Exploring Haddo House is one of my favourite weekend activities; there is strong resemblance between the 18th-century mansion and the Palace of Versailles tricking you into thinking that you have been instantly transferred to France, Mrs Smiths coffee shop in the corner has moreish hot chocolate and scones, and there is loads of land for dogs to run around. All in all, the ideal place to drive and get away from Aberdeen but without breaking the bank!
But these are not the only reasons I love visiting Haddo House – this is the first National Trust historic building I took my Mum last summer, when she visited me for my graduation, and also the first place I put my National Trust membership card in use while taking the tour inside the House.
wearing: jumper – c/o Boden, trousers – Topshop, crossbody bag- c/o NEXT, beret hat bought in Paris a few years backThis past weekend we embarked on another countryside adventure – our initial plan was to go for a short walk around the Haddo House gardens with Cruz before taking the tour of the mansion (while Cruz would be blissfully sleeping in the car). Equipped with sandwiches, mint tea in the thermos and Cruzy’s bed (for the dog nap in the car), we arrived in Haddo House early Saturday morning, only to be welcomed by an array of cars parked outside the premises.
Being completely unsuspicious about the sudden gather of crowds we got our boots on and headed towards the gardens. While we were passing the ticket shop, I had this epiphany of stepping inside and ask the lady when was the next tour taking place. To my utter disappointment, there was a wedding happening (explains the crowds) and the entire estate was fully booked for the next 3 hours, so there would be no tours for the day as they were reserved for the guests. Slightly exasperated, we headed towards the lake with Cruz running always ahead of us to make sure he sniffed every little flower and corner, bless him!
Once the view of the walk up the hill presented itself we had all forgotten about the tour (or lack of it!) because this is just too pretty not to put a smile on your face!
And it was at this moment that Cruzy decided to pick a disproportionally big stick and carry it around – past the lake, through the ornate gates at the edge of the deer park – proudly looking at other dogs as if to say ‘Have you seen my stick? Do you like it?’.
Rumour has it that Queen Victoria used to walk up until these golden gates on her walks when she stayed at Haddo in 1857. There are two large Wellongtonia trees in the garden planted by the Queen herself to evidently prove her time in Haddo House, still standing in the grounds up until today! Haddo House is also the place where she was persuaded to purchase the Balmoral Estate, which is one of the most favourite residencies of the Royal family, during her stay as a guest of the Fourth Earl of Aberdeen.
^^ View of Haddo House at the end of the pathway. Can you spot the mansion? ^^
Once we reached the huge rock urn (in place in honour of the Fourth Earl’s wife and children who all died of tuberculosis), we met with a lovely couple and their daughter from Ayshire who visited the grounds for the first time and were astonished by the well maintained gardens and deer grounds. We chatted for 10 minutes of so about the beautiful abundance of castles in Aberdeenshire and our lack to live in this beautiful area of Scotland!From here we retrace our steps back to the deer sculptures, took the path off to the right and then left downhill to the lake.Passing past mini waterfalls, conifers and fern led pathways, we reached to the bottom of the lake just on time for sunset and it was magical! The sky turned into mixed waves or orange and pastel yellow colours that quickly turned into dark purple, the swans made a little dance circle and Cruz sat (for once) peaceful next to the water (potentially) wondering what mesmerised the humans so much!
Have you ever been to Haddo House? Did you take the tour of the mansion?