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What to Expect Visiting The Biltmore House in Asheville

The Biltmore House was constructed in 1895 by railroad tycoon George Vanderbilt. The home is the centerpiece to an 8,000 acre estate with large garden displays, hotels, a winery, shopping, dining, walking paths and more.

I must confess North Carolina is not the first place I would guess to be home to one of the most jaw dropping European inspired estates in the United States.

But after visiting the Biltmore House firsthand, I can totally understand why it has the reputation that it does.

Over the course of this post I’ll highlight what to expect when touring the Biltmore House.

Biltmore House Asheville North CarolinaPin
The European inspired home boasts some serious curb appeal!

Once you’re finished here be sure to head over to my YouTube channel to watch the video guide I put together for visiting the Biltmore Estate. It includes tons of beautiful footage I shot from around the property grounds and inside the Biltmore House!

You’ll notice some links and advertisements from partner or affiliate sites throughout this post. I typically earn a small commission on any purchases made through those links at no additional cost to you. If you check those out, great. If not, I’m still happy you’re here!

Where is the Biltmore House located?

The Biltmore House and Estate are located in the southern side of Asheville, North Carolina.

If you’re coming from out of state the best way to get into Asheville is via the regional airport that services flights from many major cities.

The nearest surrounding cities are Charlotte and Knoxville which Asheville sits between.

Charlotte is to the east while Knoxville sits to the west and either city is about two hours away by car.

What to expect when touring the Biltmore House and Estate

Visitors of the Biltmore House should expect a somewhat lengthy drive through the property grounds.

It’s during this drive that you start to realize the scale of the estate and the massive undertaking required to maintain the property.

I’ll also highlight (since I didn’t fully realize this beforehand) that the Biltmore House is a different building than the Biltmore Hotel.

The two buildings are located on different parts of the estate property.

As you drive back towards the Biltmore House you will pass the Biltmore Hotel and other estate facilities.

While you can’t stay in the actual house at this time, the hotel is a great option for out of town guests looking for a more immersive Biltmore experience.

After a scenic drive through the estate you’ll eventually come to the parking areas that serve the Biltmore House.

Exterior wall at Biltmore HousePin
The views of the Biltmore House are excellent from atop the wall shown here

Once you’ve parked you can either walk to the house or catch one of the shuttles that make frequent pickups from the parking lot.

As you approach the house you’ll walk along the massive courtyard and fountain area that leads up to the entrance.

Biltmore House Courtyard Asheville North CarolinaPin
Views of the Biltmore House looking over the massive courtyard and fountain

Once you make it up to the entrance area (be sure to purchase tickets in advance!) you’ll be instructed to present your tickets, be educated on house rules and given the low down on how to use your audio tour device.

Guided tours are an option if that’s more your style, but again you’ll need to make reservations in advance to ensure the property can accommodate you and your group.

Upon entering the house you’ll quickly understand why it attracts so many visitors each year.

Every inch of the interior is lavishly decorated with works of art, photographs highlighting the property’s history and ornate furniture one would typically expect to see in a European castle.

Biltmore House interiorPin
House or museum? The Biltmore House blurs this line as soon as you enter

Not only is the estate immaculately decorated but you’ll quickly realize the Biltmore was built to operate more like a resort than a home.

There’s a room for every imaginable purpose on the property including a banquet hall, salon, bowling alley, underground pool, library, a large number of guest rooms and so much more.

Biltmore House billiards roomPin
Imagine playing billiards in this room with a fire lit and cigar in hand over 100 years ago

Photographs barely do the immense scale of the Biltmore House justice, it’s something you have to experience first hand to truly appreciate!

How long does it take to explore the Biltmore House?

Be sure to budget at least 90 minutes to explore the Biltmore House.

If you plan on listening to the majority of the audio tour and really taking in the ambience you could easily spend upwards of two hours touring the house.

Budget additional time if you plan to stop for food, coffee or to browse the shops located adjacent to the Biltmore House in the stables area after completing your tour.

Biltmore House dining hallPin
The Biltmore House banquet hall looks fit for a Game of Thrones scene

A complimentary wine tasting at the Biltmore Winery is included with your Biltmore House ticket.

If you plan on taking advantage of this free perk you’ll need to make an additional reservation at the winery and budget additional time. Be mindful that you’ll need to drive across the estate to reach the winery.

You can learn more about your complimentary wine tasting here.

Can I take photos inside the Biltmore House?

You can take photos inside the Biltmore House but flash photography is not permitted.

Room with fabric ceilings in Biltmore HousePin
Even the ceilings of the Biltmore House are extravagantly decorated

Most of the Biltmore House is dimly lit to better preserve the homes contents. While you can take photographs during your visit the lighting is less than ideal in most rooms.

When is the best time to visit the Biltmore House?

Seasonality plays a big role in shaping your Biltmore House experience.

During the winter months visitors can expect extravagant Christmas displays throughout the grounds.

While a visit during the fall will offer excellent conditions for those more into leaf peeping. Or, consider a visit during the spring when the estate gardens are in bloom!

The Biltmore House also boasts different events such as live music or art exhibits throughout the year so its best to check directly with the estate website when planning your visit.

You can check out event listings at the Biltmore here.

Is there food at the Biltmore House?

There are casual restaurants located just outside of the Biltmore House in the stable area. These are great options for anyone not staying at the Biltmore Hotel.

For guests staying at the hotel in the Antler Hill Village area there are more formal dining options available. You can still eat at the restaurants near the hotel even if you aren’t staying on the property.

Do I need a reservation to tour the Biltmore House?

You will need a reservation to visit and tour the Biltmore House. Reservations can be made at the Biltmore website here.

Check out these activities available in the area

Looking for more ways to fill out your trip itinerary? Be sure to check out the list of activities below from GetYourGuide.

Can I stay at the Biltmore House?

You can’t stay in the actual Biltmore House. However, there are a number of lodging options available throughout the estate that cater to different budgets.

The Village Hotel at Biltmore Estate is geared towards budget conscious travelers, although I wouldn’t use the word cheap to describe the cost or accommodations.

Reading room in Biltmore House Asheville North CarolinaPin
Even the ceiling of the reading room boasts an elaborate mural

The Inn is considered a higher end lodging option while those really looking to splurge on a luxury experience should explore the Cottages at Biltmore.

You can compare lodging options at the Biltmore Estate here.

While an overnight stay includes gate access to the Biltmore Estate, my understanding is that it does not include free access to the Biltmore House and you will still need a separate ticket and reservation.

I’d recommend directly contacting the hotel in advance with any questions regarding your stay or to see if there are promotions and discounts available on a Biltmore House tour.

If you’re looking for other activities to do during your visit to Asheville be sure to check out my favorite brewery in town, the Wicked Weed Brewing Pub. It pairs really well with a morning hike to the nearby Catawba Falls.

Hopefully this post covering the Biltmore Estate in Asheville North Carolina serves you well during your visit!

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Mary Lynne Schuster

Thursday 7th of March 2024

Thank you! We’ve been planning this trip for months and headed to the house today. It’s really very confusing, and this article helped explain very well what to expect.

Wesley Mergard

Thursday 7th of March 2024

Great I'm glad you found it helpful and hope you enjoy your visit!

Madonna Miles

Friday 26th of January 2024

Wondering if March is a better time to see gardens than February

Wes Mergard

Friday 26th of January 2024

Hi Madonna! If you’re hoping to see the Biltmore Gardens in bloom I’d suggest visiting in mid March. You might have luck earlier in March depending on the weather each year, but February is probably too soon to have the best experience. Hope that helps!