They're the stuff of fairy tales, literally. Disney castles have captivated us since we were young with their promises of long, sweeping staircases, stunning panoramic views and epic architecture.
And thankfully these stunning buildings don't need to remain fantasies, as many of Disney's most famous castles can actually be visited in real life. So why not take yourself for a trip to the enchanting homes of Snow White, Cinders or Belle.
Packing a tiara is mandatory.
The Little Mermaid
We always thought that of all the Disney castles Prince Eric's home was always the most fantastical. A castle? With it's own private beach? Yes please. Turns out that it was actually based on the Chillon castle in Switzerland. We want to go to there.
For information on visits head here
There are lots of different places in the world that the castle in Snow White is rumoured to be based on. The most popular choice however is the Alcazar castle in Segovia in Spain, which is also thought to be the inspiration for the castle in Cinderella. The building was originally erected as an Arab fort, after the Romans had invaded Spain, and then after Christian rule was established once more, it became a favourite place for the monarchy to live.
For visits head here alcazarsevilla.org
The all-white kingdom is quite possibly one of the most exquisite of all the Disney castles. You'll probably have guessed that the Sultan's palace in this 1992 (yes, we know) Disney favourite was based on the Taj Mahal. While it is a very popular tourist attraction, that doesn't mean it isn't worth visiting.
For visits head to tajmahal.gov.in
Beauty and the Beast
As one of our personal favourite Disney movies, we got ridiculously over excited by the fact that you can go and visit the very castle, the Château du Chambord, which the Beast's home is thought to be based on. Fans of the film will know that initially the Beast's abode is less than welcoming to a frightened Belle. But upon breaking the spell (spoiler!) that was placed on his house when he was a conceited prince, the Beast becomes human again and his house returns to its original beauty too.
For information on visiting here
Seeing as princess Merida and her family are Scottish it would make sense that the castle is based on an actual place in Scotland. Behold, the Dunnottar Castle which is south of Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. Originally, the team behind the animation were going to make it somewhere in the Highlands surrounded by a loch but instead they opted for this version.
To plan a Brave themed Scotland visit, click here
One of the most recognisable Disney palaces is the one featured in Cinderella. While she doesn't actually live in it until she married the prince, we get to see her look longingly through her window at the building as she dreams of heading to the ball and meeting her Prince Charming. The real-life version is in the Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria, although other castles such as the Chateau de Chambord and the Alcazar (both featured above) were also considered to influence the design.
You can visit this historic building here
For those who haven't watched this more contemporary animation, this movie is based on the story of Rapunzel, who is a princess captured by a witch, Mother Gothel, who keeps her in a tower and uses Rapunzel's magical hair to keep her looking youthful. Unaware that the King and Queen are looking for her, Rapunzel watches the kingdom from her tower and wishes to go there. This beautiful castle was based on Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy France.
Details on how to visit it here
You might already be sick from hearing about this record-breaking movie (it's the sixth highest-grossing movie of all time), but it's worth knowing that the ice palace that the character Elsa constructs is actually based on a real-life place called Hotel de Glace, which can be found in Quebec, Canada. While it might seem a completely inhospitable environment to sleep in, you can actually stay there too. Just probably don't sing Let It Go too much, other guests might not enjoy it as much.
Details on visits here