30 Regal Castles Open to Visitors

Shannon Quinn - January 15, 2020

Have you ever dreamed of living inside a castle? Disney movies and fantasy films help us imagine what it might be like to live like royalty. Most people cannot afford to live in a castle, but you can always visit. There are beautiful castles around the world, but we decided to focus on places that are open to the public. After all, we don’t want to tease you talking about these gorgeous places, only to say you can never go there. Something else to note is that there are castles that you can visit all over the world. But we wanted to focus on places that are either in English-speaking countries, or at least owned by people who speak English. This ensures that all of you in the audience should have an easy time accessing these amazing places.

Hearst Castle in California. Credit: Shutterstock

30. Hearst Castle

Located in San Simeon, California, Hearst Castle is a one-of-a-kind building on the west coast of the United States. The original owner, George Hearst was an American businessman who became incredibly wealthy in the 1800’s. In 1865, George Hearst purchased 40,000 acres of ranch land in California. The Hearst family continued to collect more land, and it eventually reached 250,000 acres. An architect named Julia Morgan was hired to build a massive retreat on the Hearst estate called La Cuesta Encantada. This is Spanish for “Enchanted Hill.” By 1947, the castle had 165 rooms, 123 acres of gardens, and a massive art collection.

The indoor pool at Hearst Castle. Credit: Shutterstock

Today, the Hearst Castle still belongs to the Hearst family. It has now been classified as a California Historical Landmark, which means that it receives funding from the government to help keep the original integrity of the building. So they are open to the public for everyone to enjoy the lavish spaces. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for children.

Belvedere Castle is located in central park, New York City. Credit: Shutterstock

29. Belvedere Castle

Belvedere Castle was designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted in 1869. It sits on top of the large Vista Rock over the Great Lawn of Central Park. with an outdoor observation deck, meant to give everyone an amazing view of Central Park. The word “Belvedere” means “beautiful view” in Italian. In 1919, the National Weather Service use the castle to gather meteorological data. By the 1960’s, this was moved to Rockefeller Center, and a $340,000 historical grant was used to restore the castle to its original grandeur in the 1990’s. In 2018, the Central Park Conservancy did yet another renovation. This time, it cost $12 million.

Belvedere Castle in Autumn just as the leaves are changing in Central Park. Credit: Shutterstock

The castle was open to visitors once again in June of 2019. Guests can climb up a winding staircase to the second floor to get one of the best views of Central Park and the surrounding cityscape of New York City. It also has a visitor center and gift shop.

The Chateau de la Motte Husson is fortified by a moat. Credit: The Chateau

28. Château de la Motte Husson

Dick and Angel Strawbridge are a British couple that chose to uproot their lives in the UK and move to France. They purchased the Chateau de la Motte Husson in the Loire Valley of France for just £280,000, which is just over $360,000. Before the Strawbridges, people have been living there for hundreds of years. The castle grounds date back to the 12th Century, when the local area parish was fortified by the moat that surrounds the grounds. By 1406, the Husson family purchased the castle, which is where the name comes from. Then, in 1600, the Baglion family bought the original castle. Fast forward to the 1880’s, when Count Xavier Baglion married a Countess who wanted a brand new castle built on the land. This is the same castle that is still standing today.

The orangerie is an additional building on the grounds of Chateau de la Motte Husson. Credit: The Chateau

By the time Dick and Angel bought the castle in 2015, the descendents of the Count and Countess had let it go to ruins. It didn’t have heat or electricity, insects and mice had infested the property, and there were holes in the roof. But their labor of love made it all worth it in the end. Today, they have completed the renovation of the castle, and they host weddings and events. Since the Strawbridge family lives there full-time, you cannot visit unless you buy a ticket to their special public events, or book one of their vacation packages. But you can still see the inside of their home, because their journey has been documented in the TV series Escape to the Chateau, which airs on Channel 4 in England and PBS in the United States.

