Castle Hill on the Crane Estate


165 acres

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


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


Castle Hill has a deep and storied past. The land we call Castle Hill was originally stewarded by indigenous peoples, who called this area Agawam, meaning “place beyond the marsh.” Their sagamore, Masconomet, entered into an alliance with the settlers of Ipswich in 1632 and afterwards this drumlin by the edge of the Atlantic became known as Castle Hill. Over the years, it saw many owners, but the hill never had a castle built upon it. 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.

Chicago industrialist Richard Teller Crane Jr., heir to Crane Co., and his wife, Florence Higinbotham Crane, purchased the property in 1910. With their vision, working with a team of renowned architects, landscape architects and artists, Castle Hill was transformed into one of America’s great Country Place Era estates. This European-inspired summer estate included a mansion, farm and estate buildings, a pool complex, designed gardens and grounds, and diverse natural areas.

The first house atop the Castle Hill was an Italian Renaissance Revival villa designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, who also worked with The Olmsted Bros. and Arthur Shurcliff on the designed landscapes. The villa was razed in 1924, replaced with the Stuart-style mansion we see today, inspired by 17th century English country houses. Today known as the Great House (1924-1928), it was designed by Chicago architect David Adler. Castle Hill became the centerpiece of an estate that once encompassed 3,500 acres, emphasizing the natural landscapes, their stewardship and protection.

The Cranes understood the value of land conservation and historic preservation. In 1910, they amended their wills to reflect that they would one day bequeath this property to The Trustees. Castle Hill came to us in 1949 upon the death of Mrs. Florence Higinbotham Crane. Today, The Trustees stewards 2,100 acres of the family’s original 3,500-acre estate, which includes Castle Hill, Crane Beach, and the Crane Wildlife Refuge. Castle Hill is comprised of 165 acres and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998.

Welcome to Castle Hill!

Advance passes for grounds admission to Castle Hill are suggested but not required. Having an advance grounds admission guarantees grounds admission for the day and time of your visit. Admission is otherwise first come, first served. We tend to sell out on weekends and holidays in the summer and when the weather is fine.


Ideas for Your Visit

Tour the Great House, gardens, and/or landscape and be transported back to 1929. See what it was to summer in Ipswich with the Crane family, visit the roof and learn about the architecture and innovation contained within the Great House walls, or explore the formal gardens. Check out our tour options and availability.

We’ve got an app for that! Download “TourTrustees: Castle Hill smartphone App” from Google Play or the App Store to listen to a narrated audiotour.

Garden enthusiasts will be transfixed by the spectacular Italian Garden and its sister, the show-stopping Rose Garden. Both have been renovated and are tended with expertise, love, and care. Laid out in the classic “garden room” style, these gardens offer tranquility, musing and stunning backdrops for the special moments of our lives.

Castle Hill is a hiker’s paradise with hiking circuits that wind through manicured gardens, lawns, and paths, each dappled with statuary, fountains, and reliefs. Stroll across our meadows, dip into our woodland trails and summit our sandy dunes. Visit CraneOutdoors for our offering of guided hikes, and check out our property-wide trail map if you plan to set out on your own.

Picnic overlooking the Atlantic! Bring a picnic and a favorite blanket and you’ll be the envy of everyone you know on social media. A relaxing seaside meal with your loved ones cannot be beat!

Shop our amazing Gift Shop, which is open in-person anytime the Great House is open. Its wonderfully curated items, including snacks, mean that there is something for everyone. Take home a memento of your time visiting Castle Hill or a gift for a loved one. Get a preview by visiting our online shop.

Fill your social calendar with must-attend events! 

  • March: Visit the Great House to get your thespian fix and take in Castle Hill’s latest theatrical production.
  • July – August: The summer isn’t complete without tickets to the Thursday evening Castle Hill Summer Concert Series.
  • August: The Roaring Twenties Lawn Party will sate you with jazz, dance lessons on the Grand Allèe, antique autos, and a vintage fair.
  • November: Art collectors and officiandos need look no farther than the yearly Crane Estate Art Show & Sale.
  • December: Christmas at Castle Hill is a tradition for many. It’s now expanded and runs throughout the month. Don’t miss the beautifully dressed rooms and holiday cheer.

There’s More! Check out the activities happening elsewhere at the Crane Estate. Crane Beach and the Crane Wildlife Refuge are teeming with activity, too, and adventures await.

