When I traveled to the Southeast USA, I was thrilled for a chance to tour the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC — a stunning 250-room French Renaissance château nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Biltmore Estate is a refreshing taste of European architecture in the middle of the American South. After my husband and I canceled our fall trip to Europe due to the Covid-19 pandemic, visiting the Biltmore felt like a fun and exciting way to relive what would have been our European vacation!
We discovered many helpful tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, during our visit that I am excited to share with you! But first, here’s a little history lesson on the Biltmore!
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History of the Biltmore Estate
George Vanderbilt opened Biltmore House on Christmas Eve in 1895 after six years of construction. George lived on the property with his wife, Edith, and daughter, Cornelia. The house was not opened to the public until the 1930s to generate income to preserve the estate.
Today, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville is the largest private home in America and attracts over one million visitors per year.
The Biltmore offers visitors an impressive history, remarkable architecture, vintage art, and breathtaking gardens. No matter what your interest is, you’ll find something to love about the Biltmore.
Tips for Visiting the Biltmore Estate—Is it Worth the Cost?
I’ll be honest—I was skeptical about visiting the Biltmore because of the cost. Depending on the time of year you visit, Biltmore Experience tickets can cost anywhere from $94 to $114 per person.
Although the Biltmore is expensive to visit, I can assure you that it is definitely worth the cost. We spent the entire day at the Biltmore House & Gardens and Antler Hill Village and felt that we definitely got our money’s worth. We couldn’t imagine a better way to spend a day in Asheville!
Tips for Visiting the Biltmore Estate—Where to Stay in Asheville, NC
Unfortunately, you can’t stay at the Biltmore when visiting, but you can stay at several excellent locations close by!
There are excellent hotels near the Biltmore that offer a range of prices to accommodate those looking to relax in luxury or find a budget-friendly stay.
Here are a few of my recommendations:
- The Inn on Biltmore Estate ($$$$)
Pamper yourself with a luxury stay on the Biltmore Estate to enjoy the on-site spa, heated pool, and fine-dining restaurants.
One of the best tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate? Stay as close to the winery as you can! The Village Hotel is located in the heart of Antler Hill Village with close access to phenomenal restaurants, shopping, and the world-famous Biltmore Winery.
Enjoy a unique, luxury stay in the Biltmore Village, just three miles from Downtown Asheville.
Clean, budget-friendly stay just under a mile away from the Biltmore Estate.
Modern, comfortable, and clean stay located about a mile from the Biltmore Estate.
9 Tips for Visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
Before visiting the Biltmore, I had a lot of questions about what the experience would be like. As it turns out, I learned a lot during my visit to the Biltmore that I want to share with you to help your visit go seamlessly!
Here are nine tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, that will make your experience unforgettable!
1. Buy Your Tickets in Advance
As I mentioned earlier, The Biltmore has over one million visitors per year—which, if you do the math, is over 2,500 visitors per day!
Even though there are many spots available to tour the Biltmore house each day, you might be surprised to know that tickets sell out quickly—especially during the weekends, holidays, and Christmas season.
One of the most important tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate is to buy your tickets ahead of time to ensure that you reserve a ticket for the day that you want to visit.
2. Your Ticket Time is for the Biltmore House Tour
One of the most critical tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate is that the time on your ticket is for your self-guided house tour, NOT your entry to the estate.
My husband and I made the mistake of assuming that our ticket time was when we were supposed to arrive at the estate. Because of this mistake, we were nearly an hour late for our tour. Thankfully, the attendant allowed us to tour the Biltmore home; however, I would advise you against making the same mistake we did!
My suggestion would be to book an early afternoon tour and arrive at the estate mid-morning to ensure that you aren’t rushed or late for your tour time.
When you arrive at the estate, you can enjoy the light crowds, take photos, walk around the gardens, and explore the shops before your afternoon tour time.
I wish someone would have told me these tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate before we went. It would have been a lifesaver!
3. Eat a Big Breakfast
The Biltmore is a full-day experience, and if you’re like me, you’ll be so busy exploring that you’ll forget to eat!
One of my best tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate is to eat a big breakfast before arriving because most of the dining options near the Biltmore House and Gardens are expensive.
Here are some of the most popular local breakfast spots in Asheville to stop at before you arrive at the Biltmore:
- Vortex Doughnuts—Homemade, unique flavored doughnuts with gourmet coffee (they make their caramel sauce in-house, and it’s fantastic!)
- Double D’s Coffee & Desserts—Double-decker bus serving coffee & sweet treats (cash only!)
- Biscuit Head—Massive biscuits with a variety of toppings and pairings (this is a local favorite)
4. Pay for the Audio Guide
I wish I would have purchased the audio guide during our tour of the Biltmore—I had no clue that the tour would take us through three stories and nearly 30 rooms in the Biltmore home!
