Visiting local landmarks and historic buildings is an activity that many people enjoy when traveling to new destinations. Castles are a type of landmark that people find interesting. Not only are they architecturally intriguing, but many have an interesting history. If you are visiting New Hampshire, there are many castles you could include on your itinerary, but some are more interesting than others. Here are eight New Hampshire castles to visit.
8. Ice Castles, Lincoln
Ice Castles in Lincoln may be New Hampshire’s most unusual castle, but that’s what makes it worth visiting while you’re in the state. It’s an ice castle, and it’s rebuilt every year to create a seasonal winter attraction. You can only visit the attraction during the winter months. Icicles hang from the main structures to give the experience a fairytale feel, and colorful lighting adds a magical element to the attraction. Lincoln’s Ice Castles are an attraction that draws visitors of all ages.
7. Madame Sherri’s Stairs, Chesterfield
Madame Sherri’s Stairs are the ruins of Madame Sherri’s Castle in Madame Sherri’s Forest along Castle Road in Chesterfield. The ruins are on a hill in the forest and the stone steps curve upwards on two arches. The steps are surrounded by other piles of stones that once formed part of the castle walls. To see the castle ruins, start from the forest car park and cross the footbridge to the Ann Stokes Loop Trail. This is a two mile trail through Madame Sherri Forest and Cook Town Forest. At the point where the trail splits, you will see the stairs for the first time. The structure was built in the late 1920s by Madame Antoinette Sherri, who used the property as a summer residence for hosting parties. Over the years the castle fell into disrepair, then a fire destroyed it in 1962. Local legend says that people saw the figure of Madame Sherri at the top of the stairs.
6. Anam Cara Castle, Barrington
Castle Anam Cara sits on the edge of Barrington Woods. David O’Connor and Loretta Salazar own the property and they built it to replicate a 10th century Celtic castle, inside and out. Although the castle looks old, the construction of the building only started in 1996. Since then, the structure has not stopped evolving. Some internal features include wood heating, 300 year old wooden floors and beams and iron hardware. There are art studios in the castle which painters, potters, goldsmiths and blacksmiths use. Anam Cara Castle is open to school groups and other parties for educational tours, and it is used as a venue for weddings and medieval-themed events.
5. Fort Constitution Portsmouth Harbor Light, New Castle
Only In Your State lists Fort Constitution Portsmouth Harbor Light at New Castle as one of the castles to visit in New Hampshire. Fort Constitution is also known as Fort William and Mary. It was built as a British defense in the early 17th century. The fort guards the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor and also defends Kittery, Maine on the opposite shore. The fortress surrounding the historic monument is typical of a castle as there is a dense wall of stone blocks with holes to watch out for oncoming threats. However, the rest of the complex’s appearance is not typical of a standard castle. There is a three-storey house with a stone base and an upper part clad in wood surrounded by a courtyard and stone walls. One of the main features of the monument is the harbor lighthouse.
4. Hunting Castle, Ringge
Hunt Castle is a gothic castle in Rindge on 500 acres of land. It has Mount Monadnock as a backdrop and overlooks a lake. Although the castle looks historic, it was only built in 1995 by its owners and is now used as luxury accommodation. The chateau has eight bedrooms, a swimming pool, an outdoor hot tub, and trails that run through the grounds.
3. Searles Castle, Windham
Searles Castle in Windham, New Hampshire was commissioned by Edward Francis Searles Construction of the castle began in 1905 and was completed in 1915. It is a replica of the medieval Tudor mansion of Stanton Harcourt in the ‘Oxfordshire, England. The materials used for the construction of the castle were granite, field stone and dark red sandstone. For many years, Searles Castle was used as an event venue, until it was purchased for $3.4 million by a pharmaceutical company owner in 2019.
2. Castle Craig, Meriden
Walter Hubbard, a world traveler, built Castle Craig as a watchtower, and his design inspiration is a matter of debate. Some argue that the design is a replica of an ancient tower called Craigellachie in Scotland. Others say the inspiration for the design was a 12th century Turkish tower on the Danube, and another line of thought is that it is a copy of a Norman French tower. Hubbard dedicated the tower to the people of Meriden, Connecticut in 1900. There are hiking trails leading to the 32-foot trapdoor rock tower, so visiting this castle is a great day out for those who love the outdoors. Hikers can ascend to a viewing platform at the top of the tower using the internal metal staircase. There are some of Connecticut’s most spectacular views from the observation deck.
1. Castle in the Clouds, Moultonborough
New Hampshire Today lists Castle in the Clouds as one of the best castles to visit in New Hampshire. The castle is in Moultonborough in the Ossipee mountain range. Also known as the Lucknow Estate, it was built between 1913 and 1914. Thomas Plant, a wealthy man who worked in the shoe industry, was the original owner of the castle. Today it has been transformed into a museum and a restaurant.