We recently spent a day exploring the Biltmore House in Ashville, North Carolina. I had visited as a young girl and was eager to take my family. Home to one of the most famous and wealthy families in the world, the Vanderbilts, it’s truly a glimpse into how they lived in the early 1900s.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take photos inside, but I can tell you that my kids were just as impressed by the architecture and art as we were. I was worried that the tour would bore them, but I was wrong.
The Biltmore Estate is the realization of George Washington Vanderbilt’s vision to create an estate both sustainable and beneficial to its surrounding community. The estate now encompasses acres of gardens, park lands, and managed forests. The home itself features four acres of floor space, making up 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces complete with an underground swimming pool, gymnasium, bowling alley, and kitchens. Its opulence has been utilized in films such as Forrest Gump, Being There, The Swan, The Last of the Mohicans and many others.
We toured through 42 rooms which comprises 80% of the house via the audio tour (key to keeping kids happy and educational for all). It was pretty incredible learning about this incredible, rich part of American history.
We also visited the Biltmore Estate Winery which fuses rich wine making tradition with state of the art technology and is where they produce 75,000 cases of roughly 15 varieties annually. The winery offers free guided tours, tastings and seminars on their award winning wines, culinary demonstrations, live music and more.
My kids had their first wine tasting (okay, it was grape juice).
My son’s favorite part of the day? His ride on a mini Land Rover. Oh, yeah.
And that is the sign of a successful day. His smile.
Tickets are $49 each and includes:
• Self-guided visit of Biltmore House
• Access to gardens and Antler Hill Village
• Access to our new Legacy exhibition,
The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad
• Free wine tasting and guided tour at the Winery
• Plenty of dining and shopping opportunities
• Free parking
Helpful Family-Friendly Tips to Plan Your Visit (provided by Biltmore.com )
- The Biltmore House has a special right now — kids ages 16 and under get free admission this summer (through September 3). Outside this promotion, kids ages 9 and younger are admitted free year-round when accompanied by a paying parent or guardian.
- Every restaurant is family-friendly. There are a variety of dining options on the estate, and every restaurant features a children’s menu and a helpful wait staff.
- The Winery is family friendly, with complimentary grape juice available for kids.
- Bring your stroller.Lightweight travel strollers or child backpack carriers are ideal for visiting Biltmore House. They allow you to navigate the house’s stairs with ease and give little feet a break.
- Take breaks during your tour of Biltmore House. There’s no rush to see it all. Sneak outside to the Stable Courtyard for some fresh air, a quick snack, or an early lunch at the Stable Café.
- Check out a Family Fun Itinerary page for fun and easy ideas.
- The Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Hill Village is another great stop for families. Bike rentals, Segway tours, fly-fishing classes, and river float trips provide the opportunity to explore hidden areas of the estate. Stop by the Land Rover Driving experience especially for kids. Children drive a replica Land Rover over an adventurous terrain to experience this unique off-roading activity. The course is designed for children between four and eight years old.
Disclosure: I was provided with free tickets to tour the estate but paid for my own activities and meals.