11 Most Beautiful Castles in Virginia

Updated On October 5, 2023
Bacon's Castle - Surrey County, Virginia

If you are looking for the most beautiful castles in Virginia you have come to the right place! 

A castle is a fortified residence built from the Middle Ages to the modern era.

 Castles were often the homes of nobility and were designed to protect their occupants from attack and to project power and prestige. 

Plantations were often built similarly to castles, with strong defensive features such as walls and gates.

 Plantations were often the homes of wealthy landowners and, like castles, were designed to impress and intimidate.

I have included plantations in my list of castles for this reason.  

Our list includes the most beautiful castles from all over the state of Virginia. 

Some castles are abandoned and some are private homes, but they are all magical and beautiful to behold.

Most Beautiful Castles in Virginia

Bacon’s Castle – Surrey County, Virginia

Bacon’s castle is a beautiful example of Jacobean architecture, popular in England during the early 17th century.

 Its unique design and association with Nathaniel Bacon make it an important historical site in the United States.

The castle was built using Flemish bond brickwork, a unique pattern of laying bricks in alternating courses of stretchers and headers. 

The castle’s interior includes original 17th-century paneling and decorative plasterwork.

 Keep an eye out for the intricate plaster ceiling in the Great Hall.

Melrose Castle- Fauquier County, Virginia

Melrose Castle is a beautiful 19th-century Gothic Revival mansion in Fauquier County, Virginia. 

Built by Dr. James McCarty in 1859, Melrose Castle has a reputation for elegance.

McCarty named it after his ancestral Scottish home.  

The castle features stunning architecture, with turrets, towers, and intricate carvings adorning the exterior. 

Guests can admire the grand entrance hall, the elegant parlor, and the stunning ballroom. 

The castle also boasts a picturesque garden, perfect for a relaxing stroll.

However, it is not currently open for tours. 

Castle Hill – Albemarle, Virginia

Castle Hill is a historic plantation house built in the early 18th century. 

Its Georgian architecture and stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains make it a beautiful and exciting landmark.

Thomas Walker designed the house, and Thomas Jefferson played there as a child. 

The home features a symmetrical facade with a central pediment, a Palladian window, and a portico with Doric columns. 

The house’s interior includes original 18th-century woodwork, plasterwork, and a collection of period furnishings. 

Terraced gardens surround Castle Hill with boxwood parterres.

This is private property, but the last owner donated over 300 acres of its land.

This now forms part of Walnut Mountain Preserve, and you can see views of the home as you hike.

Pythian Castle – Norfolk, Virginia

Pythian Castle is a historic castle located in Norfolk, Virginia. 

Built in 1908, the castle was initially used as a meeting place for the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization. 

Architect Edward Overman designed this building to look like a castle in the Romanesque Revival style of architecture.

You will find a grand ballroom, sweeping turrets, and arched windows in this delightful castle.

 In addition, visitors can admire the beautifully preserved interior that contains the original furnishings. 

Pythian Castle also boasts a grand ballroom and is on the National Historical Register. 

Oatlands Plantation – Leesburg, Virginia

Oatlands Plantation is a historic plantation and manor house in Leesburg, Virginia. 

The plantation was built in the late 18th century and is an example of Federal-style architecture. 

George Carter, a wealthy plantation owner, built the house.

 The architecture features a unique five-part plan with a central hallway and four rooms on each side. 

Beautiful gardens surround the home, including a formal parterre, a rose garden, and a historic orangery.

 The plantation is known for its beautiful landscape and association with several notable Virginians, including George Washington.

The plantation also played a role in the Civil War, serving as a hospital for Confederate soldiers. 

Today, the house and gardens are open for tours and events.

The James River Plantations – Charles City County, Virginia

The James River Plantations are a group of historic plantation houses located along the James River in Virginia. 

The James River plantations are like castles because they are large, grand homes owned by wealthy and powerful families.

These families were like the kings and queens of their own lands, with the plantation serving as their fortress and protecting them from the outside world.

Just like a castle, the plantation had many rooms and features that were designed for luxury and comfort, such as grand ballrooms and opulent bedrooms.

The plantation was often surrounded by lush gardens and vast fields, giving it an opulent, regal atmosphere much like a castle. 

The plantations, which date from the 17th to the 19th centuries, include a variety of architectural styles. 

These styles include the colonial-era Berkeley Plantation and the Greek Revival style.

The plantations offer scenic views of the river. 

