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10 Reasons to Visit the Biltmore Estate and Gardens

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What is the #1 reason you should plan a visit to the Biltmore Estate and Gardens? You can explore acres of beautiful gardens, see an amazing mansion and grounds in detail, and enjoy world-class wine! A visit to this gem would be a great day out for any visitor.

10 reasons to visit the Biltmore Estate and Gardens

Where is the Biltmore Estate and Gardens?

The Biltmore Estate and Gardens are located in the heart of Asheville, North Carolina, just off of Interstate 40. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a tour of the Biltmore Estate and Gardens can easily be part of a longer trip to the mountains.

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A Little History of the Biltmore Estate?

George Vanderbilt began building his mansion in 1895 on 125,000 pristine acres in the North Carolina mountains. The last private residence built by a Vanderbilt family member, the Biltmore has over 250 rooms and 135,000 square feet!

The Biltmore House was completed 12 years later after many changes to the original plans. (Some rooms were left unfinished until years later, though.)

Fun Fact: Though clearly built for elegance and entertaining, including an indoor bowling alley and swimming pool, the Biltmore was also used as a storehouse for valuable art during World War II, keeping it safe during a time of unrest.

Today, the estate is still owned by the Biltmore family, through a non-profit organization (The Biltmore Company) that provides educational programs and hosts many special events throughout the year.

Oranges growing in the Biltmore conservatory.
Oranges growing in the conservatory, formerly known as the orangery.

Want to do a bit of research before visiting The Biltmore Estate and Gardens? Check out these helpful books, full of history and amazing photographs:

When to Visit The Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate and Gardens are open to visitors 365 days a year, though there are times you want to consider going simply for what’s blooming.

If your time to visit Biltmore is limited, plan on visiting between April 25th – May 23rd for peak blooms. During these weeks you’ll see over 150,000 flowers in full bloom.

Tulips in early spring in the Biltmore gardens
Tulips in early spring in the Biltmore gardens

If you’re a fan of azaleas and rhododendrons be sure to visit between mid-May through late May for the best blooms. They will have hundreds of thousands on display during this time frame!

Are you a lover of all things Christmas? Then plan your visit in November and December when the house is all decked out for the holiday season! It’s a wonderful experience that really displays the opulence of the house and grounds with enormous Christmas trees throughout!

For current hours and ticket purchases, visit The Biltmore Estate Website.

10 Reasons to Visit the Biltmore Gardens

The gardens at the Biltmore were designed in 1895 by Frederick Law Olmsted to surround the home, and are largely unchanged since they were completed. Each season brings a new display of color in this garden space (see below), as well as the nation’s first managed forest. Here are some great reasons to visit the Biltmore Gardens and Grounds:

  1. The Azalea Garden is the first thing you see as soon as you enter through the Visitor Center. It’s a wonderful introduction to what lies ahead and blooms in April/May. The dramatic display covers more than three acres—about a quarter of the entire estate property! (Have your own azaleas? Learn how to prune old azaleas back for beautiful blooms!)
  2. Rose Garden: A great place to sit and relax, this historic garden will have you surrounded by fragrant roses. The rose garden features 200 varieties of roses representing historical types as well as new hybrids that bloom throughout spring and summer—Some of these roses are also used in the Biltmore Conservatory’s Rose Gin.
  3. Biltmore House Shrub Garden: The Biltmore Estate and Gardens has over 500 different types of shrubs that come in all shapes, sizes and colors. It’s an amazing sight if you appreciate plants like we do! This garden contains many varieties of shrubs including hydrangeas, viburnum, butterfly bush, Russian sage, and rhododendrons. Get inspired to plant a new type of shrub in your own garden.
  4. The Walled Garden: This is where you’ll find vegetables like asparagus and tomatoes growing in raised beds surrounded by flowers and framed with boxwood hedges. The spring will bring a showy display of tulips that is extraordinary.
  5. The Italian Garden: This is one of the most photographed spots on the estate, but it’s also a popular destination for weddings. The garden was designed in 1895 by Charles L. Marshall to serve as an outdoor ballroom when guests at George Vanderbilt’s house danced under the stars. Complete with water features and high hedges, visitors can marvel at his design and imagine being part of another era while viewing sculptures and art placed throughout the garden.
  6. The Arbor: An enormous arbor covers the center of the garden and is surrounded by more than 100 wisteria vines. A gift from Charlotte Vanderbilt, the arbor leads to a section of gardens where you can enjoy spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When we visited last fall, the arbor was covered in luffa vines that were bearing lots of “fruit”!
  7. Biltmore Conservatory: Part of the Biltmore Gardens is the Conservatory. Also known as The Orangery because it was originally used to house oranges and other plants during the cold winter months. This is a great place to find inspiration for your own garden! It’s not only a place to escape the heat (or cold, depending on when you’re visiting), but also explore tropical plants and flowers that can’t be found anywhere else in Western North Carolina (or even the Southeast).
  8. Biltmore Hiking Trails: There are five miles of hiking trails throughout the estate, including one at Biltmore Lake. These trails are varying lengths, so perfect for all fitness levels. The trail we took looped us around to the rear of the home, which was incredible!
  9. Biltmore Biking Trails: At the Biltmore, there are biking trails for all ages and experience levels. While we were there, we saw several families riding the easy trails together with their toddlers. There are also more difficult trails for the more experienced riders.
  10. Biltmore Winery: The Biltmore winery, nestled into the Antler Hill Village on the grounds, is the perfect way to end a day of exploring gardens and grounds. You can take a tour or just walk through on your own to taste some great wines!
The front entrance of the Biltmore Estate
The front entrance of the Biltmore Estate

I hope you’ll consider a visit to the Biltmore estate and gardens. If you’ve been before, be sure to leave a comment below and let us know your favorite part of the visit. If you do tour the home, I can’t recommend enough paying the extra for the audio tour. So worth it!