Biltmore in Asheville is America's largest home, features America's most visited winery, and this all sits on 8,000 lush, green acres in the Western North Carolina mountains. Here is information about visiting Biltmore.
Biltmore is probably best known for Biltmore House, a 250-room French chateau style castle that features its own bowling alley, 65 fireplaces, stunning medieval tapestries, and an immense library. While the Biltmore House is a must-do, there are actually several things to explore within the gates of Biltmore Estate.
Things to Do at Biltmore
Biltmore is more like a complex of attractions than a single attraction, which means it is important to allow at least a day to experience it. I would also recommend prioritizing your top two or three activities to do in a day's time. Really, Biltmore was designed to be its own self-sustaining community that produced what it consumed and that is very much reflected today.
The first time I visited Biltmore, I made the mistake of arriving in the afternoon with plans to see the house and the winery. I regretted it right away when I realized I would only have time to do one justice. When you visit Biltmore House, allow at least two hours.
Other attractions at Biltmore include:
- Biltmore Winery, where you can take a tour and learn about the wine-making process at Biltmore. The tour ends with a wine tasting. Allow about two hours. If you want to save time, skip the tour and head directly to the winery gift shop, where you can sample wines at a cash bar instead.
- Biltmore Gardens are beautiful and feature an amazing mix of flora. There is also a stunning rose garden. Perhaps the most interesting section is the conservatory, where you can find plants thriving even in the middle of winter inside the greenhouses. Allow about an hour.
- River Bend Farm is our favorite stop with the kids, and sometimes we go there just to visit this area (which is, in fact, three small attractions in one). The barn features old-fashioned toys, farm equipment, and kids can get a picture taken atop a tractor. Sometimes, there is live music. At the farmyard, kids can pet and get up close to goats, sheep and other farm animals. The kitchen garden is fun for foodies, featuring culinary and medicinal plants, vegetables, and fruits. Allow at least an hour, but longer if you will visit with kids.
- Outdoor activities at Biltmore Estate are not confined to one spot, but they are a major attraction. Recreational activities range in skill level, time involved, and cost (as most do have extra fees). They include carriage rides, horseback riding, river float trips, biking, hiking, segway tours, sporting clays, fly-fishing school and the Land Rover Driving School.
Tips for Visiting Biltmore
- Buy your tickets online at the Biltmore Official Site ahead of time. Although there is a fee to do so, the price is still typically lower than buying at the gate.
- Buy your tickets at the Asheville Tourism Office on Montford Avenue. A Biltmore employee actually has a desk there, and sometimes there are deals for those who buy tickets at this location. There is also a concierge on hand who can help you find a room in the area.
- If you want to buy an annual pass, do it on the day of a visit. You get a big break in the price if you upgrade from a day pass to an annual pass.
- If you will visit with a wheelchair or a stroller, check ahead for the attractions you will visit and allow more time. Getting to Biltmore House with a wheelchair, for example, requires taking a free shuttle bus as it involves an 8-minute walk along a wooded path. Getting from the house down to the gardens below is difficult with anything on wheels.
- If you plan to tour the house, be sure to arrive at least two hours before it closes. First of all, just getting in and to Biltmore House takes a few minutes (it is three miles into the property, and involves a walk). Arriving an hour before closing time will get you there shortly before closing time.
- Certain days are extremely busy at Biltmore, and for that reason they have what they call timed entry days. Check their schedule before your visit to see if you will be there on such a day. If so, allow extra time and definitely buy your tickets ahead of time.
- You will need a car to visit Biltmore. The property is so vast that you can travel a few miles just getting from one to the next.
Biltmore Visit EssentialsBefore you go, these are important details to know:
- Biltmore is open every day. Yes, even on Christmas, as we visited that day and it was a lot of fun to see the many decorations and Christmas trees. The hours can vary depending on which attractions you plan to visit on-site, so be sure to check the hours of Biltmore's site.
- There are several places to eat on Biltmore Estate, with menus ranging from snacks like pastries or ice cream to upscale dining. You can also bring a picnic lunch (perhaps from one of the dozens of regional farmers markets) and find a spot along the river with a Biltmore House view.
- On Biltmore property, there is the Inn on Biltmore Estate. There are also several hotels in Biltmore Village and the Asheville area ranging from inexpensive motels to upscale bed and breakfast inns.
- You can go shopping on Biltmore itself, which has a variety of stores at various locations (but most of which are located just outside Biltmore House). Biltmore Village just outside the gates is oozing with charm and features boutique shopping and popular chain retail stores. About a five-minute drive away is funky and vibrant downtown Asheville, which has blocks of independent shops, galleries and restaurants.