In addition, they are an essential part of Virginia’s history, as they were once the center of the state’s agricultural and economic activities.

Stratford Hall Plantation – Westmoreland County, Virginia

Stratford Hall Plantation is a historic plantation house in Westmoreland County, Virginia. 

The house, built in the mid-18th century, is an example of Georgian-Palladian architecture. 

The castle-like home, features a symmetrical facade, a grand entrance with a pediment, and a central dome. 

The plantation was the birthplace of Robert E. Lee, the famous Confederate general. 

It is now a museum and a National Historic Landmark. 

The house and its surrounding grounds are open to the public for tours, and visitors can learn about the plantation’s history and the life of Robert E. Lee.

Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest – Forest, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest is a historic plantation house in Forest, Virginia. 

Thomas Jefferson designed the house in the late 18th century. 

This historical home is an example of neoclassical architecture.

 You will discover a symmetrical facade, a grand entrance with a portico, and a central dome.

The house was built as a retreat for Thomas Jefferson, and it is considered one of his finest architectural achievements. 

The house is now a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public for tours. 

Visitors can explore the place and learn about Thomas Jefferson’s life and ideas, as well as the history of the plantation.

Westover Plantation – Charles City County, Virginia

Westover Plantation is a historic plantation house in Charles City County, Virginia, built in 1850. 

The plantation was once the home of the Byrd family, one of Virginia’s most prominent families. 

Westover Plantation is now a museum open to the public for tours. 

Visitors to the plantation can explore the house, which features original 18th-century woodwork and plasterwork. 

Tours will also teach you about the history of the Byrd family and their role in the development of Virginia. 

The plantation also has beautiful gardens and scenic views of the James River.

The Old City Hall – Richmond, VA. 

Old City Hall is a historic building located in Richmond, Virginia. 

It was built in 1894 and was initially used as the city’s main administrative center. 

The building features stunning Gothic Revival architecture, with a grand entrance, towering turrets, and intricate carvings. 

The exterior of the building is adorned with beautiful stonework, giving it a castle-like appearance. 

Visitors can admire the beautifully preserved interior with original furnishings and ornate details.

 Today, Old City Hall is a popular venue for weddings and other special occasions.

 In addition, visitors can take a guided tour of the building to learn more about its rich history and fascinating architecture.

The Brandymore Castle Historical Marker – Arlington, VA 

The Brandymore Castle Historical Marker commemorates the site of a former castle. 

Although the castle no longer stands, the marker serves as a reminder of the area’s rich history.

The castle was built in the 19th century by a local businessman, who modeled it after the castles he had seen in Europe. 

The castle featured stunning Gothic Revival architecture, with lofty turrets, pointed arches, and marble carvings. 

The castle was named after the town of Brandywine in Delaware, where the businessman’s ancestors came from. 

Although the castle no longer stands, the historical marker serves as a reminder of the area’s rich history and fascinating architecture.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Tour Bacon's Castle in Virginia?

The castle is open to the public all year round for self-guided audio tours.

Visitors can explore the historic 17th-century mansion at their own pace, using an audio guide.

You can take tours of the interior from March to December.

Tickets are available on their website in advance.

What is the oldest castle in Virginia?

The oldest castle in Virginia is Bacon’s Castle, built in the 17th century.

The castle is a popular destination for history enthusiasts and tourists alike.

This beautiful castle in Virginia is known for its unique architecture and fascinating history.

Are there any castle ruins in Virginia?

Yes, there are castle ruins in Virginia.

One of the most notable is Pratt Castle in Richmond.

Built in 1846, the castle was originally a magnificent 19th-century mansion.

However, the castle fell into disrepair over the years and is now in ruins.

Visitors can still see the remains of the castle’s stunning Gothic Revival architecture.

In addition, the castle ruins are surrounded by a picturesque garden, making it a beautiful and historical spot to visit.

What is the most beautiful castle in Virginia?

For me, Virginia’s most beautiful and historic castles include Bacon’s Castle, Castle Hill, and Oatlands Plantation.

It is hard to choose because Virginia’s soft and rolling landscape sets all of these homes off beautifully.

These castles are known for their unique architectural styles, historical significance, and beautiful landscapes.

Visitors to Virginia may want to explore these castles and decide which is the most beautiful.

2 Comments on 11 Most Beautiful Castles in Virginia

  1. I had no idea there were so many beautiful castles in Virginia!

  2. Virginia is home to many beautiful castles and plantations, each with their own unique history and architectural style.

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