Discover 7 Magnificent Castles Found in Connecticut

Gillette Castle State Park, East Haddam, Connecticut
© jgorzynik/Shutterstock.com

Written by Christina Eck

Updated: September 6, 2023

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Just as Europe has some of the most stunning castles, so does the state of Connecticut. New England was established in 1620 when building castles was a part of their culture. Nowadays, you rarely see any new ones being built, so it’s best to discover the seven magnificent castles in Connecticut.

Many castles were torn down or not properly maintained over time. Luckily, a handful of castles are still available to view in Connecticut. If you want to learn more about which ones reside in the state, keep reading. We’ll introduce you to when the castle was created if they are available for tour, and what you can find around them.

1. Castle Craig – 1900

Castle Craig Tower

This postcard of the Castle Craig Tower is from between 1910 and 1920.

©Unknown author / Public Domain – Original / License

Castle Craig is a castle in Connecticut located in East Peak, Meriden. Initially, it was built on October 29, 1900, by Walter Hubbard, who gifted it to the people of Meriden. The tower’s design was said to be French-inspired, but others have argued that it resembles ancient Scotland towers. Walter Hubbard donated the tower to the park located in Meriden soon after it was built.

Castle Structure

The tower has a stunning view as it rests atop Hanging Hills. The top spans nearly 32 feet into the air and has a thick 58-foot circumference base. The castle towers above sea level by 976 feet, which allows for some stunning views of the surrounding area. The castle itself is 1,002 feet above sea level and provides amazing views of Greater Meriden.

Can You Tour the Castle?

Visitors are allowed to tour the tower both inside and out. A metal interior stairway leads to the top of the tower. Visitors can scale the stairway and see the incredible surrounding views atop the deck. This includes a view of New Haven and Long Island, about 25 miles away.

Below the tower, visitors can walk the trails, which are open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and lead up to the castle. Every so often, the town of Meriden dedicates exercises that are held at the tower. Here, over 250 guests attend.

Activities Near Castle

Meriden. Connecticut. USA

1900 Castle Craig was built on East Peak in Meriden, CT.

©SevenMaps/Shutterstock.com

Below the tower is Hubbard Park, which is popular for its hiking trails. Visitors can come and walk in the nearly 1,800-acre park. There is also Reservoir Road, which is a popular choice for those wanting to drive through the stunning surrounding nature. However, these roads and trails are only open from sunrise to sunset.

Surrounding Wildlife and Nature

Castle Craig is located inside Hubbard Park and has plentiful wildlife. The park has many bird species, such as the Canadian Geese, turtles, and frogs. Inside Hubbaark Park is also Mirror Lake, which has several different fish species and ducks.

2. Marion Castle – 1916

The wonderful Cove Island Park at Stamford, a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States of America.

The Marion Castle is located in Stamford, CT, which has many French-styled buildings.

©Pit Stock/Shutterstock.com

Marion Castle, also known as Terre Bonne, is a $4.5 million castle in Stamford, CT. It was initially built for Frank Marion by the architectural firm of Hunt & Hunt. Frank wanted the castle to be French-styled, so it was designed to resemble a chateau. The project was completed by 1916, and the home remained in Frank’s hands until he passed away in 1963.

Castle Structure

The castle spans over 13,000 square feet and includes multiple levels and rooms. It’s known for its nine bedrooms, six bathrooms, and numerous lounging areas. The most popular interior includes the four terraces, which overlook the stunning Stamford Harbor and New York City skyline. Inside, a four-stop elevator takes you to each level of the house. 

Aside from the interior, the exterior of the house is also well-matched. Marion Castle has Japanese-inspired Maple groves with decorative Soutehr Magnolia trees lining the yard. In addition, a large 20 by-50-foot pool allows residents to relax at the end of the day.

Can You Tour the Castle?

Unfortunately, Marion Castle is not available to tour. The current castle is up for listing and is awaiting offers. It’s valued at over $4.5 million, and individuals can choose to set up a tour if they consider putting an offer down on the house. Only those planning to purchase the house can schedule a tour with a real estate agent.

