Craigdarroch Castle is a historic home and museum designed like a castle located in a posh neighbourhood close to downtown Victoria.
The striking stone mansion is today a National Historic Site and museum that’s open to the public and has been around for over 130 years.
THE CASTLE IS OPEN!
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Craigdarroch Castle closed its doors in the middle of March in 2020. It has since reopened, and visitors are asked to book their time in advance, either by phone or online. Face masks also have to be worn inside.
For the most up-to-date information about the status of the attraction see the Craigdarroch Castle website.
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. The castle’s oak panelling and exquisite furnishings are especially stunning. It also has almost 40 rooms covering over 20,000 square feet of interior space.
Craigdarroch Castle is probably of interest to anyone who 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 includes antiques and valuable art, which makes it of special interest to most visitors. The building, however, was a house, not a medieval castle. As a result, 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 the summer of 2021, admission rates to Craigdarroch Castle are approximately as follows:
- Adults – $18.50
- Seniors – $17.50
- Students (with valid ID) – $13.00
- Children (ages 6 to 12) – $8.00
The castle is usually open daily from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm from early September until mid-June. However, as of April 2021, the place is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. Summer hours are typically from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm, though 2021 details are currently unknown. Days when Craigdarroch Castle isn’t open include Christmas, 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 Hatley Castle also has a highly recommended beautiful garden (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 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 specially 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.
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