Connecticut is a small state, but it has lots of unique discoveries hiding inside it. As it turns out, there are several castles in Connecticut. Most of them aren’t well-known enough for tours, but trying to find them could be a fun adventure. Most of these castles are old, spooky, and look like they came straight out of a fairy tale.
So, if you’re looking for something cool to do in Connecticut, check out these seven castles.
#1 – Gillette Castle
The Gillette Castle in East Haddam was once the home of actor William Gillette, who was best known for playing Sherlock Holmes on stage. The castle was built to perfectly execute Gillette’s vision. It was completed in 1914, and it takes up 14,000 square feet. One of the most interesting aspects of the castle is the secret panels and complex system of mirrors. Gillette used these features to spy on his guests. He also installed intricate locks, a tower room with gorgeous river views, and a guided track for his desk chair, so it wouldn’t scratch up the floor.
Luckily, visitors are allowed at this structure for a small entry fee. It also has impressive hiking grounds on-site that are free to explore. Gillette would be happy to know that the castle has been well maintained after all these years.
#2 – Hearthstone Castle
The Hearthstone Castle, once known as the Sanford Castle, hasn’t been as well-preserved as the Gillette Castle. This Danbury structure was first owned by photographer E. Starr Sanford, and it was built around 1897. Inside, you could once find a library, many bedrooms, and eight fireplaces. Sadly, the structure now looks abandoned today. There has been talk of possible preservation in the future, but the eerie structure is currently crumbling and covered in graffiti.
If you want to see this castle in person, you can park at Tarrywile Park and take a series of trails to get to it. Visitors are welcome to get as close to the castle as they’d like, but no one is allowed inside. After all, the castle is decaying, so the inside could be dangerous.
#3 – Castle Craig
Technically, Castle Craig isn’t a full castle, but it’s still one of the coolest castles in Connecticut. It’s one stone tower in Meriden, which stands 32 feet tall. Industrialist Walter Hubbard gave the castle to the people of Meriden in the early 1900s, and it has sat there ever since. It’s located inside Hubbard Park, which is about 1,800 acres, so you will need to take some hiking trails to get to it.
If you’re not afraid of heights, you can actually go inside of this castle and walk to the top of the tower. At the top, you’ll experience some beautiful views, including views of Long Island Sound and the Southern Massachusetts Berkshires.
#4 – Chris Mark Castle
The Chris Mark Castle is often referred to as the Castle Woodstock since it’s located in Woodstock. It’s the most fairy tale-like castle in Connecticut. Local millionaire Christopher Mark built this castle, which wasn’t completed until 2009. The castle itself is 18,777 square feet, and it sits on a 75-acre property.
Unfortunately, Mark went through a nasty divorce shortly after it was built, making the home seem a little less magical. It’s unclear if he’s still the owner, but this private property is currently owned by someone. Several visitors have reported that the residents are friendly and willing to rent out the castle for events.
#5 – Hidden Valley Estate
The Hidden Valley Estate in Cornwall is another privately-owned castle. It’s a smaller structure, but still has the stone walls and tall towers of a castle. Some refer to it as the Cornwall Castle as well. It’s only about 8,412 square feet, but it sits on over 200 acres of land. It’s unclear who owns this magnificent structure, but it’s not open for tours.
#6 – The Branford House
Technically, the Branford House in Groton is a mansion, but it still closely resembles a castle, with tall ceilings and unique brick patterns. It’s currently a part of the campus at UConn Avery Point. It was initially built as a summer home for philanthropist Morton Freeman Plant. He named it after his hometown, which was Branford, Connecticut. Today, you can rent out this beautiful structure for events.
#7 – Castle House
The Castle House in New London is exactly like it sounds: a house that looks like a castle. It was built around 1850, making it likely the oldest one of the castles in Connecticut. It’s best known as the British landing spot during the raid of New London in 1781. It was also the home of Thomas M. Waller, the former Governor of Connecticut. It’s unclear who owns this structure today, so you can only take a look at it from the outside.
These castles in Connecticut certainly aren’t the most well-known attractions in the state. However, they’re incredibly cool and not many people know about them. So, despite some of them being hidden and mysterious, they’re still out there. If your family has a big sense of adventure, you might have fun going on a short road trip to seek out these fascinating structures. If only there was more information about them.