Nestled in the mountains in Ashville, North Carolina, the Biltmore House is a grand estate that will transport you to a bygone era. The beautiful home of George and Edith Vanderbilt was built in 1889 and opened to friends and family in 1895. Today, it is a lovely destination for families who want to explore what life was like among the upper class in the 19th century.
A tour of the house varies in price depending on the time of the year you visit and how far in advance you purchase tickets. I strongly encourage you to buy the tickets at least seven days in advance to get the largest discount available. There is even a flex-pass tickets for families who are unsure of the exact date they will be at the estate. Discounted tickets are available for children 10-16, and children under 10 are free.
Tickets include a self-guided tour of the Biltmore House, access to the beautiful historic gardens, and shopping in Antler Hill Village. You also get entrance to an exhibit entitled The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad and a free wine tasting and guided winery tour.
The audio tour is an additional $10, and a wonderful way to understand and appreciate the fine art you encounter within the house. There are two separate tours – one for adults and one specifically recorded for children. These audio tours tell stories of the people who lived in the house, the history of the furnishings you see, and highlights the magnificent art hanging in the house, including works by Renoir, Sargent, and Dürer.
Outside the house are acres of magnificent gardens. On a nice day, the children will love exploring the pathways, taking pictures of the different flowers, and walking through the greenhouse.
There are shops in the former stables of the main estate, as well as additional shopping in the Antler Hill Village. Kids will love the toymaker’s shop and the confectionery. Be sure to stop by the creamery for a cold treat on a hot summer day.
The winery is also a fascinating stop on a visit to the Biltmore house. Take a tour of how wine is made there at the estate and enjoy a free sample in the tasting room. They even offer children grape juice so that they can feel a part of the fun.
To get your kids excited about the visit before you go, have them read The Mystery of Biltmore House, a fun story set in the real house. While reading, your kids will encounter rooms, objects, and artifacts that they will come face-to-face with once you are there.
This might be the closest thing the continental United States has to a castle, and kids will love exploring and learning about the time period and people who lived here.