Thordwood Castle is located in Washington State. Credit: Thornwood Castle

27. Thornewood Castle

In 1908, Chester A. Thorne built the 27,000 square foot Thornewood Castle on four acres of land in Washington State. The castle was built in the Gothic Tudor style, which is the only one of its kind on the west coast of the United States. The castle sits along American Lake, with gardens and beautiful landscape. In its heyday, the castle hosted Presidents and other important members of the elite.

The castle remains a private home and bed & breakfast. Credit: Thornewood Castle

Today, the castle has been restored, and it is still a private home. The owners open it up to paying guests who want to have weddings and large parties, and for anyone who has scheduled an overnight stay in the bed and breakfast through their website. So, while it’s technically open to the public, you cannot simply show up on a whim. This may still be a great vacation destination for anyone who wants to see castles in America.

Palace Holyroodhouse. Credit: Shutterstock

26. The Palace Of Holyroodhouse

As the Queen of the entire United Kingdom, Elizabeth needs a place to stay in Scotland too. That would be The Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is the official home of the Scottish monarchy. It was originally built as a monastery in the year 1128. Today, The Palace of Holyroodhouse is mostly used for large celebrations and events in Scotland. One of the most popular is Holyrood Week, which goes from the end of June to the beginning of July.

Mary Queen of Scot’s bedroom. Credit: The Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Even though this is supposed to be one of the Queen’s private residences, it is open to the public every day. Guests can see the throne room, precious pieces of artwork, and more. Mary Queen of Scots once lived there in the 1500’s, and her bedroom has been decorated as it would have been hundreds of years ago. If you love history, you will absolutely love visiting this place. There is also a cafe, gift shop, and activities for children.

Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. Credit: Shutterstock

25. Biltmore Estate

George Vanderbilt was born in Staten Island, New York. He was one of the members of the wealthy Vanderbilt family who made their fortune from the steamboat industry. As an adult, George visited Asheville, North Carolina and loved the Blue Ridge Mountains. So he decided to purchase a massive amount of land to build his dream home. In 1889, the construction began for the 250-room castle. It took six years for a huge team of craftsmen to complete the home, which was named The Biltmore Estate.

The gardens of the Biltmore Estate. Credit: Shutterstock

The Biltmore Estate has 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. After George Vanderbilt died in 1914, his wife Edith sold 87,000 acres of the Biltmore Estate to United States Forest Service for approximately $5 per acre. After inflation, this would be the equivalent of several million dollars in today’s money. The family continued to live there, and in 1930, the Vanderbilts began to open it to the public. Today, you can visit for the day, or even have your wedding at the Biltmore Estate.

Lyndhurst Castle is in Tarrytown, New York. Credit: Shutterstock

24. Lyndhurst Castle

Lyndhurst Castle was originally built in 1838. The first occupant was the New York City mayor, William Paulding, before it was bought by a wealthy merchant named George Merritt. Then, the castle was purchased by Jay Gould, who added on an addition for his large family. Gould is remembered for being one of the famous Robber Baron railroad tycoons. For all of the extravagance of the estate, the most priceless thing about Lyndhurst Castle is that it sits on the Hudson River. It has a view of the New York City skyline that no amount of money can buy.

The Lyndhurst Castle gallery room at Christmas time. Credit: Shannon Quinn

If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, you’ll be happy to know that Gould’s daughter Anna was the inspiration for the character Lady Cora. Her official title was Anna, Duchess of Talleyrand-Perigord. Anna and her sister Helen took care of the castle together after their father’s death. In 1961, the castle was gifted to The National Trust for Historic Preservation, because Anna Gould wanted to make sure their family home would always remain as it was, and that the public could enjoy its history. Lyndhurst was used as the setting of Downton Abbey in a Saturday Night Live skit, and it has also been the setting for several movies and TV series.

