Be inspired by the relaxed elegance of George and Edith Vanderbilt's 250-room family home and country retreat in Asheville, NC. Discover original art from masters such as Renoir, magnificent 16th-century tapestries, Napoleon's chess set, a library with 10,000 volumes, a Banquet Hall with a 70-foot ceiling, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, bowling alley, and priceless antiques.
$5 discount available by purchasing tickets online.
So, it's not cheap. If you are reading reviews you already know this. However, I have to say, it’s nice to have somewhere you visit end up being all it was cracked up to be. It is astonishing, this home. As a lover of the Gilded Age, I really enjoyed this snapshot of how a tiny group of people lived in a time gone by.
Because I wanted to actually enjoy myself, I did NOT take my twin three year olds with me. Best. Choice. Ever. I had my 15 year old daughter and 13 and 10 year old sons with me. We did have to park a bit far away and so there was a short hike to the grounds themselves.
We were there a few days before Easter so they had blocked ticketing that you bought online ahead of time - it just meant we only had a certain window when we could enter because it was so crowded. However, except when we first walked in and people hadn't spread out yet, it didn't feel annoyingly crowded at all, even on a high-capacity day. Things I loved: the banquet hall with its' GIANT PIPE ORGAN, the actual garden in the front hall, the glorious covered “porch” off the back with views of the mountains, the changing rooms for the indoor pool , the kitchen, so bright and beautiful with its own amazing views, even the bright and spacious bedrooms for the female servants. So much attention to detail, the opulence upstairs and the cared-for downstairs.
Not only is the house incredible, but the location is off the charts. When we first walked out back, my sons made exclamations of astonishment, THAT was a good minute for me. The mountain views drop the jaw. The grounds the first week of April were just on the verge of full bloom – there were flowers everywhere but a gardner told us that in two weeks that the entire place would astonish. In the greenhouse they had a violinist playing!
We definitely also hit the shops, which are in the “carriage house” off to the side. The confectionary was in a room that used to house the BLANKETS FOR THE HORSES. And the bookshop was in a room that was entirely for SADDLES. You can’t even wrap your brain around the kind of money these people had to just spend on whatever the heck. Oh yeah, and we treated ourselves to some wicked good ice cream too, because, ICE CREAM. The house itself and the shops/restaurants/restrooms are all right near each other.
I didn't do the audio tour because I wanted to be able to engage with my kids and this was a really unique outing for us as a family to imagine how people might've lived both upstairs and downstairs.
Glad we just paid the money and had the experience.
Welcome to Biltmore!
The largest private home in America!
At 175,000 square feet, Biltmore, located in Asheville, North Carolina, boasts over 250 rooms, including 43 bathrooms!
This year, we decided a day at Biltmore would be an ideal birthday destination for my 12 year old daughter. We've had several annual passes to Biltmore over the years, but since she was pretty young the last time we went, we knew she would be excited to visit again.
I'm a huge admirer of the Vanderbilt family. We've visited multiple Vanderbilt homes over the years. This past year, I've also decided that The Men Who Built America is my favorite documentary ever, as it highlights several of my personal idols, including Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D, Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Henry Ford.
Upon entering, I was super stoked to get a much better deal on our new annual pass than the price that was listed on the internet. I have no idea why. She didn't explain it to me, but you may want to call and ask. Annual passes normally run about $149 each, with kids getting in free with an adult annual passholder. If you buy day passes, you are looking at $50-$60 per adult, and $25 per child, aged 10-16. Kids 9 and under are always free.
Biltmore offers unique experiences year-round. The beauty of visiting the first week of January is the perfect timing of it. The home is still fully decorated in its Christmas splendor, but all the crowds are long gone. You pretty much have the place to yourself.
During late Winter, prices can be less expensive. In Spring and early Summer, the gardens are in vivid bloom. In Fall, the leaves are astonishingly beautiful. And if you love Christmas, the holiday season in full Victorian-era regalia is a sight to behold.
On this particular visit, we grabbed lunch at the Stable Cafe, which I will review in a separate post, then we continued on to the house tour. We do have a one year old, but luckily, she is a good kid as far as her behavior. I can't imagine taking a tour through a historic home, especially through 4 of 6 levels of a 175,000 square foot home, with a child that isn't prepared to behave. Everything in Biltmore is original and painstakingly preserved. They DO have alarms. They WILL go off. So, if you are a parent of a small child, definitely know what you are getting involved with before spending the money to see the home.