Surrounding Wildlife and Nature

Marion Castle is private property but does have some surrounding wildlife in the Stamford, CT area. This includes birds like the dark-eyed junco, song sparrow, and even the American robin. Other animals include eastern gray squirrels, groundhogs, and beavers. On rare occasions, black bears and white-tailed deer can be seen in the area.

3. Wadsworth Atheneum – 1844

Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford, CT, is more modernized than the Wadsworth Atheneum.

©iStock.com/SeanPavonePhoto

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is a castle in Connecticut in Hartford. The museum is known for hosting artwork from around Europe and the United States. This includes European Baroque art, Egyptian, French, and American.

It’s currently the oldest operating museum in the United States. It will remain that way as long as its doors remain open. The museum was built due to generous donations from Elizabeth Jarvis Colt, who donated over 1,000 to the collection. By 2001, the museum had expanded by $100 million. In 2010, there was another $33 million renovation.

Castle Structure

With many expansions and renovations, the castle is much different than when it first launched. Today, it still includes its castle-like structure but has four additional wings to help host more collections. Outside the structure are the Enoch S. Woods and the Connecticut State Capitol. 

Can You Tour the Castle?

Yes, the Wadsworth Atheneum is open to the public and must-see if you’re in the area. Tickets can be purchased online, with pricing of $15, $12, and $5 for adults, seniors, and students. Any youth under 17 is admitted into the museum for free. Visitors also have the chance to join a happy hour, where free admission is from four to five p.m. Thursday through Sunday. 

Activities

One can do plenty of activities inside and around the castle. There are constant events, tours, and exhibitions being held. In addition, there is also a cafe and museum shop, which can be accessed anytime during a visit. 

Outside of Wadsworth Antheneum is a statue of Nathan Hale created by Enoch S. Woods in 1899. Another sculpture is further down and is of Hale, created by Bela Pratt. Visitors can also walk a short distance to the A. Everett Austin House, which is an official National Historic Landmark. 

Surrounding Wildlife and Nature

Hartford, CT, is known for having plenty of mammals in the area. This includes critters like the white-footed mouse, Virginia opossum, and the flying squirrel. There are also deer, gray foxes, and even snowshoe hares.

4. Waveny House – 1912

Waveny Park in New Canaan, Connecticut.

You can find this mansion in Waveny Park in New Canaan, CT.

©User:Noroton / Public Domain – Original / License

Waveny House, located in Waveny Park, is in New Canaan, CT. The house was built in the middle of Waveny Park and finished construction in 1912. Multiple designers were working on the house, including W.B. Tubbs and the garden by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. for the current owner. Lewis Lapham co-founded Texaco and ordered the house to be built. However, it was only a summer home for him and his family. 

After 1967, ownership changed from Lapham to the Town of New Canaan. The house was sold along with its property for $1,500,000. Today, the Town of New Canaan still owns the property and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Castle Structure

The Waveny House spans over 36,000 square feet and is accompanied by over 300 acres of land. As to the design, the first floor was designed to have a grand hall, sitting room, dining area, and a billiards room. In addition, there is also a library and patio area for guests to relax. The second floor includes four conference rooms.

Can You Tour the Castle?

Waveny House is a popular destination for weddings and social events. Many people tend to rent rooms for their events. However, people can still come and tour the place. Waveny House has amazing nature surrounding the house, which makes a nice stroll enticing.

Visitors can walk down flagstone walkways inside the garden. There are also fish ponds lined across the walled garden. In addition, there is a small space for ceremonies, which can be rented out.

Activities Near Castle

Since the house sits upon Waveny Park, there is plenty to do in the surrounding areas. Inside the park, there is the PowerHouse Performing Arts Center that hosts plenty of plays. Visitors are also encouraged to bring their dogs outdoors, as they have a Spencer’s Run Dog Park and the Lapham Community Center.

