Built during America’s “Gilded Age," the Biltmore House and Gardens® today remains America’s Largest Home ®. The 8,000-acre Asheville estate, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark, is open to the public and attracts more than 1 million visitors each year.
While the grandeur of the 250-room chateau itself is enough to attract wondering tourists, the full offerings of the estate are a big reason many Asheville travelers make the Biltmore® a part of their vacation plans. With botanical gardens, fine dining, scenic trails, a winery, a farm, music events, and more, the Biltmore ® fits as easily into plans for a family vacation as a romantic Asheville getaway.
Planning Your Biltmore Visit
If you go, be sure to plan ahead, as there is more than a day’s worth of attractions and events at the Biltmore® to keep you occupied. Here is a sampling:
Catch a glimpse into the Vanderbilt family’s lifestyle: vintage clothing and furniture, works of art by Renoir and Sargent, and awe-inspiring architecture. The self-guided tour is included in your Biltmore House admission ticket, or you can take a guided specialty tour at an additional cost.
Designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the estate’s grounds include a variety of gardens and a conservatory:
- Italian Garden: The marble statues and lily pad-filled reflecting pools resemble the stately Versailles in France. The pools are filled with koi and goldfish, as well as many varieties of aquatic plants, including water lilies, elephant ears, and papyrus.
- Shady Pergola: This cool and quiet passageway leading to the Shrub and Walled Gardens has four marble busts (representing the four seasons) nestled along its stone wall. During peak spring, the pergola is covered in purple wisteria blooms.
- Shrub Garden: A level path leads you through the four-acre Shrub Garden, a picturesque landscape with hundreds of ornamental shrubs and beautiful trees like the Golden Rain Tree and Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar. Perfectly airy and shady, it’s the perfect place for an aimless stroll or wandering.
- Walled Garden: The centerpiece of the gardens features a seasonal rotation of blooms, including 75,000 tulips in the spring, colorful summer annuals, and rich fall mums. A long arbor covered with grapevines runs down the center with themed areas, including a butterfly garden, white border, scented border, and Victorian border.
- Rose Garden: The lower half of the Walled Garden features 50 varieties of roses grown at the end of the 19th century, plus modern varieties and all–American Roses. You'll also find traditional garden structures, such as a maypole and double arch surrounded by 2,000 roses, planted exactly as it was when the Vanderbilts lived at Biltmore.
- Spring Garden: This garden is surrounded by a grove of white pines and hemlocks and is full of an assortment of spring-blooming shrubs including Forsythia, Deutzia, and Mock Orange.
- Azalea Garden: This crowd favorite is filled with a million vivid blooms of white, yellow, orange, and every shade of pink imaginable. The impressive collection of azaleas hits its peak in late April and May and is spread across 15 acres.
- Conservatory: Completed in 1896, the conservatory features soaring glass ceilings and arched windows that look out onto the terraced butterfly garden and Walled Garden. Filled with vibrant poinsettias and an array of exotic orchids during the Christmas and winter seasons, this opulent greenhouse captivates guests year-round with an ever-present abundance of lush tropical plants and fragrant floral displays.
View the Biltmore's gardens in full bloom during the annual Biltmore Blooms, a two-month period in the spring!
In addition to the Gardens, the estate has an extensive network of both open and forested trails for hiking and biking (rentals available), pastoral fields, access to the French Broad River, and a bass pond.
- Bass Pond: Created more than 125 years ago, the bass pond was designed by none other than Frederick Law Olmsted to provide still water for the Vanderbilts and their friends to go boating. The Bass Pond is located at the end of Biltmore’s formal gardens, and though it’s a bit of a walk, the end result is well worth it. You’ll know you’ve reached the pond when you see the boathouse and the arched brick bridge, which was featured in the Hollywood film, The Last of the Mohicans.
- The Lagoon: Just below the 250-acre Deer Park portion of the estate, Frederick Law Olmsted created the Lagoon as a peaceful, natural water feature that also serves as a giant natural mirror to reflect the west-facing portion of the Biltmore House.
- Sunflowers: During late summer (peak in late August-mid September), explore a mile-long sunflower patch along the greenway and road near Antler Hill Village.
- 20+ Miles of Trails: Bike or walk on a network of trails to explore even more of the estate. Find more information and a detailed trail map here.
Antler Hill Village
The Village offers a variety of activities, including shopping, dining, and special exhibitions. At the Farm in Antler Hill Village, you’ll see how the estate operated in its heyday, and how the families of the workers lived. Experience craft demonstrations, farm-friendly animals, an old-fashioned mercantile shop, a Smokehouse, and a children’s play area.
Outdoor Adventure Center
Located in Antler Hill Village. Activities include biking, hiking, carriage rides, Land Rover expeditions, horseback trail rides, fly-fishing, river float trips, sporting clays, and Segway tours.
Visit Biltmore's Winery within Antler Hill Village to get acquainted with their distinctive portfolio of multi-award-winning reds, whites, and rosés. Their knowledgeable wine hosts are on hand to guide your selections from among more than 20 handcrafted vintages. Take a tour of the winery or enjoy a complimentary wine tasting. Hosted in the Tasting Room, Biltmore's Complimentary Wine Tastings are yet another example of the Vanderbilts’ warm and gracious signature hospitality. Keep in mind that reservations are required for all wine tastings and must be made on the day of your visit. Since slots fill up quickly, we recommend you reserve your tasting upon arriving at the estate!
The estate celebrates Christmas at Biltmore & Candlelight Evenings every year from early November through early January and Biltmore Blooms every April and May. In addition to these seasonal events, the estate also hosts a number of special exhibits and immersive experiences throughout the year. Past exhibits include “Dressing Downton,” an exhibit of costumes from the popular television series Downton Abbey, Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie, and Legends of Art & Innovation, a year-long series of multi-sensory experiences created to illuminate the remarkable lives of Van Gogh, Monet, and Da Vinci.
Biltmore Discounted Tickets
Greybeard Rentals has a special discount code, available to guests staying in one of our rental homes. If you plan to visit the Biltmore Estate during your Asheville vacation, be sure to mention it to one of our Rentals agents, and check out our Top 10 Tips for Visiting the Biltmore Estate before your visit to the historic home.