Hatley Castle

Hatley Castle

James Dunsmuir commissioned Samuel Maclure, a Victorian architect, to design the “Castle”.   Local stone, trimmed by Valdez and Saturna Island sandstone was used in the building’s construction. Its impressive exterior is matched only by the lavishness of the interior appointments; oak and rosewood panelled rooms, baronial fireplace, teak floors, and specially made lighting fixtures. James is quoted as saying: “Money doesn’t matter, just build what I want.”

Hatley Castle is now home of Royal Roads University and is a National Historic Site.

Use in TV and film

Hatley parks and castle has been the venue for dozens of films and T.V. shows for over 80 years.

  • Hatley Castle is shown in the Smallville television series as Luthor Mansion, the estate belonging to Lex Luthor.
  • The castle has been featured in two series of X-Men related media as Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
    • The 1996 television film Generation X
    • The X-Men film series, starting from 2003’s X2: X-Men United and including X-Men: The Last Stand, Deadpool, and Deadpool 2. Elements of Hatley Castle’s exterior influenced the new versions of Xavier’s school in X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Dark Phoenix.[19]
  • The castle is the house of Hubert, dog protagonist of The Duke.
  • It was used in the 1997 film, Masterminds as Shady Glen School, supposedly a private elementary school in California.
  • The castle was used in MacGyver TV series. In the second episode of season 5, “The Legend of the Holy Rose, part 2”, as a hideout for the episode’s villain.
  • In the TV series Seven Days, episode 9 of season 2, “Love and Other Disasters”, the castle is used as a home for a royal family and a place for a royal wedding.
  • In the series Poltergeist: The Legacy, Hatley Castle was the headquarters of the San Francisco legacy.
  • Many scenes of Fierce People (2004) were filmed in the interior and exterior of Hatley Castle. It was used as the stately home of the rich family clan of Ogden C. Osborne.
  • The ending scenes of The Changeling (1979) were filmed inside Hatley Castle.
  • Big Time Movie, based on the TV series Big Time Rush, was filmed on some parts of the property for its 2011 release.
  • Shown in the Arrow television series as Queen Mansion, home of Oliver Queen and his family.
  • Shown in the Witches of East End television series as Home of Gardiner family.
  • Shown in The Killing television series as St. George’s military academy.
  • Shown in the Disney movie Descendants (2015), Descendants 2 (2017), and Descendants 3 (2019) as Auradon Prep, the school for the children of Disney fairy tale characters.
  • Shown in the TV series The Dead Zone.
  • Shown in the Fox TV series Bones in the season 11 episode “The Promise in the Palace” as the Magic Palace.
  • Featured in the 2018 film The Professor.
  • Hosted the Starting Line of The Amazing Race Canada 6.
  • The staircase is shown in the CW TV series Supernatural at the abandoned asylum in Advanced Thanatology, the fifth episode of season 13.
  • The exterior was portrayed as a luxury hotel in the 1992 film Knight Moves.

The castle is open only to the public with a guided tour (see below for times and fees), however the grounds surrounding it are open to wander at your leisure.  Since it faces the Esquimalt Lagoon, the views are spectacular!

The castle has a small museum with some local history displayed in the basement which you can access next to the garden entrance just off the rear driveway.  This is also where the gift shop and restrooms are located.  There is no fee for the museum.

There are parking fees on the grounds – $1/hour.



pond in Hatley Park Gardens

Pond in Hatley Park Gardens

Adjacent to the castle is the famed Hatley Park Gardens.  There are individual ‘styled’ gardens to see, including the Italian, Rose and Japanese gardens.  There is a large pond and often you can see varieties of duck, turtles and the occassional heron.  A beautiful spot to wander and relax.

There is a fee to enter the gardens (see below).  **UDATE:  JULY 23, 2019 … AS OF NOW THE GARDENS ARE FREE TO THE PUBLIC!  YAY!!!



In addition to the formal gardens, the castle sits within over 560 acres of beautiful old-growth forest with miles of walking trails that are free to explore!  On the east side of the castle/grounds (to your left as you’re facing the ocean), there is a great trail following Colwood Creek that

entrance to Charlie's trail

Entrance to Charlie’s Trail


wanders through some beautiful forested areas with a waterfall at one end!  It can be accessed just off the road that circles the grounds and it’s called “Charlie’s Trail” at the bottom end and circles back to the road at “The Glens Garden & Trail”.  There is a bit of stair climbing to be done but nothing strenuous.

entrance to Glen Gardens

Entrance to Glen Gardens Trail

If you head west (to your right at the bottom of the road nearest the water) you’ll be on a fairly flat trail that first heads up to a fenced property (part of the college) and you can either head west on a dirt road that leads into the trails, or continue up the path and turn left at the end of the road (very shortly after the gated house) and it also leads into the forested trail.  There are lots of beautiful giant trees, wildflowers, salal, etc., and it’s a great place to walk your dog.  You don’t have to worry about getting lost as the property is fenced and eventually it all leads back to the castle/grounds.  And it’s FREE!! (see map below)

**HOT TIP**#2

If you’re willing to be a bit adventurous … you can park outside the grounds (for free) and wander those trails around the castle.  There is a gate (not locked) into the property.  You can park at the side of the road and walk in from there.

Stop at the junction of Heatherbell & Lagoon Rd.  Park on the side of the road (you’ll see a wide spot for parking off the road) and enter through the gate at the corner of the property.  Miles of trails and if you keep to your right it will eventually take you to the castle.

So, while this means you can get to the castle as well without parking fees inside the grounds … fees still apply for the formal gardens – now free … see above – and the guided castle tours!



The castle is located in the municipality of ‘Colwood’ and is only a short drive from downtown.

Address:  2005 Sooke Rd.


entrance to hatley park

Entrance to Royal Roads/Hatley Castle & Park

Take #1 Hwy (Trans Canada) to the ‘Colwood’ turnoff (Hwy 1A) (you’ll exit right but the road will circle around and bear left) then drive approximately 3.5 km and you will see the entrance to the site on the left. The sign is to Royal Roads University which is now housed in Hatley Castle and surrounding buildings.




map to Hatley Castle