Hiya! My husband and I visited the Biltmore House for the first time on Sunday and we loved every minute! We have lived in Asheville for almost a year now, but haven’t had the chance to visit this beautiful monstrosity of a mansion yet. Since my husband is a sucker for all things Christmas, I bought tickets for the Candlelight tour at the Biltmore and it was nothing short of amazing! We also had friends from Charleston visit and were able to tour the house with them, which also made the experience really special for us!
In this blog, I will go over certain tips and tricks that made our trip to the Biltmore seamless and easy. Buying a ticket to the house does grant you two days entrance onto the property. If you are from out of town or plan to be in Asheville for the weekend, plan to go back both days. Believe me when I say that the Biltmore Estate is full of things to do. It is breathtaking in every way and should be something you be able to do without being rushed.
Antler Hill Village & Winery
Antler Hill Village sits on the north side of the property. It is approximately 1.2 mile from the Estate, so be sure to factor that into your travel time if you have a reservation for the house. They do have trolleys that drive from AHV to the house, but will take you 10-15 minutes. At Antler Hill Village, you have the Winery, lots of restaurants and plenty of shopping to keep you busy.
Due to limited number of people allowed in for each tasting, reserve a time slot to the Winery in advance to guarantee your spot, especially if you have a bigger group. They have a QR Code for you to scan to put in your information, which will then send you an email confirmation. Each tasting is complementary, so don’t miss out on the chance to taste five of the best wines from a long list of //. After your tour, buy bottles to take home from the wine shop to enjoy at your convenience or join the Vanderbilt Wine Club, in which you will receive three different wines each quarter by mail. You can choose from all red, all white, mixed or sweet. They also offer a pick-up option on site as well for those who live in the area.
The Biltmore House was completed in 1895 and is currently still the largest home to date in the United States. There are sixty-five fireplaces, an indoor swimming pool and a bowling alley! The self-guided tour takes you through a one way route, but feel free to roam at your own pace. The typical time frame is anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half in the house.
Audio guides are available for $12.99pp. The 90-minute tour allows you to select the corresponding number to each room that then tells you more about he surrounding architecture, design and decor. It also tells you more about the lives of the Vanderbilts, their guests and servants alike.
The estate also offers a…
Rooftop Tour ($25pp) – Get an amazing view from rooftops and balconies of the Biltmore House.
Premium Biltmore House Tour ($175pp) – Get a personal guide, see the rooftops, and a behind-the-scenes look of the servant’s quarters.
Backstairs Tour ($25pp) – Offers access to rarely-seen servants’ areas and workplace stores.
Behind-the-Scenes Winery Tour & Tasting ($10pp) – See how the vineyards run and what it takes to make the wines of Biltmore.
Pro Tip: Make sure to walk up the hill across from the house to see the Diana & the Esplanade. This gives you one of the most iconic and most breathtaking views of the house from afar. As a preface, the Christmas is not there year round.
Bags no larger than a 12″ x 6″ x 12 plastic bag or 4.5″ x 6.5″ clear bag are allowed into the house, so make sure to come prepared.
Gardens and Conservatory
Chandler and I weren’t able to visit the gardens during our trip, but we plan to during the spring time now that we have annual passes. Yay for Christmas gifts! From what we have heard from friends and family who have been, we have heard nothing but great things!
There are 2.5 miles of paths that you can take through themed gardens around the house.
In the the winter, most of the gardens are empty. Any other time of year, you will find hundreds of variations of blooms.
Some highlights include:
+ 50,000 tulips in Wall Garden during the Spring
+ A mile long sunflower patch near Antler Hill Village in the late summer
+ Click here to find more details on blooms you can expect to see.
There are over ten different walking trails on site at the Biltmore. They vary anywhere from a 1/4 mile to a 1/2 mile loop and there are 22 miles in all. During the Spring time, you can experience the blooming flowers at the gardens, go biking, fly-fishing hiking, horseback riding or even float down the river. The estate also offers Segway tours, sporting clays and falconry.
