Castle Hill on the Crane Estate
Castle Hill was well known by Native Americans, who called the area Agawam, referring to its rich fishery. John Winthrop, Jr., son of the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, laid claim to Castle Hill in 1637. In the 1880s, Castle Hill Farm was transformed from an agricultural holding into a gentleman’s farm, with a rambling, shingle-style cottage that is now The Inn at Castle Hill.
The Great House was later designed by some of the century’s most notable architects and landscape architects and is furnished with period antiques. Castle Hill came to exemplify the American Country Place Era with its farm and estate buildings, designed grounds and gardens, and diverse natural areas.
View our Crane Estate Photo Adventure.
Nature at Castle Hill
Castle Hill is also home to a wide diversity of wildlife typical of northeast Massachusetts forests. Deer, fox, turkey, and a multitude of songbirds can be observed from the many trails and roads on Castle Hill. In addition, Castle Hill is home to several pairs of nesting great horned owls and red-tailed hawks. Due to its location on the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent Crane Beach, unusual species such as turkey vultures, migratory hawks, and even an occasional bald eagle can be seen soaring above the landscape.
Four miles of trails and roads. Moderate hiking. Castle Hill is a link in the Bay Circuit Trail.
When to Visit
Grounds: year-round, daily, 8am to sunset. Great House: open end of May through Columbus Day for guided tours. A wide range of public programs are offered throughout the year; please visit our events calendar for upcoming programs. Allow a minimum of 2 ˝ hours (including Great House or landscape tour), 6 hours if also visiting Crane Beach and the Crane Wildlife Refuge.
Public restrooms in the Great House (open during tours) and in the visitor parking area. The Inn at Castle Hill offers overnight B&B accommodation.
Grounds: year-round, daily, 8am to sunset; Great House: guided and self guided tour experiences May 26 through October 16. Open Tuesday – Thursday, 10AM – 4PM (last tour at 3 PM), Friday and Saturday, 10AM – 2PM (last tour at 1 PM). Casino Complex: Open Saturdays and Sundays through October 11, 10AM–5PM. A wide range of public programs are offered throughout the year; please visit our events calendar for upcoming programs. Allow a minimum of 2˝ hours (including Great House and Casino Complex, 6 hours if also visiting Crane Beach and the Crane Wildlife Refuge.)
Admission and Fees
COVID-19 Visiting Logistics
Grounds: Members: FREE. Nonmembers: $10 per car; $2 per bicycle; $4 per motorcycle. Ipswich residents FREE on weekdays; same admission fees as nonmembers on weekends. All vehicles receive 50% admission discount after 3PM, year-round, every day.
Great House Tours: Varies by tour. Members: FREE. Nonmembers: Adult ~$10; Child $5. Minimum age: 8 years old (16 without adult). Fees include admission to grounds. To arrange tours for groups of 15 or more, call 978.921.1944 x4009.
Historic Landscape Tours of Castle Hill: Members: FREE. Nonmembers: $5. Minimum age: 8 years old (16 without adult).
290 Argilla Road, Ipswich, MA map
From Rt. 128 North Exit 20A, take Rt. 1A North for 8 mi. to Ipswich. Turn right onto Rt. 133 East and follow for 1.5 mi. Turn left onto Northgate Rd. and follow for 0.5 mi. Turn right onto Argilla Rd. and follow for 2.3 mi. to entrance.
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