Chateaux and beautiful countryside. What isn’t there to like about the Loire Valley and what adult doesn’t want to go and experience its delights? There are actually hundreds of chateaux to choose from – so which ones do you choose? The good news is that we’ve done the hours of online searching for you and compiled a list of the best of the kid friendly chateaus in the Loire Valley that we think tick the boxes of price and kid friendliness!
When to go
I said it in our Provence guide, but really, July and August in France is pretty intense! Spring and Autumn are perfect and really even winter for castles – they are perfect places to escape the rain!
Some of the best castles for kids
It’s the biggest in the Loire Valley and my absolute favourite. Chateau Chambord is great, simply because it offers so much other than a
castle. Extensive grounds, many activities that are great for kids and free for kids! Perfect. Take your picnic with you and find a spot on the grass for the kids to run and play. Enjoy looking at the castle while you enjoy your baguette. We did the castle tour and followed it up by a horse and cart ride afterwards through some of the extensive wooded forest that surrounds the castle. We spotted all sorts of animals and birds, and the kids loved the ride on the cart. The castle roofs were amazing and my favourite part. I felt like I was in a Harry Potter movie up there, with so many places to discover and explore. The inside of the castle is also very kid friendly with seats all around for the kids to sit on and pretend to be the queens or kings of yesteryear. Very few of the rooms have fenced off areas with furniture that little fingers can reach so you can comfortably explore without worrying that your child is going to wreck the 1396 bedspread!
Chateau de la Ferte Saint-Aubin
Chateau de la Ferte Saint-Aubin is a family friendly chateau that doesn’t appear on many of the lists you will come across but it is really geared up for kids. It’s known as ‘Le Chateau des Jeux’ meaning the Castle of Games! There are lovely rooms to walk through, all very
manageable with kids. Their most prized possession is the huge collection of ancient toys, dolls and games which the kids loved
looking at! This is not an immaculate castle like you will find at Chambord and Chenonceau, but instead one which has been lovingly renovated by a local family. There are more than 40 games for the whole family to enjoy including lots of old fashioned outdoor games (minigolf, snakes and ladders, giant chess, traditional balancing and dexterity games, archery and the list goes on!). A large train for climbing on is available along with loads of space to run and play. On top of all of that there are twice daily cooking demonstrations and you get to taste the small traditional french cakes (madeleines). Take your picnic and spend a day in this lovely chateau which really is the perfect choice for a day with your family. More info here.
We did this castle at the end of the week and we’d had enough of the interiors of castles. So we just did the garden entry. Kids under 8 are free and adults only €6.50 which we thought was very reasonable. There are activity packs for kids – but only in French which is disappointing. There is lots of space to walk and enjoy the gardens and tire out little legs. A small maze and playground make life easy and you can enjoy all of the amazing gardens whilst the kids wander. Like most castles there are water features that might pose a hazard so stay close by – but the kids will love the white swans in the castle lake.
Another one of the Loire Valley’s famous castles. We loved this beauty and elegance of this castle but for pure kid-friendliness, it does have some difficulties. The inside rooms had lots of beautiful and precious things in them, some of which were in reach so I had to be really alert all of the time. The garden are lovely to wander through but easily our highlight was renting a little boat and paddling in the river along the cheateau. You can even go underneath the chateau and see where all the food deliveries came into the kitchens. A big negative for me with Chenonceau was that you aren’t allowed to bring your own food. As with most attractions, the food is expensive and so the day can become very pricey very quickly. There is a small maze that the kids can explore and an old carriage gallery that our kids enjoyed. It’s a must see, but just bear its limitations in mind before you head there.
Sick of castles?
If you are tired of castles, then there are many other things to do in the Loire Valley with kids. We tried and enjoyed ZooParc du Beauval and also took this kids to the Troglodyte Valley of the Goupillieres which teaches them all about how the cave dwelling people of the Loire Valley lived in the middle ages – really interesting and educational for the kids and a nice change from chateaux!!
Heading to the France with kids? See all the reviews for attractions in France here.