The Best Castles to Visit in New York

New York is famous for many things; its fashion, its landmarks, its financial district, its skyline… (we could go on!) But did you ever think about visiting castles in New York?

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- Nicolas Raymond

If you’re keen to seek out what puts the fairytale in New York then why not dive right into the enchanting world of turrets, moats, ancient stones, island retreats, great halls, secret passages, and learn a little about what money can buy you in New York... castle-wise.

Whether you want to remain in the city or venture further afield, CityDays has compiled a list of our favourite castles in New York, for your pleasure. Who knows you may be inspired by the romance of it all as some of these castles are considered the perfect wedding/proposal backdrops!

Join us as we embark on a quest to discover the city's best castles, as chosen by us!

And just so you know - we’re not paid by anybody to include these on our list. They’re just places we’ve been or experiences we’ve loved so you can find the best castles in New York.

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- Brecht Bug

Boldt Castle (Heart Island)

1 Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY 13607

Built by millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt as a tribute to his beloved wife Louise, Boldt Castle’s creation was the stuff of fairy tales. Construction of the castle began in 1900, on Heart Island in the Thousand Islands region of New York, with the intention of creating a grand summer home for the couple. (Whilst it sounds like the castle resides on an island, it actually extends out from the island into the water, giving it a really unique look!)

Unfortunately, tragedy struck in 1904 when Louise suddenly passed away, just months before the castle's completion. Devastated by grief, George immediately halted all construction on the castle and abandoned the project altogether, leaving the structure unfinished and empty. For seven decades the incomplete Boldt Castle was a symbol of George's broken heart, until the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority took ownership of the property in 1977 and began restoring it.

Today, Boldt Castle is a blend of European and American architectural styles. Inside the decorations are opulent and outside the Italian gardens were made to be roamed—whilst keeping an eye on the panoramic views of the St. Lawrence River of course! It is also a popular backdrop for many wedding pictures.

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Visiting Information

Visitors can access Heart Island seasonally from mid-May to mid-October, via boat tours departing from both the U.S. and Canada. Admission rates are reasonable, making it an accessible destination for all. Service animals are welcome.

Belvedere Castle (Central Park)

59 W 79st Transverse Rd, New York, NY 10024

If you don’t have time to stray too far from the heart of NYC, but you still want to check out the best castles in New York, then why not check out Belvedere Castle—it's in Central Park?!

Designed by Central Park co-designer Calvert Vaux and architect Jacob Wrey Mould, the castle’s construction was completed in 1872. Originally, the castle known simply as "the Belvedere," meaning "beautiful view" in Italian, was intended as an open-air lookout tower with no windows or doors. Over time however, it evolved in purpose and function.

In 1919, the United States Weather Bureau repurposed the building into a weather station, adding windows, doors, and internal offices. However, by the 1960s, neglect and vandalism took their toll, leaving the castle in a state of disrepair. In 1983, the Central Park Conservancy undertook a significant renovation effort, restoring the castle and reopening it as a visitor centre. In 2019, a larger restoration project was undertaken to modernise the building and its terraces.

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Visiting Information

Today, Belvedere Castle perched dramatically on Vista Rock in Central Park, offers a unique vantage point to admire Turtle Pond, the Great Lawn, the Ramble, and the city skyline beyond. Visitors can explore exhibit rooms, learn more about the castle’s history on a guided tour, browse the gift shop, and ascend to terraces for elevated views.

Singer Castle (Dark Island)

1136 County Route 6, Chippewa Bay, NY 13623

In the early 1900s, Frederick Gilbert Bourne, the fifth President of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, sought to surprise his family with an unusual retreat—oh how the other half live! Purchasing Dark Island in 1902, Bourne commissioned the construction of what would become Singer Castle, originally named "The Towers."

Between 1903 and 1905, Singer Castle began to take shape. It was designed by architect Ernest Flagg, who was inspired by Sir Walter Scott's novel "Woodstock," and built using granite quarried from nearby Oak Island. Italian stonemasons added to the castle's intricate architecture, including a four-story tower and elaborate boathouses.

Singer Castle remained in the possession of the Bourne family until the mid-1960s, serving as their surprise summer retreat for generations. Frederick Bourne's love for innovation is reflected in the castle's design, with secret passageways and unusual architectural details.

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- Duncan Rawlinson

Visiting Information

Today, a guided tour of Singer Castle includes exploration of the Great Hall, Library, Dining Room, and more. From the towering Clock Tower to the walnut-panelled Library with its hidden passages, every corner of Singer Castle tells a story of Bourne’s wealth and ambition.

Bannerman Castle (Pollepel Island)

Bannerman Is, Cold Spring, NY 10516

Bannerman Castle, with its Scottish-inspired design and crenellated towers, is situated on the uninhabited 6.5-acre Pollepel Island in New York's Hudson River. Named after the Dutch word "Pollepel," meaning "(pot) ladle," the island has witnessed centuries of navigational significance since the days of early Dutch settlers and played a role in the Revolutionary War. However, it was Francis Bannerman, a Scottish immigrant turned American entrepreneur, who transformed the island's destiny.

Born in 1851, Bannerman's military surplus empire, Bannerman’s, became synonymous with procuring surplus goods, from cannons to Civil War uniforms. In 1900, he purchased Pollepel Island to house surplus inventory, and there began the story of the iconic Bannerman Castle. Despite tragedy and neglect following Bannerman's passing in 1918, preservation efforts led by The Bannerman Castle Trust, Inc. have sought to revive the island's legacy and promote its cultural significance as a recreational destination.

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- Garrett Ziegler

Visiting Information

Despite its dilapidated state, Bannerman Castle is considered one of the best castles to visit in New York and as such is highly popular. There are guided tours for the history side of things, and scenic trails leading to viewpoints across the island for the social media worthy views... side of things!

Castle Gould (Sands Point Preserve)

127 Middle Neck Rd, Sands Point, NY 11050

Howard Gould and his wife, actress Katherine Clemmons, embarked on a journey of grandeur when they acquired the estate property in 1900 and 1901. The cornerstone of their dream was the 100,000 square feet Castle Gould, a limestone masterpiece crowned by a majestic clock tower and an ornate rotunda. Inside, the Great Hall has soaring vaulted ceilings, intricate wrought-iron chandeliers, and windows that open onto the stunning Sands Point Preserve and Long Island Sound.

Architect Augustus N. Allen's design, completed in 1904, transformed their aspirations into reality, drawing inspiration from the magnificence of Ireland's Kilkenny Castle. However, the couple's vision diverged when Katherine found Castle Gould unsuitable. As a result the purpose of Castle Gould transitioned over time to serve various functions, from stables and carriage houses to servants’ quarters.

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- Michael Gray

Visiting Information

Today, Castle Gould has found a new purpose as the Sands Point Preserve Visitor Center and forms an integral part of the Sands Point Preserve. Acquired by the Guggenheim family in 1917, the estate has flourished, boasting multiple castle-like structures and captivating landscapes. Guests are welcomed to explore the grounds, including Castle Gould and its Great Hall, which is the scene of many private events, and educational and cultural programs.