The majority of people identify Europe with historic castles, yet this is incorrect. The United States, turns out, is also home to many old ruins and lavish palaces. Moreover, many of them are even opened for visitors. These are some of the most magnificent structures that you should add to your bucket list as soon as possible.
1. Belvedere Castle
One of the country’s most famous castles is located in the heart of Central Park in New York City. Calvert Vaux, the park’s co-designer, wanted the 1865 Gothic building to act as a surprising landmark for visitors to discover on their walks.
Have you ever imagined living inside a castle? Disney movies and fantasy films sometimes make us wonder how it would feel living like royalty, don’t you agree? Now, while most people cannot afford to live in a castle, you can always visit one. In this list, we are bringing you all the places that open to the public. In detail, locations are in English-speaking countries. This ensures that all of you in the audience will have easy access to these beautiful locations. Let’s begin!
30. Hearst Castle in California
Hearst Castle is an unusual West Coast building in San Simeon, California. The original owner, George Hearst, was a merchant from America who became unbelievably rich in the 1800s. He acquired 40,000 acres of farmland in 1865 in California. The Hearst family also collected more land, crossing over 250,000 acres. After that, they hired an architect named Julia Morgan to build an enormous resort on their land under La Cuesta Encantada. Dubbed Spanish for “Enchanted Hill,” the building includes 165 rooms, 123 garden acres, and a vast collection of paintings.
Today, the Hearst family still owns the place. Moreover, the government has classified it as a Historic California Site; they can receive funding to keep this place’s fundamental integrity. On the other hand, the location is also open for visitors to pay a visit. Adult tickets are $25 and children’s $12.
29. Castle Belvedere
In 1869, Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted created Belvedere. It sits on top of the great Vista Rock, above the Great Lawn of Central Park. The building featured an outdoor observatory to give people a great view of Central Park. The word “Belvedere” means “beautiful sight” in Italian in case you didn’t know. In 1919, it was used to gather meteorological data by the National Weather Service. The pair moved it in the 1960s to the Rockefeller Center. In the 1990s, the Castle has restored to its original scale thanks to a grand sum of $340,000. In 2018, another renovation was conducted by the Central Park Conservancy and cost them up to $12 million.
The castle opened to visitors again in June 2019. The second floor’s winding steps are open to tourists and offer the best view of Central Park and the area. New York City. There is also a gift shop and tourism center.
28. Château de la Motte Husson
Dick and Angel Strawbridge are an English couple who chose to leave England and moved to France. They bought the Chateau de la Motte Husson castle in France’s Loire Valley for just £ 280,000, only over $ 360,000. Before the Strawbridge’s, people lived there for hundreds of years. The estate grounds dated from the 12th century. By 1406, the Husson family bought the castle, which is where the name came from. Then, in 1600, the Baglioni family acquired the original building. Fast-forward to the 1880s; Count Xavier Baglion married a countess who wanted a completely new palace built on the land. This is the same castle that still stands to this day.
When Dick and Angel acquired the castle in 2015, it was in heavily damaged condition. It has no heat or electricity, is full of insects and rats, and there are holes in the roof. Yet, their love of labor, in the end, made it all worth it. Today, they have finished remodeling the castle to hold weddings and events. Since the Strawbridge family lives there full time, we can’t come unless we buy tickets or book one of their holidays for their special public events. However, you can still see inside their home in the TV series Escape to the Chateau.
27. Thornewood Castle
Chester A. Thorne built the 27,000 square foot Thornewood Castle on a 4-acre estate in Washington State in 1908. The Gothic Tudor style building was a unique attraction on the west coast. Besides, the castle is located along American Lake, decored with gardens and stunning views. The place has hosted presidents and many elite figures in its heyday.
The castle is now a private house and fully restored. Moreover, its owners open to paying guests wanting weddings and large parties and to anyone who’d like to schedule an overnight stay at a breakfast-only hostel through their website. So it’s technically open to the public; you can’t just show up to the whim. It could still be a great getaway spot for anyone looking to see American castles.
26. Holyroodhouse Palace
The Queen of the United Kingdom also needed to have a place to stay in Scotland. In this case, she has chosen the official home of the Scottish monarchy – Holyroodhouse Palace. First constructed as a monastery in 1128, the Holyroodhouse Palace now serves as a location for major celebrations and events in the country. One of which is the Holyrood Week, which runs from late June to July.
