Inside the world’s most beautiful stately homes




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


While the lavish estate was born of Hearst’s imagination, it was the architect Julia Morgan who brought his vision to life. She worked with the newspaper owner from 1919 to 1947, painstakingly creating a majestic property filled with ornate details inspired by European architecture. They include the beautifully tiled Roman Pool indoors – one of two dreamy pools on the estate.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Each of the 165 rooms – including Hearst’s enormous, book-filled study – is uncompromising in its extravagance. The property sprawls over 127 acres on a hilltop Hearst named La Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Hill), which had its own airport and zoo. It’s no wonder Hollywood’s elite, from Charlie Chaplin to Carole Lombard, loved to hang out there.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


This Baroque-style masterpiece is St Petersburg’s most famous landmark, and among the world’s most lavishly lovely palaces. The mint, gold and ivory exterior looks like it’s popped straight out of a Wes Anderson movie, or perhaps fallen off a particularly extravagant wedding cake.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The inside is equally opulent, which is a big ask given the gilded promise of the exterior. The interior has a staggering 1,057 rooms, including the bold red Small Throne Hall (where ‘small’ is used as a relative term), plush with velvet and gold detailing.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The palace has 1,945 windows and 1,786 doors, and overflows with columns, artworks and statues, such as those that adorn the Jordan Staircase. It was the official residence of Russian Emperors until 1917, and no building in the city is allowed to overshadow it.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The Biltmore Estate takes over a large chunk of Asheville in North Carolina and is home to the largest privately-owned house in the USA, at 175,000 square feet (16,258sqm). In other words, it’s a pretty grand manor. The mansion was built for the fabulously wealthy Vanderbilt family between 1889 and 1895.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


It’s hard to imagine a grander residence than the elegant Palace of Versailles, also known as the Château de Versailles. Every inch – and there are a lot of inches – is impeccably carved, smoothed and polished. This was France’s principal royal residence from 1682 until the French Revolution in 1789.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The interior is so dazzlingly beautiful it’s hard to know where to look. Literally so in the Hall of Mirrors, a central gallery that sparkles with chandeliers and is home to around 5,000 pieces of antique furniture and 6,000 priceless paintings.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Many scenes were also filmed inside, so fans might also recognize the rather grand entryway with its sweeping staircase and intricate internal balconies. The country estate actually belongs to Earl and Countess Carnarvon.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The castle’s 200-plus rooms are filled with antiques and enchanting details, such as the frescoed ceiling in the Music Room. The incredibly detailed scenes, painted by Francis Hayman in 1740, depict Athena, goddess of many things including war, wisdom and the arts.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Each evening, 97,000 lights illuminate the exterior of Mysore Palace, the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty in the Indian State of Karnataka – making it appear even more majestic. The seat of the Kingdom of Mysore was completed in 1912, though it’s believed a fortress may have existed on the site since the 14th century.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The building – constructed from granite and pink marble – bursts with colorful details inside and out, from bold tiles and striped columns to ornate archways and stained-glass windows.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The marvelous mishmash of architectural styles includes Islamic, Neoclassical and Gothic Revival, and the opulence continues inside. Audience Hall, in shades of buttercup yellow, cream and gold, is particularly gorgeous, with elegant columns, chandeliers and an intricately painted ceiling.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The fantastical exterior, rich with detail and surrounded by grounds with impressive topiary, is the highlight. There’s even a zoo, art gallery and winery on the estate. The rooms and outbuildings are equally surreal, filled with taxidermy, armor and intricately carved wooden furniture.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Many of the 98 grand rooms burst with Edwardian opulence, with fine furniture, gold trims and soft, rich color palettes from buttercup to cornflower. But there’s even more to it than meets the eye – the mansion has two underground tunnels, plus a bowling alley in its basement.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The palace’s string of staterooms are rich in texture and detail, with tapestries and priceless portraits hanging on the walls, plush red carpets and gilded cornices. Pretty much everything is gilded, in fact, from the golden cherubs watching over the door to the golden chandeliers.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The house’s main attractions, though, are its 18 staterooms that date back to the 1800s, when it was remodeled. It’s also home to a notable art collection that includes several portraits of the Cecil family, Elizabeth I, Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell. Outside, the Sculpture Garden and Deer Park are equally as regal as the house itself.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


This majestic castle perched high in the Bavarian Alps was the brainchild of Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, who used it to hide away from the public eye. While heavy restoration work is ongoing, the whole castle was opened to the public in 1886, shortly after Ludwig’s death. It’s said to have inspired Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland, California too.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