The gorgeous Ca’d’Zan castle was owned by John Ringling. Credit: Shutterstock

23. Ca’ d’Zan

For years, The Ringling Brothers were running a circus known as “The Greatest Show on Earth” along with P.T. Barnum. One of the five brothers, John Ringling, was one of the richest men in America. In 1911, John Ringling and his wife Mable purchased 20 acres of waterfront property in Sarasota, Florida. At first, they would only spend the winters in Florida, but they began to buy up more land as time went on. Eventually, they owned 25% of the entire town of Sarasota. After buying up so much property, they built a house in the Venetian Gothic style. Ringling was inspired by Italian palaces, and he wanted the home to be five stories tall with 41 rooms and 15 bathrooms. Two years and $1.5 million later, the 36,000 square foot castle Ca’ d’Zan was complete.

The castle is located in Florida, so it enjoys the benefits of beautiful weather all year long. Credit: Shutterstock

The home was full of precious art collection that was acquired by John Ringling during his travels. He had so many paintings, he constructed a second building on the property called the Florentine Uffizi Gallery. Now, Ca’ d’Zan is known as The Ringling State Art Museum of Florida. and they also run workshops for people who are considering joining a circus. Guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets online ahead of time before visiting.

Boldt Castle was never finished. Credit: Shutterstock

22. Boldt Castle

George C. Boldt was a millionaire who was best known for being the owner of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. He wanted to create his private mansion on Heart Island, which sits on the Alexandria Bay just outside of New York. In the year 1900, Boldt began paying 300 employees to build his 120-room castle. He had planned to complete the home for his wife and their children. Tragically, in 1904, Boldt’s wife Louise had suddenly died. After her death, he felt that there was no longer any point to completing the castle. So he completely abandoned it. Over the years, the castle began to crumble due to vandalism and a lack of tender loving care.

One of the structures on Heart island. Credit: Shutterstock

In 1977, The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority purchased the land, and they have since put millions of dollars into restoring the structures. Today, visitors can come to the island. It is only accessible by boat, so you have to find a tour that will bring you there. It is so close to Canada, that it also receives Canadian visitors as much as Americans. To plan your visit, check out the castle website.

The Breakers were the Vanderbilt summer cottages in Rhode Island. Credit: Shutterstock

21. The Breakers

The Breakers is the largest group of “summer cottages” owned by the Vanderbilt family in Newport, Rhode Island. Of course, if you’re a Vanderbilt, a “cottage” to them is really a castle to the rest of us. In 1885, Cornelius Vanderbilt purchased a house named The Breakers in Newport, but a few years later, the home was destroyed by a fire. So by 1893, he had an architect named Richard Morris Hunt design a grand villa to build a new home on the land. A huge team of men worked to create a 70 room Italian palazzo style mansion.

This massive mansion was considered a humble summer cottage. Credit: Shutterstock

Gladys Venderbilt, the youngest daughter of Cornelius, married a count in Hungary, and spent most of her time in Europe. So after her parent’s death, she opened The Breakers to the public in 1948 in order to raise funds for The Preservation Society of Newport Country. By 1972, the society was able to purchase the home, and it has since become a National Historic Landmark. Since there is so much artwork and architecture to see in the home, they offer custom tours for specific information that you may be curious about. Check out their website and book your tour ahead of time to make sure you see everything you’re most excited about.

Bannerman Castle sits on an island in the Hudson River, New York. Credit: Shutterstock

20. Bannerman Castle

Bannerman Island is located on the Hudson River. In the 1800’s, a businessman named Francis Bannerman made a fortune from selling goods at Navy auctions. Over the years, he was able to expand his goods business into a retail location known as Bannerman’s in Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York. Eventually, he needed more space to store his inventory, so she was on the lookout for land that could be purchased near the city. One day, he was canoeing along the Hudson river when he noticed the island. He purchased the land, and built a Scottish style castle in 1901.