Although this is believed to be one of the Queen’s private residences, the public can visit it any day. Visitors can pay a visit to the throne room, have a look at valuable artwork and join more activities. In the 1500’s, Queen Mary of Scots had lived there. If you are an avid fan of history, don’t miss out on a chance to visit the building once the pandemic is over!
25. Biltmore Estate
Born in Staten Island in New York in the wealthy Vanderbilt family, George Vanderbilt is always fond of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He later bought a massive amount of land in order to build his dream house. The construction started in 1889 and took up to six years to finish the Biltmore Estate.
It has up to 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 chimneys in Biltmore House. After George passed away in 1914, his wife has chosen to sell 87,000 acres of the land to the US Forest Service. At that time, it was around $5 per acre. In 1930, the Vanderbilts family opened its doors to the general public while still living there. Today, you can visit during the day or even host your wedding at Biltmore Estate.
24. Lyndhurst Castle
Built in 1838, The mayor of New York City, William Paulding has been Lyndhurst Castle’s first resident. After that, a wealthy merchant named George Merritt ended up purchasing the building. Later, Jay Gould had added the place to his empire. He is probably most famous for being one of the famous Robber Baron railroad tycoons. Aside from all the extravagance, the most prized thing about Lyndhurst Castle is its location. The estate is placed on the Hudson River that provides a view of the New York City skyline.
If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, did you know that Anna, daughter of Gould was the inspiration for Lady Cora’s character? She also has an official title of Duchess of Talleyrand-Perigord. After the death of her father, Anna and her sister Helen looked after the castle together. In 1961, the National Heritage Preservation Fund took over the place as Anna was determined to keep her family’s home integrity. The building was used as the setting for the Downton Abbey show in Saturday Night Live skits settings for several films and TV series.
23. Ca ‘d’Zan
The Ringling Brothers ran a circus show called “The Greatest Show on Earth” and P.T. Barnum for many years. One of them, John Ringling, was on the list of the richest men in America back then. In 1911, John and his wife Mable bought 20-acre waterfront property in Sarasota, Florida. While they originally planned to spend only winter in Florida, they ended up buying more land as time passed. In the end, the pair owned up to 25% of the entire town of Sarasota. After purchasing the lands, they began the construction of a Venetian Gothic style house. Ringling took inspiration from the Italian palaces as he dreamed of a 5-story home with 41 rooms and 15 bathrooms. Two years and $ 1.5 million later, the 36,000 square foot Ca ‘d’Zan castle was completed.
The house is filled with expensive art collections bought by Ringling during his voyages. The numbers of paintings were too many that he ended up building a second building on the Uffizi Florentine Galleries campus. Now, many people might know Ca’am’Zan as Florida’s Ringling State Art Museum. For those who want to join the circus, they also run workshops in the daytime; while guests can book their tickets online.
22. Boldt Castle
The owner of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, George C. Boldt wanted to build his dream house on Heart Island, located on Alexandria Bay outside New York. In 1900, he paid 300 employees to start the construction of his 120-room castle. The complete building was meant to be a home for his family. However, his wife Louise suddenly passed away in 1904. After her death, he felt no use in completing the castle and completely abandoned it. Without proper care and the bad effect of vandalism, the place began to crumble.
Thousand Islands Bridge Authority bought the land in 1977 and has since invested millions of dollars in restoring the structures. Today, visitors can go to the island. You can only get there by boat, so make sure to check if a tour is available. As the place is so close, a big number of Canadians also travel to visit this place, as many as American tourists.
21. The Breakers
The Breakers was among the “summer cottages” which belongs to the Vanderbilt family. In this case, a “cottage” for them is truly a castle to the rest of us. In 1885, Cornelius Vanderbilt bought a house called The Breakers in Newport. A few years later, it was burned down by a fire. So in 1893, he contracted architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a large villa as his new house. The 70-room, palazzo-style Italian estate is located in Newport, Rhode Island
Cornelius’s youngest daughter, Gladys Vanderbilt ended up marrying an earl in Hungary and spent most of her time in the country. So after her parents died, she opened The Breakers to the public in 1948 to raise funds for the Conservation Society of Newport Country. By 1972, the society finally bought the house and turned it into a National Historic Landmark. As there are so much art and architecture to see indoors, they offer custom tours for specific information.
