Biltmore House Asheville North Carolina

Guide to Visiting Biltmore House in Asheville, NC

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When I was looking at visiting Asheville North Carolina the Biltmore House / Estate kept coming up as the #1 must-see-tourist attraction. I knew literally nothing about it – Even on my way to visit it I was grossly uninformed about the grandiose nature of this house and the 8,000 acres of the estate.

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Let’s start with, It’s really a castle. They call it America’s largest home. But with 250 rooms we can’t beat around the bush here. It’s a castle. If you love the feel of Downton Abbey, you really must visit.

Here’s the short version of this entire thing: This Estate is the biggest in the United States – and offers a 2-hour audio-guided house tour, garden tour, restaurant, hotel, a winery with wine tasting, hiking trails, playground, horseback riding, spa, shopping and a whole lot more. There’s a reason why it’s on all the lists to visit and it does not disappoint!

I’ve divided this article into a few categories, go ahead and jump around as you wish: Brief History, Biltmore House, Biltmore Gardens & Land, Deerpark Area, Antler Village & Winery, Activities Overview, and FAQs (parking, hours, tickets, itenerary).

Brief History

Today the Biltmore Estate is a National Historic Landmark with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and French Broad River there’s a reason why it become one of North Carolina’s biggest tourist attractions. But before then it was just one of the Vanderbilt Family houses.

In 1888 George W. Vanderbilt visited Asheville and shortly after began buying land for what became the Biltmore Estate. Construction began in 1889 and was completed and opened to the Vanderbilt family in 1895. The house contains 250 rooms including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.

In 1914 after the death of Georgy Vanderbilt 87,0000 acres were sold to the United States Forest Service for what became the Pisagah National Forest for $5 an acre.

In 1930 they open the historic Biltmore estate to visitors with the looming great depression and tourist need in the area to bring money to the estate.

1971 the first grapes are planted for what becomes Biltmore’s Winery which opened in 1985.

In 2001 the Inn on Biltmore Estate opens.

in 2010 the Antler Hill Village opens which includes restaurants, shopping, and outdoor activities.

2015 the Village Hotel is built in Antler Hill Village.

Biltmore House Asheville North Carolina

Biltmore House

Is the largest private residence in America. You want to take the audio guide and hear all about the rooms, the history as well as the art and life of the house. Richard Morris Hunt was the architect who designed the estate and still has quite a few buildings stil standing like the french renaissance chateau, the Biltmore.

This castle has twists and turns, You go up and down stairs to many bedrooms, common rooms and in the basement, you visit the swimming pool and bowling alley. It’s really quite fantastic. The entire house is incredibly beautiful and well-restored. The regular house tour was lovely, but I definitely want to go back and do the Rooftop Tour.

One of the most popular times to visit the house is to see the spring garden. When I asked at check-in what is to not be missed the woman helping me said “The Conservatory and the Wine-Tasking” – But the other not to be missed time to visit the house is during the holidays. It’s already a beautiful home but when the Christmas trees join the rooms it’s unbelievably gorgeous.  Make a plan to come back during the candlelight Christmas evenings which start in early November, and I’m sure we won’t be disappointed.

Not far from the house there is a set of cafe, restaurants, and gift shops. So if you are early or want a snack after your house tour you don’t have to go far.

Biltmore Gardens & Land

Directly behind the Biltmore house are the gardens and the grounds. Fantastically designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Be sure to spend a moment on the House decks overlooking the gardens and the mountains before you start down to the gardens.  In the warmer months or in spring, the blooms are gorgeous! I was just there beginning the bulbs to open and can’t wait to go back in a couple of weeks when the blooms are in full bloom.

On the opposite end of the garden is the Conservatory building which inside is chaulked full of many different kinds of plants including a wide variety of orchids in bloom. The floor-to-ceiling glass greenhouse is tight to maneuver but not to be missed, I agree with the lady who checked me in!Now the land spans the 8,000-acre estate and includes gardens and trails, farmland, a pond and endless adventure. Check out the trail map for your hiking and biking queries.

Biltmore House Asheville North Carolina

Deerpark Area

As you stroll through the map you’ll see this area marked off in about the middle of the country retreat. The Deerpark Area includes: the Deerpark Restaurant, The Amherst at Deerpark event center, the Lioncrest Ballroom and the Deepark Carriage and Trail ride barn.

The Amherst at Deerpark is where their specialty exhibit is house, at the time of writing this it’s “Italian Renaissance Alive” a “all-new multi-sensory experience Italian Renaissance Alive takes you on a spellbinding journey across Italy, illuminating the masterworks of such icons as Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, and Caravaggio.” Tickets to this exhibit is extra, so if you’re wanting to visit be sure to check that option at check out.

Antler Village & Winery

About 20 minutes drive through the Biltmore legacy is the other half of the popular tourist attraction for you to experience Antler Hill Village. This includes dining, shopping, exhibits, and a farmyard.

Stop by Cedric’s tavern and take in a gander over the village green. Great place to take a quick rest too.

What’s the most visited winery in the United States? You guessed it. The Biltmore Winery. Is that because they get 1.4 million visitors each year? Could be. It also doesn’t hurt the complimentary wine tasting that comes with every single kind of ticket sold. Yes, that doesn’t hurt! But the Award-Winning Biltmore Winery does not disappoint. They have an excellent staff that helps you through the selections, and the bottles are high quality and not incredibly high priced like some winery’s wines are.

Biltmore House Asheville North Carolina

Activities Overview

This is not inclusive of everything – but a broad overview of the types they offer!

Visit their Full Activities List to see even more.

Best of all? They have a list of all the activities that are free with your admission.

Biltmore House Asheville North Carolina

FAQs about Visiting Biltmore House

This information is accurate at the date and time of publishing, but please visit the Biltmore website to ensure the information is accurate.

How much does it cost?

  • Biltmore Tickets depend on whether you’re doing the house or not. The price fluctuates from what time of year and day of the week visit. House visit price ranges for Adults from $69 -$149; for Kids under 10 from $0- $45; For Kids, 10-16 is $47-$97; and Garden, Grounds, and Conservatory tickets range from $45-85. When you purchase estate admission with a house tour the Gardens come with that ticket price.
  • If you’re planning to be in the area, take a look at the benefits of the annual pass!

Do I need reservations?

  • Yes to tour the house you want to ensure you get tickets before you go, that way you know the time you can enter the house for the tour. Their website is quite intuitive but their customer service is also quite excellent if you have a hard time booking your tickets online.
  • You do not need a reservation to hike the property and visit the grounds, but you will need to buy a ticket before or once you get there.
  • You do need reservations for the complimentary wine tasting, so be sure to schedule that when you first get to the property!

How long will I be there?

  • You could spend all day here and not run out of activities. At a minimum, I would allot 5 hours, and here’s what I would do:
  • You want to arrive 45 minutes early for parking and get your ticket if you haven’t printed it out, and the short walk to the house.
  • 3 hours for the house tour and wandering the gardens and visiting the conservatory.
  • Then 30 minutes to drive over to the wine tasting, and 20 minutes for the wine tasting.

Should I just do a self-guided tour?

  • In my opinion, no! This audio tour was wonderful. You know how sometimes they’re kind of badly acted? This one isn’t. And along the 2-hour tour, you also get to hear from experts in their field. It was very informative and not too boring.

Do I have to pay for parking?

  • Nope! The estate has several parking lots and they’re all included in the price of your admission tickets.
Biltmore House Asheville North Carolina

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