Ready to be transported back in time? In addition to historic downtowns and heritage sites, BC has a handful of enchanting castles you can visit if you want to brush up on your local history – and feel like royalty in the process. Let’s check them out!

Craigdarroch Castle

 

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For an authentic Victorian castle experience, a visit to Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria is a must. The legendary mansion represents one of many “bonanza castles,” or massive estates built for those who became wealthy during the industrial age, according to the castle’s website.

Robert Dunsmuir found his fortune in Vancouver Island’s coal industry, and built the legendary Craigdarroch Castle between 1887 and 1890 on a hill overlooking Victoria.

Guided tours are available at select events, including the upcoming Murder on Paper Street tour. Otherwise, self-guided admission is $20.60 per adult and $$10 to $14.80 per child, depending on age.

Where: Victoria, BC

Hatley Park Castle & National Historic Site 

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Photo via Haomin Li / Shutterstock

Ready for a spooky trip to one of BC’s most ‘haunted’ locations? BC’s Edwardian-style Hatley Castle is part of a national historic site, and it has a fascinating history in addition to filmography.

Built on the Esquimalt Lagoon, the oceanfront castle is now a museum paying tribute to the Dunsmuirs (particularly James Dunsmuir), who are said to haunt the estate. And if you’re a film buff, you might recognize parts of the estate from its 80-some years on the silver screen, including as Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in the X-Men franchise, and in over 30 other films.

Where: Colwood, BC

The Fairmont Empress

 

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Known as ‘Canada’s Castle on the Coast,’ this historic castle and hotel likely needs no introduction, but we’ll give one anyway. The chateau-style hotel dates back to the early 1900s, and was named after Queen Victoria, as the ‘Empress of India.’ In fact, the city of Victoria itself grew around the Empress after its completion in 1908, according to the Fairmont Empress.

Today, guests can enjoy traditional afternoon tea, check out the award-winning Willow Spa, and celebrate Christmas at the Castle.

Where: Victoria, BC

Cary Castle Mews & Tea Room – Government House

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Photo via Tourism Victoria

Last but certainly not least, we come to Cary Castle Mews & Tea Room. Situated on the grounds of Government House and its National Historic Site, the castle offers visitors the chance to enjoy a cup of tea and lunch at Rudi’s Tea Room from May to September every year. The tea room is located inside Butterworth Cottage – one of the original 19th-century buildings on the estate.

Government House is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor and the ceremonial home of all British Columbians. And while visitors will have to wait for next spring to enjoy tea, who’s to say you can’t still visit and roam the grounds or go on a fall or winter tour?

Where: Victoria, BC

So there you have it, BC. The next time you want to feel like royalty, you know where to go!