Growing up, one of the best games played as a tween was MASH. The completely realistic game of chance that would predict your future and whether or not you would live in a mansion or castle, apartment, sewer (yup) or house — among other essential factors such as a vehicle, life partner and the city you’ll live. The best option for a car was obviously a bright yellow Corvette with the top down, and the best place to live? That’s easy. The castle.
Why? Castles typically mean that you are royalty of some kind. Not only that, but they also provide beautiful architecture, tons of room for your collection of Barbies and a huge backyard for your adorable puppy. Man, we had the best imaginations back then, and some people still do. Check out these 10 amazing castles straight from our childhood dreams.
1. Castle Neuschwanstein, Germany
If it looks familiar, it might be from your past life as German royalty, but it might also be your recent trip to Disney World. It’s never been formally stated, but many a visitor has noticed the similarities between the play castle and this “real deal” seated in the lovely Bavarian Alps. When you think of princess castle, this is the image that comes to mind. The cute little turrets, the beautiful stone cliffs and the all-around magnificence.
2. The Manor, Los Angeles
With a name like “The Manor,” you’re forced to go big or go home with this luxury estate. The Spelling family did both with this ridiculously huge manor that served as their home in Los Angeles, California. The home sports over 123 bedrooms. That’s just bedrooms, folks! Not exactly the castle of childhood dreams, but it’s certainly the epitome of Hollywood luxury.
3. Hearst Mansion, California
The famous Hollywood landmark, Hearst Mansion, was leased out to film scenes from The Godfather. The 90,000 square foot estate comes equipped with three guest homes, a disco-tech and of course, a private zoo. President John F. Kennedy even chose the mansion for his honeymoon. At a cool, crisp $165 million for the estate, you’d need to be considered royal to afford it. However, some would say the twin indoor and outdoor pools tiled with gorgeous Roman style stonework and statues are totally and completely worth it.
4. Castle Howard, Britain
What girl isn’t looking for a Pride & Prejudice type of fairytale? If you want a Darcy in Pemberley type of feel, we suggest Castle Howard located near York. The remarkably curated castle has kept all of the main features of its original design from the 18th century. What some may consider a little-known fact, the estate briefly became a girl’s school for wealthier folk during World War II. Feel free to stroll through its 1,000-acre garden while counting your suitors and contemplating what ribbon you will wear to the country ball this evening.
5. Himeji Castle, Japan
Recently undergoing a seven-year renovation, the Himeji Castle reopened for public viewing in 2015. Now over 400 years old, the childhood dream castle reminds us of our favourite Disney movie, Mulan. People visit Himeji to be blown away as the castle is a complex of 83 buildings and classically beautiful Japanese medieval architecture.
6. Windsor Castle, England
If we’re talking castles, we can’t leave out the extraordinary estate that is Windsor Castle. When we think of England or royalty, we think of her, and all the lavishness that comes with her. The stone-faced guards with the fuzzy hats and the turreted brick sides are as classic as it gets. A childhood dream that tops many individuals bucket lists, Windsor Castle doesn’t disappoint given the fact that you are within steps from Queen Elizabeth II.
7. Antilia, India
If a modern-day dream castle were to exist, it would surely match that of the private home, Antilia, located in Mumbai, India. In a city that creates the new standards for opulence, Antilia sets the curve and sets in mind-blowingly high. In 2012, it was named the single most expensive residence in history, ever, at $1 billion. It must keep a staff of 600 people just to keep the home running. With three floors just for parking, multiple pools and a spa, it’s clear you’d be taken care of in this private residence. On top of that, every floor has extra high ceilings, meaning that although it only is 30-some floors, the actual height is around 70 storeys tall.
8. Chateau de Versailles, France
When Louis the XIII built the Palace of Versailles in 1624, his architect designed a simple but elegant hunting lodge. Years later, with Louis XIV in power, the palace transformed into a luxurious and over-the-top piece of art. The famous Hall of Mirrors, which is a hall of mirrors and gold, reminds you that you’re not in Kansas anymore as Versailles takes the interior design recommendation of gold statement pieces to new heights. The child in you would be in awe of this dream castle turned museum.
10. Prague Castle, Czech Republic
When they say the Prague Castle is the pride of Prague — they mean it. The entire country of Czech Republic loves this historic castle, probably because it is stunning and looks like the classic fairytale of every childhood story. More impressively, this castle holds title as one of the last great remaining examples of Baroque architecture. Even the buildings surrounding the castle have remained relatively intact since the 16th century, complete with blacksmith shop, goldsmith shop and a fortune teller. Not to mention, the castle is the home of the Crown Jewels, complete with priceless gold crown, a sceptre and something called “The Royal Apple” which is just another term for a fancy solid gold sculpture that eludes back to the Original Sin of Adam and Eve. Fun, right?