At the end of my visit to Utrecht back in July, I decided to discover the Zuylen Castle. Also known as Slot Zuylen, it’s in the village of Oud-Zuilen. A 30-minute bus ride from Utrecht, it’s the perfect way to pass a few hours. You can visit the castle interior as well as the vast garden. A true castle with towers and a moat, the Zuylen Castle is quite beautiful.

slot zuylen visit
castle zuylen interior

Initially, I hadn’t planned on visiting the castle. I spent Friday in Delft and figured the rest of the weekend would suffice for Utrecht. However, I walked all over Utrecht so many times during the first 24 hours that I saw absolutely everything. I guess that’s what happens when you do 37,000 steps in one day! So when my friend suggested we spend Sunday morning at Zuylen Castle, I immediately said yes.

rooms at the zuylen castle

The castle got its name from its builder, a member of the Van Zuylen family. With beginnings in the 13th century, it got its current look during the 18th century. In short, an original medieval castle was later renovated into a country manor house.

bedroom at slot zuylen

While it’s true that I live in Belgium, a country with over 3000 castles, I haven’t actually visited a lot of them. Partially because many are private properties but also because their interiors often don’t match their exteriors. There are many castles that look magical from afar, only to find their rooms white, modern, and minimalistic. Frankly, nothing puts me off as much as that.

When I visit a castle, I want to feel transported through time. And that’s exactly how I felt while walking through the beautiful rooms at the Zuylen Castle. The 18th-century furniture, tapestries, and paintings inspired me to photograph every corner.

zuylen castle interior

Even though we visited at the end of July, there was a hint of autumn in the air. The weather was foggy and a bit rainy. It was the perfect day for visiting an old castle. Nothing like a moody day for a cozy stroll through a castle!

zuylen castle visit

The English-style garden was another 18th-century addition. It includes hedges, flowers, fruit trees, and a serpentine wall that protects sensitive plants from the wind. Nowadays, the gardens are still taken care of and you can purchase products from them in the museum shop. Apple and pear juice, honey from their beehives, and various jams made of fruits from the garden.

zuylen castle garden

Zuylen Castle interior

Since people have lived in the castle for 400 years, the interiors reflect that. The castle doesn’t have rooms that perfectly represent this or that period. Rather, it represents how the house has changed throughout history.

One of my favorite rooms was the magnificent Gobelin Room. Walls lined with splendid tapestries, tall windows, and wooden beams. The tapestries depict landscapes and forest scenes, making the room appear bigger than it is.

gobelin room at slot zuylen
gobelin room at zuylen castle

Usually, the kitchen and the library are the safest bets for my favorite room in any castle. The kitchens always look cozy and inviting, the true heart of any castle. And I don’t need to explain why libraries lined with antique books are my favorite! The library at Zuylen Castle might have been small but it was beautiful nonetheless.

kitchen at zuylen castle
library at zuylen castle

The castle’s most famous resident was Belle van Zuylen, a Dutch writer who lived here until she was 30. Her bedroom and the adjoining writing room were also among my favorite corners of the castle. I loved the wallpaper as well as the romantic canopy bed. It looked so dreamy! And don’t get me started on the little writing room. The table ready for letter writing and light pouring in from the window made for a beautiful scene.

In total, we spent three hours discovering Zuylen Castle and I loved every moment of it. I found it charming, with plenty of beautiful nooks and crannies. And the moody weather made me romanticize it even more. I kept picturing little scenes in those empty rooms filled with authentic furniture! If you ever find yourself in Utrecht with time to spare, I would highly recommend visiting Zuylen castle. Come on over and let yourself be transported back in time!

woman visiting the zuylen castle
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