Visiting Biltmore Estate in the Spring is truly a magical experience. The largest privately owned home in the United States also had a stunning estate carefully crafted by the same planner as Central Park, NY. The grounds were used to create the first forestry program in the United States and house a diverse select of flowers and trees from all over the world.
So you can imagine with that variety walking the grounds in the spring is absolutely breathtaking. Our spring visit was the third week in April and this season we had a late freeze so that affected the flowers that were on display.
If you have never been before check out Biltmore Estate’s Ultimate Know Before You Go Guide!
Tips for Visiting Biltmore Estate in the Spring
Buy Your Tickets Before You Go
A visit to Biltmore Estate isn’t cheap and you will likely want to make the most of your day. You don’t want to spend time in the ticket office (as nice as it is) if you can help it. Most things can be done online or by making a phone call so you can avoid wasting time on the big day. You will find many of the things- such as the tours and most outdoor events- will require you to make a phone call and talk to a human being. I know for many of is this isn’t something we enjoy but I have always found them incredibly helpful. Making those calls has saved me some big problems later- especially with timing. If you have never been to Biltmore Estate you may underestimate how long travel time is from the house to other parts of the estate. On my first visit I would have been stressing the entire time trying to get around if it had not been for the helpful people on the phone.
- 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.
Avoid Weekends and Tuesdays if You Can: We knew before we went that weekends would be the busiest but somehow I had missed the memo about Tuesdays. It turns out that is when most of the buses come with the big tour groups. Even with pandemic protocols we saw a few of these groups already. So if you have some control over your visit try to get Monday, Wednesday or Thursday tickets if you are looking for the lowest traffic days. That being said the estate is huge and the house only lets a certain number of people in per tour so you will likely find plenty of room to wander around comfortably.
Asheville Weather is Very Unpredictable: Being in the mountains means that the weather can change on a dime. For example the day we did the house and gardens the high outside was 70. The next day the high was 45. Overnight it dropped over 20 degrees. Nights are always cool in Asheville (even during the summer) so be sure to dress in layers. Once the sun goes down you will see a significant change.
Check The Menus (Things Change): Because so much of the food on the estate is local or farm to table the menu items change seasonally. I have eaten at the Stable Café every time I have been to Biltmore and highly recommend it but have never been able to get the same thing twice since we go during different seasons. If you fall in love with the sweet potato deviled eggs like I do you better visit during the winter! However the food is ALWAYS good no matter the season. And even as a vegetarian they have always had a few options for me to pick from.
Pick Your Timing Carefully: The grounds are absolutely stunning but depending on weather and what flowers/plants you are hoping to see will affect when you go. We went in mid-April and the tulips were barely hanging on by a thread while the azaleas were just opening to their full glory. No matter when you go the grounds are stunning but if you specifically want to see something you may need to consider past year’s timing and make the decision based on that. Late frosts, unseasonably warm/cool weather and other factors could affect things. The Biltmore does a Bloom Calendar that can help you make timing decisions.
What To Expect
Inside the House: I have been on a house tour five times in the last year so I almost didn’t do one this time. But I was told it’s worth a quick tour to see the beautiful flower arrangements inside. And they were lovely.
As a frequent visitor our tour only took 45 minutes. If this is your first visit you NEED to get the audio tour (it’s a little extra and completely worth it). Set aside about 90 minutes for your tour.
Outside the House:
As you exit the house you can see what is currently growing in the gardens. It was a nice surprise I had never seen before. Because, not shockingly, the grounds are the big selling point for the spring.
Beautiful touches with flowers are all over the estate.
The azaleas were at the beginning of the season and simply stunning.
The water along the walking paths is clean and crisp.
If you are looking for things on to do on-site don’t forget about My Biltmore Falconry Review- Get a Once in a Lifetime Experience at Biltmore Estate!
We caught the very end of tulip season. I was happy even though they weren’t at their height.
I wish there was some way to make this picture look as stunning as the real thing.
These freshly planted flowers were adorable and added a lovely contrast to the fading tulips.
Don’t forget to check out How To Get a Free Wine Tasting at Biltmore Estate. We do one every time.
Checking out Biltmore Gardens Railway:
It appears most years in the spring Biltmore Estate has a railway running inside the Conservatory.
It was unique and a delight to experience along with the “miniatures” of the buildings on the estate. The model buildings were much larger and impressive than I had expected.
If you are interested in a short trip near Asheville check out My First Ever Hike: Catawba Falls, NC!
Things We Did Off The Estate:
People always ask for recommendations in the area and I like to throw them in at the end. When we were Visiting Biltmore Estate in the Spring we also wanted to do other things in Asheville!
I love the Early Girl Eatery Downtown. It’s my favorite breakfast place so far. There is usually a bit of a wait so be prepared.
The Woolworth’s is one of my favorite places to browse/shop. It’s in the cute part of downtown and full of awesome local art. There is also an old fashioned soda fountain. I’m a big fan of the ice cream sodas which they make by hand.
For my vegan and vegetarian friends I highly recommend The Laughing Seed Cafe. It was a bit expensive but completely delicious.
This time we did a ghost tour. I would say it was okay but nothing overwhelming. It’s always a good way to learn the history of an area. Additionally we discovered on the walk that people paid a bunch of different prices for the tour so be sure if you decide to go take a look around and at the cancellation policy as we found it varied from site to site.
Picture borrowed from Gray Line Trolley Tours of Asheville Facebook page
This visit we did a Gray Line Trolley Tour of Asheville. I loved it. Not only did it give us a break from all the walking around but we saw and learned things we never would have experienced on our own. And you start at the Asheville Tourism Board so there is lots of information in that building we will be using for future trips. Once it reopens we would really like to do the Hop on Hop Off Trolley but it’s currently not available.
We did a tour at the French Broad Chocolate Factory. It was interesting but nothing too significant. However at a price of only $12 it’s a good value if this is the type of thing you like. This is not friendly for young kids as one of our class mates discovered. It was fascinating learning about the sustainability of cocoa and how a small business operates. Lots of work is done by hand at this company and it felt good to support them.
Visiting Biltmore Estate in the Spring is a guarantee of beautiful flowers, wonderful food and hopefully lovely weather!