This extravagant country home in Newport, Rhode Island, belonged to the wealthy Vanderbilt family. Inspired by the 16th-century palaces of Genoa and Turin, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt’s grandson, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, commissioned the renovation of this once-wooden ‘cottage’ and transformed it into an Italian Renaissance-style palazzo. Its lavishly decorated rooms (think platinum, marble and intricate stonework) are among some of the most opulent in America.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The mansion features 70 rooms with a total floor space of 62,484 square feet (5,804sqm) arranged over five floors. The dazzling Morning Room, for instance, was built by artisans in France, shipped to the US and assembled on-site, and is adorned with wall panels made from pure platinum.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The biggest castle in the Netherlands, Utrecht’s spectacular De Haar Castle has all the traditional medieval trimmings you’d expect from such an imposing fortress, including drawbridges, moats, gates, towers and ramparts. Dating from the 13th century, the castle was then rebuilt at the end of the 19th century after it had fallen into disrepair in 1641.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The interior of the castle is particularly interesting as it’s so richly ornamented with woodwork, it resembles an interior of a Roman Catholic church. The grand home’s collection includes beautiful porcelains from Japan and China, several old Flemish tapestries and paintings and its most prized possession – a carrier coach of a woman of a shōgun (Japanese military dictator). It’s one of the two last such coaches in the world with the other displayed in a museum in Tokyo.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Home to 285 rooms, 46 halls and 68 bathrooms, it’s safe to say that Turkey’s Dolmabahçe Palace is one of the world’s most opulent palaces. The estate served as the seat of Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1887, and 1909 to 1922, and its spectacular interior conceals a rather lavish secret. During the construction, Emperor Abdülmecid I wanted no expense to be spared, so a whopping 14 tons of gold were used to gild the palace’s ceilings.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The palace’s design is an eclectic mix of Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles, but also has plenty of traditional Ottoman architecture details. Expensive materials, like Marmara marble and Egyptian alabaster, have been used throughout the palace and there are several 150-year-old bearskin rugs decorating the rooms, originally a gift from the Russian Tsar Nicholas I.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The enormous, breathtaking Château de Chambord, in France’s Loire Valley, was completed in the 17th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Recognizable worldwide as an emblem of the French Renaissance, the château isn’t just notable for its stunning architecture and lavish interiors, but also for its surrounding natural forest and French gardens.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Designed as a hunting lodge for King Francis I it was completed in 1547 and it’s rumored Leonardo da Vinci played a part in the plans. After the French Revolution in 1792, some of the furnishings were sold but the château survived.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Although the château’s interior is as grand as the outside it’s the famous double staircase that’s most alluring. The “double helix” serves all the château’s many floors and is designed so that if two people are using each staircase, they can see each other through the windows yet never cross paths.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


One of the few real palaces in the USA, Iolani Palace was home to the Hawaiian monarchy in the 19th century. The royal residence was completed in 1882, a sumptuous property ahead of its time, complete with electricity and modern plumbing. Its architectural style is unique, dubbed “American Florentine” for its blend of traditional Hawaiian and Italian Renaissance features – its elegant columns and bold corner towers are most striking.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The interiors are equally as opulent, and the Throne Room is the plushest of them all. Red velvet curtains frame vast windows, chandeliers hang heavily from the ceiling and a pair of gilded thrones sit on a raised platform. King Kalakaua and Queen Kapi‘olani were the first royals to live here, moving in as soon as their regal abode was completed. The monarchy occupied the palace until 1893 when the then-leader Queen Lili’uokalani was overthrown.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


One of the finest lasting examples of Japanese castle architecture, Himeji Castle in the Hyōgo Prefecture, dates to the 14th century. But the castle was lucky to survive. In 1871 it was put up for auction after the end of the Han dynasty feudal system. The buyer wanted to demolish the castle in order to develop the land but changed their mind when they realized the cost involved of destroying it.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Himeji also miraculously escaped damage during bombing in the Second World War and the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. Inside the castle’s interior is plain with little decoration, however, looks can be deceptive. Many of the castle’s walkways turn back on themselves to confuse invaders and even today’s visitors can end up bamboozled.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


This fine Tudor palace in Richmond-upon-Thames dates right back to the 16th century. Its building was begun by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who took a medieval manor house and set about converting it into a head-turning palace that was ambitious for its day. Such was its magnificence that King Henry VIII moved himself into the building less than four years after its completion, further renovating it to his liking.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


When William III and Mary II came to power in the 1600s, they too made their mark on the palace, rebuilding parts in the Baroque style between 1689 and 1694 so it’s now a brilliant glimpse into what life was like in the Tudor and Stuart eras and beyond. Apart from the palace itself, there is a tricky hedge maze, planted in the 17th century, and a stunning rose garden.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Built between 1238 and 1358, Granada’s sprawling Alhambra is an impressive Moorish masterpiece. The name Alhambra comes from an Arabic phrase meaning red castle and was given due to the reddish hue of its towers and walls. It was described as “a pearl set in emeralds” by Moorish poets, referring to its location within the woods.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


53/53 SLIDES

Next Post

The Miami Home Design and Remodeling Show Returns, Live in Tamiami Park, Miami, FL. | News

MIAMI, Sept. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The Miami Home Design and Remodeling Show is back – live and in person – bigger and better than ever before. As we have spent a lot of time in our homes recently, we have come to love and appreciate just what our personal living […]