The ruins of the once beautiful gardens of Bannerman Castle. Credit: Shutterstock

Bannerman wrote that he hoped one day, his home full of munitions and war-related objects would become a place known as “The Museum of the Lost Arts”, because he hoped for world peace. After his death, his grandson gave the island to the Taconic Park Commission. Today, there are walking tours available for visitors. Check out the Bannerman Castle website for more information.

The Singer Castle was built with the money made from millions of Singer sewing machines sold. Credit: Shutterstock

19. Singer Castle

If the name Singer sounds familiar to you, it’s because of the sewing machine. As you can imagine, the owners of the company were incredibly wealthy, especially in the early 1900’s, when nearly every home in America owned one of their sewing machines. The Bourne Family originally built the Singer Castle on Dark Island, New York, which is in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. The family had already lived in Manhattan and a 1,000 acre estate in Long Island, but Bourne wanted their family to also have an island where they could hunt and enjoy the great outdoors without fear of disturbing their neighbors.

Singer Castle sits on its own island in New York. Credit: Shutterstock

The family continued to live there until the 1960’s. Today, the castle is open to visitors. Since it is only accessible by boat, you will need to schedule a tour on their website ahead of time. Some people also book the castle to have their wedding on the island.

Buckingham Palace is the home of the Queen. Credit: Shutterstock

18. Buckingham Palace

Unless you are living under a rock, you already know that Buckingham Palace is the home of the British royal family. It has been used as the primary residence of the monarchy since 1837. Guards wearing red uniforms and black fluffy hats patrol the front gates of the palace, since they are sworn to protect and serve the Queen.

Tourists will recognize the Queen’s Guard patrolling the front of Buckingham Palace. Credit: Shutterstock

The public is only allowed to visit The State Rooms 10 weeks in the summertime. You will want to book your tickets online, since there is such a small window of time where you are allowed to visit. But this is a very small area of the residence, which has a whopping 775 rooms.

The front of the magnificent Iolani Palace. Credit: Shutterstock

17. Iolani Palace

Years ago, before the United States occupied Hawaii, it was ruled by the Hawaiian Monarchy. The Iolani Palace was ruled by King Kalakaua and his sister Queen Liliuokalani. The palace construction first began in 1879, and it was completed by 1882. After the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown, the Iolani Palace became the new headquarters of the Provisional Government. It also served as the new government capitol building once it became the State of Hawaii.

The statue of King Kamehameha was the first monarch in Hawaii. Credit: Shutterstock

Going to Iolani Palace would be an amazing thing to do on your next Hawaiian vacation. They are open Monday through Saturday, and have both guided and audio tour options. And if you can’t make it there in person, their website has a virtual tour.

The Althorp Castle was the childhood home of Princess Diana. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

16. Althorp Castle

Originally built by the Spencer family in 1508, the Althorp Castle in England has been used as a private home for over 500 years. After 19 generations of the Spencers living in the mansion, they finally opened it to the public. This was the childhood home of Princess Diana. The current owner is Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, who lives in London working as a writer and historian.

The Spencers still live in the house, but open it to the public for tours. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Keep in mind that since the castle is still a private home of the Spencer family, they have very limited hours, so you will need to plan your trip accordingly. It is open between July and September, from 12pm to 5pm. Even then, there are certain dates that are blocked out in the summer. So always check the website before you go. If at all possible, you may want to go when they have public concerts and events like wine tasting, so that you are blending entertainment with your tour of the historic grounds.

Balmoral Castle is one of the royal residences in Scotland. Credit: Shutterstock

15. Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle is located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Since 1852, it has been one of the homes of the British royal family, after it was bought by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. When it was first bought, it was considered to be too small, so an architect named William Smith was hired to create a castle. Four years later, the original castle on the grounds was demolished, and the new one was in its place. The Balmoral Estate has 50,000 acres of farmland and livestock, so it is still very much a working land that generates an income, which is how many of these wealthy families were able to maintain such an expensive property.

