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“A great place for a visit”

Gillette Castle State Park
Ranked #1 of 26 things to do in East Haddam
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This 24-room mansion has undergone extensive renovations.
Bethany Beach, Delaware
Level Contributor
136 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“A great place for a visit”
Reviewed January 25, 2009

This is a great place to visit and to take your kids! Or it's a great trip for adults alone or with friends and family. The castle itself is fascinating and it's worth the wait for the tour. But you can also go for the grounds as the castle is in a beautiful little state park right on the river. Bring a picnic lunch and spend the day. There is a small visitor center and a snack bar next to it but there isn't a lot of food available for sale when I visited in November.

Thank Deb_traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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554 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Nashville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
27 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Interesting to say the least”
Reviewed September 30, 2008

I found Gillette State Park while looking for things to do in the Hartford area over the weekend. The drive was beautiful and the views from the castle were even more so. You can go to the website to find out more about the history of the builder, so I will just say that I really enjoyed the trip. The gardens and trails are well maintained. Modest entry fee - ten bucks for two adults. Be sure to check out the woodwork. The owner had a workshop specifically for this. Door latches and light switches take on a new meaning.

After viewing the castle (once you go through you cannot go back through) there are plenty of paths and trails to check out. There were children there who seemed to be enjoying themselves as well as the adults, so I would have to say it is suitable for just about anyone. (I don't think it is handicap acceptable though) There is a small gift shop and a place for snacks with tables and chairs.

3 Thank Traci B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Perfect Little Castle. Great Views, Excellent Woodwork,”
Reviewed August 15, 2008

This is a wonderful site. Our family took the ferry across to see it. The castle is wonderful. William Gillette designed this spectacular castle. No two doors are alike, no two windows are alike. All hand crafted. Secret passages, stained glass. Beautiful views!

2 Thank mom2boysanddogs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairfield County, CT
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“A Great Way To Spend A Day In CT”
Reviewed July 22, 2008

I am a CT resident, and have seen most of the tourist attractions in the State. I feel that G. C. is the best. The day begins with a car ride up a winding, narrow road. At the summit, you will witness beautiful scenery, including the CT. River. The tour of the Castle is special in itself. The builder, Mr. Gillette was a bit eccentric, and built the castle with a lot of little surprises, intricacies and quality woodwork. There is a nominal admission charge, which entitles you to the castle tour as well as access to the grounds. It will be a day enjoyed by all accept children. Afterwards, a trip to Old Saybrook will enable you to have dinner at one of the many seafood restaurants located right on the river (Old Saybrook is at the intersection of the CT River and the Long Island Sound). My favorite is Dock and Dine seafood restaurant.

3 Thank Richard-From-CT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“An amazing place you will want to visit”
Reviewed April 11, 2008

Gillette Castle is located in East Haddam in Connecticut, and I can thoroughly recommend a visit. This is a truly amazing place and was originally built not as a castle, but as a home for William Hooker Gillette, an actor who was most famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. He was, in fact, the person who made the Holmes look famous, with the deerstalker hat and pipe, etc. The state of Connecticut purchased the property in 1943, several years after his death, and opened it to the public.

Gillette designed every part of this strange house, and you really have to see it to believe it. It is built overlooking the Connecticut River and looks at first sight like an old castle which is in the process of falling down, but it was built to look like this.

The external of the castle is built in grey stone and looks really unusual, but it is the interior that really makes you take a second look. There are 24 rooms in total, but not all are open to the public. You enter the property through the living room, which is a large room with a huge fireplace. There is a guide who begins the self-guided tour with a history of the castle and an overview of the man himself. It is very interesting.

After the living room, you go through the conservatory area and into other parts of the property. You can see into the bedrooms, which are quite small considering the size of the house, although most are en-suite, which was unheard of in the time the house was built. There are lots of doors throughout the house; they are made of oak, and every door is designed differently. You really need to pay attention to the doors and windows, as they are intriguing. This whole house is fascinating, and you end the tour in his art gallery.

The grounds of the castle are also open to the public, and they comprise of wooded areas, lakes, bridges, etc. There are nature trails you can hike and picnic areas. The visitors' centre is modern but built in a style that fits in with the rest of the property and has information about the house and nearby sights. The whole estate is now a state park, and I would definitely recommend that anyone in the area visit it. Even if you are not into looking around old houses, believe me, this is not just any old house!

5 Thank CanadaJane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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