20. Bannerman Castle
In the 1800s, businessman Francis Bannerman gathered a fortune by selling goods at the Navy auction. Over the years, he successfully expanded his business into a retail location called Bannerman’s in Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York. Ultimately, he was looking for more space to use as his inventory, so he started a search since then, Francis came across Bannerman Island while canoeing and decide to purchase the place. He begun building the Bannerman Castle after in 1901.
With his love for world peace, Bannerman hoped one day his house would be known as the “The Museum of the Lost Arts”. After his death, his nephew transferred the island to the Taconic Park Commission. Today, you can find walking tours available to visitors on their website!
19. Singer Castle
If the name Singer sounds familiar to you, does ‘sewing machine’ ring any bell? As you can imagine, Singer’s owners were incredibly wealthy, especially in the early 1900s. Back then, every home in America probably owned one of their machines. Singer Castle belongs to the Bourne Family. It was built on Dark Island, New York, in the middle of the St. River. Lawrence. At that time, they already resided in Manhattan and another 1,000-acre estate on Long Island. However, they wanted a place where they could enjoy outdoor activities without disturbing their neighbors.
They lived there until the 1960s. Nowadays, the place is open to the public. You would only need to book a tour on the website in advance as it is only accessible by ferry. Furthermore, the building could also serve as a wedding location.
18. Buckingham palace
You already know Buckingham Palace is home to the UK royal family, even when you live under a rock. Since 1837, it has been used as the monarchy’s official home. Guards dressed in red uniforms and black fur hats patrolled the palace’s front gates since they were sworn in for protection and protection. Queen’s Affairs.
The public is only allowed to visit The State Rooms for 10 weeks during the summer. You will want to book tickets online, as there is only such a small amount of time that you are allowed to visit. But this is a small building, with 775 rooms.
17. Iolani Palace
Years ago, before the US-occupied Hawaii, it was ruled by the Hawaiian Monarchy. Iolani Palace is led by King Kalakaua and his sister Queen Liliuokalani. Construction of the palace first began in 1879 and was completed in 1882. Following the overthrow of the Hawaiian empire, the Iolani palace became the provisional government’s official headquarters. It also served as the government’s new capital building after it became the State of Hawaii.
Going to Iolani Palace would be a great thing to do on your next Hawaii vacation. They are open Monday through Saturday and offer both guided tour and audio options. And if you can’t go there directly, their website has a virtual tour.
16. Althorp Castle
Initially built by the Spencers family in 1508, Althorp Castle in England has been used as a private home for over 500 years. After nineteen generations of the Spencers living in the mansion, they finally opened their doors to the public. This is the childhood home of Princess Diana. The current owner is Charles Spencer, Diana’s brother, who lives in London as a writer and historian.
Remember that the castle is now the Spencers’ private residence; they have no time, so you have to arrange your ride. It is available between July and September, 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. Some days in the summer are also blocked. Test your website always in advance. If possible, you can travel to concerts and public gatherings such as wine degustation so that you can blend leisure with a tour of historical sites.
15. Balmoral Castle
In Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Balmoral Castle is found. It has been one of the British royal family’s residences since 1852, after being purchased by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It was deemed too small when it was first purchased, so who hired an architect named William Smith to build a castle. The original castle on the property was destroyed four years later, and the new one was in its place. There are 50,000 acres of farmland and livestock in the Balmoral Estate, but it is still very much a working land that produces an income, which is how many wealthy families have held such an expensive house.
From April through August, Balmoral Castle is open to the public. Guests are only permitted to enter the gardens and the ballroom, where many historical exhibits are held. Since they belong to the new Queen of England, most of the house’s rooms are selling off.
14. Castle Hillsborough
As the White House here in America, the Secretary of State’s official residence for Northern Ireland is Hillsborough Castle. When the Hill family first designed the house in the 18th century, As the family was self-made millionaires, this mansion was called a “castle,” and they decided to make their lineage look more dominant and like old money. They even built a fort on the house to make it look as if they once had a medieval fortress. However, this home is a castle for many of these people, with their vast size and tall towers.
From 9:30 (am) to 4 (pm) today, there are guided tours of the house and gardens regularly. A gift shop and a restaurant are also available, so you can easily take your whole family on a guided tour for a few hours.