While the castle is open to the public, there are limits to what you can see. Credit: Shutterstock

Balmoral Castle is open to the public from April through August. Guests are only allowed to visit the gardens and the ballroom, which is where they keep a lot of the historic exhibits. The majority of the rooms in the house are blocked off, because they belong to the current Queen of England.

Hillsborough Castle is the location of the Northern Irish monarchy. Credit: Shutterstock

14. Hillsborough Castle

Similar to the White House here in America, Hillsborough Castle is the official home of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. When the home was first built in the 18th Century by the Hill family. This mansion was called a “castle”, because the family were self-made millionaires, and they wanted to make their lineage seem more powerful and like old money. They even built a fort on the property, in order to make it seem as though they once had a medieval fortress. However, for most people, this home truly is a castle, with his massive size and tall towers.

The Hillsborough Fort, which is apart of the castle grounds. Credit: Shutterstock

Today, there are guided tours of the house and gardens on a daily basis from 9:30AM to 4PM. There is also a gift shop and a restaurant, so it’s possible to bring your entire family comfortably for a couple hours of a guided tour.

Castle Gould is one of the many castles on Sands Point Preserve. Credit: Shutterstock

13. Castle Gould

In 1900, Howard Gould purchased the Sands Point Preserve in New York, and built four mansions on the property. Castle Gould was one of them, which is a 100,000 square foot limestone building. The Great Hall is the only room that is open to the public, and they have cultural events, yoga classes, and more.

This doggo is enjoying the view of the castle, too. Credit: Sands Point Preserve on Instagram

If you are visiting the Sands Point Preserve, there are other castles on the property that you can see. But Castle Gould has a welcome center, gift shop, and bathrooms for the public to use when they are visiting the grounds. So it’s still possible to get photos of the outside of the building.

The courtyard of The Palace of Versailles in France. Credit: Shutterstock

12. Palace of Versailles

Famous as the home of Marie Antoinette, the Palace of Versailles once had extravagant parties for the French nobility. If you are visiting the town of Versailles, France, this one of those tourist destinations that nearly everyone goes at least once. It’s open all year long, and they often have musical performances and art exhibits.

Inside of the gorgeous Palace of Versailles. Credit: Shutterstock

They have multiple tours in several languages, as well as an app that will help guide you through the tour. Since it’s so popular with tourists, they have tour guides available in English. There are also loads of transportation options, food, gift shops, and more. Before you go, make sure to check out their website.

Kensington Palace. Credit: Shutterstock

11. Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace is known for being the home of English royalty when they are young. When he was first purchased in 1689 by William III and Mary II, this was a small villa known as Nottingham House. As the years went on, the home was added on to and transformed into a palace with gardens. Queen Victoria spent her entire childhood living in Kensington. It was once the home of Princess Diana, Princess Margaret, and it is currently the home of Kate Middleton, and Duchess of Cambridge.

The beautiful gardens at Kensington Palace. Credit: Shutterstock

Even though it is still used as a home for royalty, the palace is open for tours. Just make sure you check out the website for ticket information as to the dates and times available. They even have free wifi, a gift shop, food, and more.

Sandringham Estate. Credit: Shutterstock

10. Sandringham Estate

Located in Norfolk, England, the Sandringham Estate is a massive house, garden, and museum. The history of the home goes all the way back to the 1200’s, when the land was used as a Roman villa. Hundreds of years later, it became a massive English mansion that was home of royalty.

The gardens of Sandringham Estate. Credit: Shutterstock

Today, it has been completely transformed into a tourist destination, since it is no longer being used as a private residence for the Queen. They have also built a playground for children, and there is a Transport Museum that has some vintage vehicles on display. The estate is now considered to be a public park that is open to the public for free.

