The Biltmore Estate’s many buildings, gardens and restaurants make it a trip worth taking. Add in a free wine tasting, cute shops and really good ice cream and you have a weekend away anyone would envy!
Biltmore Estate’s Ultimate Know Before You Go Guide
For more advice check out Visiting The Biltmore Estate on a Budget!
Do Some Reading
If you are a nerd like me and want to do some reading before you visit I suggest The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home. Instead of being a typical history book it breaks down a love story and incorporates the building of the house and other things going on at the time.
I also read Lady on the Hill: How Biltmore Estate Became an American Icon which was a great compliment. It was available at my local library, which is great considering the hefty price tag online.
Learn all about Celebrating a Biltmore Christmas!
How To Save On Tickets
- Buy your ticket online before you go to the estate. If you buy the tickets online you save a few dollars off the price of buying at the estate. Currently the discount is up to $8.
- If you need two days at the estate consider grabbing a second day ticket for $25. This will give you access to the Biltmore’s gardens, grounds, and Antler Hill Winery. This is not something you can do online so you would have to upgrade at any of the guest services on the estate.
- Buy a tour for the next day and save $25. Purchase a Biltmore admission ticket and on the day of your Biltmore visit, stop by any Guest Services station and reserve a next-day outdoor activity or tour for the following day which allows you to return for your tour or activity without an additional admission purchase.
- The best bargain of all is to grab an annual pass if you plan on going a few times. They do go on sale- we were able to grab them for $119 (and they extended for 15 months) when they were closed for the pandemic. After that they were $159 and their normal price is $249. So watch for those sales- you can find them if you are flexible and wait. But when they do drop in price be sure to grab them. There are tons of benefits to having the pass as well.
What To Have/Do Before You Go
Book a Specialty Tour. The two most popular tours (based on a survey of my closest friends who have gone) are the Rooftop Tour and the Upstairs-Downstairs Tour. I have done the Rooftop Tour and I was a big fan- seeing the gargoyles up close was amazing.
Make Lunch Reservations. The Biltmore has several dining options but I’m a big fan of the Stable Cafe which is adjacent to the house. Plus you are eating inside a converted stable which is cool. If you can predict what time you would like to go you can avoid time waiting.
Comfortable Shoes. You will be walking quite a bit. Whether it’s looking around the beautiful gardens, touring the winery or climbing stairs in the house you will be moving constantly. You need to make sure your shoes are good. I highly recommend the Skechers Go Walk or something similar.
Layers of Clothing. The weather in Asheville, NC can vary quite a bit from morning to evening. Plus the temperature in the house can change between the floors. Be sure to wear some layers so you can take things off or add them as needed.
Bring Your Own Snacks. While you are not allowed to take food in the house you can take it elsewhere on the property. So if you want to save bring your own food with you. Several locations are within a pretty easy walking distance of your vehicle- you could pull a cooler if needed.
Tips to Maximize Your Visit
Visit Early. The house usually opens between 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. depending on the time of year. Get as early of a tour as you can. It gives you a jump on the crowds and allows you the best parking spots. The closest parking lots are only a 5-minute walk to the house, while the lots further out might require you to wait around for a shuttle. Once you finish at the house you can head to the other parts of the property and take your time.
Pay for the Audio Guide. It’s only $12 per person, and really does enhance your visit. The audio guide acts as a tour guide, telling you facts about each room you visit. You’ll learn more about George Vanderbilt and his family, the house’s building, the artwork, and what day-to-day life was like for the Vanderbilts, their guests and their house staff.
Get Your Free Wine Tasting. In Antler Hill Village they have a winery with free wine tastings. Be sure to give yourself some time to try your five samples!
Do Not Skip Walking the Grounds. The Biltmore Estate’s gardens and grounds are stunning- especially during certain times of year. Be sure to include time in your trip to walk around and look at things.