First Timer’s Guide to the Biltmore

One of the area’s most popular attractions is the Biltmore Estate. First-time visitors to the area may be unfamiliar with the Biltmore and its rich history. This article is a first timer’s guide to the Biltmore.

What is the Biltmore?

The Biltmore Estate was the private residence of George Washington Vanderbilt and is an incredible achievement of architecture, landscape design, and forestry. We recommend that first-time visitors focus on three key highlights: the Biltmore House, the Gardens and Grounds, and Antler Hill Village.

  • The Biltmore House: Inspired by George’s European travels, the massive house was completed in 1896 and resembles a French chateau. The house incorporates cutting-edge amenities of it’s day, including the original elevator still in use. Key highlights include the banquet hall, the library, the bowling alley, and the indoor pool.
  • The Gardens and Grounds: The formal gardens and Conservatory are located immediately adjacent to main house. Beyond that, the informal gardens extend for hundreds of acres and include hiking, biking and horse trails.
  • Antler Hill Village features shops, exhibits, restaurants, and the very popular Biltmore Winery.

Biltmore Gardens

5 Tips for a Great First Visit:

It is easy to feel overwhelmed with the multiple types of tours, activities, and areas of the estate. Here are some of some top tips to help you plan a great first visit:

  1. Buy your tickets in advance and reserve a self-guided house tour. We recommend purchasing the self-guided tour for first-time visitors. The tour takes about 90 minutes to complete at a comfortable pace. NOTE: this ticket option requires visitors to book tickets in advance, which includes selecting an entry time for your tour.
  2. Spend the extra money and get the audio guide. A small, portable audio guide includes helpful, informative, and delightful first-hand accounts of life at the Biltmore.
  3. Ask questions of the Biltmore guides. Knowledgeable Biltmore House guides are conveniently located in each area of the house. They have a wealth of detail about the various artwork and artifacts in each room. If you see something interesting and want to learn more about it, ask them about it. Chances are, they will have great information to share!
  4. Visit the formal gardens and Conservatory. Since these formal gardens are hidden from the view of the main house, first-time visitors often miss them. Follow the signage at the main house to find the formal garden and the stunning glass Conservatory. You can even order one of our picnic lunches and enjoy dining on the grounds!
  5. Make time to visit Antler Hill Village. A short drive from the main house is Antler Hill Village. The Village is the location of the Biltmore Winery, the most visited winery in America, which hosts tastings for visitors each day. For those with a sweet tooth, allow time to stop at the Creamery to sample the fresh ice cream is made from the milk of Biltmore cows.

To reserve tickets or to learn more about the Biltmore, visit The Biltmore is only 30 minutes from our Waynesville, NC bed and breakfast, a perfect base of operations for exploring Western North Carolina.