Are you considering visiting the Biltmore on your next trip to Asheville, North Carolina? Then you will want to take a look at this list full of the best Biltmore Estate tips. From how to get there, purchasing tickets for the Biltmore Estate, and so much more, we’ve got you covered.
The tickets for the Biltmore Estate include access to the entire estate grounds. You’ll be able to take a self guided tour inside the Biltmore house, stroll the gardens, hike along the trails, and sample wines from the estate’s winery. There are also additional tours and experiences you can purchase, but you can really find plenty of things to do at the Biltmore without spending much more than your entrance ticket.
So, let’s get into our favorite Biltmore Estate tips and discover more about the Biltmore Estate. We guarantee that you’ll feel confident and prepared to plan an awesome trip by the end of this article!
What Is The Biltmore Estate In Asheville NC?
The Biltmore Estate is a massive private home in Asheville. It is the largest home in America and is still privately owned by the ancestors of the original residents. The home first started being built by George Vanderbilt, yes, those Vanderbilt’s, in 1889. It took six years for the luxurious home to be completed. In 1895 the Vanderbilt family was able to move in, and on Christmas Eve the house was opened for visitors of the family.
There are 250 rooms and the exterior of the Biltmore Estate is designed to look like a classic French Renaissance Chateau. Inside you’ll find 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 unique fireplaces. In 1900 the estate began further expanding into the millions of acres it was on. The estate soon added the Main Dairy, a Horse Barn, and more gardens and trails.
In 1930, during the Great Depression, the Vanderbilt’s opened the home for the first time to tourists. There was an increasing demand for tourism in the area. It also served as a way to generate more income and help the Biltmore Estate survive the Great Depression. In 1971 the Estate added a winery, which has continued to grow into a respected winery. Now the Biltmore Estate is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Asheville.
Where Is The Biltmore Located From Asheville?
The Biltmore is in the heart of Asheville. In fact, much of Asheville was built around the Biltmore as the tourism industry grew in the area. The address for the main estate building is 1 Lodge St, Asheville, so it is technically in Asheville. However, when you enter the gates for the estate, you’ll find that there is a good 5-10 minute drive through the winding roads in the woods to reach the estate itself.
When the Vanderbilt’s would have been living in the estate full time, guests would have driven right up to the front of the house. Now, however, there are several parking areas. From the parking areas, you take a shuttle to the front of the estate home. It’s still in Asheville though, so if you are visiting and looking for things to do in Asheville, you don’t have to go far. From most parts of Asheville, it is only a 10-minute drive to the gates of the estate.
How To Get Biltmore Estate Tickets
It is very easy to get tickets for the Biltmore Estate. However, because this is a popular attraction, you’ll want to book them well in advance. If you want to guarantee the day and time slot you want, then you can really only do that by ordering in advance. During the year the estate hosts various themed celebrations. For some of those, the tickets are much more sought after.
One of those celebrations is Christmas at the Biltmore Estate. Christmas at the Biltmore is one of the most popular times to visit the estate. It is all decked out with period accurate Christmas decorations, both in the house and on the grounds. It is also the only time of year you can tour the house at night. Because it’s so popular, you’ll want to get your tickets at least a month in advance to make sure you can get a time-slot you want.
If you are thinking of visiting the estate at the last minute, while we don’t advise that, you can typically still get tickets. Once you pass the entrance gates there is a building where you can buy tickets. Often those tickets are random ones that are still available for timeslots for that day. You aren’t guaranteed to find enough in the time slot you want, and you also aren’t guaranteed to get tickets at all. So book in advance – and remember to print your tickets in advance too! At this time, the Biltmore does not have way to scan tickets from your cell phone.
About The Biltmore Winery
The vineyards for the Biltmore Winery were first planted in 1971. However, the Biltmore Estate Wine Company wasn’t established until 1983. The Winery was built in the building that once held the Main Dairy, which was originally built in 1900. It took about two years for the Winery to be built and was opened to visitors of the estate in 1985.
Throughout the years, the Biltmore Winery has continued to gain a reputation of excellence. The winery uses North Carolina grapes and is currently being guided by Winemaker Sharon Fenchak. In 2015 the winery celebrated 30 years of production. It continues to grow and you can now find Biltmore Wine in several states across the country.
