Craigdarroch Castle is a historic home and museum designed like a castle located in a posh neighbourhood close to downtown Victoria.
Completed in 1890, the striking stone mansion is today a National Historic Site and museum that’s open to the public.
About Craigdarroch Castle
Built between 1887 and 1890, Craigdarroch Castle was built for the wealthy coal baron Robert Dunsmuir who died a year before its completion. Dunsmuir was the wealthiest man in Western Canada at the end of the 19th century, and Craigdarroch Castle reflects that wealth.
Designed in the “Richardsonian Romanesque” style, the building is as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside, with oak panelling and exquisite furnishings. The castle has almost 40 rooms covering over 20,000 square feet of interior space.
Craigdarroch Castle is recommended for anyone that likes history, museums, architecture, castles and art. It’s an old building, though, built before the age of elevators, and so not wheelchair accessible.
The castle is furnished with antiques and valuable art, which makes it of special interest to most visitors. The building was a house though, not a medieval castle, so don’t expect to see suits of armour, swords, dungeons or princesses!
Craigdarroch Castle is located at 1050 Joan Crescent just a short drive from downtown Victoria. It’s in a fairly posh residential neighbourhood not far from the Lieutenant Governor’s House on Rockland Avenue.
Hours and Admission
As of early 2020, admission rates to Craigdarroch Castle are as follows:
- Adults – $14.85
- Seniors – $13.85
- Students (with valid ID) – $9.75
- Children (ages 6+) – $5.35
There are also family passes available for $36.00 that include 2 adults or seniors and 2 students or children.
The castle is open daily from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm from early September until mid-June and summer hours are from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm. Days when Craigdarroch Castle is closed are Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
(Note: Rates, hours and other details are subject to change.)
Suggestions & Other Information
Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your visit to Victoria’s various castles.
TIP #1: If you like castles, then also consider visiting Hatley Castle at Royal Roads University. Hatley Castle is just as impressive or even more so on the exterior as Craigdarroch Castle, although not quite as ornate and fancy inside. Hatley Castle also has a beautiful garden which is highly recommended (although not so much in winter).
TIP #2: If you struggle with being able to walk unassisted for long periods of time, Craigdarroch Castle may not be the place to visit for you. As noted above there are no elevators and, due to the smallness of some of the halls and doorways, there are no walkers permitted. There are also a lot of stairs to walk up.
TIP #3: Craigdarroch Castle is in a fancy residential neighbourhood. Either before or after your visit to the castle, go for a stroll around the area. Located at 1401 Rockland Avenue, Government House is less than four blocks away and is the home to British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor who is Queen Elizabeth’s representative to the province.
TIP #4: Government House is also a stately and castle-like structure that’s worth checking out. You can go inside that heritage building too, but only on guided tours on certain dates and at special designated times. The building is beautiful to look at on the outside any day though, and the grounds are pretty, open to the public and free.
Note about admission and permitted items: Craigdarroch Castle is an important heritage site and the building itself is a work of art and much of its contents are valuable. As a result, no food, liquids or pets are permitted inside. Stiletto high heel shoes are also listed as prohibited.
Also for the safety of the building’s contents, backpacks must be left with the cashier or worn on the owner’s front. And finally, because of the narrow spaces, abundance of stairs, lack of an elevator and valuable hardwood floors, large baby carriers, strollers and walkers are also not permitted.
For more information about the museum see the Castle‘s website.