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Castles in Victoria

Krum, Texas
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Castles in Victoria

The Hately Castle or the Craigdarroch Castle? We would like to visit one on our trip, but would like to know if they are worth the time. We will only be in Victoria a short time. We have access to a rent car. Is there a better Castle within 50-60 miles of Victoria? Are there other attractions in nearby towns that we should see while visiting? Thanks.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Castles in Victoria

They're not really castles but more like large mansions from the Victorian era. I haven't been to the Hatley Castle so can't really compare the two. For the Craigdarroch Castle - it's a wealth of local history, but if you're not interested in local coal baron history during Victoria's colonial era, it may not be of any interest.

Victoria, BC Canada
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2. Re: Castles in Victoria

Hatley Castle at Royal Roads was used as the mutant school in the X-Men movies. They have a beautiful garden there as well.

Victoria, Canada
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3. Re: Castles in Victoria

I have been to both Castles and I certainly wouldn't refer to them as castles if you compare them to the grandeur of European castles. However, I think it's important to appreciate them simply for what they are when you visit them.

Hatley Castle looks much more like a castle than Craigdarroch Castle. It is also set on a beautiful property (Hatley Park) which is a national historic site with an ocean view and they also have beautiful gardens on the property. It also offers guided tours. The problem is that it is a fair distance out of town (about 20-25) minutes.

Craigdarroch Castle is located very close to town (5 minute drive). I don't believe they offer guided tours but I would check on that. The castle which is indeed more like a large mansion, is rich in wood architecture on the inside. It also has a much better collection of original pieces and artifacts located within it. Hatley Castle unfortunately is not as well preserved as Hatley Castle. While the structure is in tact, much of the original pieces within the castle were sold off by the government when the government was using it as a military college.

I would say that Hatley is more of a destination. It is also near Fort Rodd Hill which is also a national historic site and quite fascinating to walk around if you're interested in history. So while it is a distance from town, there are a few other things to see in the area.

Regardless of what castle you visit, both castles present a very good overview of what it was like to live in Victoria during the 1900's and they both give you an excellent historical overview of the region. But if you're looking for magnificent art work, scale, architecture, save your castle visits for Europe!

As for nearby towns, there is Sidney which has a nice ocean board walk and cute little shops. They also have a fantastic summer market on Thursday nights.

You could visit Chemainus which will give you a great opportunity to take in the excellent views over the Malahat. Chemainus is famous for its theatre and beautiful murals which are painted all over the town.

Golden, Canada
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4. Re: Castles in Victoria

I've also only been to Craigdarroch, so I'd be inclined to choose Hatley... as noted there is more than just the "castle" there which is not the case with Craigdarroch. However, if short on time and in Victoria proper Craigdarroch would be both closer and quicker. Lack of time and own transportation is what kept me from getting to Hatley.

To answer is there a better castle nearby? Not that I'm aware of...

Golden, Canada
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5. Re: Castles in Victoria

Craigdarroch does not offer guided tours. It's "self-guided" with the aid of a pamphlet they give you once you've paid admission.

SF, CA
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6. Re: Castles in Victoria

As stated before, Craigdarroch, is closest to Downtown/Inner Harbour. I love the fussy Victorian decor of this mansion;stained glass/chandeliers/wood paneling. It is also located in the heart of the Rockland district (one of Vic's prestigious neighborhoods--full of stately mansions). Also nearby is Government House (the Queen's residence for the province).

Nanaimo, BC
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7. Re: Castles in Victoria

We just visited the Hatley Castle this past weekend. We spent about three hours there touring the mansion and the gardens (and this was with two children ages 13 and 11...they loved it!) They are currently filming a movie there (Brooke Shields is in it) and it was very interesting viewing the Hollywood revamp of some of the public spaces. I have visited both castles and I would highly recommend Hatley if you have the time. An interesting side note is that the "castle" was built in 18 months!!! Hard to believe once you have seen it.

Victoria, Canada
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8. Re: Castles in Victoria

Hatley gets the nod, but mostly because its on the ocean, so nice to walk down to water,, and Fort Rodd Hill is on the way there, and definately worth a stop, so you can kill two birds with one stone.

9. Re: Castles in Victoria

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