When you are visiting the Biltmore Estate you can also visit the winery. Your ticket to the estate includes a free wine tasting and you can explore the vineyard at your own pace. However, you’ll need to make your reservation for the winery as soon as you get on to the estate. Time-slots fill up quickly, so make sure you book your reservation if you want to use your free tasting.
If you would like to learn more about the winery, you can purchase a separate behind-the-scenes tour or a chocolate and wine tasting experience. For those who are interested in local wineries, the Biltmore Winery is a fun thing to do at the Biltmore.
How Long To Spend At Asheville’s Biltmore Estate
Whenever anyone asks for Biltmore Estate tips, one of the biggest one you’ll hear is ‘give your self plenty of time’. It takes about 90 minutes to complete the self guided tour through the house. But you won’t find people rushing you out of the home if you stay a little longer, so take your time walking through.
On top of the massive home, the grounds of the Biltmore are also massive. Just around the house there are shops and restaurants in what was once the Horse Barn, terraces, and gardens. A short walk away from the house there is also a large conservatory full of exotic plants. The ground is also full of hiking trails as well as the Antler Hill Village, which is down the hill from the house.
When planning your trip to the Biltmore, give yourself plenty of time to see everything you want to see. You can easily spend the entire day exploring the different aspects of the estate property. If you don’t have all day, give yourself at least four to five hours to see the highlights!
Best Things To Do At The Biltmore Estate
Take An Audio Tour Of The House
Your ticket to the house includes a self-guided tour through the Biltmore Estate. But if you are interested in learning a more in-depth history of the house, take an audio tour. There are two options for purchasing the tour. If you purchase it on the day of your ticket, it is $15 per person. However, if you book your audio tour when you purchase your tickets, it is $12 per person.
The audio tour lasts 40 minutes and takes you through the house. While you tour the house you’ll find different markers indicating a portion of the audio tour. On the audio tour you’ll get an in depth understanding of what life was like for the Vanderbilt’s, their servants, and their guests. The tour guide also tells you more about the décor, architecture, and design of certain aspects of the house. It is one of the best things to do at the Biltmore.
Explore The Biltmore Gardens
The gardens surrounding the Biltmore are another part of the estate that is included in your ticket. All around the main estate there are extensive gardens. There are acres of both formal and informal gardens near the main estate building. Some of the most popular gardens on the estate are the Italian Garden, the Herbal Garden, and the Walled Garden.
All of them are right by the house. The Walled Garden is especially popular. Throughout the year the blooms are always changing to seasonal blooms, depending on the season of course. In the spring take in breathtaking tulips in all colors. In the fall, enjoy colorful chrysanthemums arranged in unique patterns. There is also a beautiful Rose Garden near the home as well as a vine tunnel just underneath the side of the terrace.
Check Out The Year-Round Christmas Store
In what was once the Horse Barn you’ll find several shops and even a restaurant. All the shops are unique, but one of the best ones is the year-round Christmas Store. A Christmas Past is a shop that has some beautiful Christmas decorations on display and for sale all the time. If you want to get a Biltmore Estate Christmas tree ornament, you can find one there.
You’ll find turn of the century style decorations, ornaments, and more. Be warned, a lot of the decorations can get a bit pricey – it is the Biltmore after all. So be careful not to break anything! While the store is heavy on Christmas decorations, you can also find a few items that are non-denominational. So even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you’ll be able to take home a Holiday souvenir, or just enjoy the sparkle and magic of the Christmas spirit.
Stroll Through The Conservatory
Just outside of the Walled Garden is the large Biltmore Conservatory. The Biltmore Conservatory is a large greenhouse-style building. No matter what time of year you walk through the doors, you’ll be created by warm temperatures. The conservatory is a favorite spot for visitors when you’re visiting the Biltmore during the colder months.
Inside you’ll find several separate rooms with rows and rows of exotic plants. From the windows of the conservatory, you can look out onto the Walled Garden and the terrace Butterfly Garden. There are also benches scattered throughout the conservatory so you can sit and admire the plants. Strolling through the conservatory is easily one of the best things to do at the Biltmore.
Walk Through Antler Village
The Antler Village is a relatively new addition to the Biltmore Estate compared to other aspects of the grounds. Just down the hill behind the Biltmore there is now a replica European village. You can get to it by either walking, a shuttle, or if you are on your way out of the estate but want to make a stop, you can drive down there.
