Craigdarroch Castle
Craigdarroch Castle
4.5
Speciality MuseumsHistoric SitesPoints of Interest & LandmarksArchitectural BuildingsCastles
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Completed in 1890, Craigdarroch is a stately home built by the pioneering couple Robert and Joan Dunsmuir, who at the time of its construction were the wealthiest people in British Columbia. Called a 'castle' due to its imposing exterior, the luxurious interior has been restored to look as though the visitor is a guest of Mrs. Dunsmuir during the 1890s. It features beautiful woodwork, unique Victorian artifacts, and an impressive collection of original stained glass, all within a pleasant walk from downtown Victoria.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • deepakgupta5
    Vancouver, Canada587 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Step back into time
    This is a lovely castle which is well preserved to showcase its rich history, built at a time when Victoria was at the height of its power and reputation in Canada. This is not a huge castle by the standards of European castles. The castle still has the furnishings from the 1890s, beautiful staircases & stained-glass windows. There are numerous pieces of furniture and paintings, all accompanied by a brief descriptions of each room and some history of the family.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 17, 2023
  • JOEL S
    10 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting Castle
    Craigdarroch Castle is a MASSIVE house in Victoria with a unique history. It was interesting to hear about all the different uses this house has held over the years and there were a lot of historical items throughout the house. Some areas could have been staged better but overall, not a bad experience.
    Thank you very much for your review! We are happy to hear that you enjoyed your visit and the history of Craigdarroch.
    Written September 1, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 31, 2023
  • Ashish D
    Kolkata (Calcutta), India840 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Quint looking castle tucked away in the bylanes!
    The castle is open Thursday to Sunday. We were supposed to reach Victoria by sunday noon, so we planned our visit in the evening. Unfortunately our flight was late and by the time we reached, the castle was closed. Was able to go around the exterior and take some pictures!
    Thank you very much for your review. We are sorry to hear that your flight was late and you were not able to visit inside. But we are glad that you were able to get some nice pictures of the exterior. We are open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am-4pm and we hope to welcome you back another time.
    Written September 1, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited June 2023
    Written August 22, 2023
  • Canadoc
    Fort Langley, Canada142 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A trip into the past
    A real exciting trip into the past. Easy to find. Ample parking. Great scenery. The castle itself was a real charmer. Good process to walk through the castle with information about all of the features. Well maintained. Could spend hours there. A good gift store. I would definitely go back.
    Thank you very much for your review! It is great to hear that you enjoyed your visiting to Craigdarroch Castle and we look forward to welcoming you back.
    Written September 1, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 27, 2023
  • Sunshine576554
    York, United Kingdom433 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Craigdarroch Castle Visit
    Very interesting visit to Craigdarroch Castle. The film helps to tell the story of the Dunsmuir family and the subsequent use of the house. Interesting to read about the trust’s future plans too. We were able to get in for free as National Trust members which was an added bonus.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 9, 2023
  • Saucysavory
    Brampton, Canada1,685 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very interesting place to see, learn and feel it’s history
    The castle is well maintained and its story unfolds as you make your way through this beautiful structure and home. Attention to detail helps to lay bare somethings that may have been kept quiet “back in the day”. Take the time to read the stories about the former inhabitants. There are large poster boards one can flip through to gain a good sense of who they were. Each room is carefully displayed with pieces of the time to depict what life was like. They certainly forged ahead and got as many comforts of the day that were available at that time. You have a full view of Victoria and as it is built on the highest point, the castle can be seen from all below.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 1, 2023
  • cymry
    192 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    historic home throughout the 1900s
    Beautiful historic home. They did a great job highlighting the various eras of habitation, and describing how they will continue to restore the various rooms to represent different periods and inhabitants. I did find it difficult to track the original family members and their stories; this could have been done much more cohesively. Overall very well done.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written October 1, 2023
  • Debbie R
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful castle
    We really enjoyed this self guided tour. The castle itself is beautiful to walk through. Lots of wood, period artifacts and interesting facts about each room. We purchased our tickets along with the hop on hop off ones. Definitely a highlight of our trip to Victoria.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 18, 2023
  • Alison M
    Ealing, United Kingdom16 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well worth a visit.
    We really enjoyed our visit to the castle. It is a beautiful place that has been lovingly restored. The guided tour information, signs about the family and their livers and the history of the house make for an interesting afternoon. One of the best things to do in Victoria.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 20, 2023
  • Gardiner W
    Vancouver, Canada476 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Victoriana in Victoria
    An 1890's full on Victorian mansion. Built by a Scottish Canadian industrialist who sadly never survived long enough to move in. But his wife and gaggles of daughters did.beautiful woodwork and lots of stain glass. Lovely wooden floors and furnished in the style of the period. Lots of stairs so those with mobility problems should note. Castle underwent several transformations over the years and each is recorded in the rooms and written tablets. A bit dark in some of the rooms (curtains closed to prevent fading I guess) but does make it difficult to read some of the info posts (I suggested a small hotel bed lamp be installed to make it easier. Allow at least an hour for the tour. And look on google for more info on the builder (one Mr Dunsmuir)
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled solo
    Written March 6, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles3,347 reviews
Excellent
1,769
Very good
1,200
Average
312
Poor
52
Terrible
13