With that being said, though, my baby girl still doesn't have the longest attention span in the world before getting antsy, so the home tour goes a little more quickly when you're trying to keep the Mommy ride moving. Mommies with small babies don't necessarily get to appreciate and absorb as many of the breathtakingly intricate details of each room.
When my older girls were younger, I would keep them interested in the house by challenging them to enter each room and look at the floor, the ceiling, and then find an animal. Between paintings, decor, and other accessories, you can usually find one.
During the holiday season, you can also keep younger kids occupied with counting the Christmas Trees. Biltmore offers a "Scavenger Hunt" booklet full of rhyming clues that correspond with most of the main rooms in the house. It doesn't require any writing, but it keeps the mental wheels turning.
When visiting Biltmore, allow yourself plenty of TIME. If you just go for the house tour, you're really missing out on the full experience. Walk the grounds. Make a wish in the fountains. Stroll through the gardens. Enjoy the greenhouse. Maybe you'd like horseback riding? Be sure to tour the farm and the equestrian center.
The winery tour is fascinating, and offers tastings for grown-ups, and grape juice for the kids. Obviously, there are many gift shops, offering everything from kitschy souvenirs, to boutique toys, to Victorian-era decor. You can even hike, walk, jog, or bring your bikes and partake of the many miles of hiking trails, and riverside riding pathways that traverse the property.
Our favorite outdoor activity at Biltmore? Just letting the kids run across the expansive front lawn! (see included photo!)
There are several restaurants and cafes throughout the property that offer everything from counter service and outdooor seating, to spirited Bistros with live music, to fine dining where you need to know which fork is which. Choosing a restaurant onsite definitely enhances the Biltmore experience, but there are an absolute plethora of exciting meal choices anywhere in the Asheville area.
At the end of the day, even though it was a bit chilly outside, we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. If you visit Biltmore, we hope you have a great time as well!
This is one of those places that you think is overpriced (and it is) and maybe too popular to visit, but then you visit and you realize why it is so popular.
It is beautiful and fantastical - other worldly, really.
You do have to see and experience it for yourself to believe it.
Which makes it worth the stop and the price.
The views alone from the back of the home are so breath taking.
My family visited the Biltmore Estate and stayed on property at the Inn at Biltmore. We had an amazing vacation experience. Being outdoor enthuasists, there was a ton of activities for us to do! We hiked, we biked, we explored, we went bird watching, we counted ducks, we fed geese, we petted goats, and pretended to drive a 1900's tractor.
We kids also really enjoyed Antler Village. They were able to play on the great playscape and the husband and I enjoyed an adult beverage at the Tavern.
We did NOT visit the house itself as it was much too busy and having a special needs child, waiting in lines is not our "thing." We much prefer to be kept busy by Mother Nature.
We really enjoyed biking the trails and just walking around the property! We could have easily spent days and days just exploring the beautiful grounds!
The Biltmore is a must-see. So beautiful and rich with history. Visited with my husband, adult son and teenage son. All of us enjoyed it. We visited in the summer but will be going again in the fall, spring and at Christmas time. We didn't spend the extra to get the headphones and were sorry we didn't...will next time. We did the wine tour and tasting and it was very enjoyable. Brought home several bottles of wine and Wassail Spice Blend Mix. Added the mix to warm apple cider and it's delicious.
The Biltmore Estate is amazing to check out and feels unreal even while you're walking through it. We went around Christmas time and had the added treat of having the house decorated for the holidays. One word of warning, the gardens and ornate rooms may be more exciting for parents than children, so you may need to take a break and go get ice cream in the food area.
this giganormous structure was, yes, actually a family's home and now serves as a museum to the opulence of the golden era of the south. Boasting endless amounts of rooms, still in the original condition, and an on site restaurant, the Biltmore estate really should be on everyone's bucket list. I would recommend bringing your children here, but probably warn against toddlers that can run away (fast:) as many of the rooms are roped off and contain precious antiques. Apart from that, it is a great educational trip for the older children, and gives them a peak into this country's rich heritage.
The Biltmore Estate in Asheville is an absolutely huge and beautiful house! This trip may not be appreciated by younger children because there's not much to actually do. There are tours to take throughout the many rooms and floors of the estate. There are also gorgeous gardens surrounding the building.
If this site was for adult destinations, Biltmore would get 5 stars. However, the trip is long, and to most kids, boring. The best part of the trip for the kids was the farmyard. There was a great amount of farm animals for the kids to see and chickens to play with. It might be good to pack additional activities for the kids on this trip.
