue for foodies. Making the most of fresh, locally sourced meat and vegetables, the chefs here are capable of some seriously good cooking. The fine-dining Eòlas was recently named Best Boutique Hotel Restaurant in the UK. so you can rest assured the catering will be in safe hands.
What wedding packages can Murrayshall offer?
Murrayshall has three main packages, all with a minimum of 70 guests: Kinnoull, from £125pp (for 2024 weddings); Murray, from £138pp; and Lynedoch, from £160pp. Kinnoull, for example, includes a beautifully prepared three-course wedding breakfast; two glasses of sparkling wine; a glass of house wine; tea, coffee and fudge; hot-roll evening buffet for your day guests; wedding breakfast room hire; chair covers and complimentary suite for the newlyweds on the night of the wedding. Top-tier Lynedoch additionally offers floral centrepiece and top table arrangement and a boosted drinks package incorporating more wine and fizz!
If your party has fewer than 70 guests, the weddings team will be very happy to put together a package for you.