Squire's Castle, Willoughby Hills - Squire's Castle

Squires Castle is a Hidden Gem Near Cleveland Ohio

Ohio is a place to experience a unique combination of nature and history, and nowhere is a better example than Squire’s Castle. Located just outside of Cleveland, this historic structure is a relic of the 19th century, and it’s right on the edge of a stunning nature preserve.

History of Squire’s Castle Ohio

Squire’s Castle was once a gatehouse erected in the 1890s. It was intended to be just the first part of a full English-style country manor, but the project was never completed. The castle was used occasionally as a country house and was finally fully abandoned in about 1908.

Soon after, Squire’s Castle became public property and fell into disrepair. For decades, it was nothing more than an abandoned building, and it was explored and vandalized freely. In the 1990s, though, the historic property was partially restored.

Squire's Castle, Willoughby Hills - Squire's Castle
Squire’s Castle | photo via @humble.beephotography

Squire’s Castle Legends

Legends sprang up about Squire’s Castle over the years. Locals said that a ghost wandered the grounds after she fell down the stairs and broke her neck. Following the restoration, Squire’s Castle became a landmark. These days, it serves as a place to enjoy outdoor parties, picnics, and even weddings. 

How to Get to Squire’s Castle

With its location just outside Cleveland in Northeast Ohio, Squire’s Castle is a great afternoon trip to get away from the city for a day and enjoy serene views and a peaceful atmosphere.

It’s located in Willoughby Hills, a suburb of Cleveland. To get there from the city, you’ll need to take I-90 E straight along the shore of Lake Erie. At just over 20 miles away, the drive takes roughly 25 minutes.

You may pass a couple of Lake Erie lighthouses along the way, giving you the chance to capture some beautiful photos.

Squire's Castle, Willoughby Hills - Squire's Castle
Squire’s Castle | photo via @macrtst

Things to Do at Squire’s Castle Ohio

So what is there to do at an old, abandoned building in Ohio? As it turns out, quite a lot!

The area is mostly used as a place for hiking, walking, and generally exploring nature. Squire’s Castle is located at the edge of North Chagrin Nature Reservation, and there are some beautiful views in the area. 

On pleasant days, you’re likely to see visitors enjoying lunch in the Squire’s Castle picnic area. This area includes public grills and picnic tables, as well as restrooms and parking.

Since the grounds of the castle are open to the public, you can explore freely and learn about the history of the structure. Visitors can also play games on the lawn and embark on hikes from the castle trailhead.

Given its unique beauty and many photogenic spots, Squire’s Castle makes for a great spot for family and senior pictures in the Cleveland area. Here’s one example of the unique variety of spaces that it provides.

Squire's Castle, Willoughby Hills - Squire's Castle
Squire’s Castle | photo via @cluelesspicture

More Things to Do Near Squire’s Castle

Hike North Chagrin Reservation

Squire’s Castle stands at the edge of North Chagrin Reservation. This stunning nature preserve is a wildlife sanctuary, featuring wetlands that shelter many types of animal and plant life.

The reservation is a popular spot for hiking and bird-watching. It’s also home to a nature education center with fascinating information about the area, including the beautiful wetland creatures that call it home. You can explore the scenic trail routes woven throughout the reservation on a family outing!

Play a Game at Manakiki Golf Course

North Chagrin Reservation is also home to Manakiki Golf Course. This 18-hole course is known as one of the top courses in Northern Ohio. It features a variety of challenges for a game that’s both engaging and welcoming to players of all skill levels.

Manakiki Golf Course, Willoughby - Squire's Castle
Manakiki Golf Course | photo via @pgapappas

Explore the Flowers at The Holden Arboretum

The Holden Arboretum is located close to Squire’s Park and North Chagrin Reservation. This stunning location is one of the biggest arboretums in the country, featuring 3,600 acres of plant life.

Six hundred of these are cultivated gardens with native plants, while the rest is a nature preserve with hiking trails.

The Holden Arboretum, Kirtland - Squire's Castle
The Holden Arboretum | photo via @jmdrnek

Visit Patterson Fruit Farm 

Patterson Fruit Farm in nearby Chesterland is a sixth-generation family farm. There’s always something going on here, from apple-picking festivals in the fall to school tours and other programs.

The farm market is open throughout the year, offering farm-fresh produce, baked goods, cider, and maple syrup for sale.

Patterson Fruit Farm, Chesterland - Squire's Castle
Patterson Fruit Farm | photo via @pattersonfruitfarm

Learn Some History at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site

Nearby Mentor Ohio is the site of the James A. Garfield National Historic Site. The museum was once the estate of the 20th president and now features relics and exhibits from his life and work.

The estate was the site of the country’s first presidential library too, so it’s a must-visit for any history lover.