There is The Waveny Lodge and Platform Tennis Court for those more into fitness. Both of these places are great for family fun. Lastly, Kiwanis Park is nearby and includes a public swimming facility.

Surrounding Wildlife and Nature

A bobcat with detailed fur markings sharpening its claws on a log

Bobcats have been known to be sighted inside of Waveny Park.

©Jeff Westhead/Shutterstock.com

Since the castle is located in Waveny Park, the area sees a lot of wildlife. Some of the sightings include coyotes, bobcats, and even bears.  

5. Hearthstone Castle – 1899

In 1987, Hearthstone Castle was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

©Svmrs007 / CC BY-SA 4.0 – Original / License

Hearthstone Castle is in Danbury, CT, or The Castle and Parks’ Castle. Ernest G. W. Dietrich designed the castle before it was sold in 1902 to Victor Buck. At this time, the family renamed it Buck’s Castle before it was bought by Charles Darling Parks in 1918 and was named Hearthstone Castle.

In 1985, the city of Danbury bought the castle for $4.7 million. Significant damage was done to the house, including the roof caving in. The estimated cost to fully rebuild the castle is $15-18 million. Today, visitors can see the outside of the house, but the castle is currently closed for visitation.

Castle Structure

As for the castle itself, there are three stories with seventeen rooms spread across. There are nine bedrooms, a library room, a kitchen, and a billiards room. Outside is an 800-foot gravel driveway, and the castle is 800 feet above sea level.

Structurally, it has many elements of the nineteenth century but includes additions from each family that owned it over the years. In addition, other structures were built, including a caretaker’s cottage, pump house, barn, carriage house, woodshed, and water tower.

Can You Tour the Castle?

Unfortunately, you can’t tour inside Hearthstone Castle. The castle’s perimeter is blocked off by fencing, and anyone who crosses will be charged with trespassing. So, while you can’t tour the inside, you can tour the outside. Many tourists enjoy walking around the castle but must check to see if the sight is closed. 

The castle has had many structural issues and is undergoing renovations. If the area is going through renovations, then it’s likely off-limits to walk around. However, once the castle is complete with construction, visitors will be able to tour inside the castle.

Activities Near Castle

Bear Mountain, is a prominent peak of the southern Taconic Mountains. It lies within the town of Salisbury, Connecticut, in the United States.

Bear Mountain Reservation is a popular attraction near Danbury, CT.

©Shanshan0312/Shutterstock.com

While there isn’t much to do around Hearthstone Castle, Danbury, CT, has plenty to try. One favorite is the Demon Murder Trial site, a historical site here. The only trial used a demonic possession as a criminal defense. In addition, Danbury has the Railway Museum, which has plenty of interesting information about trains.

Aside from that, there are plenty of places to visit, including Bear Mountain Reservation with ten color-coded trails. Or, if you’re up for modern amenities, you can visit the Danbury Fair Mall, which has over 200 stores and is one of the biggest ones in New England.

Surrounding Wildlife and Nature

Hearthstone Castle doesn’t have much wildlife, as it’s in a more modern-looking area. There are sightings of some deer, woodchucks, and rabbits. However, there aren’t many other animals that roam the area.

6. Gillette Castle – 1914

Gillette Castle State Park, East Haddam, Connecticut

Located at the top of one of seven hills called the Seven Sisters, Gillette Castle stands tall.

©jgorzynik/Shutterstock.com

Gillette Castle, nicknamed Seventh Sister, is located in Gillette Castle State Park in Haddam, CT. It’s overlooking the Connecticut River and atop one of seven hills known as the Seven Sisters. Initially, the castle was designed and owned by William Gillette, famous for playing Sherlock Holmes in stageplays from 1914 until 1919.

After 1943, the state of Connecticut purchased the castle for $5,000. When the state purchased the castle, its name was changed from the Seventh Sister to Gillette Castle. To get the castle in its current state, Connecticut had to spend $1.1 million.

Castle Structure

The castle spans over 14,000 square feet of space, including three stories. Over the three stories, there are 24 rooms, which are all decorated according to medieval times. The exterior is crafted from field stone and includes a brick-style design you’d find in Europe. 