13. Gould castle
Howard Gould purchased the Sands Point Preserve in New York in 1900 and built on the property four mansions. One of them was Castle Gould, which is a 100,000-square-foot limestone building. The only space available to the public is the Great Hall, where they have cultural activities, yoga courses, and more.
There are other castles on the property that you can see while visiting the Sands Point Preserve. But when they visit the grounds, Castle Gould has a welcome center, gift shop, and public facilities. But it’s still possible to get pictures of the building’s exterior.
12. The Versailles Palace
The Palace of Versailles, known as Marie Antoinette’s house, once had lavish parties for the French aristocracy. If you’re visiting Versailles, France, it’s one of those tourist destinations that almost everyone goes to at least once. It’s open all year long, and musical events and art show also take place.
They have many tours in several languages and an app that will help direct you on the trip. In English, they have tour guides available because it’s so popular with tourists. For transport, food, gift shops, and more, there are also loads of possibilities. Before you go, ensure to check out their website.
11. Palace of Kensington
Kensington Palace is remembered when they are young for being the home of English royalty. It was a small villa known as Nottingham House when it was first bought by William III and Mary II in 1689. The home was added and turned into a palace with gardens as the years went by. Queen Victoria lived in Kensington for the whole of her childhood. It was once home to Princess Diana and Princess Margaret and is now home to Kate Middleton and Cambridge’s Duchess.
And though it is only used for royalty as a residence, the palace is open for tours. Only make sure you check out the ticket details page as to the available dates and times. They even have free wifi, a gift shop, food, and more.
10. Estate of Sandringham
The Sandringham Estate, situated in Norfolk, England, is a large home, garden, and museum. House’s history goes back to the 1200s, when it used to be a Roman villa. It became a sizeable English mansion hundreds of years later and was the house of royalty.
Today, as it is no longer used as a private residence for the Queen, it has been fully converted into a tourist destination. They have also developed a children’s playground, and there is a Transport Museum that has on display several antique vehicles. The estate is now declared to be a free public park open to the public.
9. Castle Windsor
Windsor Castle has been used as one of the British royal family residences for over 900 years. The Queen typically spends her private weekends staying in Windsor Castle even to this day. Guests will visit some of the royal apartments and see the fantastic dollhouse of Queen Victoria that she played with as a child. For anyone visiting London, Windsors is one of the most popular tourist spots.
Be sure to search the website for opening times before you go. Some dates are closed off for maintenance or private functions for the Queen, but it is open most of the year. They currently have a gift shop open but are in the middle of a guest refreshment cafeteria restaurant, which is expected to be finished in 2020.
8. Hall of Reid
Reid Hall is a four-story, 1892-built castle. The owner was another self-made millionaire named Whitelaw Reid, a wealthy politician and newspaper publisher. The court was manufactured out of granite blocks in the Renaissance Revival style. He also wanted a tower with a flat roof that was five stories tall because he wanted to see the land for miles around Westchester County, New York.
It was once known to be the new position for the United Nations after Whitelaw Reid’s death. In 1951, Manhattanville College bought it instead, eventually giving it the new name, Reid Hall. Students refer to it only as “the castle” now. It was added to the National Historic Places Register in 1974. You might turn up to walk around campus or arrange a campus tour guide visit, as it is different from Manhattanville College.
7. Castle Fonthill
Between 1908 and 1912, an archeologist, tile builder, and scholar named Henry Chapman Mercer founded Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. It has 44 rooms in all, making it a massive example of a home in the style of Arts and Crafts. When visitors came over as an antique specialist, Mercer enjoyed showing all of his precious items in his castle.
One-hour guided tours of Fonthill Castle is available. The property also includes the Mercer Museum since there were so many beautiful items for Henry Mercer to display. Some of his tiles and precious objects gathered from his journeys around the world filled the museum.
6. Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa was founded by a fourth-generation winemaker named Dario Sattui in the Napa Valley, California. In 1972, he returned from Europe to the U.S. and decided that he wanted his family winery company to be revived. He wanted to make his dream come true by recreating a 13th-century Tuscan castle after gaining money from bringing the winery back to life.
In 1994, Dario started building the Castello di Amorosa, but it was not enough to have A house that looked like a palace in the Middle Ages. Eight thousand tons of hand-chiseled stone and antique bricks imported from Europe were bought by him. The 121,000 square feet of three-acre court with One hundred seven rooms took an entire 15 years to complete. It even has a moat, a drawbridge courtyard, walls, high protective ramparts, a church, stables, and an armory. They hold tours and public gatherings for parties and wine tastings because it’s a winery.