Where to Eat Near Squire’s Castle

The Wild Goose 

The Wild Goose is a family-owned restaurant and pizzeria in downtown Willoughby. With a relaxed atmosphere and delicious food, the restaurant is the perfect place for a family meal.

The menu features gourmet pizzas and upscale pub fare that pairs perfectly with the restaurant’s beers, wines, and cocktails.

The Lobster Pot 

The Lobster Pot is an Ohio family’s mission to bring the tastes of New England to the shores of Lake Erie. Here, you’ll find the most delicious seafood and other dishes sourced locally.

Take a table in the restaurant or pull up at the bar to enjoy drinks and an appetizer menu.

The Lobster Pot, Willoughby - Squire's Castle
The Lobster Pot | photo via @foodie_queen_216

Biagio’s Donut Shop and Pizzeria 

Ask around for a local bakery in Willoughby Hills, and you’re likely to be pointed toward Biagio’s. This old-world venue lets visitors pull up at the counter and order a pizza or doughnut to go.

There are no frills here — just delicious food in a simple, classic setting.

Biagio's Donut Shop and Pizzeria, Willoughby Hills - Squire's Castle
Biagio’s Donut Shop and Pizzeria | photo via @callari.family

Cafe Europa and Bistro 

Cafe Europa and Bistro offers an old-world European experience in the heart of Willoughby Hills. Here, visitors can enjoy stunning classic architecture and decor while eating delicious locally-sourced dishes, including Wiener schnitzel, crepes, Italian wedding soup, and German Black Forest cake.

Make sure to take a package of fresh kalachki to go!

Cafe Europa and Bistro, Willoughby Hills - Squire's Castle
Cafe Europa and Bistro | photo via @karenwonderly

Foster’s Homemade Ice Cream

After a hike on a hot summer day, there’s nothing better than an ice cream cone. In Willoughby Hills, the best place to get it is Foster’s. This ice cream shop has been in operation since 1947 and still serves the same classic favorites as back in the day, including its signature Scott bars.

Where to Stay Near Squire’s Castle

Homestead House Bed & Breakfast

Homestead House Bed & Breakfast is a stunning 19th-century home that has been remade into a modern luxury inn right in Willoughby. Visitors may choose from five rooms, each with a unique theme. Rooms contain luxury amenities like hot tubs and gas fireplaces. Breakfast is included and served in your room.

Gem Stone Villa

The Gem Stone Villa is a stunning cottage vacation rental, offering a peaceful oasis that’s just a short drive from major tourist attractions. The vintage-decorated home is ideal for a weekend getaway or a romantic staycation.

It offers a central hub between Cleveland, North Chagrin Reservation, and other local destinations.

Gem Stone Villa - Squire's Castle
Gem Stone Villa | photo via Vrbo

The Coop Farmhouse

The Coop Farmhouse is a charming updated farmhouse that offers a peaceful stay with all the modern amenities. This newly-renovated rental is ideal for a group vacation, featuring four bedrooms and three bathrooms. It’s located on 1 acre of land, offering scenic views!

The Coop Farmhouse - Squire's Castle
The Coop Farmhouse | photo via Vrbo

The Louis Penfield House

You’ve probably heard of Frank Lloyd Wright, but you might not know that one of his houses is in Willoughby Hills. The Louis Penfield House was custom-made for the original owners in the 1950s. These days, it serves as a one-of-a-kind vacation rental with three bedrooms and 30 acres to explore.

Louis Penfield House, Willoughby Hills - Squire's Castle
Louis Penfield House | photo via @msjolevin

Lakeside Bliss

If you’re looking for a vacation on the lake, Lakeside Bliss cottage might just be the answer. This gorgeous cottage is located just 3.4 miles outside of Willoughby center within easy access of the lake. This is an ideal spot for families with plenty of space both indoors and out.

Frequently Asked Questions About Squire’s Castle in Northeast Ohio

Is Squire’s Castle Open to the Public?

Squire’s Castle is open to the public during daylight hours throughout the year. Visitors are welcome to explore the grounds and even the inside.

The building is mostly a shell and doesn’t include much of the original interior, while most of the structure is exposed to the elements. The park closes nightly at 11 p.m.

Can You Get Married at Squire’s Castle?

Squire’s Castle is a popular place for weddings, and you can even reserve the space for your event for free! That includes both the interior and exterior grounds, though you’ll want to bear in mind that the entire structure is exposed to the outside.

However, you’ll need a permit from Cleveland Metroparks as part of your reservation, and there is a time limit of two hours.

Indulge in History & Wonder at Squire’s Castle

If you love nature and history, Squires Castle is a Northern Ohio destination you won’t want to miss. A stunning relic in its own right, the castle is also a great jumping-off point for some of the best things to do in Northeast Ohio.

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