- Mon: 12am-12am
- Tue: 12am-12am
- Wed: 12am-12am
- Thu: 12am-12am
- Fri: 12am-12am
- Sat: 12am-12am
- Sun: 12am-12am
The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, features a 250-room French Renaissance chateau built by George Vanderbilt, grandson of American industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt. The house covers four acres and displays a large collection of antiques, sculpture, fine furnishings, and works by artists Pierre-Auguste Renoir and John Singer Sergeant. The chateau, completed in 1895, is the largest private home in the United States. Visitors take self-guided tours to see 16th century tapestries, a 10,000 book library, formal gardens, some of the 35 bedrooms, servants' quarters, and the most visited winery in the United States. The estate offers seasonal events, concerts, and a variety of activities including horseback riding, hiking, carriage rides and fly fishing. Dining and lodging is available on the estate. The formal garden has wide-ranging displays throughout spring and summer, including daffodils, hyacinths, as many as 100,000 tulips in bloom, lush perennials, chrysanthemums and more than 250 varieties of roses.
Parking at the Biltmore Estate
The estate is located just off Interstate 40 at Asheville. A vehicle is necessary; the approach road from the ticket office to the public parking area is three miles long, through a natural, park-like setting. Shuttles run from the parking lots to the front door of the house, as well as to other destinations on the estate. No public transportation is available. Taxis are allowed on the estate.
Best and worst times to go to the Biltmore Estate
Summer weekends can be crowded, though winter holidays are the busiest season, when the house is decked in lavish, traditional holiday decorations. The house opens at 9:30 a.m., but crowds often don't build until noon. Advance ticket purchase is recommended for most Saturday visits during warm weather, as well as most days from Nov. 20 through Dec. 31. Those wanting a quiet time to widely explore the house often visit midweek, or in the off-peak winter.
Admission to the Biltmore Estate
Adult admission is in the $50-plus range for one day; discounts and child and senior rates are available online. Adult ticket discounts are available with advance purchase online. On certain summer days up to two children can visit free with a paying adult. Check the reservations website for the best pricing. Ticket price includes parking, self-guided visit of Biltmore House, access to gardens, and free wine tasting for adults and guided winery tour. Behind-the-scenes tours are available at additional cost.
Must do at the Biltmore Estate
The house is the obvious draw, with its Downton Abbey vibe, the fantastic works of art, the 19th century architecture, and the oddities, like Napoleon's chess set or the private bowling alley in the basement. The gardens boast miles of walking paths, hundreds of thousands of beautiful flowers, and an impressive orchid display in the conservatory. Likewise, the winery tour gets you up close to the business of making wine, and includes a free tasting. Wine is available for purchase if you want more while sitting on the sun-dappled patio.
Other places to visit near the Biltmore Estate
Just outside the estate is Biltmore Village, home to a variety of shops, cafes, galleries and restaurants. Nearby on U.S. 25 South is the Blue Ridge Parkway, a mountain-peak highway. Head south to Mt. Pisgah or north to the tallest peaks in Eastern North America. On Friday evenings in warm weather consider heading to Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville to dance and drum for free at the popular outdoor drum circle.
Insider tip for visitors to the Biltmore Estate
The estate is so big — it's on 8,000 acres — you might fear you didn't see everything in just one day. (Flower lovers can spend hours in the garden and never step into the big house.) So buy your ticket online in advance, then when you get there ask for the cut-rate 'next-day' ticket as well. These are available year-round but must be used the very next day. The additional cost? $10 most days, $15 during the winter holiday season.
Author's bio: JD Austin is an Asheville, North Carolina, native who has worked more than 30 years in journalism around the Southeast United States.