Northeast

Castle Hill on the Crane Estate

Ipswich

165 acres

Experience the grandeur of a 2,100-acre seaside estate, its marvelously landscaped grounds, restored Grand Allée, gardens, and Casino complex.

Share

Plan Your Visit
  • Overview
  • Ideas for Your Visit
  • Admission & Hours
  • Directions & Contact Info
  • Facilities & Accessibility
  • Venue Rental
  • Property Map
  • Regulations & Advisories

Overview

Castle Hill,  was well known by indigenous peoples, who called the area Agawam in reference to its rich fishery. Beginning in the 1880s, J.B. Brown transformed Castle Hill Farm from an agricultural holding into a gentleman’s farm, improving roadways and plantings and renovating his modest farmhouse into a rambling, Shingle-style cottage that is now The Inn at Castle Hill.

After Chicago industrialist Richard T. Crane, Jr., purchased the property in 1910, Castle Hill came to exemplify a European-inspired country estate of the era, with its farm and estate buildings, designed grounds and gardens, and diverse natural areas. The first house built atop Castle Hill, an Italian Renaissance Revival villa designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, was razed and replaced in 1928 with the Great House, the 59-room Stuart-style mansion designed by architect David Adler that you see today.

Advance passes for Castle Hill are suggested but not required. However, if you have an advance pass, you are guaranteed admission for the day and time of your visit, even if passes sell out.

 

Ideas for Your Visit

Across the grounds, there’s no shortage of stunning features to stop you in your tracks, including the quietly captivating Casino and the jaw-dropping Grand Allée rolling toward the surf. Allow a minimum of one and a half hours to explore the Grand Allée, gardens, and grounds. A Visitor’s Guide to the Crane Estate is a self-guided landscape tour brochure that introduces visitors to Castle Hill. It is available at the Welcome kiosk in the main parking lot. Take a self-guided garden and landscape tour app using our TourTrustees: Castle Hill smartphone App (Google Play or Apple iPhone). Castle Hill offers four miles of easy hiking trails and is a link in the Bay Circuit Trail.

GROUNDS AND TRAILS
Castle Hill is open Daily from 9AM – 5PM. Parking passes may be reserved online in advance but are also available onsite if space is available. However, having an advanced pass will guarantee you a spot.

THE GREAT HOUSE
The ground floor is open to all visitors, 10AM-4PM, on weekends only until June 22, when access will expand to Tuesday – Sunday. Please note: masks are required to enter the Great House.

TOURS
Landscape and Cupola with a View tours will begin May 1 on weekends/Monday holidays and expand to Tuesday – Sunday on June 22.
Guests of the Cranes tours will begin for the season on July 31.

Check out tour and program offerings in our Things to Do section.  Registration for all tours can be done online. Please call 978-356-4351 and follow the prompts for Castle Hill Admission and Tours if you have any issues with online registration.

Please note:
Beach access from Castle Hill is not permitted. Parking is reserved for cultural site visitors only.

Admission & Hours

Castle Hill is open seven days a week from 9AM-5PM

On Wednesday evenings, June 2 – July 28, Castle Hill is open until 8PM and August 4 – Sept 1 until 7:30PM.

Advance passes for Castle Hill are suggested but not required.

However, if you have an advance pass, you are guaranteed admission for the day and time of your visit, even if passes sell out.

Beginning May 1, admission passes will change from per car to per person.

Trustees Members: Free.
Nonmembers: Adult $10, children 6-14 $5, and children 5 and under Free

Passes are valid for a single entry during a three-hour time slot. If space is available, passes will also be sold at the Castle Hill gate via credit card only – we will not be accepting cash at this time.

Ipswich Residents: Weekdays FREE with valid town resident sticker, Nonmember admission fees apply on weekends.

 

Directions & Contact Info

290 Argilla Road
Ipswich, MA 01938
Telephone: 978.356.4351
E-mail: castlehill@thetrustees.org

Get directions on Google Maps

From Rt. 128 North Exit 45B, 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 on left.

Facilities & Accessibility

Public restrooms in the Great House are available 10AM-4PM when the Great House is open for tours. Portable restrooms are always available in the main parking lot and other locations around the property.

The Great House Gift shop and adjacent Café with grab & go refreshments are currently closed.

The Inn at Castle Hill offers overnight B&B accommodation. Check for special offers in connection with Great House events.

Accessibility

  • Wheelchair accessible porta-potty.
  • Wheelchair accessible ramp to enter the Great House (when it’s open).
  • Paved road and smooth lawn suitable for most wheelchairs in many (but not all) areas.

Venue Rental

Hold your wedding or special event at the Crane Estate. For further information visit this site or contact 781.221.3003.

Property Map

Free trail map distributed from bulletin board in the parking area. Please understand that supplies periodically run out.

We recommend that you take a photo of the map on your phone so you can refer to it during your visit, or download a trail map before you head out.

Regulations & Advisories

The standard Crane Estate regulations are here. Additionally, please review the following:

Beach access from Castle Hill is not permitted. Parking is reserved for cultural site visitors only.

Dogs are not allowed on the grounds of Castle Hill. There is a limited dog season at Crane Beach. Please see our dog regulations for more information.  

Authorized seasonal bow hunting is allowed on this reservation for a limited number of hunters through a deer management program administered by The Trustees. Per  MassWildlife regulations, hunting is permitted from the first Monday in October through December each year, from ½ hour before sunrise all day until ½ hour after sunset, Monday through Saturday. Hunting is not allowed on Sundays. Signage is posted at the property listing safety precautions and requirements.

Learn more about hunting on Trustees properties. Any questions may be directed to The Trustees coastal ecologist via castlehill@thetrustees.org.

Mountain biking is permitted only on paved and dirt roads.

Photography 

  • For more detailed information on our photo policy and to book a photo shoot, click here.
  • All portrait and commercial photography must be approved in advance.
  • Drone photography is not permitted except in rare circumstances and only with the authorization of the Director of the Crane Estate.
  • Photography is not permitted inside the house.
  • For commercial interests, please email castlehill@thetrustees.org.
    For outdoor portrait shoots, please view our Portrait Photo Agreement for rules, restrictions, and instructions for how to apply for a permit.
  • The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Please read our photo and video policy.
Before Setting Out
More to Explore

Castle Hill on the Crane Estate Book

This beautifully illustrated and practical guide provides the history and context of the stunning country estate of plumbing magnate Richard T. Crane, Jr. and his family, which draws many thousands of visitors each year.

Purchase

Castle Hill Picnic Concert Series

Pack a picnic and enjoy an evening of live music on the magnificent Grand Allee of the Crane Estate. Stunning seaside scenery, newly restored gardens, and live music await.
Concert
Upcoming Events

History of Castle Hill

For centuries, this dramatic coastscape served as seasonal fishing grounds for indigenous peoples before European settlement turned it to agriculture. By the late-19th century it had evolved into a gentleman’s farm. Richard T. Crane, Jr., began its transformation into a sprawling summer estate during the early decades of the 20th century.

Learn More
The View From Here
See What People Say

The Crane Estate is a wonderful, historical and very peaceful place. Catch a house tour in season, then a walk on the beach.

Bill H, Facebook

Discover More Places

Join the Trustees

Enjoy 120 sites featuring inspired trails, historic homes, beautiful gardens, farms, summer camps and more.
Become a Member

Lend a Hand

Join a community passionate about a sustainable future and engaged in diverse projects across the state.
Volunteer

Support Our Work

We rely on your generous support to protect the irreplaceable landscapes and landmarks of Massachusetts.
Donate