A beautiful spring day at Windsor Castle. Credit: Shutterstock

9. Windsor Castle

For over 900 years, Windsor Castle has been used as one of the residences of the British royal family. Even to this day, the Queen usually spends her private weekends living in Windsor Castle. Guests can visit some of the royal apartments, as well as see Queen Victoria’s amazing doll house that she played with as a child. Windsors is one of the most popular tourist spots for anyone visiting London.

Windsor castle in the autumn. Credit: Shutterstock

Before you go, be sure to check the website for opening times. There are dates that are blocked off for repairs, or the Queen’s private events, but it is open the vast majority of the year. Currently, they have a gift shop open, but they are in the middle of construction on a cafeteria restaurant for guest refreshments, which is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

Reid Hall is now being used as part of a college campus. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

8. Reid Hall

Reid Hall is a four-story castle that was built in 1892. The owner was a wealthy politician and newspaper editor named Whitelaw Reid, another self-made millionaire. The castle was made in the Renaissance Revival style completed out of granite blocks. He also wanted a tower that was 5 stories tall with a flat roof, because he wanted to see the land of Westchester County, New York for miles around.

The front of Reid Hall is busy with students and visitors to Manhattanville College. Credit: Shutterstock

After Whitelaw Reid’s death, it was once considered to be the new location for The United Nations. It was purchased by Manhattanville College in 1951 instead, finally giving it the new name, Reid Hall. Students now simply refer to it as “the castle”. In 1974, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Since it is apart of Manhattanville College, you could show up to walk around campus, or arrange a visit with a campus tour guide.

Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, PA. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Fonthill Castle

An archeologist, tile maker, and scholar named Henry Chapman Mercer built Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, Pennsylvania between 1908 and 1912. It has 44 rooms total, which makes it a massive example of an Arts and Crafts style home. As an antiques expert, Mercer loved displaying all of his precious objects in his castle when guests came over.

Fonthill looking spooky on a foggy day. Credit: Shutterstock

There are one-hour guided tours available of Fonthill Castle. The property also contains the Mercer Museum, because Henry Mercer had so many beautiful objects to display. The museum filled with some of his tiles and precious artifacts that were collected from his travels around the world.

Credit: The Castello di Amorosa website.

6. Castello di Amorosa

Located in Napa Valley, California, Castello di Amorosa was built by a fourth-generation winemaker named Dario Sattui. In 1972, he returned from Europe to the United States and decided that he wanted to revive his family winery business. After earning money from bringing the winery back to life, he wanted to make his dream come true by recreating a 13th century Tuscan castle.

The castle has outdoor parties and wine tasting events. Credit: The Castello di Amorosa website.

Dario began construction of Castello di Amorosa in 1994, but it wasn’t enough to have a building that simply resembled a medieval castle. He purchased 8,000 tons of hand-chiseled stone and antique bricks imported from Europe. It took an entire 15 years to complete the 121,000 square feet three acre castle with 107 rooms. It even has a moat, courtyard drawbridge, towers, high defensive ramparts, chapel, stables, and an armory. Since it’s a winery, they hold tours and public events for parties and wine tastings.

Bishop’s Place in Galveston, TX. Credit: Instagram

5. Bishop’s Place

In 1886, a lawyer named Colonel Walter Gresham decided to build a castle in Galveston, Texas. The most noteworthy architectural achievements by the architect, Nick Clayton, are the carved ornaments, stained glass windows, bronze sculptures, and silver fireplace. When it was complete, Gresham called it Bishop’s Place.

The front of Bishop’s Place. Credit: Google Maps

Today, Bishop’s Place is classified as a historic landmark, and the American Institute of Architects has classified it as one of the 100 most important buildings in America. If you want to visit the castle, admission is just $14 for adults, and kids 6 to 18 are $9. Children age 5 and under can enter for free. They also have private “behind the scenes” tours that are $80 per person, but you need to make a reservation up to a week in advance.

