best castles in New Jersey

7 of the Best Castles in New Jersey

No need to travel as far as Europe for fairytale fortresses, New Jersey has its fair share of turrets and towers. Don’t believe us? From Gilded Age palaces to Medieval-inspired estates, here are seven of the best castles in New Jersey.

Where are the best castles in New Jersey?

1. Lamberts Castle, Paterson

Also known as Belle Vista, silk magnate Catholina Lambert built Lamberts Castle in 1892. In 1926, the City of Paterson purchased the property, followed by the County of Passaic. In its heyday, it had its fair share of famous visitors too, including President William McKinley. These days the castle is the home of the Passaic County Historical Society’s museum and archives.

The castle and museum are open to the public, and you can also book a historical tour of the site. There’s also a dizzying calendar of events hosted throughout the year, including lectures, concerts, book signings and annual fundraisers like the Victorian Tea in April.

The museum is open fromWedensday to Sunday from 1 pm until 4 pm.

best castles in New Jerse

2. Liberty Hall, Elizabethtown 

William Livingston built this grand house in 1772, which makes it one of the oldest estates in New Jersey. Peter Kean then purchased the property after Livingston’s death in 1811 and transformed the comparatively modest mansion into a sprawling castle boasting 50 rooms. Now owned by Kean University, the castle is teeming with textiles, antiques and artefacts spanning some 250 years. It’s also now home to the Firehouse Display, which houses antique fire engines, including the 1911 American LaFrance Steam Engine. Liberty Hall is open to the public for private events and public tours of ten or more people from Tuesday to Saturday. Call ahead to book an appointment and avoid disappointment.

best castles in New Jersey

3. Skylands Manor

Inspired by an old English estate, John Russell Pope designed Skylands Manor in the mid-1920s. If it looks familiar, you’ve probably visited the National Archives and National Gallery of Art, also designed by the esteemed American architect. He used stone quarried on the estate to build the structure and filled the rooms with sumptuous furnishings and intricate panelling. The state of New Jersey later purchased the property and surrounding lands and transformed them into the official state garden. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the state’s most popular wedding venues. You can still visit without betrothal plans though on a 45-minute historical tour on selected Sundays.

4. Alnwick Hall, Morris County

 Fondly nicknamed “The Abbey”, Alnwick Hall was built in 1904 during Morristown’s golden years. Rosalie Meany, the New Jersey Judge Advocate General who owned the house, threw renowned parties for local society elites. The hall boasts 32 rooms, a church, a bank and an office building. You can visit the hall for free.

Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

5. Kipps Castle, Essex County

Formerly known as “Kypsburg”, Frederic Ellsworth Kip built this impressive castle between 1902 and 1905. Inspired by a Norman castle, the 11-acre site boasts a 9,000 square-ft mansion and a two-story carriage made from trap rock trimmed with sandstone. There are 30 rooms in total, each featuring sumptuous interiors and high vaulted ceilings. The castle also offers sweeping views of the New York City skyline. The castle is open for public tours Monday to Friday between 12 pm and 3 pm. It’s worth calling ahead to book an appointment first.

6. Iviswold Castle, Rutherford

David B. Ivison, a pre-eminent book publisher, purchased this stately home in 1887. He then hired the esteemed architect William H. Miller to transform the mansion into a palace fit for a prince. He expanded the building, adding towers of brownstone quarried from Belleville, stained glass windows, painted friezes and ornate plaster reliefs. Miller lived here until the stock market crash in 1901, and the castle was forgotten until Felician College purchased and restored the castle. The castle’s first floor is open to the public.

best castles in New Jersey

7. Merriwold Castle, Highland Park

Seward Johnson hired Philadelphia-based architect Thomas Harlan Ellet to build this three-storey mansion in the 1920s. It was so impressive that Ellet won a silver medal in 1926 for its exceptional design. Made from sandstone and lime with embedded fossils, he spared no expense and even imported 500 tons of stone from the Cotswolds to build the soaring structure. In 1968, the Nathan Kaplan Construction Company purchased the building. Its 30 rooms are brimming with antiques, tapestries and knights in armour. There’s also a gallery at the top of the cantilevered circular staircase, which is well worth a peek. The castle and gallery are open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday every week.

best castles in New Jersey


Allie D'Almo

Allie is a passionate traveller with a hearty interest in great food and stories. She likes to travel slowly, particularly to underrated and underloved places. She’s lived in Italy and is now based in London, where she spends most of her time either plotting her next trip or writing about her last one.

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