AlbertaChristiegirl
Calgary, Canada
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
My husband & I decided to check out the Craigdarroch Castle during our recent visit to Victoria.

Having taken the hop on hop off bus tour, we discovered how close this castle was to downtown Victoria & if you chose, you can hop off the bus to visit.

During the off season (when we were there), the castle is open reduced hours of 10am-4:30pm daily. We arrived just after opening and almost had the place to ourselves which was nice. The cost for an adult is $14.85 (seniors $1. less). You enter the visitor center to pay & the staff will put a wristband on you. You are also given a brochure of the layout of the castle & descriptions for each room. If you have a backpack, you cannot wear it on your back while in the castle. They have lockers you can use (pay) or you have to wear the pack on your front. There wasn’t an explanation why but we assume it’s so you don’t knock over anything while touring the castle.

After climbing the front stairs, you will enter the castle on the main level & are greeted by a staff member who will explain how to navigate your tour. We asked about the head phones for the self-guided tour but were met with surprise to our question. I see on the website they do offer them so perhaps the staffer was new to the castle.

We used our brochure/map of the castle & took our time reading all the interesting information displayed at each room. The story of the Dunsmuir family is sad but very interesting. The castle is huge, being 4 stories high, with 39 rooms & over 25,000 square feet. Built in the late 1800’s, it still has the furnishings from the 1890s, beautiful oak staircases & stained-glass windows throughout. Due to its age, the castle is not wheelchair accessible. It's a step back in time & the rooms are meticulously maintained & spotlessly clean.

The parking lot on site is free (minimal street parking as it's in a residential neighborhood), you can use the hop on hop off bus tour to visit or we walked from downtown Victoria.

Recommend you allow 1.5 hours to visit (unless it’s busy, you will need more time). There is also a small gift shop in the visitor center & in the summer a café is open for drinks and snacks. This National Historic Site of Canada is well worth the price of admission & time to visit.
Written March 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pauline
Port Coquitlam, Canada
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020
We booked our facilitated tour a day in advance as the weather forecasted rainy day the next day. A good way to spend it indoor!

There were plenty of of parking spots from the entrance of the castle and surrounding it to the exit. Opposite of the entrance of the castle, you'll enter the ticket and gift shop building. Social distancing started right here. Masks are required. We queued at the ticket line even though we had booked them online. We were given wrist bands to wear, then if you want, you can go to the gift shop before you exit and wait by the castle's entrance.

The rain was quite heavy and windy, There was not much "dry" room for us to wait till they open the castle entrance door. Our group made up of 3 families with 2, 2, and 5, so a total of 9 people. The tour guide took us inside the castle and explained to us how we could practice social distancing to the best we can.

Inside the castle, it's only look with your eyes and no touching of what so ever!

The foyer has a nice fireplace and excellent woodcraft all around the house. Pay attention to the details. Rooms on the main floor were bigger so we could all go in at the same time. Rooms on the second floor were smaller compare to the main floor so the guide briefed us information on the landing and asked each family to enter the rooms separately. She would then go to the room and gave us more information. Then we went to the third floor which was the dancing hall. Totally we climbed 87 steps from bottom to the third floor which wasn't that bad. During our visit, the castle kitchen was under renovation, so we saw an empty kitchen (except for the renovation tools)! Our tour ended with a missing piece of puzzle....!