We are looking forward to your visit. Too much to do? Plan to visit often!

Please note:
Beach access from Castle Hill is not permitted. Grounds admission and parking are reserved for cultural site visitors only.

Admission & Hours

Grounds Admission

May – October:

  • FREE for Trustees members
  • Nonmembers:
    • Adult: $10
    • Children ages 6-14: $5
    • Children 5 & under: Free

November – April:

  • FREE for Trustees members
  • Nonmembers:
    • Weekdays: FREE
    • Weekend Adult: $10
    • Weekend Children ages 6-14: $5
    • Weekend Children 5 & under: Free
  • Special admission categories:
    • Ipswich Residents:
      • Weekdays: Free w/valid Town resident sticker
      • Weekends: Nonmember fees apply
    • Free admission is offered to the following:
      • EBT, SNAP, WIC, or ConnectorCare cardholders (cardholder + family)
      • Massachusetts Teachers Association members with valid ID (limit 1)
      • NARM members (limit 2, must have valid membership card in hand)
      • AAM / NEMA / AASLH members with valid ID (limit 1)
      • HR Consortium staff with valid ID (limit 1)
      • GoPass holder (limit 2, must submit pass upon entry)
    • Half price admission:
      • Active or retired military (service member + family)

Advance passes for grounds admission to Castle Hill are suggested but not required. Advance grounds admission guarantees grounds admission for the day and time of your visit. Admission is otherwise first come, first serve. We tend to sell out on weekends, holidays and other high traffic days.

Grounds passes are valid for a single entry during a three-hour time slot. When the house is open (see hours below), access is also granted to parts of the main floor of the Great House, use of its facilities and shopping at the Gift Shop.

Hours of Operation

  • The Great House is open:
    • June through October:
      • Closed Mondays
      • Tuesday through Sunday, 10AM–4PM
    • April, May, and November:
      • Weekends and holidays only
  • The Castle Hill Grounds and Gardens are open:
    • February through October:
      • Daily 9AM-5PM
    • November through January:
      • Daily 9AM-4PM

Tour the Great House and be transported back to 1929! See what it was to summer in Ipswich with the Crane family or take a tour to the roof and learn about the architecture and innovation contained within the Great House walls. Check out our tour options and availability. If you’re interested in a guided tour, their cost includes grounds admission.

Please note:
Beach access from Castle Hill is not permitted. Grounds admission and parking are reserved for cultural site visitors only

We are looking forward to your visit. Too much to do? Plan to visit often!

We welcome school and youth groups for experiential educational programs. Please visit our Education Page for details and to initiate a visit request.

Directions & Contact Info

290 Argilla Road
Ipswich, MA 01938
Telephone: 978.356.4351

Get directions on Google Maps

From Rt. 128 North Exit 45B, take Rt. 1A North for 8 miles to Ipswich. Turn right onto Rt. 133 East and follow for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Northgate Road and follow for 0.5 miles. Turn right onto Argilla Road and follow for 2.3 miles to the entrance on the left.

We look forward to your visit!

Facilities & Accessibility

The Castle Hill Gift Shop and indoor restrooms are open when the Great House is open. Portable restrooms are always available in the main parking lot and other locations around the property.

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


  • Wheelchair accessible porta-potty is located in the main parking lot. The restrooms in the Great House are not accessible.
  • Wheelchair accessible ramp to enter the Great House (when it’s open) is located on the back of the house and can be found by moving from the forecourt around the right side of the house to the back.
  • Paved roads and smooth lawns are 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, please visit this site or contact 781.221.3003.

Property Map

A map of Castle Hill and its surrounding gardens is available in the brochures that are available in the main parking lot, and for download here. You can also download a trail map for the larger Crane Estate grounds before you head out.

Regulations & Advisories

The 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 never allowed on the grounds of Castle Hill. There is a limited dog season at Crane Beach.
  • Cycling of any kind is permitted only on paved and dirt roads.
  • 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. 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


  • All portrait and commercial photography must be approved in advance. Please read the Crane Estate’s photography policy and booking instructions before planning a photo shoot.  Permits are required for portrait photography sessions at Castle Hill. Photographers or their clients must be full Trustees Members to purchase portrait session permits at this property.
  • Portrait photography is not permitted inside the Great House.
  • For commercial interests, please email
Before Setting Out
More to Explore

Revitalized Gardens of The Trustees

Discover the revitalized public gardens and historic houses at two special places on the North Shore.

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

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