Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on February 14, 2024.
It’s easy to say Biltmore Estate in Asheville is immaculate, beautiful, and every other superlative one can think of, but that’s what comes to mind when seeing America’s Largest privately owned home in person.
Biltmore Estate was built by George Washington Vanderbilt and consists of 8,000 acres of grounds. Thousands of tourists visit Biltmore Estate each year, and this article gives you everything you needc to know before visiting!
The house has 250 rooms, 75 acres of gardens, and one of the nation’s most-visited wineries!
This article is organized to give you both a background on Biltmore Estate as well as our personal tips on how to make the most of your visit! Here are the headings and topics you’ll find in this article:
- Biltmore Estate Background and History
- Tips for Visiting the Biltmore House North Carolina
- Visiting the Gardens
- Restaurants at Biltmore Estate
- Shopping at Biltmore Estate
- Christmas at Biltmore
- Events at Biltmore Estate
- Antler Hill Village & Biltmore Winery
- Our Tips for Visiting Biltmore Estate
- Is Biltmore kid-friendly?
- Tips for Buying Tickets for Biltmore and Discounts
- Staying at Biltmore Estate
Where is the Biltmore Estate?
The Biltmore Estate is just a few miles from downtown Asheville, in Biltmore Village, so it’s easy to visit if you spend a few days in and around the Blue Ridge Parkway.
It’s a massive mansion that features over 250 rooms and covers nearly 7,000 acres!
Biltmore Estate Background and History
A Massive Project
Biltmore took six years and 1,000 craftspeople to put together. It was Vanderbilt’s vision for the ultimate country home and opened on Christmas Eve, 1895.
Building materials were delivered by a special railroad track that was laid down solely for Biltmore’s construction. Since its completion, it’s long been known as The United States’ largest home, and rightfully so!
Why was Biltmore Estate Built?
The house was created for George Vanderbilt’s family, and things haven’t changed since its completion.
The house is still family-owned, as Vanderbilt’s daughter Cornelia and her husband John Cecil remain involved in the day-to-day operations.
Read More: 100+ Unique Things to Do in North Carolina.
Tips for Visiting the Biltmore House
Seeing the Biltmore House, North Carolina
The scale of this 8,000-acre Estate sets in during the 3-mile drive from the ticket office to the house.
Thankfully, you get a Biltmore Estate map after picking up your tickets. Tour buses will park right at the front, but if you’re DIYing it as we have, it’s just a short walk from the parking lot through a wooded path.
If you aren’t fortunate enough to score one of the closer parking lots, Trolleys will shuttle visitors from the parking lot to the front of the Biltmore Estate. We found that these shuttles run frequently and were quite convenient.
The Beautiful Interior
Biltmore’s design was inspired by Vanderbilt’s travels throughout the world, with the French Renaissance as the specific inspiration.
Here are a few notable stats inside this 250-room house: There are 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces, each of which is a further demonstration that no detail was left behind.
You can learn more about the house by following an audio tour (kids versions available, too!) or a guided tour, though availability varies.
Don’t Skip the Gardens at Biltmore Estate
Take a stroll through the gardens and trails, one of our favorite places to visit during spring.
Each section is filled with aesthetic beauty and makes for a nice nature walk near the French Broad River that serves as an excellent getaway during busy days at Biltmore.
The Shrub Garden is a nice lead-in walk to the Rose Garden and Conservatory. Don’t forget about the Bass Pond & Boat House if you have time.
That’s where many guests of the Vanderbilts would get some rest after their time spent at the gardens.
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If you’re at Biltmore during winter or a rainy day or both, an umbrella and warm clothes will help. But there is still plenty to see in the Conservatory if the weather is not ideal.
The Conservatory is a beautifully designed building filled with exotic orchids, flowers, ferns, and plants. Underneath the building in the back of the Conservatory is a plant shop which is definitely worth stopping in if you are a plant lover like us!
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Restaurants at Biltmore Estate
While it is possible to leave Biltmore and go to some of these Asheville restaurants, there are some great food options on the Estate.
Casual options are available at Cedric’s Tavern, Stable Cafe, The Kitchen Cafe, The Creamery, and The Smokehouse Food Truck at Antler Hill Village. Quick bites and drinks can also be found at The Courtyard Market outside of the house.
Village Social serves everything from burgers to steaks using estate-grown ingredients. Enjoy European delights, including hand-made pasta and wood-fired pizzas at the Bistro.
But of course, American’s Largest Home must have some elegant dining as well! The Dining Room is a Four-Star dining experience with incredible views of the Estate. Fine china, linen tablecloths, and a business casual dress code- The Dining Room is probably one of the most romantic restaurants in North Carolina.
Shopping at Biltmore Estate
The Vanderbilts traveled the world and brought home eclectic and unique goods. So naturally, the shopping at Biltmore reflects this.
Shop through the Gilded Age, visit the garden shop, confectionery, toy shop, bookshop, and a year-round Christmas shop. And this is just the shopping located at the Biltmore House and Gardens!
There is even more shopping at Biltmore at Antler Hill Village. The Barn Door is filled with unique decors, and Traditions is a fantastic shop for those who want to entertain like Edith Vanderbilt!
After your wine tasting at Biltmore Winery, make sure to browse through the wine shop to take home some wine or specialty food items that you can’t find anywhere else.
Christmas at Biltmore
When it comes to ticketing options, there are two for Christmas at Biltmore. The most popular is the nighttime candlelight experience. Candles glow, and the fireplaces are all lit.
Not to mention that even Antler Hill is adorned in a twinkle!
Tickets are more expensive for the candlelight tour, but even more so than that, they are harder to snag! Even for a daytime ticket, we booked ours in August for a November visit!
We recommend booking your candlelight ticket far in advance.
Events at Biltmore Estate
After seeing the fantastic light displays during Christmas at Biltmore, many will attest, but fun things are happening throughout the year.
We walked through during the months-long Chihuly at Biltmore exhibit, the first art exhibition held in the gardens back in 2018. Spring is beautiful at Biltmore when the flowers burst with color, and the gardens come alive.
Events at Biltmore include Van Gogh Alive, and in 2024 Biltmore is excited to present another Chihuly exhibit.
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Antler Hill Village & Biltmore Winery
Wine Tastings at Biltmore Winery
Not only does your ticket include a visit through the Biltmore Estate, but it also grants access to Antler Hill Village and Biltmore Winery.
Your ticket to Biltmore includes a complimentary tasting, so please don’t pass that up. It’s only America’s most-visited winery and one of the best in North Carolina, after all.
During our visit in 2021, guests needed to make their wine tasting reservation at Guest Services on the day of their visit. As soon as we approached the house, there was a stand where we could secure our time. They recommended 4 hours after our house tour recommendation, which was the perfect amount of time!
If you’re looking for even more fun on the vine, you can tour the vineyard, enjoy chocolate pairings, taste premium wines, and join a wine and cheese hour (Fridays and Saturdays).
For more info about Biltmore’s wine offerings, check the winery’s official site.
Read More: The Best Breweries in Asheville
Our Tips for Visiting Biltmore Estate Asheville North Carolina
Expect to take at least an hour to go through the Biltmore House. If you are listening to the audio tour, you may take longer to stop and take photos. Additionally, it does take some time to drive around the Estate as it is so large!
Wear comfortable shoes. Just inside the house, you wander upstairs and through a variety of floors, so comfort is more important than fashion in this travel scenario! There is a lot of walking.
Plan to arrive at least 45 minutes before your house tour begins. I know that sounds like a long time, but between waiting at the gate to have your ticket scanned, the 3-mile drive to the parking lot, and hopping a trolley to the house, time will go quick!
Go early. With all of our travel advice, we recommend always going early.
Is Biltmore Kid-friendly?
While strollers might not be permitted inside Biltmore House, you can still wear your little one. Personally, I wouldn’t take my 4-year-old inside of Biltmore because there is a lot of walking and super cool things to want to touch!
But I would reconsider when she’s 7-8, and maybe that would be age-appropriate considering there is a kid’s version of the audio tour, as we mentioned earlier.
But if you are visiting Biltmore with younger children, there is a playground and farm at Antler Hill Village! You can even pet the goats at the farm and watch as artisans make wood and metal crafts by hand.
Antler Hill Village hosts a farm, shopping, and an Outdoor Adventure Center that offers plenty of fun activities. You can go fly fishing, ride a horse, do a Segway tour, and more.
Tips for Buying Tickets for Biltmore and Discounts
If you’re looking for tickets to Biltmore Asheville North Carolina, visit their official website and skip the lines! You will even save some cash by booking online.
Additionally, Seniors and Military Service Members also receive a discount on Biltmore tickets. Typically around Christmas Biltmore lowers the cost of their annual pass, making it a deal if you plan to visit more than twice in one year! This is when we recommend you keep your eyes peeled for extra savings!
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Ready to Visit Biltmore Estate?
Biltmore really stands out. And that’s saying a lot, considering it sits in Asheville, one of North Carolina’s most unique places to visit.
If you’ve been before, what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments section or by email.
Don’t forget to share your Biltmore Estate adventures in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group.
And if you’ve never been, we hope you can make it for at least a day and that you have an awesome time.