In addition to that, the interior includes plenty of woodwork that are all hand-hewn. This includes southern white oak decorations. Additionally, the castle features a steel framework that keeps that medieval theme.

Can You Tour the Castle?

Luckily, visitors are encouraged to come see Gillette Castle. There are two types of tours, which include toured and self-guided. You can tour the castle from 10 am until 5 pm if you go alone. You can also join tours throughout the day, which start every 15 minutes with tour guides. Tickets must be purchased for everyone attending except children ages five and under.

Activities Near Castle

Plenty of activities near the castle include tours, sightseeing, and museums. One destination is Devil’s Hopyard State Park, which features beautiful nature and is great for picnicking, bird watching, and more. Another destination near Gillette Castle is the Ray of Light Farm, a family-owned farmer’s market. However, it’s only open to the public from May to October.

Visitors can hop on Chester-Hadlyme Ferry for more scenic plans, which gives a splendid view of Gillette Castle. There is also the Goodspeed Opera House, which hosts live performances of award-winning musicals. Stopping at the Florence Griswold Museum is worth it for those seeking knowledge.

Surrounding Wildlife and Nature

Gillette Castle State Park has plenty of wildlife, including frogs, deer, and eastern chipmunks. The park is also popular for its bird viewing, which includes the Yellow-rumped Warbler, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, and even mallard ducks. Reptiles such as the painted turtle, common garter snake, and common snapping turtle can also be seen.

7. Hartlands Castle – 1908

The Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse sits on the Connecticut River in Old Saybrook, CT.

©Juliejules / CC BY 3.0 – Original / License

Hartlands Castle, or the Castle, is located in Saybrook, CT. Alfredo S.G. Taylor, a New York architect, designed it. The castle was built for both George Watson Beach and his wife in 1906 until 1908 for $350,000. 

Since then the Hartlands castle was purchased by Margaret and Otto Lindbergh in 1923. The couple renamed it Ye Castle Inn and ran a private club for rich members. Nowadays, the castle has been bought by Maria Foss-Rand and Wayne Rand. The couple bought the vacant castle in 2006 as a restoration project. 

Castle Structure

Hartlands Castle spans over 15,000 square feet and has 40 rooms spread over three stories. There is also an included crenelated tower which is attached to the house. The house was initially designed to overlook the oceanfront. So, each bedroom gives a splendid view of the water.

When the new couple purchased the home in 2006, the castle underwent a few additions. Some include a showcase kitchen, modern heating, and an elevator connecting all three levels.

Can You Tour the Castle?

Unfortunately, Hartlands Castle is privately owned by Maria Foss-Rand and her husband, Wayne Rand. There are no tours, as this is a private estate, and anyone who enters the property will be trespassing. 

Activities Near Castle

There are many activities to do near and around the park. One is the Fort Saybrook Monument Park, which spans over 17 acres and is lined with boardwalks. Some historical sights are nearby, such as the Lynde Point Lighthouse, General William Hart House, and the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. 

Surrounding Wildlife and Nature

What do woodchucks eat

Woodchucks can be seen running around the area.

©iStock.com/mirecca

While the castle grounds aren’t big, they still have plenty of animal sightings. This can include chipmunks, moles, and even rabbits. Aside from that, visitors might be able to see white-tailed deer, woodchucks, and raccoons roaming about.

Summary of 7 Magnificent Castles Found in Connecticut

RankCastles Found in ConnecticutYear Completed
1Castle Craig1900
2Marion Castle1916
3Wadsworth Atheneum1844
4Waveny House1912
5Hearthstone Castle1899
6Gillette Castle1914
7Hartlands1908


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About the Author

Christina Eck is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily focusing on animals and travel. Christina has been writing about and researching animals for more than seven years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, which she earned in 2019. As a resident of Washington State, Christina enjoys hiking, playing with her dog, and writing fiction and non-fiction pieces.

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