Our tour guide knew everything about the castle and the Dunsmuir family. Being rich doesn't necessarily mean you're happy. Story of the Dunsmuir was quite sad! Our guide answered all the questions we had, she was knowledgeable. Sorry, I forgot her name.
Written October 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DaiWynn
Victoria, Australia
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
Craigdarroch isn't really a castle, but a multi-storied stately stone mansion superbly situated on a hill overlooking Victoria, BC. Visitors pay an entrance fee in a modern gatehouse and are met at the front door by a guide. Tours follow a well-defined route covering all rooms on each floor. The formal staircase, reception rooms, bedrooms and studies are museum pieces of an era. The woodwork in the family's formal areas is absolutely magnificent, particularly the staircase. The view from the belvedere at the top of the stairs is panoramic.
On the other hand, keep in mind that Craigdarroch was abandoned by the owner's family and was used as a school. As in many mansions around the world, the servant's quarters, kitchens, backstairs and storerooms were never sumptuous, and are still in course of restoration.
Written January 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

StevoinMinnesoto
Cottage Grove, MN
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2019
We toured this impressive home on a drizzly Sunday that fortunately dried out while we were inside. Located on a residential street, it is quite the sight to see as you walk up the hill. The house is maintained very well and we chose to take the narrated tour with headphones. There are a number of staircases to reach the various floors but you are rewarded with interesting views from the rooms on the top floor. Recommended.
Written February 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

G3nLondon
Silver Spring, MD
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
The home of 19th-century coal baron Robert Dunsmuir, Craigdarroch isn't really a castle - it's more a stately manor home in the process of being restored to its former 1800s glory. (several rooms are under reconstruction) There's no formal tour; once you're let inside the home you're encouraged to move from room to room to learn more about the Dunsmuir family and the 'castle's history after it fell out of Dunsmuir hands in the early 20th century. The pamphlet handed to you upon entrance was informative as were the various panels in the rooms, but an audio guide about the home would have been even better. I don't mind paying to visit historic places, but given the entrance fee, a more well-rounded tour experience would have been appreciated.
Written August 31, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022
Craigdarroch Castle, constructed in the late 1880s, has a fascinating history and makes for an absorbing few hours stepping back into time in Victoria, BC. Sadly, Robert Dunsmuir, the extremely rich land and railway baron man who commissioned and owned the castle, died before it was finished in 1889. His family lived in the castle until his widow died in 1908. The term Castle is applied to the building; it is really more an exceedingly large Victorian home in the spirit of Downton Abbey.

Craigdarroch Castle is located just over two kilometers from the Empress Hotel in downtown Victoria. The walk is uphill (with the Castle dominating the top of a hill) so we elected to take a city bus there and return by foot. The bus driver was very helpful and friendly.

You purchase your tickets in the Visitor Center, a small structure located beside the Castle. There are washrooms in the Visitor Center and a gift shop. Note that there apparently are no public washrooms in the Castle itself so be prepared!

Inside the Castle, the extensive woodwork, the furnishings, stained glass, and the period costumes impressed me. The museum folks have restored a lot of the building with parts still to go including gardens. There are panoramic views from the upper turret rooms and Mr. Dunsmuir truly could have been called “King of the Hill”. I found it more appealing than did my lovely companion who patiently waited outside having taken much less time going inside than I did so perhaps the Castle isn’t for everyone, especially children or anybody who has issues with stairs.

Tip: if you encounter a cruise ship tour, sit down and enjoy the ambience while the sailing throng thrusts its way quickly to the next floor. The Castle is best savored without a crowd.

Bottom line: enjoyable but missing an element of flair.
Written November 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mammatVancouver
Burnaby, Canada
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020
We booked our tickets online, printed the receipts but still had to line up inside the administration building, to get the actual tickets. We were about 14 people, and the building being an old one, was a bit difficult at times, to be able to social distance, due to the current health issues. The history was interesting, but it cannot be called a castle, as it is an old building, nothing more.
Written October 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jan S
Burnaby, Canada
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020 • Couples
We had purchased tickets for a tour ahead of time. Our small group was led by Olivia, who was obviously very well versed on the Dunsmuir family and their somewhat unhappy tenure at the Castle. She answered all our questions enthusiastically, made the experience much more enjoyable.
The leaded glass and the woodwork stood out to us - just exquisite workmanship - and the whole home was beautifully “furnished” in the era - lots to look at and take in.
I must say the gift shop was excellent, with out of the ordinary locally made items, interesting tchotchkes, and staffed by a friendly helpful lady.
Probably our favourite place of the whole 5 day trip!
Written October 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Shannon
Airdrie
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022 • Solo
Beautiful stained glass. Not many of the items in the castle actually belonged to the family that lived there. Don't bring your kids, they don't respect things like this and disrupt the experience for others. Would have been better to have the viewings staged with groups of 6 max, and staggered, rather than a free for all.
Written May 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020 • Couples
We enjoyed the tour and loved the history involved in the building of this magnificent place. Loved the family stories. The staff is doing an amazing job at restoring while also leaving areas to display the uses over time such as the hospital. Well worth the visit
Written September 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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