Haddo House & Country Park

Methlick Ellon

Aberdeenshire AB41 7EQ

At Haddo House in Aberdeenshire, spring is starting to stir. Alongside the snowdrops that cover large swathes of the 240 acre country park, daffodils too will soon be opening.

The park and the fine William Adam house at its centre, was for centuries home to the Gordon Family, to which the poet Byron was related, and it was William Gordon, the 2nd Earl of Aberdeen who in the 19th century, had a damp valley drained in order to create the landscape that exists today.

Close to the house is a small rose garden and a formal terrace garden, which in summer is filled with seasonal plants. Classic statues and a fountain add year-round structure while beyond the terrace there are deep herbaceous borders which give way to wide stretches of parkland with fine trees.

An avenue of lime trees stretches out to both the front and the back, providing a handsome approach to the mansion.

Part of the grounds are home to exotic trees and ornamental shrubs and this pleasure ground, which is named the ‘Doolllies’ is surrounded by a ha-ha in order to protect it from the local deer population.

Elegant garden buildings set around the park include a game larder and a pheasant house, while Haddo Hall is still used for concerts and cultural events.

A set of golden gates mark the end of the Scots mile, a 1.12m pathway, which is one of several routes around the estate. In total there are four miles of surfaced paths as well as grass walks through the old deer park.

Close to the car park there is a secure dog exercise area as well as a dog agility trail and dogs on leads are welcome throughout the estate.

The Herald: Pitmedden GardenPitmedden Garden (Image: free)

Historic Neighbour

It’s just a short distance from Haddo House to another of the great gardens of the North East. Pitmedden Garden is a painstaking recreation of a Scottish Renaissance garden and each year it blooms with the colours of the 30,000 bedding plants that are used to fill its intricate parterres.

Trained fruit trees grow around the walls and in spring these put on a fine display of blossom, with more spring flowers appearing in the recently-planted orchard.

Pitmedden is home to many heritage varieties of fruit and it regularly holds Apple Days in autumn, offering tastings, fruit identification and traditional bothy ballads that celebrate the area’s farming tradition.

The entire garden was created in the 1950s on the footprint of a previous garden, using historic plans from Holyrood Palace. Tall pyramids of yew march in a straight line between the parterres and beneath the fruit trees there are broad herbaceous borders. Elsewhere there are avenues of pleached lime trees as well as three miles of box hedging that has to be clipped annually, making Pitmedden a high maintenance garden. Two pavilions provide excellent vantage points for enjoying the whole design.

The wider Pitmedden estate is open all year round and the garden itself will re-open for the season on Saturday, 16 March.


Haddo House Country Park is open daily, dawn to dusk.

Tel: 01651 851664 haddo@visithaddo.com www.visithaddo.com The Courtyard Cafe is open Thursday - Monday, 10am - 4pm A map, which can be downloaded from the website, gives details of accessible routes around the country park.

Haddo House is situated off the B999 on the Tarves to Methlick road, 30 minutes north of Aberdeen.

In association with Discover Scottish Gardens www.discoverscottishgardens.org