Although the Biltmore home’s architecture and design are gorgeous on their own, the home’s history is remarkable, too. For just $12, your audio guide can become your tour guide, telling you all about George Vanderbilt’s family, the lifestyle of the people who lived there, interesting facts about the home, and so much more.
I tend to skip audio guides to save money—but unfortunately, that was the wrong choice for the Biltmore. The tour is much more extensive than you would expect, and it is an excellent value for what you pay.
5. Plan to Spend the Whole Day Exploring
As I mentioned earlier, the Biltmore is a full-day experience, so one of the most critical tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate is to plan to spend your entire day there!
Here’s how much time you can expect to spend at each location at the Biltmore Estate:
- The Biltmore Estate—1-2 hours
- The Gardens—2 hours
- Shopping—1 hour
- Winery—1 hour
- Antler Hill Village—1-2 hours
It’s very likely you’ll spend 6-8 hours exploring the Biltmore Estate. You won’t want to miss anything!
6. Don’t Skip the Biltmore Gardens
I had no idea how stunning and extensive the Biltmore Gardens were! The Biltmore House is impressive, but in my opinion, the gardens are the real showstopper.
The Biltmore Gardens and Trails are divided into nine sections:
- Library and South Terraces—Spectacular views of the surrounding trees and mountains with a relaxing place to sit. This garden is one of the best spots to take photos! One of my personal favorite tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate is to grab a drink or snack and munch on while admiring the view in the South Terraces!
- Italian Garden—Watch koi and goldfish swim in the three formal Italian water gardens.
- Shrub Garden—Walking path that features golden rain trees, river birch trees, and maple trees.
- Spring Garden—Walking path that features white pines, hemlocks, and blooming shrubs.
- Conservatory—The Conservatory is a HUGE glass-roofed building home to hundreds of unique warm-weather plants, including orchids, ferns, and palm trees.
- Azalea Garden—Walkway that leads from the Conservatory to the Bass Pond and contains gorgeous azaleas and evergreen trees.
- Walled Garden—Two lovely arbors that feature seasonal plants, like tulips in the spring and mums in the fall. There were also squash plants growing here when we visited!
- Rose Garden—The name says it all! Gorgeous roses that bloom year-round.
- Bass Pond & Boat House—The most peaceful retreat at the Biltmore, this bass pond is the perfect spot to rest your feet from walking and relax. One of the most secretive tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate is to carve out 30 minutes to an hour simply relaxing by the bass pond.
I loved the Biltmore Gardens! My favorite places to explore were the Conservatory, Azalea Gardens, and Bass Pond, but I would suggest visiting them all to determine your own favorites!
7. Wear Comfortable Shoes
I clocked in over 12,000 steps during our visit to the Biltmore. By the end of the day, my feet were killing me.
That being said, one of my best tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate is to wear comfortable shoes, especially if you plan to tour the house and visit the gardens. Your feet will thank you later!
8. Visit Antler Hill Village
After spending a day at the Biltmore House and Gardens, one of the best tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate is to visit Antler Hill Village! Antler Hill Village is where the Biltmore Winery is located and is also home to restaurants like Bistro, Cedric’s Tavern, and Village Social.
If you are planning to enjoy dinner at Antler Hill Village, I would suggest making a reservation ahead of time—the waitlist can get long, especially in the evenings.
9. Enjoy Your Free Wine Tasting
Your Biltmore ticket includes a complimentary wine tasting at the Winery in Antler Village if you are over the age of 21. The Biltmore Winery was opened by George Vanderbilt’s grandson in 1985, and since then, has been serving wines made from the estate’s vineyards.
During your wine tasting, you’ll have the opportunity to sample five wines. After your time in the Tasting Room, you can browse the Wine Shop to find a bottle to bring home or walk across to the Wine Bar to savor a glass of your favorite wine.
Your complimentary wine tasting is by reservation only, so I suggest visiting the Biltmore Winery to secure your reservation when you arrive at The Antler Hill Village.
Use These Tips for Visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville to Have an Unforgettable Visit
Overall, the Biltmore Estate is a can’t-miss attraction when visiting Asheville. The Biltmore is also an excellent location for a weekend trip, romantic getaway, bachelorette party, and so much more! These tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate will help your visit go smoothly and ensure that you have an incredible time.
Personally, my husband and I visited The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, during a 10-day road trip through Charleston, Savannah, and Asheville. We had a phenomenal time exploring these three Southeastern U.S. cities. I would highly recommend pairing these three cities together for an epic road trip!
Have you ever been to the Biltmore? If so, what are your best tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate? If not, are you interested in visiting? Let me know in the comments!
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