A bird’s eye view of the grounds of Oheka Castle. Credit: The Oheka Castle website

4. Oheka Castle

In 1914, a wealthier financier named Otto Hermann Kahn built Oheka Castle on a 443-acre piece of land in Long Island, New York. The estimated cost of construction was $11 million, which is more like $158 million with modern inflation. The castle is 109,000 square feet, and it has 127 rooms. Kahn would throw huge parties in the 1920s. Celebrities would come from Hollywood to experience one of these huge events, and Kahn regularly hosted politicians and other powerful figures in his home. Some people claim that he was the inspiration for The Great Gatsby. Otto Kahn passed away in 1934, and he had no heirs. The castle has been sold several times since then, until the government took over the property. Oheka Castle was used as a government training school and a military academy before it was abandoned.

Oheka Castle from the front. Credit: The Oheka Castle website.

In 1984, a real estate developer named Gary Melius purchased Oheka Castle. Melius began the painstaking process of studying the original architectural blueprints so that he could restore the castle. He also brought in architects and historians to help to make sure all of the details were original to how Otto Kahn would have wanted it. The renovations cost over $40 million. Oheka is now on the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is now a hotel used for weddings, and it has been used in a number of TV shows and movies like Citizen Kane and Succession.

Hempstead House in Long Island, New York. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Hempstead House

Hempstead House is one of four mansions on the Gould-Guggenheim Estate in Sands Point, New York. The others are Castle Gould, Falaise and Mille Fleur. Hempstead House is a Tudor-style castle designed in 1912 by architects Hunt & Hunt. It is 50,000 square feet and 40 rooms of granite and limestone. When it was first built, Hempstead House was a summer home. The Guggenheim family hosted artists and had parties for members of the elite. They wanted it to feel like a real European castle, so they had Tudor and Jacobean antiques imported, and they copied the library that belonged to King James I.

Hempstead House is one of many mansions on the Guggenheim estate; Credit: Sand Point Preserve on Instagram

Daniel Guggenheim’s died in 1930, and his wife Florence closed Hempstead House. In 1940, Florence opened the mansion once again in order to allow foster children who fled the war in Europe to stay there. In 1946, she sold the property to the US navy as a training center, and in 1971, Nassau County, New York purchased it to preserve this historic building. Hempstead House is now available for private events and has appeared in several movies like Great Expectations and Malcolm X. It was also on a few TV shows like Billions, Boardwalk Empire, and Royal Pains. The public can go on tour for $15 per person.

Belhurst Castle in Geneva, New York. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Belhurst Castle

In the 1800’s, the Ontario Glass Manufacturing Company owned a huge piece of land in the town of Albany, New York. In 1824, the land was split up among the largest stakeholders in the company. William DeLong owned the biggest cut, so he used the land to build his new home. The property was sold several times, therefore the name was also changed throughout the years. Originally, there was only a small house on the land called “The Hermitage”, until 1885.

Another angle of Belhurst Castle. Credit: Shutterstock

The new owners tore down the original Hermitage, and built a castle in its place. This all changed in the 1930’s, because the owners turned into a casino and bar. This casino had to shut down in the 1950’s, because the local authorities pressured the owners to stop this operation. Now, this is a hotel and restaurant, so it would be best to book a room before you go.

Guests booked the Hammond Castle to have an epic screening of the Game of Thrones finale. Credit: Hammond Castle on Instagram

1. Hammond Castle

Located in Gloucester, Massachusetts, Hammond Castle was built in the 1920’s by a successful inventor named John Hays Hammond Jr. The castle sits on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Hammond was a huge fan of medieval European castles, and he purchased a lot of antique artifacts to put on display in his home. Most of the house and gardens were modeled after styles from the 15th to 16th centuries.

Hammon Castle has a view of the Atlatic Ocean. Credit: Shutterstock

Adult tickets are $14 each from June through September. Every Thursday night, they have a “candlelight tour” where the guides will give you a spooky walk through the castle to tell you stories about the owners.