If one could extract the very essence of Christmas, you’d get the experience many have when visiting Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC during the Christmas holiday season. ( Click here to visit their Web site.) Teams of employees spend an entire month decorating the estate in preparation for the holiday season which begins the first week of November. With a different theme for the decorating of the House each year, you’ll never know what to expect. The element surprise in regard to design and attention to fine details is what makes a trip to Biltmore a holiday tradition. There are, however, a difference in what you’ll experience depending on whether you go in the day or evening.
Difference in a Daytime Visit and a Night Visit
There is a big difference in the day and evening visit. Trees are lit both day and night inside Biltmore House. One of the advantages of a daytime visit is being able to see the rooms and decorations better due to more light. There will not, however, be entertainment within the House during the daytime except for the pipe organ in the Banquet Hall playing every 15-20 minutes.
During the evenings the interior of the house is bathed in candlelight. The exterior and front grounds being beautifully lit as well. A 55 foot evergreen is placed on the grounds in front of the House, decorated with 33,000 tiny gold lights. Entertainment is the big draw for night visits. In recent years there has been costumed Victorian ballroom dancers, highly talented choral groups, ballet, harpists, etc.. Music, dance and drama will be found throughout the House as well as in Antler Hill Village. You will find tickets will be more expensive for an evening visit.
Dates To Avoid – Any Saturday or Sunday! Nov. 20-28, Dec. 20-31.
The busiest time to enter the House is between 9:30am-1:30pm. The quietest time is 9:15, 1:30pm-4:00pm.
Stay at the Inn on Biltmore Estate if possible. Not only is it beautiful and not overwhelming huge in size but their packages for staying on the grounds includes complete on-grounds shuttle service. Most importantly, the price and convenience of staying there is often less than what you’ll pay for a room in the Asheville area. Everyone I’ve spoken to agree the ease of stepping from the hotel onto the shuttle and driving a mere 10-15 minutes to be dropped off at the front doors of the House is worth every penny after you realize there will be between 3500-5000 people a day getting onto the grounds/driving to the House and Antler Hill Village! The Inn shuttles run continuously throughout the day and evening to the House as well as estate restaurants and shops.
If you do not stay at the Inn, have the agents find a room and package with one of our sister hotels in the area. These hotels offer reduced ticket prices and room packages. Note: Try and get in one of the hotels within a 2-4 mile radius of the estate! Even though the agents will try to convince you another hotel is only a “10 minute drive from the estate” the fact is the shear volume of traffic will often cause you to have a 30 -50 minute just to get to the estate depending on the day /time.
Day Of Your Visit
From the time your ticket is scanned by the security guard on the estate, you’ll have a minimum of 40 minutes before you will be standing in front of the doors of Biltmore House.
Valet parking is $15-$20. It is nice to drive to the front of the House, hand over the keys and simply walk in. Seriously consider using it. Otherwise, you’ll be directed to park your car in a lot where you’ll have to walk to the lot’s one shuttle stop and wait 10-20 minutes for the shuttle to pick you up and take you up to the House or drop you back at the lot at the end of your visit.
From the front of Biltmore House to the Antler Hill Village/Winery, you’ll need to allow 30 -40 minutes to drive your car there.
To exit the estate: Allow 40 minutes minimum from the front of the House to the entrance to the stoplight at the estate entrance during the holiday season. Allow 30 minutes minimum from Antler Hill Village. The estate is 8,000 acres.
*If you will be visiting Biltmore Estate with someone with limited mobility click Helpful Hints for Anyone with Limited Mobility on Visiting Biltmore Estate .
*Biltmore Estate is Dog Friendly. For more information click Biltmore Estate – ‘Dog Friendly’ Travel Destination in Asheville, North Carolina .