Hatley Castle is a grand stone Edwardian mansion with beautiful gardens and a small museum at Royal Roads University in the municipality of Colwood.
As its name suggests, Hatley Castle is designed like a castle. This has made the mansion a popular site for wedding receptions, movie filming and general visits.
COVID-19 CASTLE UPDATE
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the castle closed in the spring of 2020. The formal gardens reopened to the public in the fall with some restrictions, but the castle remains closed as of January 2022.
For more updates see the Hatley Park website.
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Hatley Castle Park
Today, Hatley Castle is a museum, university building, National Historic Site and park. Located at 2005 Sooke Road, it’s about an 8-minute drive from Fort Rodd Hill and around 18 minutes from Goldstream Provincial Park.
The main grounds at Hatley Castle are free and open to the public, while additional expansive gardens require a fee. Entrance to the small museum is by donation. Guided tours of the castle are available for a charge at designated times or by appointment.
About Hatley Castle
The grounds at Hatley Castle Park were purchased in the early 1900s by James Dunsmuir, the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia from 1906 to 1909.
With over three dozen rooms, the castle was completed in 1908. The Dunsmuir family then lived in the mansion until 1937 when, upon the death of Dunsmuir’s wife, Laura, the Government of Canada bought the property. The castle has seen been used as a naval college, military college and public university.
BC architect Samuel Maclure designed Hatley Castle in a Tudor-revival style. Upon completion, this magnificent Edwardian mansion rivalled the finest homes in Western Canada, including the one James Dunsmuir grew up in as a young boy – Craigdarroch Castle. Craigdarroch Castle is what his father, the wealthy Robert Dunsmuir, had built close to downtown Victoria in the 1890s.
Hatley Castle is open today to the public at certain times. It has a small museum in its basement and extensive gardens all around.
About the Gardens
In addition to the castle residence, Hatley Castle Park is home to many acres of beautiful gardens and 15 km of trails.
The main grounds at Hatley Castle are free and open to the public year-round and are truly quite grand. Equally or perhaps even more impressive are the Italian Garden, Rose Garden and Japanese Garden, all of which cost an admission fee and are open only at certain times.
In 2019, summer admission rates were $9.75 for adults, $8.75 for seniors, $6.75 for students and children 5 and under were free. Admission is 50% off on weekends with weddings on-site to reflect the more limited access.
About the Museum & Tours
Hatley Park Museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm from late spring until the fall. It’s a tiny and fairly simple museum located in the basement of Hatley Castle. The museum includes just a couple of rooms featuring artifacts from the Dunsmuir family and Royal Roads Military College.
Visitors don’t go to Hatley Castle primarily for the museum since the latter is just a small bonus. They go instead for the views from the outside and for the gardens. Admission is by donation.
A visit to the museum takes only a few minutes, but extensive guided tours of the castle are also available. The castle itself is only accessible via formal estate tours. These take place at various times during the summer season. In the non-summer shoulder season, tours are only available by appointment for groups of 10 or more.
In most years, guided tours can be purchased at the gift shop downstairs. Admission costs about $19 for adults, $16 for seniors (age 60+), $11 for youth (ages 6 to 17), and free for children age 5 and under. A family with 2 adults usually costs about $52 and groups of 10 or more are eligible for a discount.
Castle Movie Trivia
Hatley Castle has been the setting for numerous Hollywood movies and television shows. These include The Boy Who Cried Werewolf, Deadpool, Descendants, MacGyver, Poltergeist: the Legacy, Ripper, Smallville, The Killing, Witches of East End, X-Men, X2 and others.
For more information see the Royal Roads website.
For information on Victoria’s other world-famous historic castle residence, click Craigdarroch Castle.