If you have smaller children and are planning to be on property for a majority of your day, there is the Pisgah Playground which is located near Antler Village. Plan for adequate time for the farm as well. Once home to the Biltmore Dairy, you can now stop by the farm to see the blacksmith, woodworking and craft demonstrations. Stop in to see the farm-friendly animals with your kids as well. They have sheep, chickens, goats and pigs.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What can I expect at Biltmore Christmas?
A lot! If you’ve never been to the Biltmore before, the Estate at Christmas time is an even better first impression. There are stringed lights atop the walkways, Christmas trees at every turn and hot cocoa for //. For it being our first time touring the house, I am so glad we waited to do so at Christmas time. Every room of the house is decorated to the nines and was more than I expected.
Is the Biltmore Candlelight Tour worth it?
Starting at $114 per ticket, seeing the Biltmore during the Christmas holiday is like nothing else you’ll ever experience. We personally went with the self-guided tour, but there is also three different other tour options they offer throughout the year, which are all unique in their own way.
All in all, the Candlelight Tour was worth the “big” price tag. Seeing the estate’s fifty-five Christmas trees, lights, garland and hundreds of poinsettias were so magical to me. They also had all sixty-five fireplaces lit, live music playing on each floor and so many things to see and learn about in the house.
How long is Biltmore House decorated for Christmas?
The Biltmore house is decorated for Christmas from early November to into mid-January. Take advantage of the holiday festivities and make a trip during the Christmas season.
Where can I eat on site the Biltmore?
There are many different options to eat at the Biltmore! There are both fine dining and casual “light bites” for more on-the-go eats.
Antler Hill Village & Winery
- The Bistro $$$ – causal spot serving farm to table foods
- Cedric’s Tavern $$ – pub food, global cuisine and drink options
- The Creamery $ – ice cream, sundaes, pastries and coffee
- The Kitchen Cafe $$ – house-made soups, salads and sandwiches
- The Smokehouse $$ – carolina bbq, sandwiches and southern favorites
- Village Social $$$ – southern style food using sustainable seafood and regional ingredients
- Wine Bar (Winery) $$ – sip of delicious wine and munch on a plate of cheese
Biltmore House & Gardens
- Stable Cafe $$ – bbq, grilled foods and other southern favorites
- The Bake Shop $ – fresh-baked pastries, coffee and tea
- The Conservatory Cafe $ – small plates and wine
- The Courtyard Market $ – gourmet hot dogs, salads, snacks and drinks
- The Ice cream Parlor $ – hand-scooped ice cream, milkshakes and sundaes
Can I stay onsite during my visit?
You can! There are two different hotels on site where you can book reservations.
- Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate $$
- The Inn on Biltmore Estate $$
Address: One Lodge Street, Asheville, NC 28803 (map)
- Biltmore Estate Ticket Prices: $45-$85 (depending on day/season)
- Flex Daytime Tickets
- Annual Passes: $219 pp (you can also apply the price of your day pass to an annual pass)
Pro Tip: Save $10 by purchasing tickets online 7+ days before your visit.
- Admissions Gate: 8:30am-5pm (or last scheduled Candlelight tour)
- Reception & Ticketing Sales Center: 8:30am-5pm (or last scheduled Candlelight tour)
- Biltmore House: 9am-5pm
- Winery in Antler Hill Village: Sun-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat 10am-9pm
- Gardens: 9am-6pm
- Conservatory: 9am-5:30pm
Note: Always double check their site for hours in case they have special events going on.
Chandler and I absolutely loved our first visit to the Biltmore Estate. If you are planning a casual trip to Asheville for a weekend getaway or are coming to the area specifically for the Biltmore, make sure to factor in enough time to see this house in its fullest. Our trip did not disappoint by any stretch and we are excited to be able to make it a more common excursion.
Have you been to the Biltmore? What tips and/or tricks would you give first timers?