My kids love to pretend. We read Peter Pan, and they conjure up a world of pirates, princesses and crocodiles. We visit a construction site, and they turn the family room into one, giant construction zone. It doesn’t take much to spark their imagination. So visiting a real, live castle? Well, let’s just say that they’ve been jousting ever since.
Located on the banks of the Little Miami in Loveland, Cincinnati’s Loveland Castle (“Chateau Laroche”) is a true testament to the power of imagination. This authentic, full-scale castle was built brick by brick by Cincinnati native (Sir) Harry Andrews. He began construction in 1929 and spent the next 50 years working on his masterpiece, using stones from the Little Miami River and hand-molded bricks made of cement and quart milk cartons. The castle includes gardens, several towers, a dungeon and rooms full of medieval replicas and memorabilia.
We went on a weekend — and the castle was bustling! Renaissance aficionados were dressed in full attire, and we even witnessed a knighting ceremony. The kids were captivated.
The kids had a blast exploring the various rooms, sitting on real thrones and checking out the views from the balcony and narrow castle windows. The stairwells are steep and winding, so if you have tentative walkers or toddlers, you’ll need to carry them!
Inside, my kids were very intrigued by the medieval weaponry. Swords, flails and all sorts of sharp weaponry decorates the walls of Castle Laroche. Outside, there are terraces, gardens, tunnels and lots of little nooks to explore.
You can bring a picnic and enjoy the views. As we get into fall, I can only imagine how gorgeous the castle will be nestled in the golden trees and rushing river!
Castle Laroche is a true Cincinnati gem, and needs to be on your fall bucket list! You’ll be in awe of what one man built with his own two hands and imagination. (And, afterwards, you can totally threaten to send your misbehaving kids to the dungeon!)
The Loveland Castle is open 7 days a week from April through September. From October through March, the Castle is open weekends only. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids.