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Visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC – VIDEO

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Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Biltmore Estate stands as a testament to opulence, history, and architectural grandeur. A visit to this American treasure is more than just a tour; it’s a journey through time, luxury, and nature. If you’re planning a trip to Asheville, NC, the Biltmore Estate is an absolute must-see. Here’s a guide to help you make the most of your visit.

Commissioned by George Washington Vanderbilt II, the Biltmore Mansion was completed in 1895. Designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, this French Renaissance-style chateau is the largest privately-owned house in the United States, spanning over 175,000 square feet with 250 rooms. The estate originally covered 125,000 acres but now sits on a more modest 8,000 acres, still providing ample space for exploration and wonder.

Biltmore Estate 2023

As you approach the Biltmore Estate, the grandeur of the mansion immediately captivates you. The expansive grounds and the mansion’s towering facade set the stage for a day of exploration and discovery.

We arrived early so we could walk around the grounds before it started to get busy. Biltmore offers a couple of parking lots close to the house with buses to transport you if needed.

The property itself is set back quite far from the main gates. The drive in is absolutely beautiful with stone-lined roads, incredible greenery, and waterfalls.

Biltmore Estate 2023 side of estate

The stables have been turned into a few shops(candy store, toys store, and souvenirs) along with a restaurant. In the courtyard, they have snacks and an ice cream stand.

To enter the house you must go through security and then line up for your time slot.

The House Tour

Entering the mansion feels like stepping into another era. The house tour is self-guided, allowing you to explore at your own pace. Each room coordinates with a number you press on the handset where they give you information about the space you’re in.

Highlights of the tour include:

  • The Banquet Hall: Featuring a 70-foot-high ceiling, Flemish tapestries from the 1500s, and a massive fireplace, this room was designed for grand gatherings.
  • The Library: Home to Vanderbilt’s collection of over 10,000 books, the library showcases a beautifully painted ceiling by artist Giovanni Pellegrini.
Biltmore Estate library
  • The Indoor Winter Garden: A lush, plant-filled atrium bathed in natural light, providing a tranquil retreat.
Biltmore Estate entrance
  • The Basement: Housing a swimming pool, bowling alley, and gymnasium, the basement reveals the estate’s commitment to modern amenities and entertainment.
Biltmore Estate indoor swimming pool

In addition your tour takes you through George and Edith’s private bedrooms, their common space, the games room, the guest rooms, the music room and you will also get an incredible view of the property from the back porch.

Biltmore Estate Edith's bedroom
Biltmore Estate games room

In total we toured almost 50 rooms with our general admission tour ticket.

Biltmore Estate Kitchen

The Gardens and Grounds

Designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the gardens and grounds of Biltmore are a horticultural masterpiece. If you would like to just visit the grounds they have a general admission that doesn’t include the house. Pets are also welcome if you are touring the gardens and grounds. They must be leashed at all times.

  • The Walled Garden: A formal garden featuring seasonal flowers, geometric designs, and a conservatory with tropical plants.
Biltmore Estate walled garden
  • The Italian Garden: Reflecting pools adorned with water lilies and koi fish, offering a serene atmosphere for reflection.
  • The Bass Pond: A peaceful spot perfect for a leisurely walk or a moment of quiet contemplation.
Biltmore Estate pond

Biltmore Conservatory

Also designed by Richard Morris Hunt the conservatory serves as a greenhouse for the estate’s lush flora.

The conservatory showcases classic Victorian greenhouse architecture, featuring a combination of glass, metal, and brick. The design ensures optimal light and climate control for the plants.

Biltmore Estate conservatory

The conservatory is filled was an impressive variety of plants, including exotic orchids, ferns, palms, and seasonal flowers. This diverse collection is carefully curated to provide a year-round display of blooms and foliage. There are also several themed rooms, each dedicated to different plant species or horticultural themes including the Orchid Room, the Palm House, and the Azalea Room, among others.

Biltmore Estate conservatory plants

As part of the larger Biltmore Estate, the conservatory holds historical significance, reflecting the Gilded Age’s fascination with botany and the desire to bring exotic plant species to American soil.

    Tips for a Perfect Visit

    1. Plan Ahead: Purchase tickets online in advance to secure your preferred entry time and avoid long lines.
    2. Dress Comfortably: Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking both indoors and outdoors.
    3. Stay Hydrated and Nourished: There are several dining options on the estate, but bringing a water bottle and some snacks can be handy.
    4. Photography: Photography is allowed inside the mansion, but flash and tripods are prohibited. Be sure to capture the beauty around you, especially in the gardens.
    5. Explore the Surroundings: If time allows, take a drive or hike through the Blue Ridge Parkway to fully appreciate the stunning natural beauty of the region.

    A visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, is a journey through American history, architectural wonder, and natural beauty. Whether you’re an avid history buff, a lover of grand estates, or simply looking for a unique and enriching experience, the Biltmore Estate offers something for everyone. So pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and prepare to be amazed by this timeless treasure in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

    Biltmore Estate waterfalls
    Lisa Arneill
    Lisa Arneill
    Canadian mom of 2 busy boys (one with #ASD), photo addict, lover of adventure and wrinkly dogs. Also founder of Growing Your Baby - a parenting website.

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