Aberdeen City & Shire

Haddo House

An elegant and luxurious stately home designed by William Adam

Things to do

School visits

We welcome school visits at Haddo House. For more information, please see our Learning pages.

Hire a venue

Within easy reach of Aberdeen, Haddo House was built for entertaining, regularly playing host to royalty and dignitaries across the centuries. Today, it’s an ideal venue for weddings, corporate events and private parties – please see our venue hire pages for more information.

Nature spotting

Fantastic five at Haddo House

Haddo Country Park may hold its own biological wonders but even around Haddo House there are remarkable species. Here are our top wildlife species to try and spot when you’re enjoying a wander around the Haddo estate. Each has a ‘how easy to see?’ rating, a fun fact and a top tip for when and where to look.

Marmalade hoverfly

This is one of the easiest and most delightful hoverflies to recognise because of its orange and black bands, in particular a distinctive moustache-shaped band. The marmalade hoverfly, like many others, mimics bees and wasps with this banding. It is a useful addition to the garden and it’s worth planting nectar-rich plants for it, as the larvae of the marmalade hoverfly eat aphids.

Fact: It has the uncanny ability to hover and even fly backwards!

How easy is it to see? EASY
You can see marmalade hoverflies on flat-topped flowers from May to September.

A yellow and black striped hoverfly perches on a purple thistle head.

Common pipistrelle bat

The iconic species in Haddo’s Fantastic Five has to be the pipistrelle bat. A diminutive mammal, it nevertheless makes up for its size by its acrobatic flying ability. There is a summer roost in Haddo House, and it is a breathtaking spectacle to see them emerge at dusk. Common pipistrelles enjoy the wooded environment and use the edges of buildings and trees to collect insects on the wing.

Fact: One common pipistrelle bat can eat up to 3,000 midges in a night!

How easy is it to see? EASY
Common pipistrelles can be seen from May to September at Haddo.

A small bat sits on a stony surface, with its wings stretched out to either side and resting on the ground. It has a brown furry body and long pointed ears.

Strathy strangler

Of all the waxcap fungi on Haddo’s internationally important Bell Lawn, the strangest surely is the Strathy strangler (Squamanita pearsonii). This mushroom gets its name because it is a parasite on another mushroom (the earthy powdercap). The Strathy strangler grows, from underground, up through the stem of its host, eventually replacing the host’s cap with its own!

Fact: The Strathy strangler is rarely seen in Scotland, so keep your eyes peeled.

How easy is it to spot? DIFFICULT
Strathy stranglers may emerge on the Bell Lawn, from October until December.

A brown and white, lumpy fungus grows amongst grass. It has a number of heads.

Smoky spindles

Another fungi fiend, but more commonly found than the Strathy strangler, is the species known as smoky spindles (Clavaria fumosa). You will find it along the path edges of the garden at Haddo. It looks like wiry beige fingers in bunches, protruding from under the path stones.

Fact: Smoky spindles are from a family known as the corals and fairy clubs.

How easy is it to spot? EASY
Smoky spindles emerge between September and November along the path edges.

(Image below: © Liz Holden)

An unusual looking fungus grows in grass. It resembles a pile of pink worms, squirming in a ball.

Garden tiger moth

Haddo’s floral array in the garden is irresistible to a wide range of nectar-loving moths. If you’re out and about for an evening stroll near the gardens, and if you’re very lucky, you might just see this unmistakeable insect. Look out for its exquisitely patterned brown and cream forewings, which part to show a startling and beautiful bright orange hind wing!

Fact: The garden tiger moth’s caterpillars are called woolly bears.

How easy is it to spot? DIFFICULT
Garden tiger moths are on the wing in summer evenings, July to August.

A moth perches on a blade of grass. It has black and white patterned wings, with an orange and black furry head.