Fairytale Castles in NJ That Will Make All Your Holiday Dreams Come True


We’re about to let you in on a well-kept secret—you don’t have to head to Europe to see real-life castles in NJ. There are historic storybook structures in the Garden State that look like grand European castles, making them the (almost) real deal. So whether you’ve got a prince or princess, it’s possible to live out their castle fantasies without using a passport. While these extraordinary places—built by wealthy industrialists around the turn of the century—are magical any time of year, they are even more dreamy during the holiday season, with sparkling trees and period decorations. Check out these castles in NJ now and later in the spring, and watch your kids be in awe of them all. And if you are looking for more magical holiday experiences, our guide to Christmas Villages in NJ will get you in the spirit. (featured photo credit: Kip’s Castle Park)

These castles in NJ will be at their holiday best this season

Kip’s Castle in Verona
Tucked away on the ridge of First Mountain, Kip’s Castle is Essex County’s true hidden gem—it took three years to build in 1902 and was the vision of Frederic Ellsworth Kip, a wealthy textile industrialist, and his wife, Charlotte. The 9,000 square foot mansion, built in the style of a medieval Norman castle, is a kids’ fantasy land, thanks to lots of spaces that feel authentic. They’ll love exploring the grand rooms, taking in the picturesque views of the New York City skyline, and spotting a full suit of shiny plate armor. The castle is decked out in a vintage 1920s Christmas theme in December and will be December 2-3 for a Holiday House tour featuring a dining room, parlor, and self-guided tour, all decorated in holiday finery. There is also a holiday tour event on December 7-10 where you can take a self-guided tour.
22 Crestmont Road, Verona, NJ 07044

Skylands Manor in Ringwood
With beautiful views of the Ramapo Mountains, this 1922 estate rivals European castles in beauty and luxury. Designed by renowned architect John Russell Pope, this mansion has opulent rooms with Italian marble and includes a three-tiered lavabo from a Renaissance-era palazzo in Venice. Kids can roam the Great Hall and will be delighted to see the door heads carved with sea monsters, squirrels, and dragons (play a counting game to ramp up the fun). From November 30-December 3, this castle in NJ hosts a holiday open house where you can see glittering displays. The NJ Jubiliation Handbell Choir will put on a holiday performance on December 17. Before you leave, stop by the surrounding New Jersey State Botanical Garden, which features 96 acres of specialty gardens around the manor and over 1000 acres of woodlands. There are marked trails, from a short stroll to a longer hike, and guided ones that highlight bird watching, too.
5 Morris Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456

Lambert Castle in Paterson (currently closed due to renovations)
If you’re looking for a majestic English Castle without going on a plane, head to Lambert Castle. Built in 1892 atop Garret Mountain, the castle has an impressive 70-foot observation tower and plenty of awe-inspiring rooms and artwork to ogle at. Take a self-guided tour through this historic house, full of restored period rooms and historical exhibits. Kids will love roaming the halls looking for objects with the historical society’s family-friendly scavenger hunt booklet. 
3 Valley Road, Paterson, NJ 07503

Which castles in NJ will you visit for the holidays?

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