Talk about a great trip! I visited the Biltmore Estate with three of my female relatives and we had the most wonderful time! As seen in the film Richie Rich, the Biltmore is so enchanting! You can also have a wine tasting and purchase their collection on site! The flower gardens are gorgeous and the views are remarkable! Would make an awesome idea for a ladies' weekend retreat!
This is a wonderful place for adults (and older kids that are "into" history/gardens, etc.). The house is amazing - just with all the antiques, not a place for small children. It's especially beautiful decorated for Christmas. And the gardens are gorgeous in the spring with the tulips blooming!
I feel its definitely one time watch! Its totally worth it. The palace is huge, huge meaning reallyyyyyyyyyy huge! And it was very convinient, when we got in there we got headphone tour ride, which at every point inside palace would explain the history of that particular room of that palace. Also i feel people should definitely take a headphone tour, atleast people who would love to know how things worked years ago, it was very very interesting also after knowing things with the help of headphones we could relate to the place better! We had been during christmas, so the whole palace was lite with beautiful christmas trees i guess almost around 40 around the palace with amazing ornaments! There were carols performed with old traditional dances. It was amazing. Also there is so much more around, the wineyard where anyone can taste and enjoy wines! The village nearby with some really great restaurants! Also there are some train rides, lots of other things which we dint really get time to do as we had gone one 1 day trip. But its nearby and lots of things for entertainment so we even bought 1 year passes to this place, will be going back soon. :)
If you have the flexibility, there are two times of the year to visit Biltmore - spring during the festival of flowers and winter during the Biltmore Christmas (Candlelight Christmas). In some cases, you will pay more for admission to certain gardens or at a certain time of day, but Biltmore's staff is second-to-none in preparing an unforgettable experience for your family. It is extremely expensive to visit Biltmore, so arrive early and spend every last minute there if you can!
Great tour; a little pricey. Small kids might get bored though. We got followed by security b/c my 4 yr old kept wandering off. Good ice cream in the common yard and YUMMY wine tasting that is kid friendly too. Long drive from Washington, DC ... about 8 hours.
This is a great historical stop and really should be visited but maybe not with younger kids. If you take younger ones, be prepared to take lots of breaks and be there all day because there is a lot of ground to cover and can be overwhelming. Lots to see and great food on the grounds!
Biltmore Estates is a beautiful place! There are many great activities for adults and teenagers. Middle schoolers might like it for the history (headphones narrating the mansion are great). I took my young babies along on this but it was hard to keep them satisfied as this is an all-day activity. I would not recommend this as something that is fun for younger children.
This is definitely a all day adventure. Would not recommend for small children. If you and your kids love hitorcal trips you will love the house tour. The house tour is long and not that exciting for small children but school age kids will enjoy it. Their is gorgeous scenery and lots of activities besides the house tour. They offer bike riding, horseback riding, canoeing and much more. Most everything is a little pricy but worth the visit. It is hard to fit everything in one day so get there early.
I recently went to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC for the first time. We went during the Christmas season and all the rooms and exterior were decorated with trees and lights. It was absolutely stunning. The Estate is really too much to totally absorb in one visit. It is massive. You are assigned a time to tour the house and you just wander through at your own pace. There is soooo much to see and a lot of walking and stairs. It is an educational experience for children for sure. What a way for them to see how life was at the turn of the century. Small children may have a difficult time paying attention the entire tour though and a LOT of walking. It took us about an hour just to walk through the house. There are many other sites to visit on the grounds as well including gardens, stables, and a winery. I highly recommend the Biltmore estate for older children who can handle walking a lot.
Fans of American history and nostalgia will love the Biltmore. It's like a Victorian picture post card come to life. The meticulous gardens and the grand mansion are breathtaking.
Perfect for older kids who are drawn towards history and storytelling. The setting in Asheville is ideal and one of the best parts of the country to visit.
I haven't been to the Biltmore in a few years, but I see it in my dreams, that should tell you the type of impact it can make on a person.
Memorable and miraculous! Highly recommend but not for young kids as it takes time to see it all.
LOOVEEE the Biltmore!! We've been there twice, once during the summer, and once during the Thanksgiving holidays. Both times were equally amazing. The grounds are beeee-yoo-ti-ful during summer, but the lights around Christmas time can't be beat. Be prepared to walk, but there's something amazing in every nook and cranny of the house! The rooftop tour was awesome, but it's very stairs-y, not recommended for small kiddos.