In the village, there are rooms for wine tasting, more shops, and a small museum. Most of the estate restaurants are in the Antler Hill Village and there are also two hotels. The Village Hotel is right in the village and the Biltmore Inn is behind the hill of the village. At the Biltmore Legacy museum, you’ll often find exhibits that relate to the history of the estate. Whether that is through film, literature, or estate artifacts. The Antler Hill Village and all it has to offer is one of the best things to do when visiting the Biltmore.
Relax With A Wine Tasting
A complimentary wine tasting experience is always included with your Biltmore tickets. As we mentioned before, if this is something you’d like to take advantage of, we suggest making your reservation for your tasting as soon as you get on the estate.
The tasting rooms are located in the Antler Hill Village. There are several bars where you can try the different wines the Biltmore makes on-site. While you’re tasting you can relax and learn more about the wines and how the winery on the estate works. It is also the best place to buy a bottle to bring home as a souvenir.
Enjoy A Carriage Ride Through The Grounds
If you’re looking for something a little more unique to do when visiting the Biltmore, consider taking a carriage ride through the grounds. This is not a tour that is included in your Biltmore Estate ticket, so you will have to pay extra. There are a few options for carriage rides. They vary from 30 minutes, an hour, or even a private carriage for up to four people.
As you ride along through the trails and grounds, your carriage driver will tell you all about the area. If you aren’t up for a lot of hiking or want to rest your feet while still getting to explore the estate, it’s a great activity. You’ll get to see stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, parts of Pisgah National Forest, and hardly-seen angles of the Biltmore House.
Dining When Visiting The Biltmore
There are 15 dining options to consider when visiting the Biltmore Estate. Depending on what you are in the mood for, your budget, and your dietary needs, you are guaranteed to find something. Of those 15, 4 are either a café or a place to grab a sweet treat. The other 11 are all places where you can find a more substantial meal.
If you’re spending all day visiting the Biltmore you’ll want to at least try one of the restaurants for lunch. For those that have the time, we suggest getting both lunch and dinner on the estate. For lunch, there are a few places that serve quick bites or have a more relaxed dining atmosphere. Enjoy a sandwich at the Courtyard Market or Appalachian comfort foods at the Stable Café.
For dinner, depending on your budget, there are a few options. If you want a taste of Biltmore style luxury, enjoy a four star meal at The Dining Room. Or enjoy a classic European pub atmosphere at Cedric’s Tavern and sample some American gastro-pub fare. At most of the restaurants you’ll either want to make a reservation ahead of time or put your name on the waitlist ahead of when you want to eat.
Where To Stay Near The Biltmore
The Asheville Urban Nest
Just two miles away from the entrance to the Biltmore Estate is the Asheville Urban Nest. It is one of the best places to stay while visiting the Biltmore. Not only is it close to the estate, but you’ll be right in the heart of Downtown Asheville. The condo has two bedrooms, a cozy living room, and a fully equipped kitchen. With two bedrooms and plenty of space, it is a perfect VRBO in Asheville for you and your family to use as a home base while you visit the Biltmore.
Elegant River District Home
The Elegant River District Home is just a four-minute drive from the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. The home has two bedrooms as well as a pull-out couch. So it can comfortably sleep four to six people. It is a classic Arts and Crafts style home with a big front porch you can hang out on as well as a nice fenced-in lawn. There is a nice sized living room, a large fully equipped kitchen, and even a dining room. If you are planning to stay and explore Asheville as well as the Biltmore Estate, this is a great option.
The Inn On Biltmore Estate
If you want to go all out while visiting the Biltmore, consider staying at The Inn on Biltmore Estate. This is the priciest option, but if you want a world-class experience to match the opulence of the Biltmore, you’ll love the Inn. It is right on the estate property, just up the hill from the Antler Hill Village. Your stay at the Inn includes tickets to the Biltmore Estate and its properties. You’ll also have the opportunity to make reservations at many of the estate’s restaurants before other visitors, indulge in the spa, and more.
We hope you found these tips for visiting the Biltmore helpful and informative. It is a stunning piece of Appalachian and even American architectural history that everyone should see at least once. Chances are though that once you get to experience the magic of the Biltmore Estate, you’ll find yourself coming back to visit for years to come.