5. Position of the Bishop
In 1886, in Galveston, Texas, a lawyer named Colonel Walter Gresham wanted to build a castle. The carved ornaments, stained glass windows, bronze statues, and silver fireplace are the artist’s most notable architectural achievements, Nick Clayton. Gresham named it Bishop’s Place when it was complete.
Bishop’s place is listed as a historic landmark today, and it has been classified as one of the 100 most significant buildings in America by the American Institute of Architects. If you choose to visit the castle, entry is just $14 for adults and $9 for children 6 through 18. Children aged five years and under could join free of charge. They also have private tours that are $80 per person “behind the scenes,” but you need to make a reservation up to a week in advance.
4. Castle Oheka
In 1914, on a 443-acre piece of land on Long Island, In New York, a wealthier financier named Otto Hermann Kahn designed Oheka Castle. The projected construction costs were $11 million, which, with current inflation, it is more like $158 million. The castle, which has 127 rooms are 109,000 square feet. During the 1920s, Kahn would throw big parties. Celebrities will come from Hollywood to attend one of these significant gatherings, and Kahn frequently hosted politicians and other influential figures at his house. Some people say that The Great. Gatsby was the inspiration for him. In 1934, Otto Kahn passed away, and he had no descendants. Since then, the castle has been sold many times, before the government took the property over. Before it was abandoned, Oheka Castle was used as a government training school and a military academy.
Oheka Castle was bought by a real estate developer named Gary Melius in 1984. To restore the castle, Melius started the meticulous process of researching the original architectural plans. He also brought in architects and historians to help make sure that Otto Kahn’s specifics would have liked it was authentic. The refurbishments cost over $40 million. Oheka is now part of the National Historic Preservation Trust. It is now a wedding hotel, and it has been used in a range of T.V. shows and movies, such as Citizen Kane and Succession.
3. House of Hempstead
In Sands Point, New York, Hempstead House is one of four mansions on the Gould-Guggenheim Estate. The others are Castle Gould, Falaise, and Mille Fleurs. Hempstead House is a castle designed in 1912 by architects Hunt & Hunt in the Tudor style. It is 50,000 square feet, with 40 granite and limestone spaces. Hempstead House was a summer home when it was first built. Artists were hosted by the Guggenheim family and had parties for members of the elite. They wanted it to feel like a real European castle, so Tudor and Jacobean antiques were imported, and the library belonging to King James I was copied.
Daniel Guggenheim died in 1930, and his wife, Florence, shut down Hempstead House. In 1940, to encourage foster children who fled the war in Europe to stay there, Florence opened the mansion once again. She sold the property as a training center to the U.S. navy in 1946, and in 1971, Nassau County, New York, bought it to preserve this historic structure. Now accessible for private events, Hempstead House has featured in many movies, such as Great Expectations and Malcolm X.It also appeared on a few T.V. shows, including Billions, Boardwalk Empire, and Royal Pains. For $15 per user, the public may go on a tour.
2. Castle Belhurst
In the 1800s, in Albany, New York, the Ontario Glass Manufacturing Company owned a large land piece. The property was divided between the company’s principal owners in 1824. The most significant cut belonged to William DeLong, so he used the property to create his new home. The land has been sold many times, but the name has also changed over the years. Initially, until 1885, there was just a small house on the Hermitage’s property.
The new owners tore down the original Hermitage, and in its place, constructed a castle. In the 1930s, this all changed when the owners became a casino and a pub. This casino had to shut down in the 1950s because owners were forced by the local authorities to stop this activity. Now, this is a hotel and restaurant, so before you go, it would be best to reserve a room.
1. Castle Hammond
Located in Gloucester, Massachusetts, a famous inventor named John Hays Hammond Jr. designed Hammond Castle in the 1920s. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the castle lies on a cliff. Hammond bought many antique objects to be displayed in his house, a big fan of medieval European castles. From the 15th to 16th centuries, most of the homes and gardens were modeled after designs.
From June through September, adult tickets are $14 each. On the other hand, they also provide a “candlelight tour” every Thursday night where the guides will give you a spooky walk through the castle to tell you stories about the owners.