Do you live for the Christmas season each year? Are you a fan of Downton Abbey and grand, Gilded Age homes? If you answered yes, then you cannot miss Christmas at Biltmore!
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Every year, this already impressive estate outside of Asheville, NC explodes with decorations for the Christmas season. And we’re not talking tons of over-the-top gimmicks or animated decorations. This is vintage Christmas: cranberries, popcorn balls, wreaths, garlands, trees in every room, and thousands of classic white lights!
And that’s just the house.
The estate’s Antler Hill Village area and the two on-site hotels are also decked out in their finest holiday attire. It’s a one-of-a-kind Christmas atmosphere and experience you can’t find anywhere else in the US.
It takes the Biltmore Estate nearly 4 weeks to get the estate ready for Christmas. Now, keep in mind that Christmas at Biltmore runs from the first weekend of November through the first week of January.
That means they’re prepping for Christmas in October. Some of you aren’t impressed by that. But for those of us that don’t put up our trees until at least after Thanksgiving, October is really early.
Why visit the Biltmore Estate?
Because we’re all a little voyeuristic. Who doesn’t love to be a little nosy and ooh and aah over a fabulously decorated home?
This 250-room mansion was built in 1895 by a wealthy Vanderbilt bachelor as his country escape from New York City. Who wouldn’t want to take a peek at that kind of lifestyle?
History buffs will also love the Biltmore Estate for the incredible adventure involved in developing, building, and maintaining what was originally a 250,000 acre estate at the turn of the 20th century in the backwoods mountain town of Asheville, NC.
All the latest technology and conveniences were included in the Biltmore house when it was built, including electricity, refrigeration, fire suppression building techniques, as well as an elevator, a bowling alley, and an indoor swimming pool. Famous names like Frederick Law Olmsted and Richard Morris Hunt were key designers of the landscape and house, respectively.
There are plenty of reasons to visit the Biltmore because this place is amazing all year. The Blue Ridge Mountains surround the estate and are awesome to behold, no matter the season. The azalea gardens burst into bloom in the spring, and the trees put on a show in the fall. There’s a season for everyone here!
Christmas at the Biltmore Estate
Dreamy any time of year, the estate’s fabulous mansion and welcoming hotels are adorned in all manner of Victorian Christmas décor for the holidays.
A giant Norway spruce by the fountain on the front lawn welcomes you to America’s largest privately owned home.
Inside the House, every room showcases individually decorated trees and classic Christmas decorations that’ll make you think you’ve stumbled onto the set of Downton Abbey. The House kitchens feature a gingerbread house model of the mansion, complete with rock candy trees and a gumdrop roofline!
Complete your House tour and turn left into the Stable Courtyard for a hot chocolate or spiced cider. Step inside the Christmas Shop (open year round) for your own Biltmore Christmas ornament, and visit the toy shop, book shop, and Biltmore shops to start your Christmas shopping!
Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore
For an unforgettable Christmas experience, the estate’s Candlelight Christmas Evenings House tours are a twinkling wonder to behold.
The Norwegian spruce on the front lawn stands out as a shining beacon for your approach to the House for your evening tour. The House glows from every window, beckoning you inside.
Live music fills the first floor of the House with a Christmas ambiance to match the luxurious surroundings as you begin your self-guided tour.
While the House has always had electricity, the wood-burning fireplaces and candles galore add dancing firelight to the festive Christmas atmosphere.
Every room is dressed to the nines with wreaths, garlands, and lights and individually decorated Christmas trees. Each tree is themed: some with specific colors, others with actual vintage presents, and even one decorated entirely with miniature wooden ships!
The banquet hall features another equally large Norwegian spruce that pushes the limits of the 70ft high ceiling. Cranberry wreaths and Christmas knickknacks and vintage decorations dance in the firelight of the library’s enormous fireplace.
The stone corridor walls are sheathed in a full-height curtain of lights, creating a Christmas tunnel through the basement. Even the bowling alley and swimming pool areas in the basement are decorated.
The House truly goes all out for Candlelight Christmas Evenings, for a Christmas experience you won’t soon forget.
How much does it cost to visit for Christmas at Biltmore?
A trip to the Biltmore is no more expensive than attending a theme park. Christmas is one of the busiest times to visit the Biltmore Estate, so prices are higher than if you were to visit in the spring or summer.
The mountains get snow, which is promptly cleared from estate roadways and sidewalks, and I can’t imagine the increase in the electricity bill when they turn on the thousands of Christmas lights for two months…
Weekdays are always cheaper than weekends and holidays. Day time tickets start at $84 per adult. Candlelight Christmas Evenings tickets start at $114 per adult (2020 pricing). Discounts are available for children and seniors.
- Parking and option for complimentary use of the parking lot shuttle bus
- Access to the Estate’s 8,000 acres, including all gardens, the Bass Pond, and the Lagoon
- Note: for Candlelight Christmas Evening Tickets, you may access the grounds either the day of your evening visit or the day after your evening visit.
- Self-guided tour of the Biltmore House
- Access to Antler Hill Village: more shops and restaurants & family activities
- Complimentary tasting at the Biltmore Winery
There is no grounds only admission price. Regardless if you want to tour the Biltmore House or not, a day time entry ticket is the lowest price available.
If it’s your first time visiting the Biltmore House, I highly recommend getting an audio tour for an extra $12 per person. You’ll learn all about the house & grounds, the designers, the Vanderbilts, and the funny stories of life at Biltmore.
That’s still a bit pricey for those of you on a budget. No shame; been there! There are a lot of cheap or free activities in Asheville, so make a day trip to Biltmore your splurge activity and plan the rest of your vacation around budget-friendly activities elsewhere in the area.
On the other hand, if you want to go all out for the full Vanderbilt experience, book yourself a luxury stay in a butler suite at The Inn on the Biltmore Estate. If a butler suite is a bit too over the top for you, the Village Hotel is a less expensive option with all the convenience of a stay on the estate grounds.
Have you visited the Biltmore Estate at Christmas? What was your favorite part?